Proteus

/proh"tee euhs, -tyoohs/, n.
1. Class. Myth. a sea god, son of Oceanus and Tethys, noted for his ability to assume different forms and to prophesy.
2. a person or thing that readily changes appearance, character, principles, etc.
3. (l.c.) Bacteriol. any of several rod-shaped, aerobic bacteria of the genus Proteus, sometimes found as pathogens in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts of humans.

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In Greek mythology, the prophetic old man of the sea and the shepherd of sea animals such as seals.

He was subject to Poseidon. He knew all things
past, present, and future
but disliked telling what he knew. Those who wanted information from him had to catch him sleeping and bind him. He would try to escape by changing his form, but if a captor held him fast he gave the wished-for answer and plunged into the sea.

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      in Greek mythology, the prophetic old man of the sea and shepherd of the sea's flocks (e.g., seals). He was subject to the sea god Poseidon, and his dwelling place was either the island of Pharos, near the mouth of the Nile River, or the island of Carpathus, between Crete and Rhodes.

      Proteus knew all things—past, present, and future—but disliked telling what he knew. Those who wished to consult him had first to surprise and bind him during his noonday slumber. Even when caught he would try to escape by assuming all sorts of shapes. But if his captor held him fast, the god at last returned to his proper shape, gave the wished-for answer, and plunged into the sea. The captor in Homer's version (Odyssey, Book IV) was Menelaus; in Virgil's telling (Georgics, Book IV), it was Aristaeus who tried to hold Proteus. Because Proteus could assume whatever shape he pleased, he came to be regarded by some as a symbol of the original matter from which the world was created.

      In a story first known from the work of the 6th-century-BC poet Stesichorus, Proteus was portrayed as an Egyptian king—either of Memphis (by Herodotus) or of all Egypt (in Euripides' Helen)—who kept the real Helen safe in Egypt while Zeus sent Paris on his way to Troy with a phantom Helen.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • proteus — ● proteus nom masculin Genre bactérien comprenant des bacilles à Gram négatif appartenant à la famille des entérobactéries. proteus n. m. MICROB Bactérie intestinale qui provoque des infections essentiellement urinaires. ⇒PROTEUS, (PROTEUS,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • PROTEUS — (satellite) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Proteus. Vue d artiste Calipso Proteus est le nom de la plate forme mu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Proteus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Proteus puede referirse a: Proteus, género de enterobacterias causante de infecciones del tracto urinario; Proteus anguinus, animal anfibio y único representante del género Proteus; Proteus, software para el diseño… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Proteus — Proteus: Европейский протей (Proteus anguinus)  хвостатая амфибия семейства протеев, единственный вид рода Протеи. Proteus (англ.)русск. мультипротокольний клиент мгновенного обмена сообщениями для Mac OS X. Proteus (подводный… …   Википедия

  • PROTEUS — Deus marinus, Neptuni et Phoenices fil. teste Tzetze hist. 44. Chil. 2. qui in Pharo Alexandriae habitavit, Toronenque ex Aegypto in Phlegram Pallenes profectus uxorem duxit, ex qua filios suscepit Tmylum ac Telegonum, de quibus Eurip. in Hecuba …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Proteus — {{Proteus}} 1. Ein alter, kluger, wandlungsfähiger Meergott, der auf der ägyptischen Insel Pharos Robben hütete. Menelaos** zwang ihn dazu, ihm die Zukunft zu verkünden (Odyssee IV 364–570). Der Name des Proteus wird heute noch gelegentlich… …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

  • Proteus — c.1400, from Gk. Proteus (see PROTEUS (Cf. Proteus)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Proteus — [prō′tē əs] n. [ME Protheus < L Proteus < Gr Prōteus] 1. Gr. Myth. a minor sea god and servant of Poseidon: he can change his form or appearance at will 2. [often p ] a person who changes his or her appearance or principles easily …   English World dictionary

  • Proteus — Género de bacilos gramnegativos móviles que con frecuencia se asocian a infecciones nosocomiales y que se encuentran habitualmente en las heces, en el agua y en el suelo. Proteus puede provocar infecciones de vías urinarias, pielonefritis,… …   Diccionario médico

  • proteus — protèus m DEFINICIJA zool. čovječja ribica, v. čovječji ETIMOLOGIJA lat. proteus, v. Protej …   Hrvatski jezični portal

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