The name “Ceto” (Greek Κητώ, translit. Kētṓ) is likely connected to the Greek word κῆτος (kêtos), meaning “sea monster.” However, the origins of this word are obscure (and perhaps even pre-Greek).
Ceto Κητώ (Kētṓ)
[KEE-toh] /ˈki toʊ/
Despite her association with terrifying monsters, Ceto’s defining attribute was her beauty. The poet Hesiod described her as “fair-cheeked.” Likewise, in the only definitive depiction of Ceto from ancient art—on the frieze of the Pergamon Altar (180/160 BCE)—she cuts a stately figure, with attractive features and an ornate hairstyle.
Ceto married her brother Phorcys. Their children—collectively known as the “Phorcides” (after their father)—were some of the most dreaded monsters of Greek mythology. Among these offspring were the eternally gray Graeae, the stony Gorgons, the snake monster Echidna, and the gigantic serpent who guarded the Garden of the Hesperides (sometimes called Ladon, but other times unnamed).
Our only evidence for an ancient cult of Ceto is a vague reference made by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder: he mentioned a “famous Ceto” worshipped in the Near Eastern city of Joppa (modern-day Jaffa, Israel).