In Greek mythology, Adrasteia (Greek: Ἀδράστεια (Ionic Greek: Ἀδρήστεια), "inescapable"; also spelled Adrastia, Adrastea, Adrestea, Adastreia) was a nymph who was charged by Rhea with nurturing the infant Zeus, in secret, to protect him from his father Cronus (Krónos) in the Dictaean cave.
Adrasteia and her sister Ida, the nymph of Mount Ida, who also cared for the infant Zeus, were perhaps the daughters of Melisseus. The sisters fed the infant milk from the goat Amaltheia. The Korybantes, also known as the Curetes, whom the scholiast on Callimachus calls her brothers, also watched over the child; they kept Cronus from hearing him cry by beating their swords on their shields, drowning out the sound.
Apollonius Rhodius relates that she gave to the infant Zeus a beautiful globe (sphaira) to play with, and on some Cretan coins Zeus is represented sitting upon a globe. The ball, which Aphrodite promises to Eros, is described as if it were the Cosmos: "its zones are golden, and two circular joinscurve around each of them; the seams are concealed, as a twisting dark blue pattern plays over them. If you throw it up with your hands, it sends a flaming furrow through the sky like a star."
The tragedy Rhesus, no longer attributed to Euripides, makes Adrasteia the daughter of Zeus, rather than his nurse.
At Cirrha, the port that served Delphi, Pausanias noted "a temple of Apollo, Artemis and Leto, with very large images of Attic workmanship. Adrasteia has been set up by the Cirrhaeans in the same place, but she is not so large as the other images."
Epithet for other goddesses
Adrasteia was also an epithet of Nemesis, a primordial Great Goddess of the archaic period. The epithet is derived by some writers from Adrastus, who is said to have built the first sanctuary of Nemesis on the river Asopus, and by others from the Greek verb διδράσκειν (didraskein), according to which it would signify the goddess whom none can escape.
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