The Ancient Library

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On this page: Eriphyle – Eris – Eros



the murder of his father and marriage with his mother, without regard to the circumstances by which their offences were excused. Their principle is a simple one, " an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." In spite of their terrible attributes as god­desses of vengeance they were called Semnai (the honourable) and .Ew»n£j»J<i£s(the kindly). For the punishment of the evil secures the well-being of the good, and by pursuing and destroying transgressors the Erinyes prove themselves benevolent and bene­ficent. They were worshipped in Athens under the name of Semnai, and had a shrine on the Areopagus, and the hill of Colonus. Fresh water and black sheep were offered to them in sacrifice. The terrible picture drawn of them by jEschylus in his Eu-menides, as women like Gorgons, with snakes for hair, bloodshot eyes, grinding teeth, and long black robes with blood-red girdles, was softened down in later times. They appear as maidens of stern aspect, with snakes in their hair or round their girdles and arms, torches, scourges, or sickles in their hands, generally in the costume of huntresses, and sometimes with wings as a sign of the swiftness of their vengeance (see cut).

The Furies (FUrice or Dlrce) of the Roman poets are a mere adaptation of the Greek Erinyes. They are generally represented as torturing the guilty in the world below, but as sometimes appearing on earth, to excite to crime and throw men into madness.

Krtphyle. In Greek mythology, sister of Adrastus and wife of Amphlarafis. (See adrastus.) Bribed with a necklace by Polynices, she prevailed on her husband to take part in the war of the Seven Chiefs against Thebes, in which he met his death. (See amphiaraus.) In revenge for this she was slain by her son Alcmaeon. (See alcm^eon.)

Eris. The goddess of discord, fighting, and quarrelling in the Greek mythology. In Homer she is sister arid companion of Ares, and like him insatiate of blood; in Hesiod she is daughter of Night, and mother of trouble, oblivion, hunger, pain, murder and carnage, brawls, deceit, and lawless­ness. She was the only one among the gods who was not bidden to the marriage of Peleus and ThStls. In revenge she threw a golden apple among the guests, and thus gave occasion for the Trojan War. (See trojan war.) Side by side with this destructive Eris was a beneficent Eris, the

sister, according to Hesiod, of the other. She was the personification of noble rivalry, and is represented as stimulating even dullards to exertion.

Eros. The god of love among the Greeks. His name does not occur in Homer; but in Hesiod he is the fairest of the deities, who subdues the hearts of all gods and men. He is born from Chaos at the same time as the Earth and Tartarus, and is the comrade of Aphrodite from the moment of her birth. Hesiod conceives Eros not merely as the god of sensual love, but as a power which forms the world by inner union of the separated elements; an idea very prevalent in antiquity, especially among the philosophers. But according to the later and commoner notion, Eros was the youngest of the gods, generally the son of Aphrodite by Ares or Hermes, alway

Probably as the Genius of Death. Ascribed t.o the limb of Hadrian. Found at Centocelle (Rome, Vatican).

a child, thoughtless and capricious. He is as irresistible as fair, and has no pity even for his own mother. Zeus, the father of gods and men, arms him with golden wings, and with bow and unerring arrows, or burning torches. AntSros, the god of mutual love, is his brother, and his com­panions are PothSs and HimerSs, the per­sonifications of longing and desire, with

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