Greek Goddesses - T
Every Greek Goddess You've Heard Of - And A Bunch You Haven't
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- The Charites
- The Charites (or the Graces) were three happy Goddesses of Beauty. They were named:
They were the first ones to welcome Aphrodite when she was blown to shore by the East Wind. The three of them rode in a chariot pulled by white geese. Their name in Greek would have been the Charites. They were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. Originally (as in pre-classical mythology), they were goddesses of fertility and nature and were much more closely associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian mysteries. If you haven't read Mary Renault's The King Must Die read it now. It doesn't talk about the Charites, but read it anyway.
- Aglaia, Splendor
- Euphrosyne, Mirth
- Thalia, Good Cheer
- The Erinnyes
- The Erinnyes (in English, the Furies) were some seriously fearsome creatures. They were conceived when Uranus' spilled blood hit Gaia's body, and were therefore older than any of the Olympian Gods. "These Erinnyes are crones with snakes for hair, dogs' heads, coal-black bodies, bats' wings, and bloodshot eyes. In their hands they carry brass-studded scourges and their victims die in torment." It isn't a great idea to mention their names in conversation, so instead you should call them the Eumenides, or the Kindly Ones. There are three:
Their purpose was to torment sinners, which they did on Earth as well is in Tartarus. The sight of one could cause insanity, and they often drove offenders to suicide. Originally they punished only offenders of patricide, matricide, or breakers of oaths, but after a while they punished any sins. They lived in Erebus (Darkness) but traveled the Earth constantly in search of transgressors. The Furies get special press in the play the Eumenides from the Oresteia of Aeschylus. Sadly, the thing ends with the loss of a lot of their power. During their day they received plenty of respect, and that included sacrifices of honey and water. Narcissus flowers and doves seem randomly sacred to them. If you like them, you should check out their buddies like the Keres, Dike, Eris, the Harpies, the Fates, Nemesis, and Poene.
- Tisiphone, the Avenger
- Megara, the Jealous
- Alecto, the Unresting
- The Fates
- The Fates, also called the Fates or the Parcae, determined when life begins, when it ends, and what happens in between. They were made up of three women:
They were the daughters of Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (or of Zeus and Themis). Some say that Zeus could intervene in their decisions and that they could be manipulated, but in most myths they were eternal and more powerful than any of the Gods. Another story says they are the parthenogenic daughters of Ananke. In Delphi, they only worshipped Clotho and Atropos.
- Clotho, who appeared as a maiden and spun the thread of life. Her name meant The Spinner
- Lachesis, who appeared as a matron and measured the thread of life. She was the Caster of lots
- Atropos, who cut the thread of life, and appeared as a crone. Her name meant, Unbending Though the smallest of the three, she is the most terrible.
- The Graiai
- The Graiai, or the the three Gray Sisters, were beautiful. They were described as "fair-faced and swan-like" but they had gray hair from the day they were born and they shared one eye and one tooth, but they lost even that when Perseus stole their eye and later threw it in a lake. Despite being so easily taken advantage of, they were very wise. Their names were:
They were probably goddesses worshipped by the swan cults (swans were not just a symbol of beauty, but also of cunning and other darker meanings).
- Deino or Dread (or Terrible)
- Enyo or Horror (or War-like)
- Pemphredo or Alarm (or Wasp)
- The Graces
- See above, they're listed as the Charites.It's worth mentioning, I think, that there is no letter "H" in ancient Greek. Instead they have this little apostrophe looking mark that means aspiration.
- The Horae
- They were the goddesses orderly things like Seasons, and because of their orderly aspect eventually became goddesses of justice. They measured out the weather as it seemed appropriate and guarded Olympus from any overambitious mortals. They had a few cameos in the Big Myths: the Hora of Spring went with Persephone when she went down with Hades every year, and some of the Horae helped dress Aphrodite as she emerged from the ocean. They got different names (and numbers) from different authors, but I like Hesiod's breakdown:
Homer actually tended to keep them strictly with the seasons, and they only worshipped two in Athens, but Hyginus lists at least 21 Horae (including Horae of the Hours)! Generally they were happy little goddesses. Lots of cavorting, much like the Muses and the Graces (Charites) who they liked to hang out with when they weren't doing their day job of keeping track of orderly customs and justice.
- Eunomia, Good Custom
- Dike, Justice
- Eirene, Peace
- The Keres
- The Keres are also called the Dogs of Hades. They are associated with the Harpies and the Erinyes, and they are terrifying creatures. They are sharp clawed creatures who dress in red and drink the blood of their victims. They carry out the Fates' commands, insofar as they are in many ways the personification of the inevitability of death, and are often seen hovering around battle fields. They were daughters of Nyx, just like the Fates, and it can be a little unclear where their work ended and the work of the Erinnyes (see above) began.
- The Litai
- The Litai were the sisters of Ate. As you'll recall, Ate was evil. The goddess of temptation and all those yucky things. The Litai, who happened to be the personification of Prayers, followed Ate around and cleaned up after her. They tried to repair the damage she did to mortals.
- The Muses
- The Muses were nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They played and sang all of the time and entertained the Gods and Goddesses on Mount Olympus. They also inspired creativity in everyone. The Muses were:
The last Muse, Calliope, had a child with the King of Thrace. The child's name was Orpheus. There's a great story about him, so watch for the new story pages. There's also cool stories about each of the Muses, and some other Muses you probably didn't know about. For example, Did you know Clio introduced the Phoenician alphabet to Greece? Si, sono veritabile. Now the Muses have their own page! Check it out! In contains LOTS more information.n
- Erato, the Muse of Lyrics
- Euterpe, the Muse of Music
- Thalia, the Muse of Comedy
- Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy
- Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance and Choral Song
- Urania, the Muse of Astronomy
- Clio, the Muse of Historical and Heroic Poetry, her name meant "Proclaimer"
- Polyhymnia, the Muse of Hymns
- Calliope, the Muse of Epics
- The Parnassides
- Another name for The Muses because of their birth on Mt. Parnassus.
- A Goddess of Gambling. I didn't make this one up, but I've lost the source, so I wouldn't use it in any job applications without checking your evidence. Or something.
- Techne is Greek for skill, and thus would, as a goddess, personify that skill, probably particularly useful for artisans.
- The daughter of Nicaea and Dionysus. Her daddy drove her mama to suicide, and Telete became the personification of Consecration.
- Tethys was a Titan, both original and classical. She and Oceanus ruled the planet Venus and the sixth day. From their planet they received the power of love. Some say that the Gods and everything populating Earth was born from Oceanus' stream, and that Tethys was their mother. To Homer, Tethys was very like what Eurynome was to the Pelasgians. In more classical mythology the Titaness Tethys was the wife of her brother Oceanus and by him the mother of the 3000 Oceanids and of all the river gods. She was a Goddess of the Ocean, but eventually ceded to Doris, who ceded to Amphitrite. Tethys was the Godmother of Rhea (see above), and raised her during the civil war between the Gods and the Titans. Her name means Disposer and is very similar, in root, to Thetis.n
- She was the personification of the Mediterranean Sea, and the daughter of Hemera (Day) and Aether (the Upper Air) - two of the first beings created. Many sea deities seem very social in their chaos, always creating new and changing life, but Thalassa was much more isolated and more referred to in metaphor; she was a goddess of lonely shores. She didn't totally escape the life-giving aspect of her sea-nature, she was the mother of all fish by Poseidon, but even there, she is a much more primitive and inhuman power than others we are accustomed to seeing (Amphitrite, Thetis, etc).
- Thaleia was apparently (in addition to a different Thaleia being one of the Charites) the daughter of Hephaestus and some unknown mother. She had a fling with Zeus, and, no surprise, got pregnant - but she knew about Hera's vengeance and asked Zeus to let the Earth swallow her. He granted her request, and her children, the twin Palici, were the protectors of solemn oaths - and in the old days, some people say they were offered human sacrifices. The mama stayed in the Earth, I guess - they don't mention what happened to her.
- One of the original seven Titanesses, Theia was the mate of Hyperion. They were connected in the "planetary power" of the Sun and the first day of the week. The Sun's power was, surprise, Illumination. She was associated with light and the sky, she was an early Goddess of Light. She was the mother of Helios, Selene (see above), and Eos. The name Theia means Divine, and she was also referred to as "the cow-eyed Euryphaessa". Euryphaessa means Wide Shining.
- Themis was one of the origninal Titans, and shared dominion of Jupiter with Eurymedon (fifth day). Their power was that of Law and her name means Order. The Titaness Themis was the mother of the the Seasons (and some say the three Fates) with Zeus. The Goddess of Divine Justice and Law, Themis was the constant companion of the god Zeus and sat beside him on Olympus. In ancient art she is represented holding aloft a pair of scales on which she weighs the claims of opposing parties. Before and during this, however, she was also the Great Goddess who ordered the 13 month year, divided into two seasons. She was the prophet who declared that Thetis's son would be greater than his father (ever heard of Achilles?). It was Themis who appeared before Deucalion and Pyrrha (see above) and told them how to keep their race from dying out after the flood (click here for more). There was a altar dedicated to her by Pittheus in Troezen. She was very important and with Zeus plotted to create the Trojan War. That's all about her for now.
- Thetis was the chief of the Nereids. She was such a hot number that Poseidon, while he was looking for a wife, courted her. Zeus too, courted her, but she rejected him for the sake of Hera, her foster-mother. Then Themis prophesied that Thetis was to bear a son stronger than its father, so Zeus decreed that she must marry a mortal. Hera, remembering Thetis' rejection of Zeus, set her up with "the best of mortals." Thetis married Peleus and bore Achilles. But there was more to it than that. She saved her father once; when all the other Gods got pissed and tied him up she went and got the Hundred-Handed Briareus. She also played a large part in the birth of Hephaestus. Like Tethys (see above) the name Thetis means Disposer.
- Thoosa was the personification of swiftness.
- Remember Semele, the mother of Dionysus? Well, after she got all crispy and died, Dionysus went down and got her back from Hades realm. What a nice son taking his mom up to Olympus and making her immortal ... anyway, upon becoming immortal she received a new name, and Thyone was it!n
- The Titanides
- The Titanides were the six daughters of Gaia and Uranus, the sisters to the Titans. There was one assigned to each of the seven planetary powers and to each day of the week, they shared each position with a brother. In order of their day of the week they were: Theia and the Sun (illumination), Phoebe and the Moon (enchantment), Dione and Mars (growth), Metis and Mercury (wisdom), Themis (see above) and Jupiter (justice), Tethys (see above) and Venus (love), and Rhea (see above) and Jupiter (peace). They existed before the Olympian Gods (like Zeus, Hera, Athena, etc.), and were co-opted into that culture as mothers of minor deities with their Titan brothers and husbands. The breakdown of power is as given by Robert Graves, who is not necessarily worth believing n
Tyche was the Goddess of Fortune. It is widely accepted that she was the daughter of Zeus, though some reports give her to be the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys (see above). It was in her temple that the first dice was reportedly made. If however, she ends up bestowing wealth upon someone, and they do not sacrifice appropriately to the Gods, then Nemesis steps in and takes care of business. Tyche was very widely worshipped, despite her hard-to-guess nature.n
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Last Updated July 16, 2011