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Eris in Classical Mythology

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Drakontion

Author: Drakontion
VR Publish Date: May 22 2015

Eris (Roman name Discordia) was a fearful goddess to the ancient Greeks, being the patron of strife, discord, contention and rivalry. Usually this was perceived negatively, as in the Eris who was the starter of wars. Some ancient theologans however took a more positive view of Eris, instead attributing human growth and betterment to her aspects of competition and rivalry.

Eris has a confused geneology. Variously she was described as being the daughter of either:

  • Nyx (primal goddess of Night) solely, making her a sister of the Fates and the granddaughter of Khaos

  • Nyx and Erebos (primal god of Darkness), with the same siblings and grandparentage

  • Zeus (king of the Olympian gods, god of sky, weather, law and order, fate) and Hera (queen of the Olympian gods, goddess of women, marriage, the sky, stars) as she was called the sister of Ares, the god of War.


Eris was then thought to have borne several children, again singly (who needs a man!) - the Kakodaimones, the evil spirits which plagued mankind:

Hesiod, Theogony 226 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"But abhorred Eris (Strife) bare painful Ponos (Toil), and Lethe (Forgetfulness), and Limos (Starvation), and the Algea (Pains), full of weeping, the Hysminai (Fightings) and the Makhai (Battles), the Phonoi (Murders) and the Androktasiai (Man-slaughters), the Neikea (Quarrels), the Pseudo-Logoi (Lies), the Amphilogiai (Disputes), and Dysnomia (Lawlessness) and Ate (Ruin), who share one another's natures, and Horkos (Oath) who does more damage than any other to earthly men, when anyone, of his knowledge, swears to a false oath."

So you can see Eris gets quite a bad rap in ancient books, being attributed many of the qualities either herself, or from her extended family, which caused grief and pain to men.

While Eris delighted in causing chaos and strife, her most famous exploit touched off the worst war in ancient history: the Trojan war.

The story goes that Thetis was getting married to Peleus. Zeus invited all gods to the wedding, excluding only Eris. Eris was justifiably upset by this slight, and turned up anyway. When she was refused admittance, she stole a golden apple from the Hesperides (nymphs of the evening, sisters as they were daughters of Nyx and Erebus). Eris inscribed on the apple the word "Kallisti" (for the fairest). She returned to the wedding banquet and tossed the golden apple into the throng. Three goddesses stood up to claim it: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They quarrelled between themselves for ownership of the golden apple. They called upon Zeus to settle their quarrel, and Zeus then called upon a mortal named Paris, son of the king of Troy, to judge which of the three goddesses were indeed the fairest.

Each goddess spent some time bribing Paris. Hera offered of mortal power, Athena offered wisdom, and Aphrodite offered love. Paris being a young, hot blooded man, was swayed by the offer of the love of a beautiful woman, and chose Aphrodite as the fairest. He received the beautiful Helen of Sparta as his new bride, the most beautiful woman in the world. Unfortunately she was married to Menelaus of Sparta at the time, and the Spartans being a warlike tribe, immediately took their vengeance on the Trojans using sharp, pointed instruments. And the rest is history.

The above aside, not much else is known about the goddess Eris in classical times. Did she have worshippers? If she did, was said worship open or secret? Was their worship structured or free flowing? Where there any rites, festivals, deeds attributed to the worship of Eris? Did worshipper sing songs or construct poetry or odes in praise of their goddess? And this is what we are left with today: Vague memories of a chaotic goddess.

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DarkKad
DarkKad
20:45
Feb 07, 2018

Cthonian gods, like Eris, never had an open worshiping system in the ancient greek society, simply because they stood for principles against those of that society. However, there are notes, even in the Bible, that in Athens there was a shrine dedicated "To the Unknown God". That was a shrine to any god the city did not officialy worship. So you could say that in a way that was the form of worship Eris recieved. Other than that, people would make "spondes", offerings, in their home shrines to any god or goddess that watched over the matters they were to tend to. I hope I've helped, i'm from greece, so these are abc's to me. If you want you could message me anytime to chat about it!

ForeverFriends
ForeverFriends
03:09
Jan 25, 2018
Real vampires love Vampire Rave.
Agdistis
Agdistis
17:07
Oct 19, 2017



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