Definition of the Horae
Who were the Horae of Ancient Greek mythology? Definition of the Horae: The Horae or 'the Seasons' were the goddesses of the weather, time and prosperity who maintained the rhythm of the cycle of vegetation. The Horae were minor goddesses and nymphs and according to Greek Mythology were the daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods and Themis, the Titan goddess of justice and order. They were reputed to be beautiful with blooming complexions. The Greeks had only three seasons; spring, summer and autumn so the Horae were represented as a trio of goddesses. Nature was believed to be in unproductive slumber during the winter. The names of the Horae were the trio of Thallo, Auxo and Carpo, who were goddesses of the seasons and the order of nature. Other sources name the Horae as Eunomia, Dike, and Eirene, who were goddesses of law and order. The Horae are always regarded as friendly towards mortals, and totally devoid of guile or subtlety. They are often represented in art as joyous, but gentle maidens, crowned with flowers, and holding each other by the hand in a round dance.
The Roles of the Horae
Each of the Horae had specific functions which are detailed below. Eunomia, Dike, and Eirene were goddesses of law and order and their roles were as follows:
- Eunomia: Eunomia (one of the Horae) was the spirit of good order, and springtime goddess of green pastures
- Dike: Dike was the spirit of justice, fair judgements and rights
- Eirene: Eirene was the spirit of peace and goddess of the springtime
Thallo, Auxo and Carpo, who were goddesses of the seasons and the order of nature and their roles were as follows:
- Thallo: Thallo was the goddess of bloom, spring buds and shoots
- Auxo: Auxo the goddess of growth and was the personification of autumn
- Carpo: Carpo was the goddess of the corn and fruit-bearing season who personified the maturing of the summer
The Horae - Keepers of the Gates of Clouds on Mount Olympus
The home of the gods on Mount Olympus was described as a beautiful, heavenly paradise, untouched by cold, wind, rains or snow. The Ancient Greeks believed that there were many gods and goddesses who lived above specially protected golden clouds on top of Mount Olympus. The names of the Olympian gods who lived on Mount Olympus were Zeus, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, Hestia or Dionysus, Apollo, Ares, Poseidon, Demeter, Artemis, Hephaestus and Hermes. The palaces of the gods and goddesses were above the top of Mount Olympus, far out of the reach of men, and hidden from sight by the protection of the clouds. The entrance to Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, was a great gate of clouds, which was guarded by 'the Seasons' or 'Horae', the minor goddesses of time and the ministers of Zeus. The role of the Horae was to open the gates to permit the passage of the gods to visit earth and to receive them on their safe return.