Eris was the daughter of the primordial gods Erebus (God of Darkness) and Nyx (the dark Goddess of Night) and the sister of the many of the dark gods of death, night and the Underworld.
Who was Eris?
Eris was one of the primeval gods who was a daughter of Nyx who was believed to be the mother of everything mysterious and anything that was inexplicable and unpleasant, such as death, disease, sleep, ghosts, dreams, witchcraft and enchantments. Her father was Erebus, who reigned in a palace in the dark regions of the Underworld. As the sister of the many of the dark gods of death, night and the Underworld, Eris personified all chaos and strife resulting in the warfare, death, unhappiness and pain. She was never invoked by mortals, except when they desired her assistance for the accomplishment of evil purposes.
The Symbols of Eris
In Greek Art the god was often illustrated with images and pictures representing the attributes and symbols associated with her. Eris is represented in Greek art as a woman of florid complexion, dishevelled hair, and an angry and menacing appearance. Her dress is torn and disorderly, and her hair entwined with venomous snakes. The symbols associated with the goddess Eris are a poniard (a small dagger) and a hissing adder which she holds in one hand, and a burning torch that she holds in her other hand.
- A burning torches symbolizes the devastation caused by war
- The poniard, a small thin dagger used for stabbing (also stabbing in the back)
- The Hissing adder symbolizes fear and evil
Eris in Ancient Greek Mythology
Eris is featured in the ancient myth relating to the legend of the Apple of Discord due to which she indirectly started the Trojan War. The conflict began when all the gods and goddesses were invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, save one - Eris. To avenge this slight, Eris threw the golden apple of discord to the guests of the wedding feast. The golden apple had "for the fairest" written on it and Hera and Athena and Aphrodite all claimed it. Paris, the Prince of Troy, awarded it to Aphrodite beginning a chain of events that led to the Trojan War.
Eris (Roman Counterpart was Bellona)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Eris, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Eris was Bellona and Discordia.
The Brothers and Sisters of Eris
According to Greek Mythology Eris was the daughter of Nyx, the dark goddess of Night and Erebus whose province was the Underworld before the emergence of Hades. The siblings of Eris were all death spirits:
Thanatos, twin of Hypnos, a god of Death, the hard-hearted, pitiless, enemy of mankind
The Keres, or “Death Fates” described as 'scavengers who defiled the dead'
Moros the god of old age
Oizys the goddess of distress, anxiety and worry
Hypnos, the god of sleep
Epiphron the demon of shrewdness
Nemesis avenging goddess of Divine Retribution
Charon, the Ferryman
Lyssa, the goddess of mad rage and frenzy
Momus the evil-spirited god of blame and criticism
Hecate was the goddess of magic, witchcraft and ghosts
The Fates, the goddesses of Destiny
The Furies, the goddesses of vengeance and retribution
The Children of Eris
Such was the power of Eris that, according to ancient Greek mythology the abhorred Eris produced terrible children including the Neikea, the Hysminae, the Phonoi, the Androktasiai, the Pseudologos, the Amphilogia, the Algea, the Machae, Horkos, Ponos, Limos, Dysnomia and Ate:
The Neikea: The Neikea were the goddesses of arguments
The Hysminae or Hysmine, the female spirits of street fighting and rebellion
The Phonoi were the evil spirits of murder, killing and slaughter outside the battlefield
The Machae were the goddesses of battle and combat
The Androktasiai were the female personifications of manslaughter
The Pseudologos or Pseudo-Logoi were the gods of lies and forgery
The Amphilogia were the female spirits of disputes and contention
The the Algea were the source of weeping and tears, the spirits of pain, illnesses, suffering, sorrow, grief and distress
Horkos, the avenger of perjury, those who make false oaths
Ponos the god of hard labor and toil
Limos the god of hunger and starvation
Dysnomia the goddess of "lawlessness"
Ate the goddess of ruin, folly, and delusion