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The Three Graces

Tales beyond belief

The Three Graces
Discover fascinating information about the beautiful, supernatural nymphs referred to as Three Graces were the personifications of beauty, charm, and grace. They were also known as the Charities. According to Ancient Greek mythology they were the daughters of Zeus and the Oceanid called Eurynome. The three sisters were attendants of the goddess Aphrodite were part of her retinue.

Definition of the Three Graces (Charities)
Who were the Three Graces of Ancient Greek mythology? The meaning and definition of Three Graces are as follows: Definition of Three Graces: The Three Graces were minor goddesses and nymphs and according to Greek Mythology were the daughters of
Zeus, the king of the gods and the Oceanid called Eurynome a nymph of the water-ways and clouds, who was represented by a statue of what we would call a mermaid. Other sources say that Helios and the naiad Aegle were the parents of the Charities. The Three Graces were reputed to be the essence of beauty, charm, and grace and were closely associated with the Nine Muses who presided and inspired song, dance, music, poetry and the sciences. They were regarded as the inspirers of the qualities which give attractiveness to wisdom, love, culture and social interaction. The names of the Three Graces were Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne.

The Graces (Charities)
The three beautiful nymphs and minor goddesses were called Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne were generally considered as the Graces. However, other Graces were also mentioned in some sources of Greek mythology including Peitho (persuasion), Pasithea (shining) and Cleta (sound).

The Three Graces (Charities)
The three goddesses generally accepted as the Graces represented grace, charm and beauty also had other qualities that they were associated with:

  • Aglaia represented elegance, brightness and splendor
  • Thalia represented youth, beauty and good cheer
  • Euphrosyne represented mirth and or joyfulness

The main role of the Three Graces was to bestow beauty, charm, and goodness on young women and to give joy and the feeling of well being to people in general. Closely associated with the Nine Muses they were also considered patrons of music, poetry and dance.

The Three Graces and Mount Olympus
The three Graces resided above the golden clouds on Mount Olympus where they entertained the Olympian gods and goddesses. They sang and danced to the music of the Muses and Apollo's lyre. They were also the attendants of the love deities Aphrodite and Eros and formed part of their retinue. In their roles of social hostesses to the Olympians and especially favored by
Hera, Hermes and Apollo for bring joy and goodwill to all of the events. The Muses and the Graces were also joined in the banquets, celebrations by the four Seasons, called the Horae who were the keepers of the gates to Mount Olympus.

Invocations to the Muses (Charities)
The Graces brought joy and goodwill to both gods and mortals. Like the Nine Muses, they were believed to endow artists and poets with the ability to create beautiful works of art. According to the traditions and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks, people would invoke the aid of the Graces to guide and assist them in their art, musical compositions, work, songs and dance. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddesses.

The Three Graces (Charities) and the Charitesia
The Charitesia were annual competitions and games in honor of the Graces. There were athletic competitions, literary, musical and dramatic contests (which took place in the theater). The Charitesia festival was held at Orchomenos near the modern town of Kalpaki. The derivation of the word Charitesia meant 'to win someone's favor'. During the Charitesia nightly dances took place.

The Attributes of the Three Graces (Charities)
The ancient Greek gods and goddesses were associated with special symbols and attributes that were depicted in the pictures, mosaics, statues and images of the deities making them instantly recognisable. The attributes of the Three Graces included:

  • The myrtle: The myrtle was a symbol of immortality and love. It was used it in love potions and worn by competitors in athletic competitions
  • Dice: Dice have been used for gaming and social amusement but were also used for divination purposes. The Graces, like all nymphs, had the power of prophetic divination. The throw of a dice was not just considered to be luck, the outcome was believed to be controlled by the gods. casting dice was a method of prediction
Gods and Deities
Nymphs

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