Vengeful goddesses who destroy the wicked… Sounds awesome!
“The Furies were known as the Erinnyes, and on them devolved the bringing of light of secret crimes. There was a grove sacred to them at Kolónos, near Athens, and when Œdipus, who having in ignorance murdered his father and married his mother, became aware of having committed these crimes, he retired to this grove, and there, during a thunderstorm, his life terminated.” – The Forest in Folklore and Mythology by Alexander Porteous.
– From Who’s Who in Classical Mythology by Michael Grant, John Hazel
– From Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology by Theresa Bane
I love the way the Furies are described on Aquileana’s blog. Here’s an extract:
In Greek Mythology, the Erinyes were mainly goddesses of vengeance.
The name Erinnys, which is the more ancient one, was derived by the Greeks from the erinô or ereunaô, I hunt up or persecute, or from the Arcadian word erinuô, I am angry; so that the Erinnyes were either the angry goddesses, or the goddesses who hunt up or search after the criminal
The goddesses were often addressed by the euphemistic names Eumenides (“Kind Ones”) or Semnai Theai (“Venerable Goddesses”). Eumenides signifies “the well-meaning,” or “soothed goddesses”.
They were probably personified curses, but possibly they were originally conceived of as ghosts of the murdered.
They were depicted as ugly, winged women with hair, arms and waists entwined with serpents:
“You handmaidens, look at them there: like Gorgones, wrapped in sable garments, entwined with swarming snakes!”. Aeschylus, “Libation Beaers” (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.).
According to the Greek poet Hesiod, they were the daughters of Gaia (Earth) and sprang from the blood of her mutilated spouse Uranus; in the plays of Aeschylus, they were the daughters of Nyx; in those of Sophocles, they were the daughters of Darkness and of Gaia. Euripides was the first to speak of them as three in number.
Later authors named them Allecto (“Unceasing in Anger”), Tisiphone(“Avenger of Murder”), and Megaera (“Jealous”).
Among the things sacred to them we hear of serpents, chthonian animals associated with the Underworld. Also their sacred bird was the screech owl, a nocturnal bird of ill omen, closely associated with curses and the gods of the dead. As to the plants, they were associated to the narcissus.
They were particularly worshipped at Athens, where a festival called Eumenideia was celebrated in their honour.
These goddesses were sometimes seen as servants of Hades and Persephone in the Underworld.
Here’s how the Furies act in my writing:
Furies from the Origin of the Fae Page
Furies are legion. They collect the souls of the fallen to do battle at the end of time.
They also punish the wicked, avenge the innocent and interfere in the lives of mortals and fae.
They wear clothes of ash, cinders falling in their wake. They have wings resembling that of bats.
Furies are excellent in battle. They can wield any weapon and can decimate their enemies in close-quarter combat (with or without weapons).
They live in the Underworld. They answer to Dagda, the Keeper of the Veil and Ankou – the King of the Dead. Like all creatures associated with Death, the rules of Faerie do not apply to them. They can be classified as deathfae.
And they feature in the short story “Black Moon” that was accepted for publication in the Clarion Call 3 anthology “Unbound”.
What do you think about the Furies? Any other similar creatures in folklore that you know of? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to The Furies.
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