Since their name means Grace these three beautiful daughters of Zeus and Eurynome are often called The Graces. Their names are Aglaia [Splendor], Euphrosyne [Festivity], and Thalia [Rejoicing].
They wove the material for Aphrodite's robe. They also tended to Aphrodite when she returned to the island of Kypros (Cyprus), humiliated after she had been caught in the trap her husband, Hephaistos (Hephaestus), had set to catch her and Ares [god of War] in the embrace of love. The Graces bathed her, anointed her with ambrosial oil and dressed her in delightful clothing so that she might resume her loving duties.
Homer used the beauty of the Graces ironically to depict the horror of war when he described a dead Trojan soldier's hair as being 'lovely as the Graces' before it was splattered with blood and mingled with the dirt.
Graces are often confused with the Roman goddesses, the Gratiae.
The Graces in The Iliad
The line numbers listed here correspond fairly well with the Lattimore and Murray/Wyatt translations of The Iliad. Other translations [Fitzgerald, Fagles et al] do not correspond as well but, with a small amount of effort, you should be able to find the reference you need regardless of the translation you use.
- book 5, line 338 - When Diomedes stabbed Aphrodite she was wearing a robe that the Graces had made for her
- book 14, line 268 - Hera offers Hypnos [Sleep] one of the Graces, Pasithea, in marriage if he will help her trick Zeus
- book 14, line 275 - Hypnos [Sleep] makes Hera swear that he can marry one of the younger Graces, Pasithea, if he helps her trick Zeus
- book 17, line 51 - When Euphorbos (Euphorbus) was stabbed by Menelaos (Menelaus), his hair, as lovely as the Graces, was splattered with blood
The Graces in The Odyssey
The line numbers listed here correspond fairly well with the Lattimore and Murray/Dimock translations of The Odyssey. Other translations [Fitzgerald, Fagles et al] do not correspond as well but, with a small amount of effort, you should be able to find the reference you need regardless of the translation you use.
- book 6, line 18 - The handmaidens of Nausikaa had beauty given by the Graces
- book 8, line 364 - After Aphrodite was caught being unfaithful to her husband, Hephaistos (Hephaestus), she went to Paphos where the Graces pampered her
- book 18, line 194 - Athene (Athena) put an enchantment of beauty on Penelope using ambrosia just like Aphrodite does when she joins the dance of the Graces
Other Text References
- lines 53-74 - The Muses dance on Mount Olympos (Olympus) accompanied by the Graces and Himerus [Desire]
- lines 907-911 - The Charites [Graces], Aglaia (Aglaea), and Euphrosyne, and lovely Thalia (Thaleia) are the daughters to Eurynome and Zeus
- line 945-946 - Aglaia (Aglaea), the youngest of the Graces, became the wife of Hephaistos (Hephaestus)
- fragment 2 - Hesiod compares the nymphs known as the Hyades to the Graces
- fragment 6 - The Graces and the Hours made garments for Aphrodite [goddess of Love]
- fragment 6 - Nymphs, the Graces and golden Aphrodite [goddess of Love] sang sweetly on Mount Ida
The Argonautika by Apollonius Rhodius
- book 4, lines 421-444 - Jason and Medeia (Medea) choose gifts to beguile her brother Apsyrtos (Aspyrtus); Jason chooses a robe which was made by Dionysos [Bacchus, god of Wine], given to his son Thoas and then given to Hypsipyle and then to Jason
The Graces dance at the Acropolis of Athens.
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