The Full Wiki

Graeae: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Perseus Returning the Eye of the Graii, Henry Fuseli
Greek deities
Primordial deities
Titans and Olympians
Aquatic deities
Chthonic deities
Other deities
Personified concepts

The Graeae (English translation: "old women", "gray ones", or "gray witches", alternatively spelled Graiai (Γραῖαι), Graiae, Graii), were three sisters who shared one eye and one tooth among them. They are one of several trios of archaic goddesses in Greek mythology. The Graeae were daughters of Phorcys, one aspect of the "old man of the sea," and Ceto. Thus, they were among the Phorcydes, all of which were primordial deities of the sea or of the earth. The Graeae took the form of old grey-haired women; though, at times poets euphemistically described them as "beautiful." Their age was so great that a human childhood for them was hardly conceivable. Hesiod reports their names as Deino ("dread", the dreadful anticipation of horror), Enyo ("horror" the "waster of cities" who had an identity separate from this sisterhood) and Pemphredo ("alarm") (Theogony, 270-274; also Apollodorus, ii.4.2; sometimes spelled Porphredo or Demphredo). Hyginus adds a fourth, Persis or Perso.

Like another set of crones at the oldest levels of both Germanic and Norse mythology, they shared one eye and one tooth, which they took turns using. By stealing their eye while they were passing it amongst themselves, the hero Perseus forced them to tell the whereabouts of the Gorgons by ransoming the seeing eye for the information. One might compare the Graeae with the three spinners of Destiny, (the Moirae); the northern European Norns; or the Baltic goddess Laima and her two sisters; though all are distinct trios.

In the movie Clash of the Titans, the Graeae are called the Stygian Witches.



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address