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Horae in Meyers, 1888

The Horae or Hours (Greek: Ὧραι, Hōrai, "seasons") were three goddesses controlling orderly life in Greek mythology. They were daughters of Zeus and Themis, half-sisters to the Moirae.[1] "They bring and bestow ripeness, they come and go in accordance with the firm law of the periodicities of nature and of life", Karl Kerenyi observed: "Hora means 'the correct moment'."[2]

The earliest mention of horai is in the Iliad where they appear as keepers of Zeus's cloud gates.[3] "Hardly any traces of that function are found in the subsequent tradition," Karl Galinsky remarked in passing.[4] The Horae are mentioned in two variants in Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns. In one, emphasising the "right order" aspect of the Horai, Hesiod says that Zeus wedded "bright Themis" who bore Eunomia, Diké, and Eirene, who were law and order goddesses that maintained the stability of society. They were worshipped primarily in the cities of Athens, Argos and Olympia. In the other variant, emphasizing their fruitful aspect, Thallo, Auxo, and Carpo—the goddesses of the three seasons the Greeks recognized: spring, summer and autumn—were worshipped primarily amongst rural farmers throughout Greece.

Of the first triad, Dike (Δίκη, "justice") was the goddess of moral justice. She ruled over human justice; her mother (Themis) ruled over divine justice. Dike was born a mortal and Zeus placed her on earth to keep mankind just. He quickly learned this was impossible and placed her next to him on Olympus. Eunomia (Εὐνομία, "good order, governance according to good laws") was the goddess of law and legislation. The same or a different goddess may have been a daughter of Hermes and Aphrodite. Eirene, or Irene (Εἰρήνη. "peace"; the Roman equivalent was Pax), was the personification of peace and wealth, and was depicted in art as a beautiful young woman carrying a cornucopia, scepter and a torch or rhyton.

In Hesiod's Works and Days, the fair-haired Horai, together with the Charites and Peitho crown Pandora—she of "all gifts"— with garlands of flowers.[5] Similarly Aphrodite, emerging from the sea and coming ashore at Cyprus, is dressed and adorned by the Horai,[6] and, according to a surviving fragment of the epic Cypria,[7] Aphrodite wore clothing made for her by the Charites and Horai, dyed with spring flowers, such as the Horai themselves wear.

Of the second, more familiar triad, associated with Aphrodite is their origins as emblems of times of life and growth,, Thallo (Θαλλώ, literally "the one who brings blossoms") (or Thalatte) was the goddess of spring, buds and blooms, a protector of youth. Auxo (Αὐξώ. "increaser" as in plant growth; or Auxesia ), was worshipped alongside Hegemone in Athens as one of their two Charites. Carpo (Καρπώ), Carpho or Xarpo was the one who brings food - though Robert Graves in The Greek Myths (1955) translates this name as "withering") was in charge of autumn, ripening, and harvesting, as well as guarding the way to Mount Olympus and letting back the clouds surrounding the mountain if one of the gods left. She was an attendant to Persephone, Aphrodite and Hera, and was also associated with Dionysus, Apollo and Pan.

Thallo and Carpo appear in rites of Attica noted by Pausanias in the second century AD.[8]

Contents

Argive Horae

In Argos two, rather than three Horae were recognised, presumably summer and winter: Damia (possibly another name for Carpo) and Auxesia. In late euhemerist interpretations, they were seen as Cretan maidens who were worshipped as goddesses after they had been wrongfully stoned to death.

Eirene with the infant Ploutos: Roman copy after Kephisodotos' votive statue, c. 370BCE, in the Agora, Athens

Later Horae

Some authors recognise yet a third set of Horae. They were Pherousa (goddess of substance and farm estates), Euporie or Euporia (goddess of abundance), and Orthosie (goddess of prosperity).

Nonnus in his Dionysiaca mentions a set of four Horae: Eiar, Theros, Cheimon and Phthinoporon, the Greek words for spring, summer, winter and autumn respectively.

The Hours

Finally, a quite separate suite of Horae personified the twelve hours (originally only ten), as tutelary goddesses of the times of day. The hours run from just before sunrise to just after sunset, thus winter hours are short, summer hours are long:

  • Auge, first light
  • Anatole or Anatolia, sunrise
  • Mousika or Musica, the morning hour of music and study
  • Gymnastika, Gymnastica or Gymnasia, the morning hour of gymnastics/exercise
  • Nymphe, the morning hour of ablutions (bathing, washing)
  • Mesembria, noon
  • Sponde, libations poured after lunch
  • Elete, prayer, the first of the afternoon work hours
  • Akte, Acte or Cypris, eating and pleasure, the second of the afternoon work hours
  • Hesperis, evening
  • Dysis, sunset
  • Arktos, night sky, constellation

See also

Modern references

The Horai are mentioned by:

Notes

  1. ^ G.M.A. Hanfmann, The Seasons Sarcophagus at Dumbarton Oaks (Cambridge, Massachusetts) 1951; V. Machaira, in Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae 5.1 (1990), p 502f.
  2. ^ References to the Horai in classical sources are credited in Karl Kerenyi's synthesis of all the mythology, The Gods of the Greeks 1951, pp 101f and passim (index, "Horai")
  3. ^ Iliad 5. 749-51.
  4. ^ Karl Galinsky, "Venus, Polysemy, and the Ara Pacis Augustae" American Journal of Archaeology 96.3 (July 1992:457-475) p. 459.
  5. ^ Works and Days lines 74-75.
  6. ^ Homeric Hymn 6.5-13.
  7. ^ Cypria, fr. 4.
  8. ^ Pausanias, 9.35.2. Compare Hyginus, Fabula 183.

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'HORAE (Lat. hora, hour), the Hours, in Greek mythology Opal., originally the personification of a series of natural phenomena. In the Iliad (v. 749) they are the custodians of the gates of Olympus, which they open or shut by scattering or condensing the clouds; that is, they are weather goddesses, who send down or withhold the fertilizing dews and rain. In the Odyssey, where they are represented as bringing round the seasons in regular order, they are an abstraction rather than a concrete personification. The brief notice in Hesiod (Theog. 901), where they are called the children of Zeus and Themis, who superintend the operations of agriculture, indicates by the names assigned to them (Eunomia, Dike, Eirene, i.e. Good Order, Justice, Peace) the extension of their functions as goddesses of order from nature to the events of human life, and at the same time invests them with moral attributes. Like the Moerae (Fates), they regulate the destinies of man, watch over the newly born, secure good laws and the administration of justice. The selection of three as their number has been supposed to refer to the most ancient division of the year into spring, summer and winter, but it is probably only another instance of the Greek liking for that particular number or its multiples in such connexions (three Moerae, Charites, Gorgons, nine Muses). Order and regularity being indispensable conditions of beauty, it was easy to conceive of the Horae as the goddesses of youthful bloom and grace, inseparably associated with the idea of springtime. As such they are companions of the Nymphs and Graces, with whom they are often confounded, and of other superior deities connected with the spring growth of vegetation (Demeter, Dionysus). At Athens they were two (or three) in number:. Thallo and Carpo, the goddesses of the flowers of spring and of the fruits of summer, to whom Auxo, the goddess of the growth of plants, may be added, although some authorities make her only one of the Graces. In honour of the Horae a yearly festival (Horaea) was celebrated, at which protection was sought against the scorching heat and drought, and offerings were made of boiled meat as less insipid and more nutritious than roast. In later mythology, under Alexandrian influence, the Horae become the four seasons, daughters of Helios and Selene, each represented with the conventional attributes. Subsequently,. when the day was divided into twelve equal parts, each of them took the name of Hora. Ovid (Metam. ii. 26) describes them as placed at equal intervals on the throne of Phoebus, with whom are also associated the four seasons. Nonnus (5th century A.D.) in the Dionysiaca also unites the twelve Horae as representing the day and the four Horae as the seasons in the palace of Helios.

See C. Lehrs, Populdre Aufsatze (1856); J. H. Krause, Die Musen, Grazien, Horen, and Nymphen (1871); and the articles in Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionnaire des antiquites, J. A. Hild; and in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie, W. Rapp.


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Simple English


The Horae were three goddesses in Greek mythology. There are in fact two different groups of goddesses which were known at different times: today they are called the first and second generation to know which ones are meant.

They were the children of Zeus and Themis.

First Generation

The first Horae were goddesses of the seasons. They were:

  • Thallo (or Thalatte)
  • Auxo (or Auxesia)
  • Karpo (also Xarpo or Carpo)

Second Generation

The second Horae were goddesses of order, justice and law. They were:

  • Dike
  • Eunomia
  • Eirene (or Irene)
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