Monday, April 9, 2012

G is for Graces #paganblogproject

The Kharites, or Graces, were the Goddesses of pleasure, joy, beauty , dancing and happiness. They were the Goddesses of “favor” – the favors of beauty and charm and delight. The favors of those almost unnamable, intangible qualities of attraction. They offer us the gifts of physical beauty and of pleasant  demeanor and outlook. Furthermore, they teach us practical and useful skills in the areas of bodily adornment, dancing, entertaining,  decorating, and seduction. Together with the Mousai, they bestow talent on mortals and serve as sources of inspiration for the arts. Together with the Horae, they celebrate the beauty of the natural world.

In the Athenian accounts, there are three Graces: Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia. However, other city-states numbered and named the Graces according to there own traditions. This is as complete a list as I can offer at this time.

Aglaia is the oldest of all the Graces, and she is sometimes just called Kharis. She is also sometimes called Kalleis, which means “beautiful.”  She is the Grace of beauty, adornment, splendor and glory.

Euphrosyne is the second sister of this triad. She presides over merriment, joy and mirth. Euthymia, or contentment, is another name for her.

Thalia is the youngest of this triad of sisters. Her name means “good cheer,” and she is credited with presiding over banquets and festive celebrations. Thalia is also the Muse of comedy.

Antheia’s name relates to flowers, and she is credited with overseeing floral decorations and the garlands worn to parties and festivals.

Eudaimonia is the Goddess of happiness, opulence and prosperity.

Paidia is the Goddess of play and amusement.

Pandaisia is the Goddess of rich banquets.

Pannykhis is the Goddess of night-time revelries and celebrations.

Phaenna and Kleta are Graces that were worshipped in Sparta. Phaenna means “shining” and Kleta means “fame, glory.”

Auxo and Hegemone were Horae (or Seasons) that were also worshipped as Graces. Auxo was the Goddess of Spring growth. The name Hegemone means “Queen” or “Leader.” The Horae were said to be present at Aphrodite’s birth, and they are usually given credit for dressing her in a garment that is shot with innumerable hues.

Peitho, Goddess of persuasion, is often listed as one of the Graces.

Pasithea is the Grace of relaxation, the wife of Hypnos, God of sleep. She may also be associated with hallucinogenic drugs.

Garlands, dice

Offerings and Sacrifices:
Myrtle, myrrh, rose, balsam, crocus, anemone, jewelry

Primary Cult Center(s):
Orkhomenos in northern Boiotia and the Aegean island of Paros

The Kharites were honored as attendants at many rites, but there are no existing records that indicate festivals in their honor.

Ways to honor:
Dance; arrange flowers; decorate a room; wear flattering clothes and jewelry; take time with your appearance; make others comfortable in social settings; play games

For more information:
Alcaeus, Fragment 386
Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 425
Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4.3; 6. 24; 10.30
Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 280; 970
Bacchylides, Fragment 10; 15
Callimachus, Aetia Fragment 3. 1 (from Oxyrhynchus Papyri 7)
Callimachus, Fragment 491
Colluthus, Rape of Helen 88; 174
Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5
Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 937 (Inscription from the shrine of Asclepius at Epidaurus)
Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 14; 68; 92
Hesiod, Theogony 53; 907; 945
Hesiod, Works and Days 69
Homer, Iliad 14. 231; 18. 382
Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 186
Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 58; 94
Homeric Hymn 6 to Aphrodite 2
Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis 14
Ibycus, Fragment 284; 288
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 94; 16. 130; 24. 261; 31. 203; 33. 4;  34. 36; 34. 112; 41. 212; 48. 530;
Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites
Ovid, Fasti 5. 217
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 428
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 22. 7; 2. 17. 3; 2. 34. 10; 3. 14. 6; 3. 18. 6; 3. 18. 9; 5. 11. 7; 5. 14. 10; 6. 24. 6; 7. 5. 9; 9. 35. 1; 9. 38. 1
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 10
Pindar, Eulogies Fragment 123
Pindar, Nemean Ode 4. 6; 5.54
Pindar, Olympian Ode 1. 30; 2. 50; 6. 75; 9. 21;  9. 25; 14.1-14.5
Pindar, Pythian Ode 2. 42; 5.45; 9.89; 12. 26
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 210
Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface
Sappho, Fragment 53; 103; 128; 194; 208
Simonides, Fragment 10D; 67
Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 40
Suidas s.v. Aigles Kharites
Suidas s.v. Hai Kharites gumnai
The Anacreontea, Fragment 5; 16; 35; 38; 46
Theognis, Fragment 1. 15; 1.1135

Charities at Encyclopedia Mythica
Kharites page on

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