Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Graeae


The Graeae were daughters of the sea god Phorcys and the hideous sea monster Cetus. Hesiod says their names were Deino ("dread"), Enyo ("horror") and Pemphredo ("alarm"). In Greek mythology they took the form of ancient grey haired ("graeae") women who shared one eye and one tooth between them. Perseus stole their eye when they were passing it to each other and forced them to betray the whereabouts of their other three sisters, the Gorgons, namely Medusa, Stheno and Euryale.

7 Comments:

Blogger Eurodog said...

Why are all those mythological tales always so gruesome?

9:45 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

They're not all gruesome, ED! They often depict extremes and so are terrible or very good. Either way, they are memorable.

8:41 am  
Blogger Phidelm said...

I was brought up on certain Jungian theories, notably that of the archetype (Karl Kerenyi's interpretation of the Greek myths a well-thumbed volume in home library). So I agree with you, WW.
Interesting that they are grouped as a trio. Like the erinyes (? furies), as I recall. Also the norns of Norse myth, and the 'wyrd sisters' (Act I, sc i, Macbeth). The power of three's a common factor (1st no at which sequence becomes apparent, therefore 'magic'?). How fascinating - you always prompt reflection, WW: thank you!

12:20 pm  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well, I never knew that!

6:01 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi Phidelm - you're right about trios - three Gorgons, three Fates and (in later literature) three Furies (the Furies who chased Oedipus numbered more than 3). The three witches of Macbeth, as you say, and Chekhov's Three Sisters. Then there's the Trinity of course...

7:53 am  
Blogger Eurodog said...

Things come in threes. 3 blind mice, 3 wise men...
Third time lucky...

5:40 pm  
Blogger Phidelm said...

More trios in Celtic mythology, too. Three regarded as a powerful number.
There was a fringe theatre co in the '70s called The Graeae. It was entirely composed of disabled actors, and funded by the Arts Council. Wonder what became of it.

7:10 pm  

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