The Three Charities Or Graces  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Three Charities Or Graces Image
THE THREE GRACES WERE BORN FROM THE UNION OF ZEUS AND EURYNOME, THE DAUGHTER OF OCEANUS, A PRIMEVAL GOD. THEY WERE THE JOYFUL ONES, THE EVER-YOUTHFUL HANDMAIDENS AND COMPANIONS OF THE GODDESS, APHRODITE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IT WAS THE GRACES WHO TENDED AND ADORNED APHRODITE WHEN SHE SET OUT ON HER SEDUCTIONS, DRESSING HER AND ARRANGING HER HAIR. THEY WERE THE GODDESSES OF CHARM, BEAUTY, AND CREATIVITY. THEY EXUDED A DELIGHT IN LIFE AND AN ENJOYMENT OF ART, DANCE, AND LOVE. THEIR NAMES WERE THALIA (SHE WHO BRINGS FLOWERS), AGLIA (BRILLIANCE AND SPLENDOR), AND EUPHROSYNE (JOY AND MIRTH).

THALIA WAS THE GODDESS OF SPRINGTIME AND THE GODDESS OF GOOD CHEER. SHE RULED OVER FESTIVALS AND LUXURIOUS BANQUETS AND SHE ALSO REPRESENTED THE FRUITFUL ABUNDANCE OF THE EARTH.

AGLIA WAS THE GODDESS OF SPLENDOR AND GLORY, AND IT WAS SAID THAT SHE WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF THE THREE. AGLIA IS THE ONE CHARITY THAT WAS WED. SHE WAS THE WIFE OF THE GOD, HEPHAESTUS, AND IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN THE MOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN--ALL FEMALE AND KNOWN AS THE "YOUNGER CHARITIES". THEY WERE EUKLEIA (GODDESS OF GOOD REPUTE, EUPHEME (GODDESS OF ACCLAIM), EUTHENIA (GODDESS OF PROSPERITY) AND PHILOPHROSYNE (GODDESS OF WELCOME).

EUPHROSYNE WAS THE GODDESS OF MIRTH AND JOY. ON A RARE OCCASION THAT WE FIND HER WITHOUT HER SISTERS, SHE IS DEPICTED ALONGSIDE THE SPIRIT OF UNMIXED WINE, AKRATOS.

THE GRACES WERE ALMOST ALWAYS SEEN AS A TRIO, USUALLY DANCING TOGETHER. THEY ARE OFTEN REPRESENTED AS A NAKED GROUP IN WHICH TWO OF THEM FACE FORWARD WHILE THE THIRD SHOWS HER BACK. THERE IS AN OLD GREEK PROVERB WHICH SAYS THAT "THE FIRST CUP OF WINE AT A BANQUET BELONGED TO THE GRACES, THE SECOND TO APHRODITE, AND THE THIRD WAS RULED BY THE GODDESS ATE WHO WAS THE EMBODIMENT OF FOLLY, DISCORD, AND MISCHIEF."

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