Web Theoi
ARAI
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Αρα
Αραι
Ara
Arai
Ara
Arae
Curses, Imprecations
(ara)

THE ARAI were the female spirits (daimones) of curses, called forth from the underworld. They are usually indistinguishable from the Erinyes.

PARENTS

Probably NYX, though nowhere stated


Bacchylides, Fragment 20a (from the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1361) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"[She] is exceedingly angry with her father, and in her affliction she makes supplication to the nether-world Arai (Curses), poor wretch, that he complete a bitter and accursed old age for keeping his daughter alone indoors and preventing her from marrying, althought the hair will turn white on her head."

Aeschylus, Eumenides 415 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"We [the Erinyes] are the eternal children of Nyx (Night). We are called Arai (Curses) in our homes beneath the earth."

Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 400 ff :
"Chorus: And it is the eternal rule that drops of blood spilled on the ground demand yet more blood. Murder cries out on the Erinys (Fury), which from those killed before brings one ruin in the wake of another.
Orestes: Alas, you sovereign powers of the world below, behold, you potent Arai (Curses) [the Erinyes] of the slain, behold the remnants of the line of Atreus in their helpless plight, cast out from house and home in dishonor. Which way can we turn, O Zeus?"

Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 691 ff :
"[Klytaimestra:] ‘O Ara (Curse) [Erinys] that haunts this house [of the Atreides], so hard to wrestle down: how far forward you look! Even what was laid well out of harm's way you bring down with your well-aimed shafts from far off, and you strip me of those I love [i.e. her lover and cohort in murder, Aigisthos], utterly wretched as I am.’"

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 69 ff :
"[Eteokles, king of Thebes, prays before the battle of the Seven Against Thebes:] ‘O Zeus and Ge (Earth), and gods that guard our city, and Ara (Curse), potent agent of my father's Erinys (Vengeance), do not destroy my city, ripping it up from its foundations, captive of the enemy, a city that speaks in Greece's tongue, and do not destroy our hearths and homes.’"

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 949 ff :
"Ah, you [Oidipous] have wreathed your race with many troubles! In the final outcome the Arai (Curses) [the Erinyes] have raised their piercing cry, now that the family is turned to flight in all directions."

Suidas s.v. Arai kata oikhomenon (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Arai kata oikhomenon (Curses on those who have passed away): Look under such [stones] of the black-hearted Styx [hold] you."

Suidas s.v. Persephone :
"[In Sophocles, Electra] Elektra says: ‘O house of Haides and Persephone! O Hermes Khthonios (of the Underworld) and holy Ara (Curse) and divine Erinnyes (Furies)! You who watch over those dying unjustly and those being robbed of a marriage bed: Come! Help avenge the murder of our father!’"


Sources:

  • Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Eumenides - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Suidas - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.

Other references not currently quoted here: Sophocles Electra 110