EUSEBIA was the spirit (daimona) of piety, loyalty, duty and filial respect. She was the wife of Nomos (Law) and her opposite number was Dyssebia (Impiety).
|Perhaps a daughter of ZEUS, though nowhere stated
|DIKE (by Nomos) (Orphic Rhapsodies Frag 159)
EUSEBIA SPIRIT OF PIETY
Euenus, Fragment 6 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Drinking [moderately] is beneficial for body, mind and property. It is well suited to the deeds of Aphrodite and to sleep, a haven from toils, and to Hygeia (Health), most pleasing of the gods to mortals, and to Eusebia (Piety), the neighbour of Sophrosyne (Discretion)."
PIETAS SPIRIT OF PIETY (LATIN)
Seneca, Phaedra 903 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"[Theseus believing that his son Hippolytos had violated his wife laments:] ‘O holy Pietas [Eusebia, Piety], O ruler of the heavens [Zeus], and thou [Poseidon] who with thy billows dost sway the second realm, whence came this infection of infamy in our stock?’"
Statius, Thebaid 10. 780 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Swiftly did the youth [Menoikeus of Thebes], possessed by the mighty deity [Virtus, Arete], raise high his spirits and fall straight in love with death [he sacrificed himself to save his city] . . .
With his glittering blade [Menoeceus] tears at the noble soul that long has disdained its body and grieved to be held fast, and probes for the life and rends it with one wound. Then with his blood he sprinkled the towers and purified the walls, and grasping still his sword hurled himself into the midst of the lines and strove to fall upon the fierce Achaeans. But Pietas[Eusebia, Piety] and Virtus (Virtue) [Arete, Virtue] clasped and bore his body lightly to the earth; for his spirit long since is at the throne of Jove [Zeus], and demands for itself a crow ‘mid the highest stars."
Statius, Thebaid 11. 98 ff :
"[One Erinys addresses another:] ‘'Tis no common fray or Martian battle we prepare, but brothers--though kindly Fides [Pistis, Faith] and Pietas [Eusebia, Duty] resist [the brothers engaging one another in battle], they will be o'ercome.’"
Statius, Thebaid 11. 457 ff :
"Long time, offended alike by earth and the company of the gods, had Pietas [Eusebia, Piety] been sitting in a remote region of the heavens, with unwonted dress and troubled countenance, and fillets stripped from off her hair: she bewailed the fraternal strife [of the brothers Eteokles and Polyneikes], as though a hapless sister or anxious mother of the fighters, and loudly chiding cruel Jove [Zeus] and the guilty Parcae [Moirai, Fates] protested she would leave heaven and the light of day, and descend to Erebus, for already she preferred the abodes of Styx. ‘Why, sovereign Natura [Physis, Nature], dist thou create me to oppose the passions of the living folk and often of the gods? Nought am I any more among men, nowhere am I reverenced. Ah! what fury! alas! mankind, alas! dread Promethean skill! How blessed was the vacancy of earth and sea after Pyrrha's time! Behold the race of mortals!’
She spoke, and watching an occasion for her aid: ‘Let me but try,’ she cried, ‘though my attempt be fruitless.’
Down from the pole she leapt, and beneath the darkened clouds a snow-white track followed the footsteps of the goddess, sad though she was. Scarce has she set foot upon the plain, when a sudden peace stilled the fury of the warriors, and they were all conscious of their crime; then tears bedewed their faces and breasts, and a silent horror stole upon the brethren [Eteokles and Polyneikes]. Clad in feigned armour also and manly dress she cries now to these, now to those: ‘Forward! Be moving! withstand them! ye who have sons at home or brothers, or pledges held so dear. Even here--is it not plain, the gods unasked are pitiful?--weapons are falling, steeds wavering, and Fors (Chance) herself resists.’
She had somewhat stirred the doubting lines, had not grim Tisiphone marked her deceit, and swifter than fire from heaven darted to her side reproaching her: ‘Why hinderest thou the bold deeds of war, O sluggard, peace-devoted deity? Hence, shameless one! this battle-field, this day is mine; too late no defendest thou guilty Thebes. Where wert thou then when Bacchus [Dionysos] made war and the orgies drove the matrons to arms and madness? Where wert thou idling, while the Snake of Mars [Ares] drank the unhallowed flood, while Cadmus ploughed, while the Sphinx fell defeated, while Oedipus was questioned by his sire, while by my torch's light Jocasta was entering the marriage-chamber?’
So she upbraids, and threatens her with hissing hydras and brandished torch, as she shrinks from her gaze and far withdraws her shamefast face; down over her eyes the goddess draws her mantle and flees to lay her complaint before the mighty Thunderer [Zeus]."
Statius, Silvae 3. 3. 1 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Pietas [Eusebia, Duty], most high among gods, whose heaven-favoured deity rarely beholds the guilty earth, come hither with fillets on thy hair and adorned with snow-white robe, as when still a present goddess, before the violence of sinful men had driven thee away, thou didst dwell among innocent folk in a reign of gold; come to these quiet obsequies, and look upon the duteous tears of sorrowing Etruscus, and brush them from his eyes with words of praise."
- Greek Elegaic Euenus, Fragments – Greek Elegaic B.C.
- Orphica, Rhapsodies Fragments - Greek Hymns C3rd B.C. - C2nd A.D.
- Seneca, Phaedra - Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
- Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
- Statius, Silvae - Latin Poetry C1st A.D.
Other references not currently quoted here: Empedocles 4.5; Plato Critias 6.22; Epigr. Gr. 1055