Web Theoi
HEDONE
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Name Translation
Ἡδονη Hêdonê Voluptas Pleasure, Enjoyment
(hêdonê)

HEDONE was the spirit (daimona) of pleasure, enjoyment and delight. As a daughter of Eros (Love) she was associated more specifically with sensual pleasure. Her opposite number were the Algea (Pains). The Romans named her Voluptas.

PARENTS
EROS & PSYKHE (Apuleius 6.24)

Plato, Philebus 12b (trans. Fowler) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Sokrates: Let us begin with the very goddess who Philebos says is spoken of as Aphrodite but is most truly named Hedone (Pleasure) . . . And now I call Aphrodite by that name which is agreeable to her; but pleasure I know has various aspects."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2. 23 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"In other cases some exceptionally potent force is designated by a title of divinity, for example [the Daimones of virtuous behaviour] . . . In the same class the names Cupidos [Eros, Sexual Desire], Voluptas [Hedone, Pleasure] and Venus Lubentina [Aphrodite] have been deified--things vicious and unnatural (although Velleius thinks otherwise), yet the urge of these vices often overpowers natural instinct . . . the names that I just now enumerated express the various powers of the gods that bear them."

Statius, Thebaid 10. 90 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Within [the halls of Somnus, Hypnos, god of sleep], glowing Mulciber [Hephaistos] had carved a thousand likenesses of the god [Somnus]: here wreathed Voluptas (Pleasure) clings to his side."

Statius, Silvae 1. 3. 8 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Volupta (Pleasure) herself with her own delicate hand is said to have traced with thee [the beautiful summer villa of a Roman noble]."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 24 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"Psyche [Psykhe, Soul] was wed to Cupidos [Eros, Love], and at full term a daughter was born to them. We call her Voluptas [Hedone, Pleasure]."


Sources:

  • Plato, Philebus - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Philosophy C1st B.C.
  • Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
  • Statius, Silvae - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Novel C2nd A.D.