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.
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]."
- 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.