Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Daemones (Spirits) >> Phonoi


Greek Name

Φονος Φονοι


Phonos, Phonoi

Latin Spelling

Phonus, Phoni


Murder, Killing (phonos)

THE PHONOI were the personified spirits (daimones) of murder, killing and slaughter. Their sisters, the Androktasiai, presided over battlefield slaughter while the Phonoi were spirits of murder and killing outside of war. Some ancient writers, however, do not draw such a distinction.


ERIS (no father) (Hesiod Theogony 226)


Hesiod, Theogony 226 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"But abhorred Eris (Strife) bare painful Ponos (Toil), and Lethe (Forgetfulness), and Limos (Starvation), and the Algea (Pains), full of weeping, the Hysminai (Fightings) and the Makhai (Battles), the Phonoi (Murders) and the Androktasiai (Manslaughters), the Neikea (Quarrels), the Pseudo-Logoi (Lies), the Amphilogiai (Disputes), and Dysnomia (Lawlessness) and Ate (Ruin), who share one another's natures, and Horkos (Oath)."

Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 802 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Hear me, you gods, that feel with us! By a fresh award redeem the blood of deeds done long ago. May aged Murder (phonos) cease begetting offspring in our house!" [I.e. Murder breeds murderous reprisal in an ongoing blood-feud.]

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 570 ff :
"Amphiaraus repeatedly rebukes mighty Tydeus [in the war of the Seven Against Thebes] with evil names ‘Murderer, maker of unrest in the city, principal teacher of evils to the Argives, summoner of Erinys (Vengeance's Curse), servant of Phonos (Slaughter).’"

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 6. 348 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Then met the fronts of battle : dread it rang on either hand. Hard-strained was then the fight: incarnate Kydoimos (Cydoemus, Strife) stalked through the midst, with Phonos (Slaughter) ghastly-faced . . . Through the air upshrieked an awful indistinguishable roar; for on both hosts fell iron-hearted Eris (Strife)."




A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.