Web Theoi
PHONOI
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Φονος
Φονοι
Phonos
Phonoi
Phonus
Phoni
Murder, Killing,
Slaughter (phonos)

THE PHONOI were the spirits (daimones) of murder, killing and slaughter. Their sisters the Androktasiai (Manslaughters) presided over the slaughter of battle, while the Phonoi were responsible murder and killing outside of war. Some ancient writers however (i.e. Quintus Smyrnaeus) do not make this distinction.

PARENTS

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 familial 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)."


Sources:

  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th A.D.