Web Theoi
PONOS
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin, Roman Name Translation
Πονος Ponos Ponus, Labor Labour, Toil,
Hardship

PONOS (or Ponus) was the spirit (daimon) of hard labour and toil.

N.B. Extreme physical labour is meant rather than simple hard work--e.g. the toil required of subsistence farmers just to survive.

PARENTS

[1] ERIS (no father) (Hesiod Theogony 226)
[2] EREBOS & NYX (Cicero De Natura Deorum 3.17)


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 (Man-slaughters), the Neikea (Quarrels), the Pseudo-Logoi (Lies), the Amphillogiai (Disputes), and Dysnomia (Lawlessness) and Ate (Ruin), who share one another's natures, and Horkos (Oath)."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 17 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"Their [Aether and Hemera's] brothers and sisters, whom the ancient genealogists name Amor (Love), Dolus (Guile), Metus (Fear), Labor (Toil), Invidentia (Envy), Fatum (Fate), Senectus (Old Age), Mors (Death), Tenebrae (Darkness), Miseria (Misery), Querella (Complaint), Gratia (Favour), Fraus (Fraud), Pertinacia (Obstinacy), the Parcae (Fates), the Hesperides, the Somnia (Dreams): all of these are fabled to be the children of Erebus (Darkness) and Nox (Night)."
[N.B. Labor is a Latin translation of the Greek Ponos.]

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 268 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"[Aeneas is guided by the Sibyl on a journey to the Underworld:] On they went dimly, beneath the lonely night amid the gloom, through the empty halls of Dis [Haides] and his phantom realm . . . Just before the entrance, even within the very jaws of Orcus [Haides], Luctus [Penthos, Grief] and avenging Curae (Cares) have set their bed; there pale Morbi [Nosoi, Diseases] dwell, sad Senectus [Geras, Old-Age], and Metus [Phobos, Fear], and Fames [Limos, hunger], temptress to sin, and loathly Egestas [Aporia, Want], shapes terrible to view; and Letum [Thanatos, Death] and Labor [Ponos, Toil]; next, Letum's (Death's) own brother Sopor [Hypnos, Sleep], and Gaudia (the soul's Guilty Joys), and, on the threshold opposite, the death-dealing Bellum [Polemos, War], and the Eumenides' [the Furies'] iron cells, and maddening Discordia [Eris, Strife], her snaky locks entwined with bloody ribbons. In the midst an elm, shadowy and vast, spreads her boughs and aged arms, the whome which, men say, false Somnia [Oneiroi, Dreams] hold, clinging under every leaf."

Seneca, Oedipus 647 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
[The ghost of Laios (Laius) demands Oidipous (Oedipus) be expelled from Thebes before he will recall the pestilence daimones ravaging the land back to Haides:]
"[Laios:] ‘Wherefore speedily expel ye the king from out your borders, in exile drive him to any place so-ever with his baleful step. Let him leave the land; then, blooming with flowers of spring, shall it renew its verdure, the life-giving air shall give pure breath again, and their beauty shall come back to the woods; Letum [Ker, Ruin] and Lues [Nosos, Pestilence], Mors [Thanatos, Death], Labor [Ponos, Hardship], Tabes [Phthisis, Corruption] and Dolor [Algos, Distress], fit company for him, shall all depart together. And he himself with hastening steps shall long to flee our kingdom, but I will set wearisome delays before his feet and hold him back. He shall creep, uncertain of his way, with the staff of age groping out his gloomy way. Rob ye him of the earth; his father will take from him the sky.’"

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 [Hypnos]: . . . here [on one wall] Labor [Ponos, Labour] drooping to repose bears him company."


Sources:

  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Rhetoric C1st B.C.
  • Seneca, Oedipus - Latin Tragedy C1st A.D.
  • Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st A.D.