THE PSEUDOLOGOI were the personified spirits (daimones) of lies and falsehoods. They were one of a host of malevolent spirits born of Eris (Lady Strife). Their opposites were Alatheia, spirit of truth, and Pistis, the spirit of honesty.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
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)"
Aesop, Fables 530 (from Phaedrus Appendix 5) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"Prometheus, that potter who gave shape to our new generation, decided one day to sculpt the form of Veritas (Truth) [Aletheia], using all his skill so that she would be able to regulate people's behaviour. As he was working, an unexpected summons from mighty Jupiter [Zeus] called him away. Prometheus left cunning Dolus (Trickery) in charge of his workshop, Dolus had recently become one of the god's apprentices. Fired by ambition, Dolus (Trickery) used the time at his disposal to fashion with his sly fingers a figure of the same size and appearance as Veritas (Truth) [Aletheia] with identical features. When he had almost completed the piece, which was truly remarkable, he ran out of clay to use for her feet. The master returned, so Dolus (Trickery) quickly sat down in his seat, quaking with fear. Prometheus was amazed at the similarity of the two statues and wanted it to seem as if all the credit were due to his own skill. Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Veritas (Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin stood stuck in her tracks. That forgery, that product of subterfuge, thus acquired the name of Mendacium (Falsehood) [Pseudologos], and I readily agree with people who say that she has no feet: every once in a while something that is false can start off successfully, but with time Veritas (Truth) is sure to prevail."
[N.B. This fable is preserved in a Roman compilation so the personifications have been translated to Latin.]
Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Aether (Air) and Terra (Earth) [Gaia] [were born] : Dolor (Pain), Dolus (Deceit), Ira (Wrath), Luctus (Lamentation), Mendacium (Lies) [i.e. Pseudologos], Jusjurandum (Oath), Ultio (Vengeance), Intemperantia (Intemperance), Altercatio (Altercation), Oblivio (Forgetfulness), Socordia (Sloth), Timor (Fear), Superbia (Pride), Incestum (Incest), Pugna (Combat)."
- Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Aesop, Fables - Greek Fables C6th B.C.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.