Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Underworld Gods >> Melinoe


Greek Name

Μηλινοη Μειλινοη


Mêlinoê, Meilinoê

Latin Spelling




MELINOE was a frightful, underworld goddess who presided over propitiations offered to the ghosts of the dead. At night she wandered the earth with her train of ghosts, striking fear into the hearts of men. Her limbs were black on one side and white on the other, a manifestation of her dual chthonic and heavenly nature.

Melinoe's name means either "Dark-Minded" or "Propitation-Minded" from the Greek words melas "black", meilia "propitiation" and noos "mind". The word meilia was often used to describe propitiatory offerings made to the ghosts of the dead.

Melinoe was probably an Orphic title for the goddess Hekate who was also a leader of ghosts and sometimes described as the daughter of Persephone.


ZEUS & PERSEPHONE (Orphic Hymn 71)


Orphic Hymn 71 to Melinoe (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Melinoe, Fumigation from Aromatics. I call, Melinoe, saffron-veiled, terrene, who from Phersephone dread venerable queen, mixt with Zeus Kronion (Cronion), arose, near where Kokytos' (Cocytus') mournful river flows; when, under Plouton's (Pluton's) [Haides'] semblance, Zeus divine deceived with guileful arts dark Phersephone (Persephone). Hence, partly black thy limbs and partly white, from Plouton dark, from Zeus ethereal bright. Thy coloured members, men by night inspire when seen in spectred forms, with terrors dire; now darkly visible, involved in night, perspicuous now they meet the fearful sight. Khthonion (Chthonian) queen, expel wherever found the soul's mad fears to earth's remotest bound; with holy aspect on our incense shine, and bless thy mystics, and the rites divine."




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