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KHARIKLO
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Χαριχλω Khariklô Chariclo Graceful Spinner
(kharis, klôsis)

KHARIKLO (or Chariclo) was a nymph of Thebes in Boiotia, southern Greece. She was the wife of the earth-born Spartos Eueres, and a close friend of the goddess Athene. Athene was forced to blind Khariklo's son Teiresias, a famous seer, as punishment for seeing her naked, but in recompense the nymph obtained gifts from the goddess.

PARENTS
APOLLON (Other references)
OFFSPRING
TEIRESIAS (by Eueres) (Apollodorus 3.69, Callimachus Hymn 5.56)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

CHA′RICLO (Chariklô). A nymph, the wife of Eueres and mother of Teiresias. It was at her request that Teiresias, who had been blinded by Athena, obtained from this goddess the power to understand the voices of the birds, and to walk with his black staff as safely as if he saw. (Apollod. iii. 6. § 7; Callim. Hymn. in Pall. 67, &c.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 69 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Teiresias, son of Eueres and a nymph named Khariklo (Chariclo), of the family of Oudaios (Udaeus) , one of the Spartoi. Teiresias was blind in both eyes. The stories differ about his defect and his prophetic art . . .
Pherekydes [Greek poet C6th B.C.] says that Athena blinded him, for Khariklo was very dear to Athena . . . he saw Athena completely naked, but she by constraining his eyes with her hands disabled him. Although Khariklo asked to have his vision restored, Athene was not able to do that, but by thoroughly cleaning out his ears she made it possible for him to understand all sounds of birds, and she bestowed upon him a cherrywood staff, with which he could walk like those who have their sight."

Callimachus, Hymn 5 Bath of Pallas 56 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Maidens, one Nymphe of old in Thebes did Athanaia (Athena) love much, yea beyond all her companions, even the mother of Teiresias, and was never apart from her. But when she drave her steeds towards ancient Thespiae or towards Koroneia or to Haliartos, passing through the tilled fields of the Boiotians--or toward Koroneia where her fragrant grove and altars are set by the river--often did the goddess set the Nymphe upon her car and there was no dalliance of Nymphai nor sweet ordering of the dance, where Khariklo (Chariclo) did not lead.
Yet even her did many tears await in the after days, albeit she was a comrade pleasing to the heart of Athanaia. One day those twain undid the buckles of their robes beside the fair-flowing Fountain of the Horse on Helikon and bathes; and noontide quiet held all the hill. Those two were bathing and it was the noontide hour and a great quiet held that hill. Only Teiresias, on whose cheek the down was just darkening, still ranged with his hounds the holy place. And, athirst beyond telling, he came unto the flowing fountain, wretched man! And unwillingly saw that which is not lawful to be seen. And Athanaia was angered, yet said to him: ‘What god, O son of Eueres, led thee on this grievous way? Hence shalt thou never more take back thine eyes!’
She spake and night seized the eyes of the youth. And he stood speechless; for pain glued his knees and helplessness stayed his voice. But the Nymphe cried: ‘What hast thou done to my boy, lady? Is such the friendship of you goddesses? Thou hast taken away the eyes of my son. Foolish child! Thou hast seen the breast and body of Athanaia, but the sun thou shalt not see again. O me unhappy! O hill, O Helikon, where I may no more come, surely a great price for little hast thou exacted. Losing a few gazelles and deer, thou hast taken the eyes of my child.’
Therewith the mother clasped her beloved child in both her arms and, wailing the heavy plaint of the mournful nightingale, led him away. And the goddess Athanaia pitied her comrade and spake to her and said: ‘Noble lady, take back all the words that thou hast spoken in anger. It is not I that made thy child blind. For no sweet thing is it for Athanaia to snatch away the eyes of children. But the laws of Kronos order thus: Whosoever shall behold any of the immortals, when the god himself chooses not, at a heavy price shall he behold. Noble lady, the thing that is done can no more be taken back; since thus the thread of the Moirai (Fates) span when thou didst bear him at the first; but now, O son of Eueres, take thou the issue which is due to thee. How many burnt offerings shall the daughter of Kadmos burn in the days to come? How many Aristaios?--praying that they might see their only son, the young Aktaion blind. And yet he shall be companion of the chase to great Artemis. But him neither the chase nor comradeship in archery on the hills shall save in that hour, when, albeit unwillingly, he shall behold the beauteous bath of the goddess. Nay, his own dogs shall then devour their former lord. And his mother shall gather the bones of her son, ranging over all the thickets. Happiest of women shall she call thee and of happy fate, for that thou didst receive thy son home from the hills--blind. Therefore, O comrade, lament not; for to this thy son--for thy sake--shall remain many other honours from me. For I will make him a seer to be sung of men hereafter, yea, more excellent far than any other. He shall know the birds--which is of good omen among all the countless birds that fly and what birds are of ill-omened flight. Many oracles shall he utter to the Boiotians and many unto Kadmos, and to the mighty sons of Labdakos in later days. Also will I give him a great staff which shall guide his feet as he hath need, and I will give him a long term of life. And he only, when he dies, shall walk among the dead having understanding, honoured of the great Leader of the Peoples.’
So she spake and bowed her head; and that word is fulfilled over which Pallas bows."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 7. 159 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The divine seer Teiresias son of Khariklo (Chariclo)."


Sources:

  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Callimachus, Hymns - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
  • Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.