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KHARITES
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin, Roman Name Translation
Χαρις
Χαριτες
Kharis
Kharites
Charis, Gratia
Charities, Gratiae
Graces, Beauties,
Favours (kharis)
The three Charites or Graces, goddesses of beauty & joy | Roman fresco from Pompeii C1st A.D. | Archaeological Museum, Naples
The Three Graces, Roman fresco from Pompeii
C1st A.D., Archaeological Museum of Naples

THE KHARITES (Charites) or Graces, were the three goddesses of grace, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance and song. A number of "younger Kharites" presided over the other pleasures of life, including play, amusement, banqueting, floral decoration, happiness, rest and relaxation.

The Kharites were attendants of the goddesses Aphrodite and Hera. One named Kharis, was the wife of Hephaistos. Another, Pasithea, was married to Hypnos (Sleep).
The three Kharites were usually depicted in classical sculpture and mosaic as three naked women, holding hands and dancing in a circle. They were sometimes crowned with myrtle and held sprigs of myrtle in their hands.

In Greek vase painting a bevy of younger Kharis personifications form the retinue of Aphrodite.

PARENTS
[1.1] ZEUS & EURYNOME (Hesiod Theogony 907, Onomacritus Frag, Apollodorus 1.13, Callimachus Aetia Frag 6, Pausanias 9.35.1, Hyginus Preface)
[1.2] ZEUS & EUNOMIA (Orphic Hymn 60)
[2.1] HELIOS & AIGLE (Antimachus Frag, Pausanias 9.35.1, Suidas 'Aigles Kharites')
[3.1] HERA (Colluthus 88 & 174, Nonnus Dionysiaca 31.103)
[4.1] DIONYSOS (Anacreontea Frag 38)
[4.2] DIONYSOS & KRONOIS (Nonnus Dionysiaca 15.87 & 48.530)
NAMES
[1.1] AGLAIA, EUPHROSYNE, THALEIA (Hesiod Theogony 907, Pindar Olympian Ode 14, Apollodorus 1.13, Orphic Hymn 60, Pausanias 9.35.1)
[1.2] KHARIS (Homer Iliad 18.382, Pausanias 9.35.1)
[2.1] PASITHEA (Homer Iliad 14.231, Pausanias 9.35.1, Statius Thebaid 2.285, Nonnus Dionysiaca 15.87)
[3.1] AUXO, HEGEMONE, THALLO (Pausanias 9.35.1)
[4.1] PHAENNA, KLETA (Pausanias 3.18.6 & 9.35.1)
[5.1] PEITHO (Hermeseniax Frag, Pausanias 9.35.1)
[6.1] EUDAIMONIA, PAIDIA, PANDAISIA, PANNYKHIS, ANTHEIA (Ancient Greek Vase Painting)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

CHARIS (Charis), the personification of Grace and Beauty, which the Roman poets translate by Gratia and we after them by Grace. Homer, without giving her any other name, describes a Charis as the wife of Hephaestus. (Il. xviii. 382.) Hesiod (Theog. 945) calls the Charis who is the wife of Hephaestus, Aglaia, and the youngest of the Charites. (Comp. Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1148.) According to the Odyssey, on the other hand, Aphrodite was the wife of Hephaestus, from which we may infer, if not the identity of Aphrodite and Charis, at least a close connexion and resemblance in the notions entertained about the two divinities. The idea of personified grace and beauty was, as we have already seen, divided into a plurality of beings at a very early time, probably to indicate the various ways in which the beautiful is manifested in the world and adorns it. In the Iliad itself (xiv. 269) Pasithea is called one of the younger Charites, who is destined to be the wife of Sleep, and the plural Charites occurs several times in the Homeric poems. (Od. xviii. 194.)

The parentage of the Charites is differently described ; the most common account makes them the daughters of Zeus either by Hera, Eurynome, Eunomia, Eurydomene, Harmonia, or Lethe. (Hesiod. Theog. 907, &c.; Apollod. i. 3. § 1 ; Pind. Ol. xiv. 15; Phurnut. 15; Orph. Hymn. 59. 2; Stat. Theb. ii. 286; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 982.) According to others they were the daughters of Apollo by Aegle or Euanthe (Paus. ix. 35. § 1), or of Dionysus by Aphrodite or Coronis. The Homeric poems mention only one Charis, or an indefinite number in the plural, and from the passage in which Pasithea is mentioned, it would almost seem as if the poet would intimate that he was thinking of a great number of Charites and of a division of them into classes. Hesiod distinctly mentions three Charites, whose names are Euphrosyne, Aglaia, and Thalia, and this number as well as these names subsequently became generally established, although certain places in Greece retained their ancient and established number. Thus the Spartans had only two Charites, Cleta and Phaënna, and the Athenians the same number, Auxo and Hegemone, who were worshipped there from the earliest times. Hermesianax added Peitho as a third. (Paus. ix. 35.) Sostratus (ap. Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1665) relates that Aphrodite and the three Charites, Pasithea, Cale, and Euphrosyne, disputed about their beauty with one another, and when Teiresias awarded the prize to Cale he was changed by Aphrodite into an old woman, but Cale rewarded him with a beautiful head of hair and took him to Crete. The name Cale in this passage has led some critics to think that Homer also (Il. xviii. 393) mentions the names of two Charites, Pasithea and Cale, and that kalê should accordingly be written by a capital initial.

The character and nature of the Charites are sufficiently expressed by the names they bear: they were conceived as the goddesses who gave festive joy and enhanced the enjoyments of life by refinement and gentleness. Gracefulness and beauty in social intercourse are therefore attributed to them. (Horat. Carm. iii. 21, 22; Pind. Ol. xiv. 7, &c.) They are mostly described as being in the service or attendance of other divinities, as real joy exists only in circles where the individual gives up his own self and makes it his main object to afford pleasure to others. The less beauty is ambitious to rule, the greater is its victory; and the less homage it demands, the more freely is it paid. These seen to be the ideas embodied in the Charites. They lend their grace and beauty to everything that delights and elevates gods and men. This notion was probably the cause of Charis being called the wife of Hephaestus, the divine artist. The most perfect works of art are thus called the works of the Charites, and the greatest artists are their favourites. The gentleness and gracefulness which they impart to man's ordinary pleasures are expressed by their moderating the exciting influence of wine (Hor. Carm. iii. 19. 15; Pind. Ol. xiii. 18), and by their accompanying Aphrodite and Eros. (Hom. Od. viii. 364, xviii. 194; Paus. vi. 24. § 5.) They also assist Hermes and Peitho to give grace to eloquence and persuasion (Hesiod. Op. 63), and wisdom itself receives its charms from them. Poetry, however, is the art which is especially favoured by them, whence they are called erasimolpoi or philêsimolpoi. For the same reason they are the friends of the Muses, with whom they live together in Olympus. (Hes. Theog. 64; Eurip. Herc. fur. 673; Theocrit. xvi. in fin.) Poets are inspired by the Muses, but the application of their songs to the embellishment of life and the festivals of the gods are the work of the Charites. Late Roman writers describe the Charites (Gratiae) as the symbols of gratitude and benevolence, to which they were led by the meaning of the word gratia in their own language. (Senec. De Benef. i. 3 ; comp. Diod. v. 73.)

The worship of the Charites was believed to have been first introduced into Boeotia by Eteoclus or Eteocles, the son of Cephissus, in the valley of that river. (Paus. ix. 35. § 1; Theocrit. xvi. 104; Pind. Ol. xiv.) At Orchomenos and in the island of Paros a festival, the charisia or charitêsia, was celebrated to the Charites. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1843; Apollod. iii. 15. § 7.) At Orchomenos they were worshipped from early times in the form of rude stones, which were believed to have fallen from heaven in the time of Eteocles. (Paus ix. 38. § 1; Strab. ix. p. 414.) Statues of them are mentioned in various parts of Greece, as at Sparta, on the road from Sparta to Amyclae, in Crete, at Athens, Elis, Hermione, and others. (Paus. i. 22. § 8, ii. 34. § 10, iii. 14. § 6, vi. 24. § 5.) They were often represented as the companions of other gods, such as Hera, Hermes, Eros, Dionysus, Aphrodite, the Horae, and the Muses. In the ancient statues of Apollo at Delos and Delphi, the god carried the Charites on his hand. In the early times the Charites were represented dressed, but afterwards their figures were always made naked, though even Pausanias (ix. 35. § 2) did not know who had introduced the custom of representing them naked. Specimens of both dressed and naked representations of the Charites are still extant. Their character is that of unsuspicious maidens in the full bloom of life, and they usually embrace one another. Their attributes differ according to the divinities upon whom they attend; as the companions of Apollo they often carry musical instruments, and as the companions of Aphrodite they carry myrtles, roses, or dice, the favourite game of youth.

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


LIST OF CHARITES
AGLAIA was the Kharis goddess of beauty, adornment, splendour and glory. She was one of three Kharites, her sisters being Euphrosyne and Thalia. Aglaia was also the wife of the god Hephaistos.
ANTHEIA was the goddess of flowers and flowery wreaths worn at festivals and parties. She was one of the attendants of Aphrodite in Athenian vase painting.
AUXO The Kharis or Hora goddess of spring growth. She was worshipped at Athens alongside Damia and Hegemone.
EUDAIMONIA The goddess of happiness, prosperity and opulence. She was one of a bevy of beautiful young goddesses that formed the retinue of Aphrodite (as depicted in ancient greek vase painting).
EUPHROSYNE The Kharis goddess of good cheer, joy, mirth and merriment. She was one of three sister Kharites, the other two being Aglaia and Thalia.
EUTHYMIA The Kharis goddess of good cheer, joy and contentment. She was usually called Euphrosyne.
HEGEMONE A Kharis worshipped at Athens along with Auxo and Damia.
KALLEIS The Kharis goddess of beauty. She was usually called Aglaia.
KHARIS The Kharis wife of the god Hephaistos. She was also known as Aglaia.
KLETA The Kharis goddess of fame and glory. She was one of two Kharites worshipped by the Spartans, the other being Phaenna.
PAIDIA The goddess of play and amusement. Paidia, like most of Aphrodite's attendants, is not mentioned in any surviving classical literature. She is, however, frequently depicted beside the goddess in ancient vase painting.
PANDAISIA The goddess of rich banquets. She appears in Athenian vase painting as an attendant of the goddess Aphrodite.
PANNYKHIS The goddess of night festivities and parties. She was one of the attendants of Aphrodite, as depicted in Athenian vase painting.
PASITHEA The Kharis wife of Hypnos god of sleep. She was the goddess of relaxation and perhaps hallucinatory drugs.
PEITHO The goddess of seduction and persuasion. She was sometimes numbered amongst the Kharites.
PHAENNA One of two Kharites worshipped by the Spartans. The other was Kleta.
THALIA The Kharis goddess of festive celebrations and rich and luxurious banquets. She was one of three Kharites, the other two being Aglaia and Euphrosyne.

BIRTH & NAMES OF THE CHARITES

I) DAUGHERS OF ZEUS & EURYNOME

Hesiod, Theogony 907 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"And Eurynome (Broad Pasture), the daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus), beautiful in form, bare him [Zeus] three fair-cheeked Kharites (Charites, Graces), Aglaia (Aglaea, Glory, Beauty), and Euphrosyne (Merriment), and lovely Thaleia (Thalia, Festivity), from whose eyes as they glanced flowed love that unnerves the limbs: and beautiful is their glance beneath their brows."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Kharites (Charites, Graces) three . . . Euphrosyne, lover of song, and Aglaia (Aglaea) revered, daughters of Zeus the all-highest . . . with Thalia, darling of harmony."

Sappho, Fragment 53 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"Hither, holy rosy-armed Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 15 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 13 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"By Okeanos' (Oceanus') daughter Eurynome he [Zeus] had the Kharites (Charites, Graces), named Aglaia (Aglaea), Eurphrosyne, and Thaleia (Thalia)."

Callimachus, Aetia Fragment 6 (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Others said that the Titenia (the Titaness) Eurynome gave birth to the Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To Zeus also were born, they say, the goddesses Aphrodite and the Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Illustrious Kharites (Charites, Graces), mighty named, from Zeus descended, and Eunomia famed, Thalia and Aglaia (Aglaea) fair and bright, and blest Euphrosyne."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Jove [Zeus] and Eurynome [were born]: Gratiae (the Graces)."

II) DAUGHTERS OF DIONYSUS

The Anacreontea, Fragment 38 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"Let us be merry and drink wine and sing of Bakkhos (Bacchus) . . . thanks to him Methe (Drunkenness) was brought forth, the Kharis (Charis, Grace) was born, Lupa (Pain) takes rest and Ania (Trouble) goes to sleep."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 130 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Dionysos:] ‘I will present you with the Kharites (Charites, Graces) of divine Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) . . . my daughters, whom I will take from Aphrodite.’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 33. 4 ff :
"[When Dionysos who was driven mad by Hera during his war against the Indians and his army routed:] One of the swiftshoe Kharites [namely Pasithea] . . . in a forest not far off she saw the madness of Lyaios [Dionysos] her father. She wept for sorrow and tender affection, and tore her cheeks with her nails in mourning."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 530 ff :
"[The ghost of Ariadne addresses her husband Dionysos:] ‘I will say nothing of the [your] love of Kronois (Cronoïs), from whose bed were born the three Kharites (Charites, Graces) ever inseparable.'"
[N.B. Kronois, "the daughter of Kronos," was a title of Hera who was sometimes named as the mother of the Kharites. In another tradition, Dionysos was their father. Combining these two traditions was impossible, so Nonnus invented a nymphe named Kronois as mother of the girls by the god.]

III) DAUGHTERS OF HERA

Homer, Iliad 14. 231 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Hera answered him [Hypnos god of sleep]: ‘. . . I will give you one of the younger (hoploterai) Kharites (Charites, Graces) for you to marry, and she shall be called you lady; Pasithea.’" [N.B. Homer may be suggesting that Hera was the mother of the Kharites.]

Alcaeus, Fragment 308 (from Menander the rhetorician, Declamations) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"Alkaios (Alcaeus) . . . deals with the mid-wifery of the Kharites (Charites, Graces) and the nursing of the Horai (Horae, Seasons)."

Colluthus, Rape of Helen 88 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poetry C5th to 6th A.D.) :
"Hera they call the holy nurse of the Kharites (Charites, Graces), and they say that she wields sovereignty and holds the sceptre."

Colluthus, Rape of Helen 174 ff :
"They say that thou [Hera], mother of Ares, dist with travail bear the holy choir of fair-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

IV) DAUGHTERS OF HELIUS & AEGLE

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 35. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Antimakhos [Antimachus, Greek poet C5th B.C.], while giving neither the number of the Kharites (Charites, Graces) nor their names, says that they are daughters of Aigle (Aegle) and Helios (the Sun)."

Suidas s.v. Aigles Kharites (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Aigles Kharites (Radiant Graces): They have plausibly traced the lineage of the Kharites (Charites, Graces). Helios (the Sun) is also from Aigle (Aegle), since, it seems, the Kharites are radiant [i.e. beautiful]."

V) OVERVIEW OF VARIOUS ACCOUNTS

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 35. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The Boiotians say that Eteokles [Eteocles, a mythical King of Orkhomenos] was the first man to sacrifice to the Kharites (Charites, Graces). Moreover, they are aware that he established three as the number of the Kharites, but they have no tradition of the names he gave them.
The Lakedaimonians, however, say that the Kharites are two, and that they were instituted by Lakedaimon (Lacedaemon), son of Taygete, who gave them the names Kleta (Cleta) and Phaenna. These are appropriate names for the Kharites.
As are those given by the Athenians, who from of old have worshipped two Kharites, Auxo and Hegemone. Karpo (Carpo, Fruit) is the name, not of a Kharis (Grace), but of a Hora . . .
It was from Eteokles of Orkhomenos (Eteocles of Orchomenus) that we learned the custom of praying to three Kharites.
And Angelion and Tekatios (Tecatius), sons of Dionysos, who made the image of Apollon for Athens, set three Kharites in his hand. Again, at Athens, before the entrance to the Akropolis, the Kharites are three in number . . .
Pamphos [a legendary Greek poet] was the first we know of to sing about the Kharites, but his poetry contains no information either as to their number or about their names.
Homer (he too refers to the Kharites) makes one the wife of Hephaistos (Hephaestus), giving her the name Kharis (Charis). He also says that Hypnos was a lover of Pasithea, and in the speech of Hypnos there is this verse:--‘Verily that he would give me one of the younger Kharites.’ Hence some have suspected that Homer knew of older Kharites as well.
Hesiod in the Theogony says that the Kharites are daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, giving them the names of Euphrosyne, Aglaia (Aglaea) and Thalia. The poem of Onomakritos [Onomacritus, poet C6th B.C.] agrees with this account.
Antimakhos [Antimachus, poet C5th B.C.], while giving neither the number of the Kharites nor their names, says that they are daughters of Aigle (Aegle) and Helios (the Sun).
The elegaic poet Hermesianax [poet C4th B.C.] disagrees with his predecessors in that he makes Peitho (Persuasion) one of the Kharites."

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Αγλαιη Αγλαια Aglaiê, Aglaia Aglaea Glory, Adornment,
Beauty (aglaios)
Ευφροσυνη Euphrosynê Euphrosyne Good Cheer, Mirth
(euphrosynos)
Θαλια Θαλιη
Θαλεια
Thalia, Thaliê,
Thaleia
Thalia Rich Banquet,
Festivitiy (thalia)
Πασιθεα Pasithea Pasithea Acquired Goddess
(pasi-, thea)
Καλλεις Kalleis Calleis Beauty
(kallos)
Ευθυμια Euthymia Euthymia Cheerfulness
(euthymia)
Φαεννα Phaenna Phaenna Shining, Radiant
(phaennos)
Κλητα Klêta Cleta Fame, Glory
(klêtos)
Αυξω Auxô Auxo Growth
(auxesis)
Ἡγεμονη Hêgemonê Hegemone Queen, Leader
(hêgemonos)
Παιδια Paidia Paedia Play, Amuseument
(paidia, paizô)
Πανδαισια Pandaisia Pandaesia Banquet
(pandaisia)
Ευδαιμονια Eudaimonia Eudaemonia Happiness, Prosperity
Παννυχις Pannykhis Pannychis Night Festivities,
Parties (pannykhis)
Ανθεια Antheia Anthea Blossoms, Flowers
(anthos)

HYMNS TO THE CHARITES

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 1 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Whose haunts are by Kephissos' (Cephisus') river, you queens beloved of poets' song, ruling Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), that sunlit city and land of lovely steeds, watch and ward of the ancient Minyan race, hear now my prayer, you Kharites (Charites, Graces) three. For in your gift are all our mortal joys, and every sweet thing, be it wisdom, beauty, or glory, that makes rich the soul of man. Nor even can the immortal gods order at their behest the dance and festals, lacking the Kharites' aid; who are the steward of all rites of heaven, whose thrones are set at Pytho beside Apollon of the golden bow, and who with everlasting honour worship the Father, lord of great Olympos.
Euphrosyne, lover of song, and Aglaia (Aglaea) revered, daughters of Zeus the all-highest, hearken, and with Thalia, darling of harmony, look on our songs of revel, on light feet stepping to grace this happy hour . . . I come to praise Asopikhos (Asopichus), whose Minyan house, Thalia, now of your favour wears the pride of the Olympian victor."

Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To the Kharites (Charites, Graces), Fumigation from Storax. Hear me, illustrious Kharites, mighty named, from Zeus descended, and Eunomia famed, Thalia and Aglaia (Aglaea) fair and bright, and blest Euphrosyne, whom joys delight: mothers of mirth; all lovely to the view, pleasure abundant, pure, belongs to you: various, for ever flourishing and fair, desired by mortals, much invoked in prayer; circling, dark-eyed, delightful to mankind, come, and you mystics' bless with bounteous mind."


CHARITES GODDESSES OF JOY & FAVOUR

The Kharites were the goddesses of all things that bring joy--beauty, adornment, art, music, glory, dancing, festivity, and mirth.

Pindar, Olympian Ode 9. 25 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"My message shall go speeding far and wide, if Fate's decree grant's that my hand may till the precious beauty of the Kharites' (Charites, Graces) garden. For of their gift is every joy, and from divine power are noble and wise hearts endowed to man."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff :
"Kharites (Charites, Graces) three. For in your gift are all our mortal joys, and every sweet thing, be it wisdom, beauty, or glory, that makes rich the soul of man. Nor even can the immortal gods order at their behest the dance and festals, lacking the Kharites' aid; who are the steward of all rites of heaven, whose thrones are set at Pytho beside Apollon of the golden bow, and who with everlasting honour praise the Father, lord of great Olympos.
Euphrosyne, lover of song, and Aglaia (Aglaea) revered, daughters of Zeus the all-highest, hearken, and with Thalia, darling of harmony, look on our songs of revel."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 1135 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Elpis (Hope) is the only good god remaining among mankind; the others have left and gone to Olympos. Pistis (Trust), a mighty god has gone, Sophrosyne (Restraint) has gone from men, and the Kharites (Charites, Graces), my friend, have abandoned the earth."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To Zeus also were born, they say, the goddesses Aphrodite and the Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . To the Kharites was given [i.e. assigned the role by Zeus] the adornment of personal appearance and the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze, and the further privilege of being the first to bestow benefaction and, on the other hand, of requiting with appropriate favours (kharites) such men as have performed good acts."

Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Illustrious Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . whom joys delight: mothers of mirth; all lovely to the view, pleasure abundant, pure, belongs to you: various, for ever flourishing and fair, desired by mortals, much invoked in prayer; circling, dark-eyed, delightful to mankind."


Charites | Roman fresco from Pompeii
F21.1 CHARITES
DANCING
Aphrodite, Ares & Charis | Greco-Roman mosaic
Z10.4 CHARIS,
APHRODITE, ARES
Charites | Greco-Roman mosaic
Z21.1 CHARITES
DANCING
Aphrodite, Adonis & the Charites | Greco-Roman mosaic
Z21.2 CHARITES,
ADONIS, APHRODITE

CHARITES GODDESSES OF BEAUTY & ADORNMENT

The Kharites were goddesses of beauty and adornment. As attendants of Aphrodite they were goddesses of personal beauty and the adornments which enhanced this: makeup, oils, perfumes, fine clothing and jewellery. Kharis as the wife of Hephaistos represented beauty in crafted objects and artistic adornment.

I) GODDESSES OF PERSONAL BEAUTY

Hesiod, Theogony 907 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Three fair-cheeked Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . from whose eyes as they glanced flowed love that unnerves the limbs: and beautiful is their glance beneath their brows."

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 14 :
"The beaming eyes of the Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 68 :
"The sparkling eyes of the Kharites."

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 92 :
"Who had the beauty of the Kharites."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 94 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Ankhises (Anchises) addresses the disguised goddess Aphrodite:] ‘Or, maybe, you are one of the Kharites (Charites, Graces) come hither, who bear the gods company and are called immortal.’"

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"You Kharites (Charites, Graces) three . . . your gift are all our mortal joys, and every sweet thing, be it wisdom, beauty, or glory."

Pindar, Pythian Ode 2. 42 ff :
"Far were the Kharites (Charites, Graces) when the mother [Nephele] bore--ne'er such a mother, never such a son--her babe of monstrous breed [i.e. the Kentauroi, Centaurs]."

Sappho, Fragment 53 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"Hither, holy rosy-armed Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus."

Alcaeus, Fragment 386 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"The pure Kharites (Charites, Graces) took you [a charming, beautiful youth] to their bosom for Kronides [Zeus]."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 5 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"Erotes (Loves) unarmed and laughing Kharites (Charites, Graces) [i.e. on the connection between beauty and desire]."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 16 :
"Under her soft chin let all the Kharites (Charites, Graces) [i.e. beauty and adornment] fly around her marble-white neck."

Ibycus, Fragment 284 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th B.C.) :
"Among lovely buds of roses, Kharis (Charis, Grace), you nurtured him [a beautiful youth] about the temple of Aphrodite. I must call the garland fragrant, all the flowers from which she tinged the boy, flattering him. And the goddesses bestowed tender beauty."

Ibycus, Fragment 288 :
"Euryalos, offshoot of the blue-eyed Kharites (Charites, Graces), darling of the lovely-haired Horai (Horae, Seasons), Kypris [Aphrodite] and soft-lidded Peitho (Suasion) nursed you among rose-blossoms [i.e. made him beautiful]."

Simonides, Fragment 67 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th to 5th B.C.) :
"Who tuned his lyre for songs of the sweet love of boys, songs with the scent of the Kharites (Charites, Graces) and Erotes (Loves)."

Bacchylides, Fragment 1 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"Richly gifted by the Kharites (Charites, Graces) [i.e. an athlete, given beauty of form]."

Lycophronides, Fragment 844 (from Athenaeus, Scholars at Dinner) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric V) (B.C.) :
"The girl who is dear to the Kharites (Charites, Graces) and beautiful."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 15 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus, who came once to the wedding of Kadmos (Cadmus) and sang the lovely verse, ‘What is beautiful is loved, what is not beautiful is not loved.’ This is the verse that went through your immortal lips."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To the Kharites (Charites, Graces) was given . . . the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 24. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[Statues of the Kharites (Charites) in their temple at Elis:] One of them holds a rose, the middle one a die, and the third a small branch of myrtle . . . As for the die, it is the plaything of youths and maidens, who have nothing of the ugliness of old age."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 70 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Out of the sea was rising lovely-crowned Kypris [Aphrodite] . . . and [around her] danced the Kharites (Charites, Graces) lovely-tressed."

Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . all lovely to the view, pleasure abundant, pure, belongs to you: various, for ever flourishing and fair, desired by mortals, much invoked in prayer; circling, dark-eyed, delightful to mankind."

Anonymous, Epithalamion Fragment (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 139) (Greek poetry C4th A.D.) :
"Bridegroom, the sweet Kharites (Charites, Graces) and glory attend you; gracious Harmonia has bestowed honour upon your wedding. Dear bride, great and abiding joy be yours; worthy is the husband you have found yea worthy."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 10. 30 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"The Gratiae (Graces) at their most graceful."

Suidas s.v. Aigles Kharites (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Aigles Kharites (Radiant Graces): They have plausibly traced the lineage of the Kharites (Charites, Graces). Helios is also from Aigle (Aegle), since, it seems, the Kharites are radiant [i.e. beautiful]."

II) GODDESSES OF PERSONAL ADORNMENT

Hesiod, Works and Days 69 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"The divine Kharites (Charites, Graces) and queenly Persuasion (Seduction) put necklaces of gold upon her [Pandora the first woman]."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 58 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"The Kharites (Charites, Graces) bathed her [Aphrodite] with heavenly oil such as blooms upon the bodies of the eternal gods--oil divinely sweet, which she had by her, filled with fragrance."

Pindar, Paean 3 (trans. Sandys) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Hail holy Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . enthroned in splendour."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 425 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"A purple robe which the divine Kharites (Charites, Graces) had made with their own hands for Dionysos in sea-girt Dia."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To the Kharites (Charites, Graces) was given the adornment of personal appearance and the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 10 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"His hair is lovely . . . but it is lovelier still where it is held by the headband--the headband ‘wrought by the Kharites (Charites, Graces), a most lovely ornament,’ as the poets of the Secret Verses say."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 33. 4 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Pasithea] one of the swiftshoe Kharites (Charites, Graces) was gathering the shoots of the fragrant reeds in the Erythraian garden, in order to mix the flowing juice of Assyrian oil with Indian flowers in the steaming cauldrons of Paphos, and make ointment [or perfume] for her Lady [Aphrodite]."

Suidas s.v. Hai Kharites gumnai (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Hai Kharites gumnai (the Graces are naked): because it is necessary for them to give delight easily and openly; or because those who lack the gifts of the Kharites (Charites) are deprived of their own adornment."

V) GODDESSES OF ARTISTIC BEAUTY

Bacchylides, Fragment 10 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"Truly the skilled man [poet or artisan] prospers in golden hope, whether he has won honour from the Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

See also Charis wife of Hephaestus (below)

CHARITES GODDESSES OF FESTIVITY, DANCE & SONG

I) GODDESSES OF FESTIVE DANCE

Hesiod, Theogony 53 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"There [on Olympos] are their [the Muses'] bright dancing-places and beautiful homes, and beside them the Kharites (Charites, Graces) and Himeros (Desire) live in delight."

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 186 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Apollon] speeds from earth to Olympos, to the house of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods: then straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and all the Mousai (Muses) together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn . . . Meanwhile the rich-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces) and cheerful Horai (Horae, Hours) dance with Harmonia (Harmony) and Hebe (Youth) and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist."

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis 14 ff :
"The lovely dance of the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . [Artemis] leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"You Kharites (Charites, Graces) three . . . in your gift are all our mortal joys . . . Nor even can the immortal gods order at their behest the dance and festals, lacking the Kharites' aid."

Sappho, Fragment 208 (from Himerius, Orations) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"[Apollon] dances with the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 4. 128 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"[At the wedding of Peleus and Thetis was seen:] The ravishing dance twined by the Kharites' (Charites, Graces) feet . . . the chant the Mousai (Muses) raised."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 70 ff :
"[At the birth of Aphrodite] danced the Kharites (Charites, Graces) lovely-tressed."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 261 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The dancers of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) [the Kharites]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 34. 36 ff :
"There are three Kharites (Charites, Graces), the dancers of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), handmaids of Phoibos [Apollon]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 212 ff :
"[The Kharites, Graces] the dancing maidens of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), handmaids of the Paphian [Aphrodite], drew from the horsehoof fountain of imagination [Hippokrene], dear to the nine Mousai (Muses)."

II) GODDESSES OF FESTIVE SONG

See Charites Goddesses of Charming Song (below)

III) GODDESSES OF FESTIVITY

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 186 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"[At the festivities on Olympos:] The rich-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces) and cheerful Horai (Horae, Seasons) dance with Harmonia (Harmony) and Hebe (Youth) and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"You Kharites (Charites, Graces) three . . . in your gift are all our mortal joys . . . Nor even can the immortal gods order at their behest the dance and festals, lacking the Kharites' aid; who are the steward of all rites of heaven [i.e. festivals] . . . look on our songs of revel, on light feet stepping to grace this happy hour."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 38 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"Let us be merry and drink wine and sing of Bakkhos [Dionysos], the inventor of the choral dance, the lover of all songs, leading the same life as the Erotes (Loves), the darling of Kythere [Aphrodite]; thanks to him Methe (Drunkenness) was brought forth, the Kharis (Charis, Grace) was born, Lupa (Pain) takes rest and Ania (Trouble) goes to sleep."

Bacchylides, Fragment 5 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"Rest your righteous mind in ease from its cares and come! turn your thoughts this way: with the help of the slim-waisted Kharites (Charites, Graces) your guest-friend, the famous servant of Ourania (Urania)."

Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"Illustrious Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . whom joys delight: mothers of mirth; all lovely to the view, pleasure abundant, pure, belongs to you."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 428 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[At the wedding of the doomed Tereus and Prokne:] When they were married, Juno [Hera] was not there to bless the rite, nor Hymenaeus (Wedding God) nor the Gratia (Grace)."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 24 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"[At the wedding of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche (Psykhe):] The Horae (Seasons) brightened the scene with roses and other flowers, the Gratiae (Graces) diffused balsam."


CHARITES GODDESSES OF CHARMING SONG & SPEECH

I) GODDESSES OF CHARMING SONG

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis 14 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"The lovely dance of the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . [Artemis] leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 7. 11 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Kharis' (Charis, Beauty) refreshing grace shines with the rich notes of the lyre and the far-echoing flute."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff :
"You Kharites (Charites, Graces) three . . . in your gift are all our mortal joys . . . whose thrones are set at Pytho beside Apollon of the golden bow, and who with everlasting praise [song] worship the Father, lord of great Olympos. Euphrosyne, lover of song, and Aglaia (Aglaea) revered, daughters of Zeus the all-highest, hearken, and with Thalia, darling of harmony, look on our songs of revel."

Bacchylides, Fragment 19 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"The Pierian Mousai (Muses) and whose songs are clothed with honour by the violet-eyed maidens, the garland-bearing Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 15 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus, who came once to the wedding of Kadmos (Cadmus) and sang the lovely verse."

Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 970 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"I also pray Hermes, the god of the shepherds, and Pan and the beloved Kharites (Charites, Graces) to bestow a benevolent smile upon our songs."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 212 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[The Kharites, Graces] drew from the horsehoof fountain of imagination [Hippokrene], dear to the nine Mousai (Muses)."

See Charites Goddesses of Praise and Glory (below)

II) GODDESSES OF CHARMING SPEECH

Pindar, Nemean Ode 4. 6 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"If that man with the Kharites' (Charites, Graces) favour haply bring forth the heart's deep mood to live upon the tongue."

Pindar, Eulogies Fragment 123 (trans. Sandys) :
"I ween that even in Tenedos Peitho (Suasion) and Kharis (Charis, Charm) dwelt in the soul of the son of Hagesias."

Simonides, Fragment 10D (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th to 5th B.C.) :
"When you dedicated this statue to Hermes you did not escape the notice of the fair-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Bacchylides, Fragment 15 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"Menelaus spoke with spell-binding words, making partners of the fair-robed Kharites (Charites, Graces)."


Charites | Greek statue
S21.1 CHARITES
DANCING
Eudaemonia & Eros | Greek vase painting
K21.2 EUDAIMONIA,
EROS
Eudaemonia, Paidia & Harmonia | Greek vase painting
K21.1 EUDAIMONIA,
HARMONIA, PAIDIA
 

CHARITES GODDESSES OF PRAISE AND GLORY

Pindar, Olympian Ode 1. 30 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"For Kharis (Charis, Beauty), goddess who fashions all things that lovely are for mortal men, her shower of glory many a time enriched that which deserves no firm belief to be a trusted tale."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 2. 50 ff :
"And for his brother alike, the impartial Kharites (Charites, Graces) at Pytho and the Isthmos gave his four-horsed chariot on the twelve lap course their crown of flowers [i.e. the victor received the glory of praise]."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 6. 75 ff :
"Those who came first [in the chariot-race], driving the twelve-lap course, on whom the divine grace of Kharis (Beauty) has shed the dewdrops of her fame most fair."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 9. 21 ff :
"Now with the glowing fires of song shall I exalt the name of this dear city [i.e. the city of the victor]; and swifter than a well-bred steed or a ship's wingèd sails, my message [i.e. the poet's praise] shall go speeding far and wide, if fate's decree grant's that my hand may till the precious beauty of the Kharites' (Charites, Graces) garden. For of their gift is every joy, and from divine power are noble and wise hearts endowed to man."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 5 ff :
"You Kharites (Charites, Graces) three . . . in your gift are all our mortal joys, and every sweet thing, be it wisdom, beauty, or glory, that makes rich the soul of man . . . who with everlasting praise worship the Father, lord of great Olympos . . . I come to praise [the Olympian victor] Asopikhos (Asopichus), whose Minyan house, Thalia, now of your favour wears the pride of the Olympian victor."

Pindar, Pythian Ode 5. 45 ff :
"Your name shines with the glory lit by the Kharites (Charites, Graces) of the lovely hair."

Pindar, Pythian Ode 9. 89 ff :
"Now would I to both sing songs of triumph, who served me in good stead, answering my prayer; and may I never lose the pure light of the sweet-singing Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Pindar, Nemean Ode 5. 52 ff :
"Twice crowned at Epidauros, boxer Pankratiast, and at Aiakos' (Aeacus') city gate wreathed with fresh flowers, gift of the fair-haired Kharites (Charites, Graces) [i.e. the victor's chaplet]."

Stesichorus, Fragment 212 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C7th to 6th B.C.) :
"Such public songs [i.e. songs of praise] of the lovely-haired Kharites must we sing."

Bacchylides, Fragment 9 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"Kharites (Charites, Graces) of the golden-distaff, grant the fame that convinces mortals; for the god-inspired spokesman [i.e. the poet] of the violet-eyed Mousai (Muses) is ready to sing the praises of Phlios and the luxuriant ground of Zeus Nemeios (Nemean)."

Bacchylides, Fragment 10 :
"Truly the skilled man [i.e. the poet or artisan] prospers in golden hope, whether he has won honour from the Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Bacchylides, Fragment 19 :
"The Pierian Mousai (Muses) and whose songs are clothed with honour by the violet-eyed maidens, the garland-bearing Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"To the Kharites (Charites, Graces) was given . . . the privilege of being the first to bestow benefaction and, on the other hand, of requiting with appropriate favours (kharites) such men as have performed good acts."


CHARITES GODDESSES OF ROSES & GARLANDS

Pindar, Nemean Ode 5. 54 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Wreathed with fresh flowers, gift of the fair-haired Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Sappho, Fragment 81 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"The blessed Kharites (Charites, Graces) look rather on what is adorned with flowers and turn away from the ungarlanded."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 35 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"The soft rose. It is the breath of the gods and the joy of mortals, the glory of the Kharites (Charites, Graces) in spring-time, the delight of the Erotes (Loves) with their rich garlands and of Aphrodite; it is a subject for poetry and the graceful plant of the Mousai (Muses)."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 46 :
"See how the Kharites (Charites) swell the rosebuds now that spring has appeared."

Ibycus, Fragment 284 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th B.C.) :
"Among lovely buds of roses, Kharis (Charis, Grace), you nurtured him [a beautiful boy] about the temple of Aphrodite. I must call the garland fragrant, all the flowers from which she tinged the boy, flattering him. And the goddesses bestowed tender beauty."

Bacchylides, Fragment 19 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"The garland-bearing Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Aristophanes, Birds 1088 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"In spring I [a bird] despoil the gardens of the Kharites (Charites, Graces) and gather the white, virgin berry on the myrtle bushes."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 210 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"On Paros they sacrifice to the Kharites (Charites, Graces) without benefit of flutes or garlands [contrary to the usual custom]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 24. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[The statues of the Kharites (Graces) in their temple at Elis:] One of them holds a rose, the middle one a die, and the third a small branch of myrtle."

Orphic Hymn 43 to the Horae (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"[The Horai] attending Persephone, when back from night the Moirai (Fates) and Kharites (CHarites, Graces) [as goddesses of spring flowers] lead her up to light; when in a band harmonious they advance, and joyful found her form the solemn dance."

Ovid, Fasti 5. 217 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"As soon as the dewy frost is cast from the leaves and sunbeams warm the dappled blossom, the Horae (Seasons) assemble, hitch up their coloured dresses and collect these gifts of mine [Chloris goddess of flowers] in light tubs. Suddenly the Charites (Graces) burst in, and weave chaplets and crowns to entwine the hair of gods."

Statius, Silvae 1. 2. 19 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Nor do winsome Amor [Eros, Love] and Gratia [Charis, Grace] grow weary in scattering countless blossoms and cloudy perfumes [during the wedding] o'er thee [the bridegroom] and as thou holdest close-locked the snow-white limbs of thy longed-for bride. And now roses, now lilies mixed with violets dost thou receive upon thy brow, as thou shieldest the fair face of thy mistress."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4. 2 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"I saw at some distance a valley shaded by a leafy wood. Glinting among diverse smaller plants and the most luxuriant shrubbery were some bright roses of ruddy hue . . . that grove seemed to me to be the abode of Venus [Aphrodite] and the Gratiae (Graces); in its shady recesses that delightful blossom shone out with its brightness of royal crimson."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 10. 30 ff :
"They [the Gratiae, Charites] were appeasing the goddess [Aphrodite] by strewing wreaths and single blossoms before her, and they formed a most elegant chorus-line as they sought to please the Mistress of pleasures with the foliage of spring."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 203 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Assyrian Aphrodite seated in a solitary spot upon Libanos [Lebanon], alone, for the Kharites (Charites, Graces), those dancers of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), had been sent away to gather the various flowers of spring in the gardens--one to gather Kilikian (Cicilian) crocus, one eager to bring balsam and sprouts of the Indian reed, another for the fragrant petals of the rose."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 33. 4 ff :
"[Pasithea] one of the swiftshoe Kharites (Charites, Graces) was gathering the shoots of the fragrant reeds in the Erythraian garden, in order to mix the flowing juice of Assyrian oil with Indian flowers in the steaming cauldrons of Paphos, and make ointment [or perfume] for her Lady [Aphrodite]. While she plucked all manner of dew-wet plants she gazed all around the place."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 34. 112 ff :
"Blushing anemone [i.e. the flower] never-fading, which the Kharites (Charites, Graces) tend and the winds never destroy."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47. 456 ff :
"[The wedding of Dionysos and Ariadne:] The wedding dance resounded . . . about the bridal bed all flowers grew; the dancers of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) [i.e. the Kharites] surrounded Naxos with foliage of spring."

Suidas s.v. Anthemidon (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Anthemidon (on blossoms): ‘And Artemis, let the running Kharites (Charites, Graces) tread this grove, their light sandals on the blossoms.’ Meaning flowers.’"


CHARITES COMPANIONS OF APOLLO & THE MUSES

Hesiod, Theogony 53 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"There [on Olympos] are their [the Muses'] bright dancing-places and beautiful homes, and beside them the Kharites (Charites, Graces) . . . live in delight."

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 186 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Apollon] speeds from earth to Olympos, to the house of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods : then straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and all the Mousai (Muses) together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn . . . Meanwhile the rich-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces) and cheerful Horai dance with Harmonia (Harmony) and Hebe (Youth) and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist."

Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis 14 ff :
"[Artemis] goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoibos Apollon, to the rich land of Delphoi, there to order the lovely dance of the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces). There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing."

Pindar, Paean 3 (trans. Sandys) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Hail holy Kharites (Charites, Graces), companions of the Moisai (Muses), enthroned in splendour."

Sappho, Fragment 208 (from Himerius, Orations) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"[Apollon] the Leader of the Mousai (Mousagetos) himself as he appears when Sappho and Pindar in their songs deck him out with golden hair and lyre and send him drawn by swans to Mount Helikon (Helicon) to dance there with the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Sappho, Fragment 103 :
"Hither, holy Kharites (Charites, Graces) and Pierides Moisai (Pierian Muses)."

Sappho, Fragment 128 :
"Hither now, tender Kharites (Charites, Graces) and lovely-haired Moisai (Muses)."

Bacchylides, Fragment 19 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"The Pierian Mousai (Muses) and whose songs are clothed with honour by the violet-eyed maidens, the garland-bearing Kharites (Charites)."

Theognis, Fragment 1. 15 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus, who came once to the wedding of Kadmos [and Harmonia] and sang the lovely verse, ‘What is beautiful is loved, what is not beautiful is not loved.’ This is the verse that went through your immortal lips."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 4. 128 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"[At the wedding of Peleus and Thetis was seen] the ravishing dance twined by the Kharites' (Charites, Graces) feet . . . the chant the Mousai (Muses) raised."


CHARITES ATTENDANTS OF APHRODITE

The Kharites, as goddesses of beauty and personal adornment, were naturally described as companions of Aphrodite and the Erotes (Loves).

Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 186 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th to 4th B.C.) :
"[Apollon] speeds from earth to Olympos, to the house of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods : then straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and all the Mousai (Muses) together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn . . . Meanwhile the rich-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces) and cheerful Horai dance with Harmonia (Harmony) and Hebe (Youth) and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist."

Homeric Hymn 5 to Aphrodite 58 ff :
"She [Aphrodite] went to Kypros (Cyprus), to Paphos, wher her precinct is and fragrant altar, and passed into her sweet-smelling temple. There she went in and put to the glittering doors, and there the Kharites (Charites, Graces) bathed her with heavenly oil such as blooms upon the bodies of the eternal gods--oil divinely sweet, which she had by her, filled with fragrance."

Homeric Hymn 6 to Aphrodite 2 ff :
"Sea-set Kypros (Cyprus) . . . and there the gold-filleted Horai [here largely indistinguishable from the Kharites] welcomed her [the new-born Aphrodite] joyously. They clothed her with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought rorwn of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of orichale and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces over her soft neck and snow-white breats, jewels the gold-filleted Horai wear themselves whenever they go to their father's house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her when they saw her."

Sappho, Fragment 194 (from Himerius, Orations) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
"[Poetical description of the rites of Aphrodite:] And brings in Aphrodite herself on the Kharites' (Charites, Graces) chariot with her chorus of Erotes (Loves) to join in the fun."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 5 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric II) (C5th B.C.) :
"Erotes (Loves) unarmed and laughing Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

The Anacreontea, Fragment 19 :
"The Mousai (Muses) tied Eros (Love) with garlands and handed him over to [the Charis, Grace] Kalleis (Calleis, Beauty). And now Kythereia [Aphrodite] brings a ransom and seeks to have him released."

Ibycus, Fragment 284 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (C6th B.C.) :
"Kharis (Charis, Grace), you nurtured him [a beautiful boy] about the temple of Aphrodite . . . and bestowed tender beauty."

Ibycus, Fragment 288 :
"Euryalos, offshoot of the blue-eyed Kharites (Charites, Graces), darling of the lovely-haired Horai, Kypris [Aphrodite] and soft-lidded Peitho (Suasion) nursed you among rose-blossoms [i.e. made him beautiful]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 24. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[On the statues of the Kharites (Charites) in their temple at Elis:] One of them holds a rose, the middle one a die, and the third a small branch of myrtle. The reason for their holding these things may be guessed to be this. The rose and the myrtle are sacred to Aphrodite and connected with the story of Adonis, while the Kharites (Graces) are of all deities the nearest related to Aphrodite. As for the die, it is the plaything of youths and maidens, who have nothing of the ugliness of old age. On the right of the Kharites is an image of Eros, standing on the same pedestal."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 70 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"Out of the sea was rising lovely-crowned Kypris [Aphrodite], foam-blossoms still upon her hair; and round her hovered smiling witchingly Himeros (Desire), and danced the Kharites (Charites, Graces) lovely-tressed."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 2. 8 ff (trans. Walsh) (Roman novel C2nd A.D.) :
"Venus [Aphrodite] herself, flanked by a whole choir of Gratiae (Graces), accompanied by the entire body of Cupides [Erotes, Loves], wearing that belt of hers around her waist, diffusing the scent of cinnamon and bedewing the air with balsam."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4. 2 ff :
"That grove seemed to me to be the abode of Venus [Aphrodite] and the Gratiae [Kharites, Graces]; in its shady recesses that delightful blossom shone out with its brightness of royal crimson."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6. 24 ff :
"[At the wedding of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche (Psykhe):] The Horae (Seasons) brightened the scene with roses and other flowers, the Gratiae (Graces) diffused balsam."

Apuleius, The Golden Ass 10. 30 ff :
"[Description of an ancient Greek play portraying the Judgement of Paris:] Each maiden representing a goddess was accompanied by her own escort . . . Next floated in charming children [attending Aphrodite], unmarried girls, representing on one side the Gratiae [Charites, Graces] at their most graceful, and on the other the Horae in all their beauty. They were appeasing the goddess by strewing wreaths and single blossoms before her, and they formed a most elegant chorus-line as they sought to please the Mistress of pleasures with the foliage of spring."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3. 110 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The soil of Byblos [in Syria] where the Kharites (Charites, Graces) have their home, where Assyrian Kythereia [Aphrodite] dances."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 130 ff :
"[Dionysos woos the nymphe Nikaia (Nicaea):] ‘I will present you with the Kharites (Charites) of divine Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) for servants, my daughters, whom I will take from Aphrodite.’"

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 261 ff :
"[When Aphrodite entered into a contest with Athena in weaving:] The dancers of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) [i.e. the Kharites] who were attendants upon the Paphian [Aphrodite] had no dancing then to do; but Pasithea made the spindle run round, Peitho dressed the wool, Aglaia gave thread and yarn to her mistress. And weddings went all astray in human life."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 203 ff :
"Assyrian Aphrodite seated in a solitary spot upon Libanos (Lebanon), alone, for the Kharites (Charites, Graces), those dancers of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), had been sent away to gather the various flowers of spring in the gardens--one to gather Kilikian (Cilician) crocus, one eager to bring balsam and sprouts of the Indian reed, another for the fragrant petals of the rose."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 33. 4 ff :
"[Pasithea] oOne of the swiftshoe Kharites (Charites, Graces) was gathering the shoots of the fragrant reeds in the Erythraian garden, in order to mix the flowing juice of Assyrian oil with Indian flowers in the steaming cauldrons of Paphos, and make ointment [or perfume] for her Lady [Aphrodite]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 6 ff :
"[At Paphos were] Adonis and Kythereia [Aphrodite]. There were also a troop of Kharites (Charites, Graces)."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 212 ff :
"[The Kharites, Graces] the dancing maidens of Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), handmaids of the Paphian [Aphrodite], drew from the horsehoof fountain of imagination [Hippokrene], dear to the nine Mousai (Muses), delicate water to wash her [Aphrodite's infant daughter Beroe]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 263 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"To that place [the house of Harmonia] went Kharis (Charis, Grace), fellow-voyager [attendant] with the Foamborn [Aphrodite], and running ahead she knocked at the eastern gate of Euros (the East Wind)."


CHARIS WIFE OF HEPHAESTUS

Kharis, the wife of Hephaistos, represented the creation of objects of beauty and artistic adornment.

Homer, Iliad 18. 382 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Kharis (Charis) of the shining veil . . . the lovely goddess the renowned strong-armed one [Hephaistos] had married."

Hesiod, Theogony 945 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"And Hephaistos (Hephaestus), the famous Lame One, made Aglaia (Aglaea, Magnificence), youngest of the Kharites (Charites), his buxom wife."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 35. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Homer (he too refers to the Kharites) makes one the wife of Hephaistos (Hephaestus), giving her the name Kharis (Charis)."

For MORE information on this Charis see AGLAIA

CHARIS WIFE OF HYPNUS (SLEEP)

Homer, Iliad 14. 231 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Hera answered him [Hypnos god of sleep]: ‘. . . I will give you one of the younger (hoploterai) Kharites (Charites, Graces) for you to marry, and she shall be called you lady; Pasithea, since all your days you have loved her forever.’
So she spoke, and Hypnos was pleased and spoke to her in answer: ‘Come then! Swear it to me on Styx' ineluctable water. With one hand take hold of the prospering earth, with the other take hold of the shining salt sea, so that all the undergods who gather about Kronos (Cronus) may be witnesses to us. Swear that you will give me one of the younger Kharites, Pasithea, the one whom all my days I have longed for.’"

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 35. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Homer . . . says that Hypnos (Sleep) was a lover of Pasithea, and in the speech of Hypnos there is this verse:--‘Verily that he would give me one of the younger Kharites.’ Hence some have suspected that Homer knew of older Kharites (Charites, Graces) as well."

Statius, Thebaid 2. 285 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Pasithea eldest of the gracious sisters."

For MORE information on this Charis see PASITHEA

Sources:

  • Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Works & Days - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragments - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Astronomy Fragments - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
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  • Greek Lyric I Alcaeus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric II Anacreontea, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric II Alcman, Fragments - Greek Lyric C7th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric III Ibycus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric III Simonides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th-5th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric IV Lycophronides, Fragments - Greek Lyric B.C.
  • Greek Lyric IV Anonymous, Fragments - Greek Lyric B.C.
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