Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Daemones (Spirits) >> Penthos


Greek Name




Roman Name



Grief, Sorrow (penthos)

PENTHOS was the personified spirit (daimon) of grief and lamentation. He may have been numbered amongst the Algea (Sorrows).


AITHER & GAIA (Hyginus Preface)


Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Aether (Air) and Terra (Gaia) [Gaia] [were born] : Dolor (Pain), Dolus (Deceit), Ira (Wrath), Luctus (Lamentation) [i.e. Penthos], Mendacium (Lies), Jusjurandum (Oath), Ultio (Vengeance), Intemperantia (Intemperance), Altercatio (Altercation), Oblivio (Forgetfulness), Socordia (Sloth), Timor (Fear), Superbia (Pride), Incestum (Incest), Pugna (Combat)."
[N.B. Luctus is the Roman name for the Greek Penthos.]

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 481 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Malign Tisiphone [the Erinys] seized a torch steeped in blood, put on a robe all red with dripping gore and wound a snake about her waist, and started from her home [i.e. she departed from the underworld on a mission to drive Athamas mad]; and with her as she went were Luctus (Grief) [Penthos] and Pavor (Dread) [Phobos], Terror (Fear) [Deimos], and Insania (Madness) [Mania] too with frantic face."

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 268 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"[Aeneas is guided by the Sibyl through 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 (Grief) [Penthos] and avenging Curae (Cares) have set their bed; there pale Morbi (Diseases) [Nosoi] dwell, sad Senectus (Old Age) [Geras], and Metus (Fear) [Deimos], and Fames (Hunger) [Limos], temptress to sin, and loathly Egestas (Want) [Aporia], shapes terrible to view; and Letum (Death) [Thanatos] and Labor (Toil) [Ponos]; next, Letum's (Death's) own brother Sopor (Sleep) [Hypnos], and Gaudia (the Soul's Guilty Joys), and, on the threshold opposite, the death-dealing Bellum (War) [Polemos], and the Eumenides' [the Furies'] iron cells, and maddening Discordia (Strife) [Eris], 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 (Dreams) [Oneiroi] hold, clinging under every leaf."

Seneca, Hercules Furens 686 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"[A description of the Underworld :] The foul pool of Cocytus' sluggish stream lies here; here the vulture, there the dole-bringing owl utters its cry, and the sad omen of the gruesome screech-owl sounds. The leaves shudder, black with gloomy foliage where sluggish Sopor (Sleep) [Hypnos] clings to the overhanging yew, where sad Fames (Hunger) [Limos] lies with wasted jaws, and Pudor (Shame) [Aidos], too late, hides her guilt-burdened face. Metus (Dread) [Deimos] stalks there, gloomy Pavor (Fear) [Phobos] and gnashing Dolor (Pain) [Algos], sable Luctus (Grief) [Penthos], tottering Morbus (Disease) [Nosos] and iron-girt Bella (War) [Enyo]; and last of all slow Senectus (Old-Age) [Geras] supports his steps upon a staff."

Seneca, Oedipus 582 :
"[The seer Teiresias performs necromancy to learn the cause of a pestilence ravaging Thebes :] Suddenly the earth yawned and opened wide with gulf immeasurable. Myself, I saw the numb pools amidst the shadows; myself, the wan gods and night in very truth. My frozen blood stood still and clogged my veins. Forth leaped a savage cohort [of ghosts] . . . Then grim Erinys (Vengeance) shrieked, and blind Furor (Fury) [Lyssa] and Horror (Horror) [Phrike], and all the forms which spawn and lurk midst the eternal shades [i.e. in the underworld]: Luctus (Grief) [Penthos], tearing her hair; Morbus (Disease) [Nosos], scarce holding up her wearied head; Senectus (Age) [Geras], burdened with herself; impending Metus (Fear) [Deimos], and greedy Pestis (Pestilence) [Nosos], the Ogygian people's curse. Our spirits died within us. Even she [Manto] who knew the rites and the arts of her aged sire [Teiresias] stood amazed. But he, undaunted and bold from his lost sight, summons the bloodless throng of cruel Dis [Haides]."

Statius, Thebaid 2. 286 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[The cursed necklace of Harmonia was crafted by Vulcan-Hephaistos with the aid of malevolent daimones :] None did mould it, but Luctus (Grief) [Penthos], and all the Irae (Madnesses) [Lyssai], and Dolor (Anguish) [Algos] and Discordia (Discord) [Eris], with all the craft of her right hand."

Statius, Thebaid 3. 126 ff :
"Luctus (Grief) [Penthos] inconsolable stands there [amongst the mourners] with bloody raiment rent and with pierced breast incites the mothers [of the slain warriors]. They search the helmets of the warriors now cold in death, and display the bodies they have found, stretched prostrate alike on stranger and on kinsman."

Statius, Thebaid 10. 556 ff :
"Dreadful is the sight within [the besieged city of Thebes], scarce Mars [Ares] himself would rejoice to behold it; Luctus (Grief) [Penthos] and Furor (Mad Fury) [Lyssa] and Pavor (Panic) [Phobos], and Fuga (Rout) [Phyge] enwrapped in blinding gloom rend with many-voiced discord the frenzied, horror-stricken town."

Statius, Silvae 2. 1. 12 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Demented Luctus (Grief) [Penthos] hath his stand in they heart; at a touch thy breast heaves and sobs."




A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.