Monday, March 16, 2015

TFBT: Children of Wrath

Part of Sunday’s scripture reading was Ephesian 2:3 which refers to “children of wrath”.  Naturally I retranslated this, probably inaccurately as paida Menis.  It struck me odd that there were no children of Menis; divine wrath.  Menis would be a child of Eris (Strife) or Nyx (Night) and that whole crowd is generally childless.   

"And Night bare hateful Doom and black Fate and Death, and she bare Sleep and the tribe of Dreams. And again the goddess murky Night, though she lay with none, bare Blame and painful Woe, and the Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Ocean. Also she bare the Destinies and ruthless avenging Fates, Clotho and Lachesis and Atropos,who give men at their birth both evil and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods: and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bare Nemesis (Indignation) to afflict mortal men, and after her, Deceit and Friendship and hateful Age and hard-hearted Strife.

 But abhorred Strife bare painful Toil and Forgetfulness and Famine and tearful Sorrows, Fightings also, Battles, Murders, Manslaughters, Quarrels, Lying Words, Disputes, Lawlessness and Ruin, all of one nature, and Oath who most troubles men upon earth when anyone wilfully swears a false oath.”                                               Hesiod 211-231

Of that whole tribe the only additonal parent is Hypnos; Sleep, the father of Dreams. 

But did you notice there is no daemon or goddess listed by the name of  Menis. (Though there is an unrelated Metis; Thought, the mother of Athena.)  According Hesiod, the Ancient Greeks did not honor or fear such a divinty.  I wondered about other similar emotions.  I looked to my old favorite Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable for a list of such.  Here’s the list I found; Pride, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, and Sloth.  Upon researching this non-Hesiodic list in I discovered that indeed late Greek sources did name these forces and some Ancient Greek worshipped them.  Like all philosophical abstractions they were fruitful and bore other abstractions.

But the ancient poets rarely mention the daemon’s listed above. Likewise they rarely mention gambling even though the evidence of vases shows Ajax and Achilles playing at dice nor drunkness except among the Dionysian tales.  The men are all handsome, the woman all beautiful and the woods fuller of friendly nymphs than horrible monsters.

  I kind of like their world view.


  1. I'd happily pass without Eris, but she threw the apple, so I had to introduce her.
    Because Homer calls her sister of Ares but nobody ever calls her daughter of Zeus and Hera, I made her a female clone of Ares. While humans are created in the lab 4 times (Golden, Silver, Bronze and after the flood), Eris is the only immortal test tube baby. Because she is a product of secret night-time experiments, she is initially called "Daughter of the Night". I suppose this must be Nycteis; what do you think? I found in the Web a Nycteis, daughter of some Nycteus.

    About the epic world: I don't find it that good (just take the tale of Briseis or Lycaon), but I like the natural immunity of heroes. The plague of Iliad's Scroll I claims many anonymous lives, but no one hero ever suffers of an infectious disease. Even Apollo, the god of plague, cannot make Achilles or Neoptolemus sick. When he needs to kill them, he must make complex arrangements to shoot them!

  2. You had a discussion about ichor. Have you found anywhere a physical description of it? I intend to give it to my Moirae. They have origin and physiology different from those of other gods; and like Pratchett's demons, they do not breathe, but can occasionally cough to attract the attention of other rational beings.

  3. Maya,

    You asked my opinion of your theory that Eris was a clone. I think you are very imaginative.

    As to the heroes never sick: I read an article by an archaeologist once claiming that the bulk of the Mycenean population survived at the starvation level while the aristocrat was the only one ensured a healthy diet. They washed regularly and had beds to sleep in. That might explain the immunity to anything but apollos poison tipped arrows.

    As to ichor, you are right, I've seen no physical description. Think they were blue-bloods?

  4. Actually, there was such an episode in a sci-fi novel that I've read (Brosnan's "Sky Lords"). A civilization has advanced gene engineering and you can order any sort of human you want. A character is so narcissistic that he can hope to come close only to a female version of himself, so he orders a female clone (the Y chromosome is removed and the X is repeated). At the end, she left him and he killed her.

    Here is the beginning of my "theogony":

    "All data pointed that, with the exclusion of the Moirae, the entire tribe of gods, nymphs and satyrs had originated from a single pair, Uranus and Gaea... The earliest memories of Uranus and Gaea were of themselves as children, surviving in the wild forest. Then they had grown up and reproduced. Gaea had given birth to Pontus - by herself, she claimed, without laying with Uranus. In reality, the naïve youths had not understood what they had done. Much later, when Pontus was tested, he of course turned out to be Uranus' son.
    After Pontus, Gaea had born to Uranus six sons and six daughters, later called first-generation Titans...(listed). Besides, she had for change laid with her own son Pontus at least five times and had given birth to three sons and two daughters... (listed, Nereus is among them). Pontus didn't like at all being seduced by his own mother, but he just couldn't push her back. So he grabbed his children and ran away. Because long-distance travels by land were making gods feel unwell, Pontus settled in a cave in the sea that was later named after him..."

    I couldn't insert a Nyx into this materialistic picture, could I :-) ?

    The "blood" of the Moirae could be any color, so blue is OK.