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Personification of the Abstract

Many are familiar with the major deities and what they symbolized, and most of the gods represented concrete items [such as Helios the sun and Poseidon the sea]. Here is compiled list of gods and goddesses who personify more abstract concepts such as envy, affection, and wealth. Some may be unfamiliar because many are considered obscure; nonetheless, the Greeks did not minimize their importance. Space and time does not allow me a detailed description, which you can find elsewhere on the web, but you can familiarize yourself with who symbolized what. Writers, especially poets, may want to utilize this list for metaphors and allegories in their work.

Listed alphabetically by deity...
Also, see if you can recognize any etymology in these names...

GOD:

REPRESENTS:

Aether

God representing pure [upper] air, son of Erebus and Nyx, and the brother of Hemera; the essence of the universe.

Ananke

Goddess of unalterable necessity who may have instructed the Fates.

Anteros

Brother of Eros and god of returned love; he punished those who defied and scorned love.

Apate

The goddess of deceit.
benefactor of politicians....

Astraea

A daughter of Zeus and Themis and one of the goddesses of justice who resided among mortals.

Ate

Thought to be a daughter of Zeus and Eris, Zeus rejected her and hurled her to earth. She symbolizes moral blindness.

Auxesia

Goddess of growth.

Bia

Representation of force and daughter of Pallas and Styx.

Caerus

Bald god or goddess representing a favorable memories, which should be cherished.

Ceto

Mother of the Gorgons, she essentially is a goddess of danger [primarily of the sea].

Chaos

A primordial void, nothingness. This god was asexual and had children himself, most notable Erebus and Nyx. The Latin poet Ovid gave "chaos" the meaning of unorder.

Cratos

Brother of Bia and representation of power.

Deimos

Along with Phobos, a son of Ares; god of terror and panic.

Enyo

Either the daughter or sister of Ares and personification of horror. She is known to linger on the battlefield during wars.

Epimethus

A Titan, brother fof Prometheus. His name means "afterthought".

Erebus

Son of Chaos and brother of night, he is the personification of darkness.

Erinyes [Furies]

Born from the castrated Uranus's genitals, 3 sisters, goddesses of vengence and revenge.

  1. Tisiphone -the Avenging
  2. Alecto - the Unceasing
  3. Megaera - the Grudging

Eris

Companion to Ares and goddess of discord and strife.

Eros

The celebrated son of Ares and Aphrodite and god of erotic attraction and/or love.

Geras

Goddess of old age, she was the daughter of Nyx.

The Graces
[or Charities]

Daughters of Zeus and Eurynome and attendents to Aphrodite, they symbolized inspiration & charm, 3 in number:

  1. Aglaea - splendor
  2. Thalia - cheer
  3. Euphrosyne - mirth

Harmonia

Daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, she married Cadmus and represented harmony.

Hecate

The goddess of magic and witchcraft, though not evil as many would assume.

Hebe

Cupbearer of the gods and daughter of Zeus and Hera, she was youth. Her Roman counterpart, Juventas, does indeed mean "youth".

Hemera

Representation of day, she was ironically the daughter of Nyx and Erebus.

Hesperos

The goddess of evening and wife of Atlas.

Hilaeira

Goddess of brightness.

Himerus

God of sexual desire.

Horae

Daughters of Zeus and Themis, they personified the seasons [only 3 in Greek]. Since they associated with nature, they also represented order and stability.

  1. Eunomia - good order
  2. Dike - justice
  3. Eirene - peace

Hubris

God personifying lack of restraint, dwelling mostly among mortals.
Mostly men are affected—I kid you not!

Hygeia

Goddess of health and often regarded as Asclepius's daughter.

Hymen

Son of Aphrodite and Dionysus and patron of marriage.

Hypnos

Appropriately, the son of Nyx and Erebus and god of sleep. His twin was Thanatos.

Leto

A Titaness, mother of the devine twins Apollo and Artemis, and goddess of fruitfulness [earthly].

Lyssa

"Frenzy", she was summoned by Hera to afflict madness on Heracles, whereupon he killed his children and, according to Euripedes, his wife Megara.

Metis

The daughter of Oceanos and Tethys and Zeus's first choice as a wife. She represented counsel.

Mnemosyne

A daughter of Uranus and Gaea and the mother of the Muses, her name means "memory".

Moirae

The Fates, 3 sisters who determine man's life:

  1. Clotho - the spinner
  2. Lachesis - the allotter
  3. Atropos - the inflexible

Momus

The sex of this god is unknown, some call Momus the daughter of night and others, such as Hesiod, say he was a son. Regardless, s/he represented mockery and sarcasm.

Moros

Son of Erebus and Nyx and brother of Thanatos, Moros was appropriately the god of doom.

Muses

The daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, they were the arts:

  1. Calliope - epic poetry
  2. Clio - history
  3. Erato - song & dance
  4. Melpomene - tragic poetry
  5. Urania - astronomy
  6. Terpsichore - choral poetry
  7. Polyhymnia - pantomime & geometry
  8. Thalia - comedy
  9. Euterpe - music, especially flute-playing

Nemesis

The goddess of retribution and righting what has been wronged. She is either the daughter of Nyx and Erebus or Zeus and Oceanus.

Nike

Victory, the daughter of Pallas and Styx.

Nyx

Night personified, and most often the daughter of Chaos.

the Oneroi

Sons of Hypnos and gods of dreams:

  1. Icelus - dreams of humans
  2. Morpheus - shaping dreams
  3. Phobetor - frightening dreams [of beasts]
  4. Phantasos - apparitions

Paen

The god of healing, even for other deities.

Pandia

Goddess of extreme brightness [of light] and daughter of Zeus and Eos.

Peitho

Represented persuasion, often considered the daughter of Aphrodite and Hermes.

Penia

Goddess of poverty and wife of Porus.

Penthus

God of grief.

Pheme

Rumors personified as a goddess.

Philotes

Another daughter of Nyx and goddess of affection. Ironically, her sisters included Eris and Apate.

Phobos

A son of Ares and brother of Deimos, he personified fear.

Phoebe

The daughter of Gaia and Uranus, she represented light. Her name is often used as an epithet for Artemis since she was the mother of Leto.

Phospherus

The god of the morning [star].

Phthonus
no, that is not a typo
—that's how you spell it!

The son of Dionysus and Nyx, he represented envy.

Plutus

Often described as the son of Demeter, he was the god of wealth.

Porus

A son of Metis and husband to Penia, he represented expendiency.

Pothos

A son of Aphrodite, he was the personification of desire.

Priapus

Male fertility, the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite.

Prometheus

One of the Titans whose name means "forethought"; one of the most written about characters in mythology.

Protogonus

A god representing the origins of existence.

Psyche [Latin]

Her story is often confused with Greek myth, though it is actually from Apuleius'sGolden Ass. Her name means "soul" and is often regarded as such.

Thanatos

Brother of Hypnos and god of death.

Themis

The daughter of Gaia, her name means "steadfast" and is often considered to represent law and order.

Tyche

The daughter of Oceanus and goddess symbolizing fortune, chance, and prosperity.

Zalmoxis

A Thracian god, he somewhat sybolized immortality. He is often associated with Dionysus.

Zelus

The son of Styx and Pallas who personified enthusiasm and zeal.

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