The Water Charites in Greek Mythology

The Water Charites in Greek Mythology

The Water Charites or the Graces, were three goddesses of beauty, grace, joy, dance and song. There were also a number of younger Charites, and these presided over other pleasures of life. These included play, amusement, floral decoration, rest, relaxation and happiness. The Charites were the attendants of Hera and Aphrodite.

One of them was named Kharis and she was the wife of Hephaistos. Another one was called Pasithea, and she was married to Hypnos, the god of sleep. The three Water Charites appeared in classical art as naked women. Mostly, they hold hands and dance around in a circle in most depictions. Sometimes they had crowns of myrtle or held it in their hands.

The Water Charites in Greek Mythology

The Charites were the immortal daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. Accodring to Hesios, Eurynome was the third wife of Zeus, before he got married to Hera. In some instances, Hera got the role of the mother of the Charites. Because they were connected with festivities, people also associated them with Dionysus, saying he was their father.

The Water Charites in Greek Mythology

The role of the Charites was to spread joy and goodwill, pleasure and mirth. Their role was to bring joy and happiness to all people. Sometimes, their role would overlap with that of the Muses. However, Charites were the ones that accompanies other Greek gods and goddesses. Mostly Aphrodite, Hera, Apollo and the other Muses.

The most famous myth regarding the Water Charites, or, at least, one of them, was the story involving Hera, Hypnos and Pasithea. Hera was angry with Zeus, and she went to Hypnos to convince him to put Zeus into a deep sleep. Hypnos would not to this willingly, therefore Hera offered Pasithea as a bribe. In one version of the story the two become married and in the other Pasithea refuses to do so.

Normally, there were three Charites, three being the usual count of such groups. However, ancient sources would name more than three of them. This gave rise to the belief that there were two groups. These were the Elder Charites and the Younger Charites.

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