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Eunomia

(Order) Greek A goddess of order and lawful conduct and one of the three Horae, guardians of the seasons, with her sisters Dike (Justice) and Eirene (Peace). She was the daughter of Zeus and Themis. Eunomia involved herself in the law-making process, helping mankind establish wise laws that allowed societies to prosper. Cities would lay claim to her, bragging that she chose to dwell...

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Eumenides

(Good-Tempered Ones) Greek The ironic name Greek people used for the Erinyes, fearsome creatures whose name means Furies. Eumenides is the term writers and poets generally used for them in literature....

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Etruria

Roman An ancient culture that thrived in west central Italy from as early as the eighth to the fourth centuries b.c. Etruria was northwest of Rome. Archaeologists and historians have concluded that Etruria was not a kingdom or nation as much as a people who shared a culture and a language and lived in what are now the regions of Tuscany and Umbria. The...

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Ether

(Aether; Bright upper air) Greek Son of Nyx (Night) and Erebus (Darkness); brother of Hemera (Day). Ether was the personification of the upper air, the pure, bright, and good realm where the gods dwelled. He stretched between the dome of the sky, which was the realm of Uranus, and the air close to the Earth that humans breathed. Each night, his mother blocked the mortal...

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Eros

(Erotic Love) Greek God of love and fertility, called Cupid by the Romans. In ancient times, Eros was a force to be feared. He represented the havoc and misery that could be brought about by love and desire. In later times, Eros was depicted as an overweight baby, winged, and carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows, which he would shoot off...

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Eris

(Discord) Greek The spirit or goddess of strife; the sister of Ares, Eris accompanied him into battle and helped to cause quarrels and lawlessness. In Hesiod's poems, she is the daughter of Nyx (Night). Later legends say that Eris helped to cause the Trojan War by flinging her "apple of discord" among the guests at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. Three jealous goddesses...

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Eriphyle

Greek Wife of Amphiaraus mother of Alcmaeon, sister of Adrastus. Eriphyle was given the magic necklace of Harmonia, a guarantee of unfading beauty, for persuading her husband, Amphiaraus, and her brother, Adrastus, to join in the disastrous rebellion known as the Seven Against Thebes. Alcmaeon killed Eriphyle but his mother's dying curse was that no land would ever shelter her son....

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Erinyes

Greek The three avengers of wrong, generally known by their Roman name, the Furies. They were also called Eumenides (Good-Tempered Ones) by the wise and tactful Greeks, who feared their wrath....

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Erigone

Greek Daughter of King Icarius of Attica in ancient Greece, the area of the southeastern mainland where modern Athens now stands. Drunken shepherds killed her father and buried him. Erigone and her faithful dog, Maera, set out in search of the vanished king. When Erigone discovered the tomb of Icarius, she was grief-stricken and hanged herself from a nearby tree. The gods transformed her into...

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Erichthonius

Greek Legendary king of Athens. According to Homer, Erichthonius was the son of the lame god, Hephaestus, and Gaia. He grew out of semen spilled by Hephaestus when he tried to force his attentions on the goddess Athene. Earth nourished the seed and the child, Erichthonius, was born. In a later story, Athene placed the child in a basket and gave him to the daughters...

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Erechtheus

Greek The son of Dardanus, the founder of Troy. Erechtheus was said to be the richest king on Earth. He owned thousands of magnificent horses, the offspring of Boreas, the North Wind. He was the father of Tros and the grandfather of Ilus, Ganymede, and Assaracus. King Priam of Troy was a descendant of Ilus....

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Erebus

(Darkness) Greek The personification of darkness. Erebus sprang from Chaos at the beginning of time. He was the father of Charon, Nemesis, and others. His name was given to the gloomy underground cavern through which the dead had to walk on their way to the Underworld....

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Epona

Roman A goddess who protected horses, donkeys, and mules, and paid special attention to foals and mares during the birthing process. Epona was most popular among the soldiers of the Roman armies, who placed images celebrating her, often small statues, in their stables. Epona was said to be the daughter of a mare and a human. The name, Epona, which is the source of...

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Epirus

Greek An ancient country of Greece on the Ionian Sea, west of Macedonia and Thessaly. Epirus was the home of the Oracle at Dodona and refuge of the Centaurs when they were expelled from their native Thessaly....

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Epimetheus

(Afterthought) Greek Brother of Prometheus, a Titan. Epimetheus accepted Pandora as his wife, in spite of the warnings of his wiser brother. Pandora had been created by the gods to punish humankind for accepting the forbidden gift of fire from Prometheus....

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Epigoni

(Descendants, the younger generation) Greek The sons of the Seven Against Thebes, an expedition launched by Adrastus and Polynices to capture the throne of Thebes. The effort failed and Adrastus was the only survivor. When the sons of the Seven, the Epigoni, were old enough to bear arms, Adrastus rallied them to make a second attack. This one succeeded. Thebes was destroyed. It was...

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Epidaurus

Greek A city in southern Greece (northeastern Peloponnesus) celebrated in ancient times as the sanctuary of Asclepius, god of medicine and healing. Epidaurus is also famous for its magnificent theater, dating from the fourth century b.c....

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Ephesus

Greek An ancient Greek city of Asia Minor (today, Turkey, south of Izmir). Once a wealthy seaport, Ephesus was the site of a temple to the goddess Artemis (Roman Diana); the temple was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World....

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Epaphus

Greek The son of the god Zeus and Io. Epaphus was born in Egypt. Hera, wife of Zeus, was jealous of Io and tormented her endlessly until Io, in the shape of a young white cow, eventually escaped to Egypt, where Zeus restored her to her human shape. There, Io bore her son. Hera, still jealous, ordered the Curetes to kidnap Epaphus. This...

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Eos

(Dawn) Greek The goddess of dawn. She was the daughter of Helios (Sun), or, some accounts say, the sister of Helios and Selene (Moon), begotten by the Titans, Hyperion and Theia. The Romans called her Aurora. Eos was married to Tithonus, but she had many other lovers. Eos is depicted as a beautiful young woman, sometimes riding the dawn skies on the winged horse,...

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Enyo

Enyo (1) Greek A goddess of war, specifically known for sacking cities and towns of the enemy; daughter of Zeus and Hera; depicted as the sister, daughter, or mother of the war god Ares, often included as a companion of Ares when he went into battle. Enyo was most known for her terrifying war cry and was portrayed carrying a lance and torch with which she...

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Endymion

Greek According to various sources, the son of Zeus and Calyce or the shepherd son of Aethlius; prince or king of Elis, a region of the Peloponnesus; he was a beautiful young man, loved by Selene (Moon). In one myth, Endymion begged Zeus to give him immortality so that he could be with Selene forever. Zeus granted his request with the condition that he remain...

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Elysium

Greek A conception of afterlife, the pre-Hellenic paradise that the Greeks identified with their mythical Islands of the Blessed, located at the ends of the Earth—"the far west." People, or their shades, who were transported there led a blessedly happy life rather than remaining in the oblivion of the truly dead of the Underworld. Rhadamanthus and Cronus were joint rulers of this paradise. In Homer,...

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Eleusis

Ancient city in Attica, in ancient Greece, famous for being the site of the Eleusian Mysteries (see Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries, under Demeter)....

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Electra

(1) Greek Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra; sister of Iphigenia and Orestes. Agamemnon was the leader of the Achaean (Greek) forces in the Trojan War. While her husband was gone to war, Clytemnestra took a lover, Aegisthus. When Agamemnon finally returned, he brought with him the lovely Cassandra. Aided by Aegisthus, Clytemnestra murdered both Agamemnon and Cassandra. To avenge their father's death, Electra and Orestes murdered...

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