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~Napoleon Bonaparte

Friday, 4 May 2012

Pandora, Elpis (Hope), Moros (Doom)

PANDORA, the giver of all, or endowed with every thing, is the name of the first woman on earth. When Prometheus had stolen the fire from heaven, Zeus in revenge caused Hephaestus to make a woman out of earth, who by her charms and beauty should bring misery upon the human race (Hes. Theog. 571, &c.; Stob. Serin. 1). Aphrodite adorned her with beauty, Hermes gave her boldness and cunning, and the gods called her Pandora, as each of the Olympians had given her some power by which she was to work the ruin of man. Hermes took her to Epimetheus, who forgot the advice of his brother Prometheus, not to accept any gift from Zeus, and from that moment all miseries came down upon men (Hes. Op. et Dies, 50, &c.). According to some mythographers, Epimetheus became by her the father of Pyrrha and Deucalion (Hygin. Fab. 142; Apollod. i. 7. § 2 ; Procl. ad Hes. Op. p. 30, ed. Heinsius; Ov. Met. i. 350); others make Pandora a daughter of Pyrrha and Deucalion (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 23). Later writers speak of a vessel of Pandora, containing all the blessings of the gods, which would have been preserved for the human race, had not Pandora opened the vessel, so that the winged blessings escaped irrecoverably. The birth of Pandora was represented on the pedestal of the statue of Athena, in the Parthenon at Athens (Paus. i. 24. § 7). In the Orphic poems Pandora occurs as an infernal awful divinity, and is associated with Hecate and the Erinnyes (Orph. Argon. 974). Pandora also occurs as a surname of Gaea (Earth), as the giver of all. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Av. 970; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. vi. 39; Hesych. s.v.)

Pandora is born out of the earth, molded by the craftsman god Hephaestus. She is depicted crowned and veiled, with hands raised. Above her flies an Eros (winged love god). The god beside her is either Hephaestus, molding her with his sculptor's mallet, or Epimethius, who receives her as a bride as he tills the earth. Two other gods, Zeus and Hermes, one holding a royal scepter and wearing an olive wreath, the other with a herald's wand (kerykeion), winged cap and boots, witness the scene. ca 475 - 425 BC

 Gaia (the earth) or Pandora (the first woman) is shown rising up from the ground surrounded by dancing Panes. ca 450 BC

Hesiod, Works & Days 54 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"The gods keep hidden from men the means of life . . . Zeus in the anger of his heart hid it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he planned sorrow and mischief against men. He hid fire; but that the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the counselor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in thunder did not see it. But afterwards Zeus who gathers the clouds said to him in anger: ‘Son of Iapetos, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire--a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.’
So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud. And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind, and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal goddesses in face; and Athene (Athena) to teach her needlework and the weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs. And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argos, to put in her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature. So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son of Cronus (Cronus). Forthwith [Hephaestus, ] the famous Lame God molded clay in the likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronus purposed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the divine Charities, (Graces) and queenly Peitho (Persuasion) put necklaces of gold upon her, and the rich-haired Horai (Horae, Seasons) crowned her head with spring flowers. And Pallas Athena bedecked her form with all manners of finery. Also [Hermes] the Guide, the Slayer of Argos, contrived within her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in her. And he called this woman Pandora (All-Gifts), because all they who dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.
But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare, the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer [Hermes], the swift messenger of the gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimethius did not think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood. For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills (kakoi) and hard toil (ponoi) and heavy sickness (nosoi) which bring the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar (pithos) with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Elpis (Hope) remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aigis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues (lugra), wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases (nosoi) come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus."

 Johann David Schubert: Prometheus and Pandora

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 142 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Prometheus, son of Iapetus, first fashioned men from clay. Later Vulcan  [Hephaestus], at Jove’s [Zeus'] command, made a woman’s form from clay. Minerva [Athena] gave it life, and the rest of the gods each gave come other gift. Because of this they named her Pandora. She was given in marriage to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus. Pyrrha was her daughter, and was said to be the first mortal born."

 Pandora opening her box, by James Gillray

Hesiod, Theogony 510 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Scatter-brained Epimetheus who from the first was a mischief to men who eat bread; for it was he who first took of Zeus the woman [Pandora], the maiden whom he had formed."

 Pandora Offers the Box to Epimetheus.

Hesiod, Theogony 560 ff :
"[Zeus] was always mindful of the trick [of Prometheus who won for mankind the meat of the sacrificial beast], and would not give the power of unwearying fire to the Melian race of mortal men who live on the earth. But [Prometheus] the noble son of Iapetos outwitted him and stole the far-seen gleam of unwearying fire in a hollow fennel stalk. And Zeus who thunders on high was stung in spirit, and his dear heart was angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire. Forthwith he made an evil thing for men as the price of fire; for the very famous Limping God [ Hephaestus] formed of earth the likeness of a shy maiden [i.e. Pandora] as [Zeus] the son of Cronus willed.
But when he had made the beautiful evil to be the price for the blessing, he brought her out, delighting in the finery which the bright-eyed daughter of a mighty father had given her, to the place where the other gods and men were. And wonder took hold of the deathless gods and mortal men when they saw that which was sheer guile, not to be withstood by men. For from her is the race of women and female kind: of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth. And as in thatched hives bees feed the drones whose nature is to do mischief--by day and throughout the day until the sun goes down the bees are busy and lay the white combs, while the drones stay at home in the covered hives and reap the toil of others into their own bellies--even so Zeus who thunders on high made women to be an evil to mortal men, with a nature to do evil. And he gave them a second evil to be the price for the good they had: whoever avoids marriage and the sorrows that women cause, and will not wed, reaches deadly old age without anyone to tend his years, and though he at least has no lack of livelihood while he lives, yet, when he is dead, his kinsfolk divide his possessions amongst them. And as for the man who chooses the lot of marriage and takes a good wife suited to his mind, evil continually contends with good; for whoever happens to have mischievous children, lives always with unceasing grief in his spirit and heart within him; and this evil cannot be healed. So it is not possible to deceive or go beyond the will of Zeus: for not even the son of Iapetos, kindly Prometheus, escaped his heavy anger, but of necessity strong bands confined him, although he knew many a wile."

 Pandora Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Pandora

Homer, The Iliad 24. 527 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"There are two urns (pithoi) that stand on the door-sill of Zeus. They are unlike for the gifts they bestow: an urn of evils (kakoi), an urn of blessings (dôroi). If Zeus who delights in thunder mingles these and bestows them on man, he shifts, and moves now in evil, again in good fortune. But when Zeus bestows from the urn of sorrows, he makes a failure of man, and the evil hunger drives him over the shining earth, and he wanders respected neither of gods nor mortals."
[N.B. Later writers describe Zeus giving one of these two jars to Pandora. The poets were at odds as to which jar she received--Hesiod says the jar of evils (kakoi), but Theognis and Aesop claim it was the jar of blessings (dôroi). The name Pan-dôra ("all-gifts") naturally suggests the latter.]

 John William  Waterhouse, Pandora

 Study for `Pandora Crowned by the Seasons by William Etty.

 Alexandre Cabanel - Pandora
Theognis, Fragment 1. 1135 (trans. Gerber, Vol. Greek Elegiac) (Greek elegy C6th B.C.) :
"Elpis (Hope) is the only good god remaining among mankind; the others have left and gone to Olympus. Pistis (Trust), a mighty god has gone, Sophrosyne (Restraint) has gone from men, and the Charities, (Graces), my friend, have abandoned the earth. Men's judicial oaths are no longer to be trusted, nor does anyone revere the immortal gods; the race of pious men has perished and men no longer recognize the rules of conduct or acts of piety."
[N.B. Theognis' account is the inverse of Hesiod's : the good spirits escaped from Pandora's jar, abandoning mankind in their flight to heaven.]

ELPIS was the spirit (daimona) of hope. She along with the other daimones were trapped in a jar by Zeus and entrusted to the care of the first woman Pandora. When she opened the vessel all of the spirits escaped except for Elpis (Hope) who alone remained to comfort mankind. Elpis was depicted as a young woman carrying flowers in her arms. Her opposite number was Moros, spirit of hopelessness and doom.

 Hope in the Prison of Despair Evelyn de Morgan

Aesop, Fables 526 (from Babrius 58) (trans. Gibbs) (Greek fable C6th B.C.) :
"Zeus gathered all the useful things together in a jar and put a lid on it. He then left the jar in human hands. But man had no self-control and he wanted to know what was in that jar, so he pushed the lid aside, letting those things go back to the abode of the gods. So all the good things flew away, soaring high above the earth, and Elpis (Hope) was the only thing left. When the lid was put back on the jar, Elpis (Hope) was kept inside. That is why Elpis (Hope) alone is still found among the people, promising that she will bestow on each of us the good things that have gone away."
[N.B. By "in human hands," the story of Pandora delivering the jar to mankind is implied. However, in this version it is apparently the husband who opens it.]

 Edward Burne-Jones, Hope in prison 

 Edward Burne-Jones, Hope

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 250 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Prometheus: Yes, I caused mortals to cease foreseeing their doom (moros).
Chorus: Of what sort was the cure that you found for this affliction?
Prometheus: I caused blind hopes (elpides) to dwell within their breasts.
Chorus: A great benefit was this you gave to mortals."
[N.B. This is presumably a reference to Pandora's jar, a curse concocted by Zeus to punish mankind for the theft of fire. Prometheus seems to be saying that he was the one who stayed Hope inside the jar, when the other evils escaped.]

 George Frederic Watts, Hope

MOROS was the spirit (daimon) of doom. He was the force which drove a man towards his fate. In a sense he was also the spirit of depression. Aeschylus describes how Prometheus saved mankind from the misery of seeing their doom (moros) with the gift of hope (elpis). Moros' siblings Thanatos and Ker represented the physical aspects of death--Ker was the bringer of violent death and killing sickness, while Thanatos represented a peaceful, passing away.

Hesiod, Theogony 211 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And Nyx (Night) bare hateful Moros (Doom) and black Ker (Violent Death) and Thanatos (Death), and she bare Hypnos (Sleep) and the tribe of Oneiroi (Dreams). And again the goddess murky Nyx, though she lay with none, bare Momos (Blame) and painful Oizys (Misery), and the Hesperides . . . Also she bare the Moirai (Fates) and the ruthless avenging Keres (Death-Fates) . . . Also deadly Nyx bare Nemesis (Envy) to afflict mortal men, and after her, Apate (Deceit) and Philotes (Friendship) and hateful Geras (Old Age) and hard-hearted Eris (Strife)."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Nox (Night) and Erebus [were born] : Fatum (Fate) [i.e. Moros], Senectus (Old Age) [Geras], Mors (Death), Letum (Dissolution), Continentia (Moderation), Somnus (Sleep), Somnia (Dreams), Amor (Love)--that is Lysimeles, Epiphron (Prudence), Porphyrion, Epaphus, Discordia (Discord), Miseria (Misery), Petulantia (Wantonness), Nemesis (Envy), Euphrosyne (Good Cheer), Amicitia (Friendship), Misericordia (Compassion), Styx (Hatred); the three Parcae (Fates), namely Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos; the Hesperides."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 17 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"Their [Aether and Hemera's] brothers and sisters, whom the ancient genealogists name Amor (Love), Dolus (Guile), Metus (Fear), Labor (Toil), Invidentia (Envy), Fatum (Fate) [i.e. Moros], Senectus (Old Age), Mors (Death), Tenebrae (Darkness) [i.e. the Keres], Miseria (Misery), Querella (Complaint), Gratia (Favour), Fraus (Fraud), Pertinacia (Obstinacy), the Parcae (Fates), the Hesperides, the Somnia (Dreams): all of these are fabled to be the children of Erebus (Darkness) and Nox (Night)."

Detail of Poine (Retaliation) from a painting depicting the retribution of Medea. The children of Jason and Medea lie dead on an altar, princess Glauke with hair aflame burns in the palace, Kreon rushes to her aide, and Medea flees in a winged chariot

 Medea flees Korinthos in a flying chariot drawn by a pair of serpent Drakones and encircled by the aureole of the sun. Her children lie dead, slain on the altar, to be discovered by their father Jason (left). A pair of winged Poinai (Retributions personified) oversee the entire scene.

THE KERES were the female spirits (daimones) of violent or cruel death, including death in battle, by accident, murder or ravaging disease. Another spirit Thanatos, was the god of the more peaceful kinds of death.

They were agents of the Moirai (Fates), Birth-Daimones who measured out the length of a man's life when he first entered the world, and Moros (Doom) the Daimon who drove a man towards his inevitable destruction. The Keres were cravers of blood and feasted upon it after ripping a soul free from the mortally wounded bodies and sending it on their way to Hades. Thousands of Keres haunted the battlefield, fighting amongst themselves like vultures over the dying. The Keres had no absolute power over the life of men, but in their hunger for blood would seek accomplish death beyond the bounds of fate. Zeus and the other gods, however, could stop them in their course or speed them on. The Olympian gods are often described standing by their favorites in battle, beating the clawing death spirits from them. Some of the Keres were personifications of epidemic diseases, which haunted areas riven by plague. (See also the Nosoi). The Keres were depicted as fanged, taloned women dressed in bloody garments.
The Keres may have been the evil spirits released from Pandora's jar to plague mankind. Hesiod mentions them indirectly in his account of the episode. He describes these spirits as kakoi (evils), nosoi (sicknesses and plagues) and lugra (banes). 

  Il Sodoma, The Fates

 Rubens, The Fates Spinning Marie Medici Destiny

The "kakoi", "nosoi" and "lugra" which escaped Pandora's jar might be Keres.

Hesiod, Works and Days 90 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"For ere this [the opening of Pandora's jar] the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills (kakoi) and hard toil (ponoi) and heavy sickness (nosoi) which bring the Keres (Fates) upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar (pithos) with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Elpis (Hope) remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aigis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues (lugra), wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases (nosoi) come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus."


Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 1060 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[After the death of the brothers Polyneikes and Eteokles, the Argive women lament:] Ah, misery! O Erinye (Furies)s, far-famed destroyers of families, Keres (goddesses of death) who have thus laid ruin to the family of Oidipous, digging it up from the roots!"

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 775 ff :
"Oidipous (Oedipus) removed that deadly, man-seizing plague (kêr) [the Sphinx] from our land." 

 Gustave Moreau - Oedipus

Euripides, Heracles 870 ff :
"[Lyssa, the daimon of madness, stalks Heracles:] ‘The thunderbolt with blast of agony shall be like the headlong rush I will make into the breast of Heracles; through his roof will I burst my way and swoop upon his house,after first slaying his children; nor shall their murderer know tht he is killing the children he begot, till he is released from my madness. Behold him! see how even now he is wildly tossing his head at the outset, and rolling his eyes fiercely from side to side without a word; nor can he control his panting breath, like a fearful bull in act to charge; he bellows, calling on the Keres of Tartarus.’" 

THE NOSOI (or Nosi) were the spirits (daimones) of illness, plague and disease. Hesiod describes the nosoi escaping from Pandora's jar, and like Elpis (Hope), they were probably personified to a certain degree. However, in most Homeric literature it is the arrows of the gods Apollo and Artemis which bring plague, rather than a band of daimones. The Roman equivalents of the Nosoi were Morbus, Lues, Pestis, Tabes and Macies. The Greek Keres also occasionally personified killing disease.

In Latin poetry various aspects of pestilence and disease were personified, including Morbus (Disease), Pestis and Lues (Pestilence), Macies (Wasting, Emaciation), and Tabes (Corruption). They are presumably equivalent to the Greek Nosoi.

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 268 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"[Aeneas is guided by the Sibyl on a journey through the Underworld:] On they went dimly, beneath the lonely night amid the gloom, through the empty halls of Dis [Hades] and his phantom realm . . . Just before the entrance, even within the very jaws of Orcus [Hades], Luctus [Penthos, Grief] and avenging Curae (Cares) have set their bed; there pale Morbi [Nosoi, Diseases] dwell, sad Senectus [Geras, Old-Age], and Metus [Phobos, Fear], and Fames [Limos, hunger], temptress to sin, and loathly Egestas [Aporia, Want], shapes terrible to view; and Letum [Thanatos, Death] and Labor [Ponos, Toil]; next, Letum's (Death's) own brother Sopor [Hypnos, Sleep], and Gaudia (the soul's Guilty Joys), and, on the threshold opposite, the death-dealing Bellum [Polemos, War], and the Eumenides' [the Furies'] iron cells, and maddening Discordia [Eris, Strife], 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 [Oneiroi, Dreams] hold, clinging under every leaf."

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 [Lyssa, Fury] and Horror [Phrike, Horror], and all the forms which spawn and lurk midst the eternal shades [i.e. in the underworld]: Luctus [Penthos, Grief], tearing her hair; Morbus [Nosos, Disease], scarce holding up her wearied head; Senectus [Geras, age], burdened with herself; impending Metus [Deimos, Fear], and greedy Pestis [Nosos, Pestilence], the Ogygian people's curse. Our spirits died within us. Even she [Manto] who knew the rites and the arts of her aged sire stood amazed. But he, undaunted and bold from his lost sight, summons the bloodless throng of cruel Dis [Hades]."

 The ghostly, blue faces of two Kakodaimones (Evil Spirits) or Erinyes (Fury Demons) gaze with staring eyes and gaping mouths. Imperial Roman

 Two Furies (Erinyes), from a 19th century book reproducing an image from an ancient vase.

 William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Remorse of Orestes

Seneca, Oedipus 647 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
[The ghost of Laios (Laius) demands that Oidipous (Oedipus) be expelled from Thebes before he will recall the pestilent daimones ravaging the land back to Hades:]
"[Laios:] ‘Wherefore speedily expel ye the king from out your borders, in exile drive him to any place so-ever with his baleful step. Let him leave the land; then, blooming with flowers of spring, shall it renew its verdure, the life-giving air shall give pure breath again, and their beauty shall come back to the woods; Letum [Ker, Ruin] and Lues [Nosos, Pestilence], Mors [Thanatos, Death], Labor [Ponos, Hardship], Tabes [Phthisis, Corruption] and Dolor [Algos, Distress], fit company for him, shall all depart together. And he himself with hastening steps shall long to flee our kingdom, but I will set wearisome delays before his feet and hold him back. He shall creep, uncertain of his way, with the staff of age groping out his gloomy way. Rob ye him of the earth; his father will take from him the sky.’"

Seneca, Oedipus 1052 ff :
"[After blinding himself and heading into exile, Oidipous calls upon the pestilence daimones to depart Thebes:] ‘All ye who are weary in body and burdened with disease, whose hearts are faint within you, see, I fly, I leave you; lift your heads. Milder skies come when I am gone. He who, though near to death, still keeps some feeble life, may freely now draw deep, life-giving draughts of air. Go, bear ye aid to those given up to death; all pestilential humors of the land I take with me. Ye blasting Fatae [Keres, Fates], thou quaking terror of Morbus [Nosos, Disease], Macies [Ischnasia, Wasting], and black Pestis [Nosos, Pestilence], and mad Dolor [Algos, Despair], come ye with me, with me. ‘Tis sweet to have such guides.’"