One of the Gray Sisters
Enyo and her sister Pemphredo are called the Graiai ... the Gray Sisters ... so named because they were gray from birth.
Enyo and Pemphredo are ancient goddesses ... they are the daughters of Keto and Phorkys who were children of Pontos [Sea] and Gaia [Earth]. Other notable children of Keto and Phorkys are Medusa, Sthenno and Euryale, better known as the Gorgons.
There is some confusion as to the attributes and character of Enyo. The poet Hesiod insists that she is rather lovely and fair-cheeked ... in his poem Theogony, Enyo is said to be robed in saffron and her sister Pemphredo is clad in beauty ... according to Hesiod they were not ugly or hostile. However, when we encounter Enyo in the Iliad, she is leading the Trojans into battle with Ares [god of war] ... her fierce warcraft is compared to that of the Grim Goddess, Athene.
Seven hundred years after Homer and Hesiod gave their accounts of Enyo and Pemphredo, Apollodorus of Athens portrayed the Graiai as not only gray but old women from birth. There were now three sisters with the implication that there were more but they were not named. The three sisters that were named by Apollodorus were Deino, Enyo and Pemphredo ... they were hideous with only one tooth and one eye between them.
The Graiai reluctantly played a crucial role in the murder of their sister, Medusa. Without the forced assistance of the Graiai, Perseus would not have been able to decapitate Medusa ... the fact that he was a son of Zeus also played an important part in Perseus's success. Perseus presumably took the eye and tooth of the Graiai as ransom until they revealed the location of the Nymphs who could supply him with the Cap of Hades [to make him invisible], a pair of winged sandals [for flying] and a kibisis [a bag to carry Medusa's severed head] ... to complete his preparations, Perseus was given a sword [or sickle] by the god Hermes for the actual decapitation of Medusa. It seems rather odd that Enyo would betray Medusa in such a way but Perseus was a son of Zeus and nothing can stand between Zeus and his desires.
In her warlike manifestation, Enyo is often confused with the Roman goddess, Bellona.
Enyo in The Iliad
[from four different translations]
- Iliad - book 5, line 333 - ... and he [Diomedes] swung the pitiless bronze at the lady Kypros [Aphrodite], knowing her for a god without warcraft, not of those who, goddesses, range in order the ranks of men in the fighting, not Athene and not Enyo, sacker of cites.
- Iliad - book 5, line 592 - ... and Ares led them [the Trojans] with the goddess Enyo, she carrying with her the turmoil of shameless hatred while Ares made play in his hands with the spear gigantic ...
Loeb Classical Library
- Iliad - book 5, line 333 - But he [Diomedes] had gone in pursuit of Kypris [Aphrodite] with his pitiless bronze, knowing that she was a weakling goddess, and not one of those goddesses who lord it in the battle of warriors—no Athene she, nor Enyo, sacker of cities.
- Iliad - book 5, line 592 - ... and Ares led them [the Trojans], and queen Enyo, bringing ruthless Din of War, while Ares wielded in his hands a huge spear ...
- Iliad - book 5, line 373 - ... Diomedes, knowing her [Aphrodite] for the coward goddess she is, none of the mighty gods who marshal men to battle, neither Athena nor Enyo raider of cities, not at all.
- Iliad - book 5, line 681 - And Ares led them [the Trojans] in with the deadly queen Enyo bringing Uproar on, the savage chaos of battle—the god of combat wielding his giant shaft in hand ...
- Iliad - book 5, line 385 - ... Diomêdês moved ahead to attack the Kyprian goddess [Aphrodite]. He knew her to be weak, not one of those divine mistresses of the wars of men—Athêna, for example, or Enýô, raider of cities—therefore he dared assail her though a great ruck of battle.
- Iliad - book 5, line 675 - Beside him [Hektor] strong Trojan formations moved ahead, impelled by Arês and by cold Enýô who brings the shameless butchery of war. Arês wielding a gigantic spear ...
Other Text References
- line 273 - And again, Keto bare to Phorkys the fair-cheeked Graiae, sisters grey from their birth: and both deathless gods and men who walk on earth call them Graiai, Pemphredo well-clad, and saffron-robed Enyo, and the Gorgons who dwell beyond glorious Okeanos [Ocean] in the frontier land towards Nyx [Night].
Description of Greece by Pausanias
- book 1 [Attica], 8.4 - Near the statue of Demosthenes is a sanctuary of Ares, where are placed two images of Aphrodite, one of Ares made by Alkamenes, and one of Athene made by a Parian of the name of Lokros. There is also an image of Enyo, made by the sons of Praxiteles. About the temple stand images of Herakles, Theseus, Apollon binding his hair with a fillet, and statues of Kalades [an unknown person], who it is said framed laws [literally, tunes] for the Athenians, and of Pindar, the statue being one of the rewards the Athenians gave him for praising them in an ode.
- book 4 [Messenia], 30.5 - He [Homer] said nothing further about this goddess [Tyche] being the mightiest of gods in human affairs and displaying greatest strength, as in the Iliad he represented Athene and Enyo as supreme in war, and Artemis feared in childbirth, and Aphrodite heeding the affairs of marriage [book 5, line 333 and 429; book 21, line 483 - Loeb, Lattimore, Green translations]. But he makes no other mention of Tyche [Fortune].
The Library by Apollodorus of Athens
- book 2.4.2 - Polydektes, brother of Diktys, was then king of Seriphos and fell in love with Danae, but could not get access to her, because Perseus was grown to man's estate. So he called together his friends, including Perseus, under the pretext of collecting contributions towards a wedding gift for Hippodamia, daughter of Oinomaos. Now Perseus having declared that he would not stick even at the Gorgon's head, Polydektes required the others to furnish horses, and not getting horses from Perseus ordered him to bring the Gorgon's head. So under the guidance of Hermes and Athene he made his way to the daughters of Phorkys, to wit, Enyo, Pemphredo, and Deino; for Phorkys had them by Keto, and they were sisters of the Gorgons, and old women from their birth. The three had but one eye and one tooth, and these they passed to each other in turn. Perseus got possession of the eye and the tooth, and when they asked them back, he said he would give them up if they would show him the way to the Nymphs. Now these Nymphs had winged sandals and the kibisis, which they say was a wallet. They had also the cap [of invisibility]. When the Phorkides [children of Phorkys] had shown him the way, he gave them back the tooth and the eye, and coming to the Nymphs got what he wanted. So he slung the wallet [kibisis] about him, fitted the sandals to his ankles, and put the cap on his head. Wearing it, he saw whom he pleased, but was not seen by others. And having received also from Hermes an adamantine sickle he flew to the ocean and caught the Gorgons asleep. They were Sthenno, Euryale, and Medusa. Now Medusa alone was mortal; for that reason, Perseus was sent to fetch her head. But the Gorgons had heads twined about with the scales of dragons, and great tusks like swine's, and brazen hands, and golden wings, by which they flew; and they turned to stone such as beheld them. So Perseus stood over them as they slept, and while Athene guided his hand and he looked with averted gaze on a brazen shield, in which he beheld the image of the Gorgon, he beheaded her. When her head was cut off, there sprang from the Gorgon the winged horse Pegasus and Chrysaor, the father of Geryon; these she had by Poseidon.
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