Goddess of Discord and Strife
The Daughter of Nyx (Night)
Eris is the daughter of Nyx (Night). Her influence can be felt in every quarrel, feud and disagreement on the face of the earth and on the heights of Mount Olympos (Olympus). She is feared and respected for her eternal and unforgiving rage and, though despised by the Olympians, not even they dare to confront her.
The Judgment of Paris
The Nereid, Thetis, was given to Peleus (a mortal) because of his undying devotion to the gods on Mount Olympos ... the marriage was also a punishment for Thetis because she had rejected Zeus's amorous advances. The wedding of Thetis and Peleus was the setting for a defining event which set the stage for the Trojan War. This event has come to be known as The Judgment of Paris although, at that time, it was just another demonstration of the rivalry between the Immortals.
In order to honor Thetis, Hera invited all the Immortals to the wedding. Athene (Athena) polished an ashen spear which she, Cheiron (Chiron) and Hephaistos (Hephaestus) had fashioned for Peleus. The goddess Eris was in attendance but she did not come to celebrate ... she came to do what she does best, cause trouble. Eris cast down a golden apple with the inscription, 'For the most beautiful one.' Hera, Athene and Aphrodite (goddess of Love) all assumed that the prize was for them and when the intended conflict arose, the Trojan prince Paris (Alexandros), was asked to make the final decision as to which goddess deserved the golden apple. Aphrodite promised Paris the hand of the most beautiful mortal woman in Greece, Helen ... Paris could not refuse such a prize ... he chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess. Hera and Athene never forgave the insult ... the walls of Troy toppled and all of Paris's family paid with their lives for his greed and desire.
Hera, Aphrodite and Athene stand before Paris (Alexandros).
Eris at Troy
In the war for the city of Troy, she rode into battle on the side of the Trojans with her brother and companion, Ares (god of War). She is more generally known for the less deadly forms of conflict; political strife, personal contention, rivalry and wrangling but the potential for evoking her deadly nature is ever present.
At Troy, she was called the Lady of Sorrow and she fought alongside Apollon and Ares in the defense of Aphrodite's beloved son, Aineias (Aeneas). When the goddess Thetis asked Hephaistos to make new armor for her son, Achilles, he forged a shield with a variety of scenes from everyday life ... some scenes were peaceful but most were extremely violent. One of the more bloody depictions on the shield was of Eris fighting in the company of Kydoimos (Cydoimos) (Confusion) and Kera (Cera) (Black Fate). Eris was walking through the battle carnage, stained with blood, carrying a wounded man and an unwounded man in her arms and dragging a dead man by his feet.
The Children of Eris
(As recorded in Theogony)
Eris is often confused with the Roman goddess, Discordia.
Eris in The Iliad
(listed by book and line from four different translations)
- 04.440 - The Achaians were driven into battle by gray-eyed Athene, Terror, and Fear and Hate (Eris), whose wrath is relentless, she is the sister and companion of murderous Ares (god of War), frail at first, but growing till she rears her head through the heavens as she walks the earth, she who is only a little thing at first, but thereafter grows until she strides the earth with her head striking heaven
- 05.518 - Aineias returned to the fighting unwounded because the god of the silver bow (Apollon), Ares (god of War) and Hate (Eris), whose wrath is relentless, were fighting for the Trojans
- 11.073 - The soldiers whirled and fought like wolves while Hate (Eris), the Lady of Sorrow, was gladdened to watch them
- 18.535 - The shield which Hephaistos forged for Achilleus had an animated scene where soldiers fought at the edge of a river; Confusion and Death the destructive were with Hate (Eris) as she was holding a wounded man, and another unhurt, and dragged a dead man by the feet through the carnage; her clothing was stained with blood as she, Confusion and Death fought with each other and dragged away the corpses of those who had fallen
- 20.048 - When the Olympians joined the battle for Troy, strong Hatred (Eris), defender of people, burst onto the battlefield
Loeb Classical Library
- 04.440 - The Achaeans were driven into battle by flashing-eyed Athena, Terror, and Rout and Strife (Eris), who rages incessantly, she is the sister and comrade of man-slaying Ares (god of War), she first rears her crest only a little, but then her head is fixed in the heaves as her feet tread the earth
- 05.518 - Aeneas returned to the fighting unwounded because he of the silver bow (Apollo), Ares (god of War) and Strife (Eris) that rages without ceasing, were fighting for the Trojans
- 11.073 - The soldiers fought like wolves while Strife (Eris), who causes many groanings, rejoiced as she looked on
- 18.535 - The shield which Hephaestus forged for Achilles had an animated scene where soldiers fought beside the riverbanks; Tumult and destructive Fate were with Strife (Eris) as she was holding a wounded man, and another unhurt, and dragged a dead man by the feet through the melee; her raiment was stained with blood as she, Tumult and Fate fought with each other and dragged away the bodies of those who had fallen
- 20.048 - When the Olympians joined the battle for Troy, Strife (Eris), the rouser of armies, uttered a loud cry
- 04.511 - The Achaeans were driven into battle by fiery-eyed Athena, Terror, and Rout and relentless Strife (Eris), who rages incessantly, sister of man-slaughtering Ares (god of War),
- 04.513 - Strife (Eris), only a slight thing when she first rears her head but her head soon hits the sky as she strides across the earth
- 04.515 - Now Strife (Eris) hurled down Hate amidst both armies, wading into the onslaught, flooding men with pain
- 05.599 - Aeneas returned to the fighting unwounded because the god of the silver bow (Apollo), Ares (god of War) and Strife (Eris) flaring on, headlong on, were fighting for the Trojans
- 11.084 - The soldiers whirled and fought head-to-head lunging like wolves while Strife (Eris) with wild groans, exulted to see them, glaring down at the melee
- 11.086 - The other gods kept clear, Strife (Eris) alone was hovering over the fighters
- 18.623 - The shield which Hephaestus forged for Achilles had an animated scene where soldiers fought along the river banks; Havoc and violent Death were with Strife (Eris) as she was holding a wounded man, and another unhurt, and dragged a dead man by the heels through the slaughter; her cloak was stained with blood as she, Havoc and Death fought with each other and dragged away the corpses of those who had fallen
- 20.057 - When the Olympians joined the battle for Troy, strong Strife (Eris), the mighty driver of armies rose in strength
- 04.532 - The Akhaians were driven into battle by grey-eyed Athena, Terror and Rout, and Hate (Eris), insatiable sister-in-arms of man-destroying Ares (god of War), frail at first, but growing till she rears her head through the heavens as she walks the earth
- 05.594 - Aineias returned to the fighting unwounded because Apollo, Ares (god of War) and Strife (Eris) insatiable, were fighting for the Trojans
- 11.081 - The soldiers whirled and fought face to face, lunging like wolves, and Strife (Eris) who thrives on groaning looked on that field with joy
- 18.615 - The shield which Hephaistos forged for Akhilleus had an animated scene where soldiers fought on the riverbanks; Uproar and ghastly Fate were with Strife (Eris) as she was holding a wounded man, and another unhurt, and dragged a dead man by the heels through the battle-din; her mantle was dyed with blood as she, Uproar and Fate fought with each other and pulled the dead away
- 20.053 - When the Olympians joined the battle for Troy, Strife (Eris) came in power, goader of fighting men
Other Text References
Works and Days
- line 11 - There are two goddesses called Eris; one is praised when men understand her; the other is blameworthy
- line 16 - Men pay harsh Eris her due honor with war and cruelty; she is the elder daughter of Nyx (dark Night) and Zeus
- line 24 - when Eris promotes competition, she is wholesome for men
- line 28 - Hesiod urges his brother Perses not to let Eris, who delights in mischief, to hold his heart back from work
- line 804 - Hesiod advises his brother Perses to avoid fifth days; they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horkos (Horcus), i.e. Oath, whom Eris (goddess of Discord) bare to trouble the forsworn.
- line 225 - And deadly Nyx (Night) bare hard-hearted Eris
- line 226 - Abhorred Eris bare Ponos (Hardship), Lethe (Forgetfulness), Limos (Famine), tearful Algea (Pain), Hysminai (Fighting), Makhai (Quarrels), Phonoi (Murders), Androktasiai (Manslaughters), Neikea (Grievances), Logoi (Lies), Amphilogiai (Disputes), Dysnomia (Lawlessness), Ate (Ruin) and Horkos (Oath)
The Shield of Herakles
- line 148 - The Shield of Herakles had animated images which included one of Phobos (Fear) with frightful Eris, who arrays a throng of men for battle, upon his brow
- line 156 - Animated on the Shield of Herakles, Eris (Discord) was there with Kydoimos (Cydoimos) (Uproar) and Kera (Fate)
- fragment 1 - Eris arrives at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus and starts a dispute between Hera, Athene (Athena) and Aphrodite (goddess of Love) as to which of the goddesses is the most beautiful