Confessions of an Eris

One interesting Greek deity I haven’t yet featured in a post is Eris, the goddess of discord and strife. Like some other gods, her exact parentage is unknown. Some sources make her the daughter of Zeus and Hera, and others the daughter of Nyx, the personification of night. Homer identifies her as the same as the war goddess Enyo, who is Ares’ sister and constant companion. You know how siblings like to tag along, after all. Eris is a troublemaker, and as such she wasn’t invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. Feeling snubbed, she showed up anyway and threw out an apple inscribed “For the Fairest.” When Paris of Troy was charged with the task of judging which goddess should receive the apple, it led to the Trojan War.

The Wikipedia entry mentions the influence of this story on that of Sleeping Beauty, which I hadn’t thought about before but totally makes sense. A later myth had Hera send Eris to mess with Polytekhnos and Aedon, lovers who claimed their love for each other was greater than that of Zeus and Hera. Considering how often Zeus cheated, I wouldn’t think that was saying much, but it pissed off Hera. This led to a delightful tale of Polytekhnos raping Aedon’s sister and Aedon feeding Polytekhnos his own son. The Trojan War resulted in a lot more bloodshed, but doesn’t appear to have been quite as depraved. And in one of Aesop’s Fables, Hercules is unable to smash an apple produced by Eris.

The goddess is sometimes said to have children, although I don’t know who the father might be. These are all also personifications of bad things: Ponos of toil, Lethe of forgetfulness, Limos of famine, Algos of sorrow, Hysminai of combat, Makhai of battle, Phonoi of murder, Androctasiai of manslaughter, Neikea of quarrels, Pseudologoi of lies, Amphilogiai of disputes, Dysnomia of lawlessness, Ate of folly, and Horkos of false oaths.

Eris has a planetoid named after her, although I have to wonder why it isn’t called Discordia instead, since most of the celestial bodies in the solar system have Latin names. She’s the central figure of Discordianism, a rather jokey religion that I can’t say I know too much about, but I’ve picked up a few odds and ends here and there. Finally, in Marcus Mebes and Chris Dulabone’s The Magic Tapestry of Oz, she’s the main villain, and comes across as rather cartoonish.

This entry was posted in Chris Dulabone, Fairy Tales, Greek Mythology, Marcus Mebes, Mythology, Oz, Oz Authors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Confessions of an Eris

  1. Your timing is rather interesting to consider writing of Eris at this point in time, as I have just written a children’s book entitled, Hazards of Eris: “U” is for Unforgettable about a young girl whose mother liked the name and passed it to her daughter. The family has a magical secret, and the denying mother has swept it away in the attic for her kindergarten daughter to come across.

    Currently working on the second book of the series, I’m researching Eris like crazy, but for as large a role as she plays in the mythological realm, there doesn’t seem to be a lot recorded. Thanks for your take, in a humanistic nature! I enjoyed reading it!

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