In "Greek mythology the Horae or Horai ( or ) or Hours ("Greek: Ὧραι, Hōrai, pronounced "[hɔ̂ːraj], "Seasons") were the "goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time.
They were originally the personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, but in later times they were regarded as goddesses of order in general and natural justice. "They bring and bestow ripeness, they come and go in accordance with the firm law of the periodicities of nature and of life", "Karl Kerenyi observed: "Hora means 'the correct moment'." Traditionally, they guarded the gates of Olympus, promoted the fertility of the earth, and rallied the stars and constellations. The course of the seasons was also symbolically described as the dance of the Horae, and they were accordingly given the attributes of spring flowers, fragrance and graceful freshness. For example, in Hesiod's "Works and Days, the fair-haired Horai, together with the "Charites and "Peitho crown "Pandora—she of "all gifts"—with garlands of flowers. Similarly Aphrodite, emerging from the sea and coming ashore at "Cyprus, is dressed and adorned by the Horai, and, according to a surviving fragment of the epic "Cypria, Aphrodite wore clothing made for her by the Charites and Horai, dyed with spring flowers, such as the Horai themselves wear.
Names and Numbers
The number of Horae varied according to different sources, but was most commonly three, either the trio of Thallo, Auxo and Carpo, who were goddesses of the order of nature; or Eunomia, Diké, and Eirene, who were law-and-order goddesses.
The earlier Argive Horae
In "Argos, two Horae, rather than three, were recognised presumably winter and summer: Auxesia (possibly another name for Auxo) and Damia (possibly another name for Carpo).
In late "euhemerist interpretations, they were seen as Cretan maidens who were worshipped as goddesses after they had been wrongfully stoned to death.
The classical Horae triads
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The earliest written mention of Horai is in the "Iliad where they appear as keepers of "Zeus's cloud gates. "Hardly any traces of that function are found in the subsequent tradition," "Karl Galinsky remarked in passing. They were daughters of "Zeus and "Themis, half-sisters to the "Moirai.
The Horai are mentioned in two aspects in "Hesiod and the "Homeric Hymns:
- in one variant emphasizing their fruitful aspect, Thallo, Auxo, and Carpo—the goddesses of the three seasons the Greeks recognized: spring, summer and autumn—were worshipped primarily amongst rural farmers throughout Greece;
- in the other variant, emphasising the "right order" aspect of the Horai, Hesiod says that Zeus wedded "bright "Themis" who bore Diké, Eunomia, and Eirene, who were law-and-order goddesses that maintained the stability of society; they were worshipped primarily in the cities of "Athens, "Argos and "Olympia.
Of the first, more familiar, triad associated with "Aphrodite and Zeus is their origins as emblems of times of life, growth (and the classical three seasons of year):
||Look up Thallo in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
- Thallo (Θαλλώ, literally "The one who brings blossoms"; or "Flora for Romans) or Thalatte was the goddess of "spring, buds and blooms, a protector of youth.
||Look up Auxo in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
- Auxo (Αὐξώ. "Increaser" as in plant growth) or Auxesia was worshipped (alongside "Hegemone) in "Athens as one of their two "Charites, Auxo was the Charis of spring and Hegemone was the Charis of autumn. One of the Horae, and the goddess and personification of the season of "summer; she is the protector of vegetation and plants, and growth and fertility.
||Look up Carpo in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
At Athens, two Horae; Thallo (the Hora of spring) and Carpo (the Hora of autumn), also appear in rites of "Attica noted by "Pausanias in the 2nd century AD. Thallo, Auxo and Carpo are often accompanied by "Chione, an "Aura; a daughter of "Boreas (the god/personification of the "North Wind) and "Orithyia/Oreithyia (originally a mortal princess, who was later "deifyied as a goddess of cold mountain winds), and the goddess/personification of "snow and "winter. Along with Chione, Thallo, Auxo and Carpo were a part of the entourage of the goddess of the turn of the seasons, "Persephone.
Allegory of peace and happiness of the state. In this picture we can see Dike (the justice), Eunomia (order) and, in the center, Eirene (the Peace)
Of the second triad associated to Themis and Zeus for law and order:
- "Diké (Δίκη, "Justice"; "Iustitia for Romans) was the goddess of moral justice: she ruled over human justice, as her mother "Themis ruled over divine justice. The "anthropomorphisation of Diké as an ever-young woman dwelling in the cities of men was so ancient and strong that in the 3rd century BCE "Aratus in "Phaenomena 96 asserted that she was born a mortal and that, though Zeus placed her on earth to keep mankind just, he quickly learned this was impossible and placed her next to him on Olympus, as the Greek astronomical/astrological constellation "The Maiden.
- "Eunomia (Εὐνομία, "Order", governance according to good laws) was the goddess of law and legislation. The same or a different goddess may have been a daughter of "Hermes and "Aphrodite.
- "Eirene or Irene (Εἰρήνη. "Peace"; the "Roman equivalent was "Pax), was the personification of peace and wealth, and was depicted in art as a beautiful young woman carrying a "cornucopia, "scepter and a torch or "rhyton.
"Hyginus (Fabulae 183) identifies a third set of Horae:
- "Pherusa (Substance, farm estates),
- "Euporie or Euporia (Abundance), and
- Orthosie or Orthosia (Prosperity).
The Four Seasons
"Nonnus in his "Dionysiaca mentions a distinct set of four Horae, the daughters of "Helios. "Quintus Smyrnaeus also attributes the Horae as the daughters of Helios and "Selene, and describes them as the four handmaidens of "Hera. The Greek words for the four seasons of year:
- Eiar (Spring),
- Theros (Summer),
- Phthinoporon (Autumn), and
- Cheimon (Winter).
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Finally, a quite separate suite of Horae personified the twelve hours (originally only ten), as tutelary goddesses of the times of day. The hours run from just before sunrise to just after sunset, thus winter hours are short, summer hours are long:
The nine Hours
According to "Hyginus, the list is only of nine, borrowed from the three classical triads alternated:
- Auco, or perhaps Auxo (Growth, from the 1st triad),
- Eunomia (Order, from the 2nd triad),
- Pherusa (Substance, from the 3rd triad),
- Carpo (Fruit, from the 1st triad),
- Diké (Justice, from the 2nd triad),
- Euporie or Euporia (Abundance, from the 3rd triad),
- Eirene or Irene (Peace, from the 2nd triad),
- Orthosie or Orthosia (Prosperity, from the 3rd triad) and
- Thallo (Flora, from the 1st triad).
The ten or twelve Hours
This last distinct set of ten or twelve Hours is much less known:
- Auge, first light (initially not part of the set),
- Anatolê or Anatolia, sunrise,
- Mousikê or Musica, the morning hour of music and study,
- Gymnastikê, Gymnastica or Gymnasia, the morning hour of education, training, gymnastics/exercise,
- "Nymphê or Nympha, the morning hour of ablutions (bathing, washing),
- Mesembria, noon,
- Sponde, "libations poured after lunch,
- Elete, prayer, the first of the afternoon work hours,
- Aktê, Acte or Cypris, eating and pleasure, the second of the afternoon work hours,
- "Hesperis, end of the afternoon work hours, start of evening,
- Dysis, sunset,
- Arktos or Arctus, night sky, constellation (initially not part of the set).
- ^ References to the Horai in classical sources are credited in Karl Kerenyi's synthesis of all the mythology, The Gods of the Greeks 1951, pp 101f and passim (index, "Horai")
- ^ Works and Days lines 74-75.
- ^ "Homeric Hymn 6.5-13.
- ^ Cypria, fr. 4.
- ^ Iliad 5. 749-51.
- ^ Karl Galinsky, "Venus, Polysemy, and the Ara Pacis Augustae" American Journal of Archaeology 96.3 (July 1992:457-475) p. 459.
- ^ G.M.A. Hanfmann, The Seasons Sarcophagus at Dumbarton Oaks (Cambridge, Massachusetts) 1951; V. Machaira, in "Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae 5.1 (1990), p 502f.
- ^ Pausanias, 9.35.2. Compare "Hyginus, Fabula 183.
- ^ Hammond, "SELENE", pp. 970–971; Quintus Smyrnaeus, 10.336 ff. pp. 442–443
- ^ Hyginus Fabulae 183.