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Trail: TheGraeae


Mythology FataleVrouwenThe three “old women” or “gray ones” from Greek mythology. They are the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, sisters and guardians of the Gorgons. They were gray-haired from birth and have only one eye and one tooth, which they share among them. They are Enyo (“horror”), Deino (“dread”) and Pemphredo (“alarm”).

THE GRAIAI were DAIMONES who personified the white foam of the sea. They were born old but became older and older as time went on, so that they have remaining to them only one eye and one tooth, which they took turns in using.

The Graiai were usually depicted as old crones but were sometimes imagined as Seiren-shaped with the head and arms of an old woman and the body of a swan.
[1.1] PHORKYS & KETO (Hesiod Theogony 270, Apollodorus 1.10, Hyginus Preface)
[1.2] PHORKYS (Aeschylus Prometheus Bound 795, Pindar Pythian Ode, Ovid Metamorphoses 4.772, Nonnus Dionysiaca 25.64)
[1.1] PEMPHREDO, ENYO (Hesiod Theogony 270)
[1.2] PEPHREDO, ENYO, DEINO (Apollodorus 1.10)
[1.3] PEMPHREDO, ENYO, DINO or PERSIS (Hyginus Preface)

“And to Phorkys Keto bore the Graiai, with fair faces and gray from birth, and these the gods who are immortal and men who walk on the earth call Graiai, the gray sisters, Pemphredo robed in beauty and Enyo robed in saffron.” - Hesiod, Theogony 270

“He [Perseus] had made blind the grim offspring of Phorkys.” - Pindar, Odes Pythian 12

“[Prometheus to Io:] When you have crossed the stream that bounds two continents press on, over the surge of the sea, toward the east where the sun stalks in flame, to the Gorgonean land, Kisthene. There live Phorkys’ aged virgin daughters, in shape like swans, possessing one eye and one tooth between the three; beings on whom no ray of sun ever looks down, nor moon at night. And close to them their three winged sisters .. the snake-haired Gorgones.” - Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 791

“Phorkys and Keto had the Phorkides and the Gorgones.” - Apollodorus, The Library 1.10

“So with Hermes and Athene as his guides Perseus sought out the daughters of Phorkys, who were named Enyo, Pephredo, and Deino. These daughters of Phorkys and Keto, sisters of the Gorgones, were old women from their birth. The three of them possessed only one eye and one tooth among them, which they took turns using. Perseus appropriated these, and when they demanded them back, he said he would return them after they had directed him to the nymphs .. When the daughters of Phorkys had led Perseus to the nymphs, he returned them their tooth and eye.” - Apollodorus, The Library 2.37-39

“He [Perseus] that stole the lamp [eye] of his three wandering guides [the Graia].” - Lycophron, Alexandra 840

“From Phorcus and Ceto: Phorcides Pemphredo, Enyo and Persis (for this last others say Dino). “ - Hyginus, Preface

“As Aeschylus, the writer of tragedies, says in his Phorcides, the Graeae were guardians of the Gorgones. We wrote about them in the first book of the Genealogiae. They are thought to have had but one eye among them ,and thus to have kept guard, watch one taking it in her turn. This eye Perseus snatches, as one was passing it to another, and threw is in Lake Tritonis. So, when the guards were blinded, he easily killed the Gorgon when she was overcome with sleep.” - Hyginus, Astronomica 2.12