Eris (mythology)

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Eris (ca. 520 BC)
Greek deities
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Eris (Greek Έρις, "Strife") is the Greek goddess of strife and Discordian goddess of chaos, her name being translated into Latin as Discordia. Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia. Eris, the solar system's largest known dwarf planet, is named after the goddess (the formal name is "(136199) Eris").


[edit] Characteristics in Greek mythology

In Hesiod's Works and Days 11–24, two different goddesses named Eris 'Strife' are distinguished:

So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature.
For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honour due.
But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night (Nyx), and the son of Cronus who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbour vies with his neighbour as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men. And potter is angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel.

In Hesiod's Theogony (226–232) Strife the daughter of Night is less kindly spoken of as she brings forth other personifications as her children:

But abhorred Eris ('Strife') bare painful Ponos ('Toil/Labor'), Lethe ('Forgetfulness') and Limos ('Famine') and tearful Algea (Pains/Sorrows), Hysminai ('Fightings/Combats') also, Malchai ('Battles'), Phonoi ('Murders/Slaughterings'), Androctasiai ('Manslaughters'), Neikea ('Quarrels'), Pseudea ('Lies/Falsehoods'), Amphillogiai ('Disputes'), Dysnomia ('Lawlessness') and Ate ('Ruin/Folly'), all of one nature, and Horkos ('Oath') who most troubles men upon earth when anyone wilfully swears a false oath.

The other Strife is presumably she who appears in Homer's Iliad Book 4 as sister of Ares and so presumably daughter of Zeus and Hera:

Strife whose wrath is relentless, she is the sister and companion of murderous Ares, she who is only a little thing at the first, but thereafter grows until she strides on the earth with her head striking heaven. She then hurled down bitterness equally between both sides as she walked through the onslaught making men's pain heavier. She also has a son whom she named Strife.

Zeus sends her to rouse the Achaeans in Book 11 of the same work.

The most famous tale of Eris ('Strife') recounts her initiating the Trojan War. The goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite had been invited along with the rest of Olympus to the forced wedding of Peleus and Thetis, who would become the parents of Achilles, but Eris had been snubbed because of her troublemaking inclinations.

She therefore (in a fragment from the Kypria as part of a plan hatched by Zeus and Themis) tossed into the party the Apple of Discord, a golden apple inscribed Kallisti – "For the most beautiful one", or "To the Prettiest One" – provoking the goddesses to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient. The hapless Paris, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the most beautiful. Each of the three goddesses immediately attempted to bribe Paris to choose her. Hera offered political power; Athena promised skill in battle; and Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite, thereby dooming his city, which was destroyed in the war that ensued.

In Nonnus' Dionysiaca, 2.356, when Typhon prepares to battle with Zeus:

Eris ('Strife') was Typhon's escort in the melée, Nike ('Victory') led Zeus to battle.

[edit] Eris in Discordianism

Eris has been adopted as the matron deity of the modern Discordian religion, which was begun in the late 1950s by Gregory Hill and Kerry Thornley. In the process, however, she has lightened up considerably in comparison to the rather malevolent Graeco-Roman original. A quote from the Principia Discordia, the first holy book of Discordianism, attempts to clear this up:

One day Mal-2 consulted his Pineal Gland and asked Eris if She really created all of those terrible things. She told him that She had always liked the Old Greeks, but that they cannot be trusted with historic matters. "They were," She added, "victims of indigestion, you know."<ref></ref>

The story of Eris being snubbed and indirectly starting the Trojan War is recorded in the Principia, and is referred to as the Original Snub.

The Principia Discordia states that her parents may be as described in Greek legend, or that she may be the daughter of Void. She is the Goddess of Disorder and Being, whereas her sister Aneris (called the equivalent of Harmonia by the Mythics of Harmonia) is the goddess of Order and Non-Being. Their brother is Spirituality.<ref></ref>

[edit] Eris in popular culture

Eris as depicted in the Wonder Woman comic

Image: <ref>gabm-48.jpg</ref>

  • The concept of Eris as developed by the Principia Discordia is used and expanded upon in the science fiction work The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (in which characters from Principia Discordia appear). In this work, Eris is a major character in the book, taking the form of virtually every other female character who appears before her true nature is revealed in the final volume.
  • Eris is the name of one of the clothing brands in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The icon on the shirts looks like the discordian symbol for eris, which is an arrow pointing in every direction, though in this game it is also styled to look like the letter E up against its mirror image.
  • In Maciek Kur's book Stowarzyszenie Umarłych dusz czyli traumo-pocieszne przygody Znicza Deathsoul Eris appears in the last chapter. She spoke in limericks, wore a top hat, dressed in pink, and had a golden cane with an end shaped like an apple. She fed on humans negative emotions and her powers depended on negative emotions from the humans around her. She also had a sadistic disorder and a lame leg. In the story Eris tricks a heroin Justyna into becoming her new friend by acting very nice and polite in order to get her addicted on the golden apples from the three of the Hesperides (the apells had a drug-like effect on people).

In the book it was told Eris was once a good goddess very loved by humans. She used her powers to bring back Themis Saigth back but at some point here spell stopped working after some time and it was inposible to make it work agian. The other gods thought she did it on purpose and threw her out of the Olympus. They spread rumors about Eris being evil so humans would hate her. Apparently this event drove Eris insane and she ended up becoming truly evil.

[edit] Discordia in popular culture

  • Discordia is frequently referenced in the latter volumes of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, appearing in the story primarily as an abstract ideal rather than being personified as an actual character.

[edit] References


[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Eris (mythology)

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