Goddess Groups: The Graces

While the Greeks typically regarded and approached their gods as individuals, there were some who could also be addressed in the aggregate–as a group. One such group was the Graces, or Charites/Kharites.

As a group, the goddesses are concerned with many of the delightful and pleasant things in life: beauty, feasts and festivals, parties and celebrations. The Graces are daughters (according to Hesiod and other sources) of Zeus and the sea nymph Eurynome; they are companions of Aphrodite. The goddesses are name Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thaleia/Thalia (not to be confused with the similarly-named Muse of comedy).

Aglaia, goddess of beauty, is the youngest of the three sisters. In myth she is known as the wife of the blacksmith-god Hephaistos (Hephaestus), and the mother of four goddesses known as the “younger Graces”: Euthenia, Eukleia, Eupheme and Philophrosyne.

Euphrosyne is the goddess of joy, laughter and good cheer.

Thaleia is concerned with festivals and feasts, rich entertainments and banquets.

The image of the Three Graces is still well known, even by those who are unfamiliar with the goddesses themselves–three maidens, dancing together in a ring, arm in arm, naked or clad only in light drapery, often in an outdoor setting.

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