Honest Myth:Greek- Iris

P21.6BIrisIris is the Greek Goddess of the rainbow and one of the messengers of the gods. Her name means both messenger and rainbow. She has also been said to be the Goddess of new efforts and opportunities.

She is shown to be a young, often virgin, maiden with iridescent wings. She carries a winged staff, like Hermes, and an ewer of water from the Styx River which she uses to put those to sleep who attempt lying to themselves.

She is the daughter of Thaumas, the previous of God of the sea before Poseidon over threw him, and Electra a cloud nymph. Her twin sister includes Arke, messenger goddess of the Titans, whom became her enemy during the battle between the Titans and the GOds, and her sisters are Aello, Celaeno, and Ocypete, the Harpies. Her brother is Hydaspes the God of an River in India called Hydapes (Jhelum River). She is the wife of Zephyrus, the God of the Mild West Wind. Her son is sometimes said to be Pothos, one of the Erotes previously mentioned. She was said to have had a lover in Morpheus, but since he was the busiest of Gods, he did not take a wife.

Her role is very similar to Hermes, the other messenger God, but Hermes is usually seen as the messenger between gods while Iris is between man and Gods. She rides the rainbow down to earth connecting man to the heavens. She is also shown to be the personal messenger and handmaiden to Hera.

Since her mother is a cloud nymph and her father is a sea god, she is often connected as a Goddess of both sea and sky who replenishes the rain in the clouds. Her rainbow strengthens that connection, since it comes from the sky and leads into the water.

In one myth, the Argonauts became violent against the Harpies, who they feared would hurt the blind prophet Phineas. Iris was sent by Zeus to warn the Argonauts not to harm them, and she convinced the Harpies to leave the seer alone.

During the Trojan War, she was the messenger between the Gods and the men in battle. She also aided a wounded Aphordite into Ares chariot before carrying her back to Olympus during the war. In the Aeneid, Iris took the form of Queen Dido and convinced the Trojan mothers to burn the ship of Aeneas to prevent them from leaving.

Her sister’s, Arke, wings were torn from her back as punishment for aiding the Titans. Zeus then gave those wings to Thitis, during her wedding, who then gave it to her son Achilles. Her wore the wings on his feet.

Learn more here: http://www.goddess-guide.com/iris.html

 

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