For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have chosen the Greek goddess Eris. She was the goddess of chaos, and was known to cause discord wherever she went. Eris had the Roman name of Discorda, and was closely identified with the war-goddess Enyo (Homer even used the names interchangeably). In some versions of the myths Erebus and Nyx were her parents (the king and queen of the darkest night), and in others she was a daughter of Zeus and Hera (a sister to war-god Ares). Her most iconic contribution to the Greek myths was that she threw the golden apple of discord down, claiming it to be for the fairest of the goddesses. As we will see this is what would lead to the events of the Trojan War!
Eris was the goddess who was seen as the literal personification of strife! She took glee in spreading discord everywhere she went. Eris is most often depicted as haunting the battlefield taking pleasure in the chaos of war. It was this very disagreeable nature that kept her from being invited to the wedding of Peleus to Thetis.
She took great insult at being the only goddess not invited, and decided to crash the wedding. It was here that she threw down the golden apple and stated that it was a gift for the fairest goddess of all. This would lead to Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera all attempting to claim the apple as their own! As all three goddesses began to fight over who was truly the most beautiful, and deserving, Zeus decided to choose a mortal to make the judgement. Paris, prince of Troy, would be chosen as the judge!
Each of the goddesses who were vying for the title of fairest offered up things to tempt the young prince with. It would be Aphrodite who offered something Paris could never resist. She offered him the love of the most beautiful woman in the whole world. This woman happened to be Helen, wife of Menelaus. We know her today as Helen of Troy “the face that launched a thousand ships.”
So the apple that was thrown by Eris, led to the Judgement of Paris, which led to Helen of Troy running away with him. It was literally Eris who caused the Trojan War! There were many deaths that were caused by the wars that had been brought forth by this chaotic figure. In my opinion that made her the perfect choice to feature on Femme Fatale Friday, as she truly did cause many a death! She had a son whom she named Strife, and he accompanied her and Ares when they went to war. Her existence was always to start trouble wherever she went! This made her a figure that was most usually loathed by even the other badly behaved deities in the Greek world.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief post about the Greek goddess Eris! Thank you for joining me for Femme Fatale Friday here at White Rose of Avalon, and please join me again next week. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Eris with the apple of discord. I found the image on camp-halfblood-fanon.fandom.com.
- The Illiad by Homer
- Mythology by Edith Hamilton
- Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch