Eunomia (Greek: Εὐνομία, "good order - governance according to good laws") was a minor Greek goddess of law and legislation, as well as the spring-time goddess of green pastures (nomia in Greek), and by most accounts the daughter of Themis and Zeus. Her opposite number was Dysnomia (Lawlessness).
Eunomia was the goddess of law and legislation and one of the Second Generation of the Horae along with her sisters Dikē and Eirene. The Horae were law and order goddesses who maintained the stability of society, and were worshipped primarily in the cities of Athens, Argos and Olympia. From Pindar:
Eunomia and that unsullied fountain Dikē, her sister, sure support of cities; and Eirene of the same kin, who are the stewards of wealth for mankind — three glorious daughters of wise-counselled Themis.
Eunomia's name, together with that of her sisters, formed a Hendiatris Good Order, Justice, and Peace.
She was frequently depicted in Athenian vase painting amongst the companions of Aphrodite, and in this sense represented the lawful or obedient behavior of women in marriage. As such she was identified with Eurynome, mother of the Charites (Graces).
In the polis of Sparta, Eunomia was the idea of balance between the Spartiates (high class of Laconia), the Perioikoi (surrounding territories) and the Helots, who were the slave class of citizens for the Spartiates and Perioikoi. The Spartiates and Perioikoi were the only ones who fully believed in Eunomia among them. It was common practice for the children who had finished their military training in Laconia to go on scavenger hunts where they would pillage the town of the Helots as a test of their manliness. The Helots were permitted to defend themselves from the raids, including killing any children who tried to pillage their town. But the Helots were still inferior to the Spartiates as they would engage in terroristic acts such a burning the villages of the Helots, stealing any personal belongings they wanted, and raping the women.
- Grimal, Pierre, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Wiley-Blackwell, 1996, ISBN 978-0-631-20102-1. "Horae" p. 217
- Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, London (1873). "Horae"
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