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Personification of Mercy and compassion
Personal information
ParentsNyx and Erebus[1]
SiblingsMoros, Keres, Thanatos, Hypnos, Oneiroi, Momus, Oizys, Hesperides, Moirai, Nemesis, Apate, Geras, Eris, Philotes, Styx, Dolos, Ponos, Euphrosyne, Epiphron, Continentia, Petulantia, Pertinacia
Roman equivalentClementia, Misericordia

In ancient Athens, Eleos (Ancient Greek Ἔλεος m.) or Elea was the personification of mercy, clemency, compassion and pity – the counterpart of the Roman goddess Clementia. Pausanias described her as "among all the gods the most useful to human life in all its vicissitudes."[2]


Eleos was the daughter of the primordial gods, Nyx (Night) and Erebus (Darkness)[3].

"From Nox/ Nyx (Night) and Erebus [were born]: Fatum/ Moros (Fate), Senectus/ Geras (Old Age), Mors/ Thanatos (Death), Letum (Dissolution), Continentia (Moderation), Somnus/ Hypnos (Sleep), Somnia/ Oneiroi (Dreams), Amor (Love)--that is Lysimeles, Epiphron (Prudence), Porphyrion, Epaphus, Discordia/ Eris (Discord), Miseria/ Oizys (Misery), Petulantia/ Hybris (Wantonness), Nemesis (Envy), Euphrosyne (Good Cheer), Amicitia/ Philotes (Friendship), Misericordia/ Eleos (Compassion), Styx (Hatred); the three Parcae/ Moirai (Fates), namely Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos; the Hesperides."[3]


Pausanias states that there was an altar in Athens dedicated to Eleos,[4][2] at which children of Heracles sought refuge from Eurystheus' prosecution.[5][failed verification] Adrastus also came to this altar after the defeat of the Seven against Thebes, praying that those who died in the battle be buried.[citation needed] Eleos was only recognized in Athens, where she was honored by the cutting of hair and the undressing of garments at the altar.[6][7]

Statius in Thebaid (1st century) describes the altar to Clementia in Athens (treating Eleos as feminine based on the grammatical gender in Latin): "There was in the midst of the city [of Athens] an altar belonging to no god of power; gentle Clementia (Clemency) [Eleos] had there her seat, and the wretched made it sacred".[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
  2. ^ a b Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Cited in "Eleos". Theoi Project. Aaron J. Atsma.
  3. ^ a b Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
  4. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.17.1
  5. ^ Apollodorus, 2.8.1
  6. ^ Patricia Monaghan, PhD (2014). Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. p. 238. ISBN 9781608682188. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  7. ^ Scholia to Sophocles's Oedipus at Colonus, 258