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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.[citation needed] Pausanias described her as "among all the gods the most useful to human life in all its vicissitudes."[1]


Pausanias states that there was an altar in Athens dedicated to Eleos,[2][1] at which children of Heracles sought refuge from Eurystheus' prosecution.[3][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.[4][5]

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".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Cited in "Eleos". Theoi Project. Aaron J. Atsma.
  2. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.17.1
  3. ^ Apollodorus, 2.8.1
  4. ^ Patricia Monaghan, PhD (2014). Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. p. 238. ISBN 9781608682188. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  5. ^ Scholia to Sophocles's Oedipus at Colonus, 258
  6. ^ Statius. Thebaid, 12.481. Retrieved 2024-03-07.