Gelos (mythology)

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In Greek mythology, Gelos /ˈɡɛls, -ɒs/ (Γέλως) is the divine personification of laughter. According to Philostratus the Elder, he was believed to enter the retinue of Dionysus alongside Comus.[1] Plutarch relates that Lycurgus of Sparta dedicated a small statue of Gelos to the god,[2] and elsewhere, mentions that in Sparta there was a sanctuary of Gelos, as well as those of Thanatos, Phobos "and other [personifications of] experiences of this kind".[3]

Risus was the Latin rendition of the name Gelos. A festival in honor of Risus (i. e. Gelos) in Thessaly was described by Apuleius,[4] but it is unknown whether it was an actual event or writer's invention.


  1. ^ Philostratus the Elder, Images, 1. 25
  2. ^ Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus, 25. 2, referring to Sosibius
  3. ^ Plutarch, Life of Cleomenes, 9. 1
  4. ^ Apuleius, The Golden Ass 2. 31, 3. 2 & 3. 11 ff