Gelos (mythology)

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In Greek mythology, Gelos (/ˈɡɛls, -ɒs/; Ancient Greek: Γέλως) was 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 of Lemnos, Eikones 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.