Personification of Old age
|Parents||Nyx and Erebus|
|Siblings||Moros, Keres, Thanatos, Hypnos, Oneiroi, Oizys, Hesperides, Moirai, Nemesis, Apate, Philotes, Momus, Eris, Styx, Dolos, Ponos, Euphrosyne, Epiphron, Continentia, Petulantia, Misericordia, Pertinacia|
In Greek mythology, Geras // (Ancient Greek: Γῆρας, romanized: Gễras), also written Gēras, was the god of old age. He was depicted as a tiny, shriveled old man. Gēras's opposite was Hebe, the goddess of youth. His Roman equivalent was Senectus. He is known primarily from vase depictions that show him with the hero Heracles; the mythic story that inspired these depictions has been lost.
And Nyx (Night) bore hateful Moros (Doom) and black Ker (Violent Death) and Thanatos (Death), and she bore Hypnos (Sleep) and the tribe of Oneiroi (Dreams). And again the goddess murky Night, though she lay with none, bare Momos (Blame) and painful Oizys (Misery) and the Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Ocean. Also she bore the Moirai (Destinies) and ruthless avenging Keres (Death Fates), Clotho and Lachesis and Atropos, who give men at their birth both evil and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods: and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bore Nemesis (Indignation) to afflict mortal men, and after her, Apate (Deceit) and Philotes (Friendship) and hateful Geras (Age) and hard-hearted Eris (Strife).
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.
Their [Aether and Hemera's] brothers and sisters, whom the ancient genealogists name Amor/Eros (Love), Dolus (Guile), Metus/Deimos (Fear), Labor/Ponus (Toil), Invidentia/Nemesis (Envy), Fatum/Moros (Fate), Senectus/Geras (Old Age), Mors/Thanatos (Death), Tenebrae/Keres (Darkness), Miseria/Oizys (Misery), Querella/Momus (Complaint), Gratia/Philotes (Favour), Fraus/Apate (Fraud), Pertinacia (Obstinacy), the Parcae/Moirai (Fates), the Hesperides, the Somnia/Oneiroi (Dreams): all of these are fabled to be the children of Erebus (Darkness) and Nox/Nyx (Night).
Geras as embodied in humans represented a virtue: the more gēras a man acquired, the more kleos (fame) and arete (excellence and courage) he was considered to have. In ancient Greek literature, the related word géras (γέρας) can also carry the meaning of influence, authority or power; especially that derived from fame, good looks and strength claimed through success in battle or contest. Such uses of this meaning can be found in Homer's Odyssey, throughout which there is an evident concern from the various kings about the géras they will pass to their sons through their names. The concern is significant because kings at this time (such as Odysseus) are believed to have ruled by common assent in recognition of their powerful influence, rather than hereditarily. The Greek word γῆρας (gĕras) means "old age" or in some other literature "dead skin" or "slough of a snake"; this word is the root of English words such as "geriatric".
- Hesiod, Theogony 225
- Hyginus, Fabulae Preface; Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3.17
- Hesiod, Theogony 225
- Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
- Hesiod, Theogony 211–255
- Hyginus, Fabulae Preface
- Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3.17
- "The Internet Classics Archive | The Odyssey by Homer". classics.mit.edu. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
- For an example of this, see Homer, The Odyssey, 24.33-34
- Thomas, C. G. (1966). "The Roots of Homeric Kingship". Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte. 15 (4): 387–407. ISSN 0018-2311. JSTOR 4434948.
- "Definition of GERIATRIC". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
- Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Hesiod, Theogony from The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Nature of the Gods from the Treatises of M.T. Cicero translated by Charles Duke Yonge (1812-1891), Bohn edition of 1878. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Natura Deorum. O. Plasberg. Leipzig. Teubner. 1917. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.