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Personification of Envy and Jealousy
Armento vase painting 375-350 BC
Roman equivalentInvidia

In Greek mythology, Phthonos (/ˈθnəs/; Ancient Greek: Φθόνος Phthónos), or sometimes Zelus, was the personification of jealousy and envy,[1] most prominently in matters of romance. In Nonnus's Dionysiaca, he is by proxy the cause of Semele's death, having informed Hera of Zeus's affair with the princess. He also appears in Callimachus's Hymn to Apollo, goading the god into an argument.[2][3]

His female counterpart was Nemesis, personification of revenge. In contrast to Phthonus’ domain being closely tied to romantic and sexual jealousy, Nemesis was more closely related to violent retribution.[2]

According to Irenaeus, Gnostics believed that the first angel and Authadia conceived the children Kakia (wickedness), Zelos (emulation), Phthonus (envy), Erinnys (fury), and Epithymia (lust).[4]


  1. ^ Accorinti, Domenico (11 March 2016). Brill’s Companion to Nonnus of Panopolis. doi:10.1163/9789004310698_009. Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Phthonus". Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  3. ^ "PHTONOS". Theoi Project. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  4. ^ Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Sacred-Texts.