The Horai, Greek goddesses of the seasons

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Horae Serenae.  Sir. E. J. Poynter.

In Greek mythology the goddesses of the hours, seasons and the order of nature, Daughters of Zeus and Themis they represent justice and orderliness in nature, and guarded the gates of Olympus as handmaidens of Hera. Their names were Dike or ‘Justice’, Eirene or ‘Peace’, and Eunomia or ‘Good Order’. According to Hesiod the Horae consisted of Acme as ‘Time and Order’, Eunomia was ‘Justice’, and Eirene was ‘Peace’. Additionally the first generation of the Horae were Thallo or Thalette, Auxo or Auxesia, and Carpo. According to Pausanias they were called Eunomia or ‘Good Order’, Dike or ‘Justice’, and Eirene for ‘Peace’.

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Statue of Eirene.

The first generation of the Horae, latinised as Horae, were the goddesses of the seasons and nature. Auxo meant ‘increaser’ as in plant growth and thus the goddess of growth and worshipped alongside Hegemone in Athens as one of their two Charites. Thallo the ‘one who brings blossoms’ was the goddess of spring, buds and blooms. who became the protector of youth. Carpo or Carpho and also Xarpo, was translated as the ‘one who brings food’ as well as ‘ripening’. Karpos in Greek means ‘crop’ or ‘fruit’. Carpo was in charge of autumn, ripening and harvesting. She was also an attendant of Persephone, Aphrodite and Hera, as well as associated with Dionysus, Pan, and Apollo. Commonly associated with the Graces or Charities and Demeter the ‘bringer of seasons’, as well as linked with the birth, upbringing, and marriage of gods and heroes.

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Statue of Dike.

The Horae were regarded as beneficent goddesses of the weather and donors of the spring and autumn season. The second generation were worshipped mainly in Athens and Argos being Eunomia, Eirene and Dike, and were the law and order goddesses. A third generation of the Horae was recognised by other ancient authors. They were Pherusa or Pherousa the goddess of farm extates, plus Euporie or Euporia the goddess of abundance, as well as Orthosie the goddess of prosperity. The Argive Horae were Damia and Auxesia and presumed to be summer and winter.  The seasonal Horae were often depicted as beautiful young women surrounded by vegetation and flowers and other fertility symbols.

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