Thursday, April 7

F is for Furies

The Furies, or Dirae, are part of Roman mythology. In Greek mythology, they're called Erinnýes ("the angry ones") or Eumenídes ("the Kindly Ones"). They're the embodiments of vengeance. One description of their existence is that they came from the blood of Caelus (Greek: Uranus) when it fell upon Terra Mater (Gaia) due to Saturn (Cronus) castrating him. Another variation is that they were born from the primordial goddess of night, Nox (Nyx).

While typically thought of as three sisters, according to mythology, the real number of them are unknown. Virgil, the classical Roman poet, was first to recognize the three known Furies. Their names are Alecto (which means "unceasing"), Megaera ("grudging"), and Tisiphone ("avenging murder"). They tend to appear as women with serpent wreathes on their heads, blood running from their eyes and the wings of a bat or bird. And occasionally even the body of a dog.

When they're not pursuing wrongdoers on Earth, the Furies are thought to spend most of their time in Tartarus, which is in the underworld below Hades, torturing damned souls.
'Orestes Pursued by the Furies' (1921) by John Singer Sargent
Interesting Tidbits:
  • On a rare few occasions, they would be called to punish a god, but mostly, they sought justice on mortals who broke laws such as murdering kin or breaking oaths.
  • A common Greek story featuring the Furies is "Eumenides" by Aeschylus. The Furies torment Orestes until he begs the goddess Athena to convince the Furies to leave him alone.
  • The Furies are known to be just, so if one repents, they will stop tormenting the person and sometimes bestow upon them blessings.
Good links to check out for more information:
What are your thoughts on the Furies? Have you experienced any books, movies, or games with them in it?


  1. The first time I ever heard of a fury was in Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan. Nice to know a little more about them. I've perused your other A-Z posts as well. Nice blog. Your name sounds vaguely finish in origin. Is it?

  2. I quite like the Furies. Strong, powerful woman... yay!

  3. I love the character of the Furies - feisty and fiendish too.
    I bet your character research picture really helps with your concentration ;)

  4. We need more Furies in our fiction. I love the idea that sometimes they punished Gods - does that mean they were stronger? Or could things go horribly wrong for them?

  5. Great post. I always liked the storie about the furies. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.

  6. This is interesting stuff. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I'm your newest follower.

  7. This is great Sarah. The Furies indeed. Great to learn more.

    Thanks for telling me a bit more about Finland.


  8. Thanks for the comments everyone! I really appreciate them.

    Kari, I've been wanting to see that movie on Netflix. Thank you for the compliment! Yep, my last name is Finnish. That's really cool that you noticed. My husband is from Finland.

    Talli, me too! =)

    Elaine, LOL! Yeah, I love the Furies too. It's great seeing them as pursuers of justice.

    Jamaica, thank you!

    Elizabeth, I agree. There should be more Furies in fiction. About the gods... well, they were born from the primordial god Uranus, who fathered the Titans, various giants, and Aphrodite, so I assume they're pretty tough. I'm not sure if they're stronger than the other gods though.

    Murees, thanks for the compliment!

    Catherine, you're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the follow! =)

    L'Aussie, thanks! I love to learn more too.

  9. Hi Sarah .. thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hi .. good to meet you.

    I think I need to come by more often to learn more about these myths and legends .. interesting A - Z set of posts ..

    Thanks - Hilary

  10. Sarah - My mom's maiden name is Rajala and my dad's last name is Kyllonen. Both my parents speak fluent Finnish (of course no one ever bothered to teach me).

  11. Hi Hilary, you're welcome! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well. I'm glad you're enjoying my posts. =)

    Kari, that's really cool! Thanks for sharing. I'm in the process of learning Finnish. I'm not that great at it, but hopefully I'll get to somewhat fluent one of these days.

  12. If you could e-mail me with a few suggestions on just how you made your blog look this excellent, I would be grateful.


Thanks for stopping by! I love getting new comments, and I hope to see yours soon.

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