The Horae — Goddesses of the Seasons and the Orderly Progression of Things in General

The Role of the Horae in Ancient Greek Art and Culture

The name ‘Horae’ comes from the Indo-European root: ‘1. ei-‘, ‘to go, exit’ and is related this way to the words ‘hour’ and ‘year’.

“Next he (Zeus) married bright Themis who bore the Horae (Hours), and Eunomia (Order), Dikë (Justice), and blooming Eirene (Peace), who mind the works of mortal men,” Hes. Th. 901

“…and self-bidden groaned upon their hinges the gates of heaven which the Hours had in their keeping, [750] to whom are entrusted great heaven and Olympus, whether to throw open the thick cloud or shut it to.” Hom. Il. 5.711

The Horae
The Horae, Eirene, Eunomia, and Dike.

The ancient Greeks recognized only three seasons. This is evident from Aristophanes, Birds line 709: “First of all, they mark the seasons for them, springtime, winter, and autumn.”

  • ὀπώρα — the part of the year between the rising of Sirius and of Arcturus.
  • χειμών — winter
  • ἔαρ — spring

The ancient Greeks identified the regularity of the seasons of the year with the regularity of law, social order, and peace.

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