Eirene (Irene) / Ειρήνη

Statue of Eirene with the infant Ploutos: Roman marble copy of bronze votive statue by Cephisodotus the Elder, now in the Glyptothek, Munich

Eirene (/aɪˈriːni/; Greek: Εἰρήνη, Eirēnē, [eːrɛ́ːnɛː], lit. "Peace"), more commonly known in English as Peace, was one of the Horae, the personification of peace. She was depicted in art as a beautiful young woman carrying a cornucopia, sceptre, and a torch or rhyton. She is said sometimes to be the daughter of Zeus and Themis. Her Roman equivalent was Pax.

She was particularly well regarded by the citizens of Athens. After a naval victory over Sparta in 375 BC, the Athenians established a cult for Peace, erecting altars to her. They held an annual state sacrifice to her after 371 BC to commemorate the Common Peace of that year and set up a votive statue in her honour in the Agora of Athens. The statue was executed in bronze by Cephisodotus the Elder, likely the father or uncle of the famous sculptor Praxiteles. It was acclaimed by the Athenians, who depicted it on vases and coins.

Although the statue is now lost, it was copied in marble by the Romans; one of the best surviving copies (right) is in the Munich Glyptothek. It depicts the goddess carrying a child with her left arm – Plutus, the god of plenty and son of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.

In Aristophanes' comedy called Peace, Trygaeus, a citizen of Athens, flies on a giant dung beetle to the house of the gods in heavens, because he wants to plead with them to restore peace on earth. There, he only finds Hermes, who tells him that the other gods are sick of war and of the prayers of the mortals and just went away. Only Polemos (War) lives there now. He imprisoned Peace in a cavern and we wants to grind all Greeks to paste, in a giant mortar.

When War goes looking for an adequate pestle, Trygaeus calls all Greeks to come and free Peace. All kind of Greeks, from many city-states, come to the rescue. Those who work most are the farmers, because they are those who appreciate Peace more.

In the end, Eirene/Peace is freed, but she does not want to speak to the Greeks: she is angry with them because they made her suffer. She whispers in Hermes' ear that she offered Greeks truces, many times, but they all spoke in the assembly against her and in favour of War. Trygaeus apologizes for all his countrymen.

When he returns on earth, Trygaeus prepares a sacrifice for Eirene Greek goddess of peace, but a slave tells him not to kill the lamb on the goddess' altar, because she hates to see blood.

The Chorus sings about how nice it is to spend winter afternoons with friends, in front of the fire and enjoying the good life in times of peace, as opposed to having to do the regimental drill in times of war.

Now, that Eirene came back to Greece, the businesses of the sickle maker and of the jar makers flourish again, while those who make weapons and war equipment should reconvert their object: Trygaeus suggests that spears should be turned into vine poles, helmet crests should be used as dusters and breastplates as chamber pots!

Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"But they who give straight judgements [i.e. those who invoke the goddess Dike (Justice)] to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit."

Homer's Epigrams 15 (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Open of yourselves, you doors, for mightly Ploutos (Plutus, Wealth) will enter in, and with Ploutos comes jolly Euphrosyne (Mirth) and gentle Eirene (Irene, Peace)."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 4. 16 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"And with a heart unsullied labours for Eirene (Irene, Peace), the city's friend."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 13. 6 ff :
"Here [in this city] dwells Eunomia (Good Governance) and that unsullied fountain Dike (Justice), her sister, sure support of cities; and Eirene (Irene, Peace) of the same kin, who are the stewards of wealth for mankind--three glorious daughters of wise-counselled Themis.
Far from their path they hold proud Hybris (Insolence), fierce-hearted mother of full-fed Koros (Corus, Disdain) . . . But to you sons of Aletes, how often the Horai (Horae) [i.e. Eunomia, Dike and Eirene], decked in their wreaths, have given the glory of the victor's triumph for supreme valour in the sacred games."

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 101 (from Stobaeus, Anthology) (trans. Campbell) (Greek lyric B.C.) :
"Listen, Moirai (Moirae, Fates) ... hear our prayers ... send us rose-bloomed Eunomia (Good Order) and her bright-throned sisters Dike (Justice) and garland-wearing Eirana (Eirene, Peace), and make this city forget its heavy-hearted misfortunes."

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragment 1021 (from Theogorus the Metochite, Miscellany) :
"O sweet Eirana (Eirene, Peace), wealth-giver to mortals!"

Aeschylus, Fragment 281 (from Papyri Oxyrhynchus) (trans. Lloyd-Jones) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Not to sow evil . . ((lacuna)) Then Eirene (Irene, Peace) is . . ((lacuna)) for mortals. And I praise this goddess; for she honours a city that reposes in a life of quiet, and augments the admired beauty of its houses, so that they surpass in prosperity the neighbours who are their rivals), nor yet to engender it. And they earnestly desire land for ploughing, abandoning the martial trumpet."

Euripides, Suppliant Women 484 ff (trans. Vellacott) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"How far peace outweighs war in benefits to man; Eirene (Irene, Peace), the chief friend and cherisher of the Mousai (Muses); Eirene (Peace), the enemy of revenge, lover of families and children, patroness of wealth. Yet these blessings we viciously neglect, embrace wars; man with man, city with city fights, the strong enslaves the weak."

Euphorion of Chalcis, Fragments (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 121 (2b)) (Greek Epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Ares [war personified] allot them their wages in his scales, and rest again from chilling warfare, and send Eirene (Irene, Peace) with her prosperity to men! And in the market let him set Themis (Order) up, requiter of good deeds : and, beside her, Dike (Justice)."

Anonymous, Epigram (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 113) (Greek elegiac C1st B.C.) :
"Caesar calmed the storm of war and the clash of shields [i.e. at the battle of Actium], and there he cut short the sufferings of fair Eirene (Irene, Peace)."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 72. 5 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"The Horai (Horae), as they are called, to each of them, according as her name indicates, was given [assigned by Zeus and Hera] the ordering and adornment of life, so as to serve to the greatest advantage of mankind; for there is nothing which is better to build a life of felicity than obedience to law (eunomia) and justice (dike) and peace (eirene)."

Ovid, Fasti 1. 700 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"For a long time wars have sprawled enchained at your feet. Yoke the oxen, put the seed beneath the ploughed earth. Pax (Peace) [Eirene] suckles Ceres (Grain) [Demeter], Ceres child of Pax."

Virgil, Georgics 2. 425 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman bucolic C1st B.C.) :
"Nurture the plump olive, favoured of Pax (Peace) [Eirene]."

Θεά των Αρχαίων Ελλήνων, η Ειρήνη ήταν προσωποποίηση της ειρηνικής κατάστασης των πραγμάτων, θυγατέρα του Δία και της Θέμιδας, θεάς της δικαιοσύνης και αδελφή της Ευνομίας και της Δίκης.

Οι Αρχαίοι Έλληνες πολύ συχνά ίδρυαν βωμούς προς αυτήν μετά το πέρας των εχθροπραξιών. Γνωστά της επίθετα ήταν τα «Γλυκεία», «Βαθύπλουτος», «Πλουτοδότειρα», κ.α. Η αντίστοιχη θεά για τους Ρωμαίους ήταν η Παξ (Pax), η λατινική εκδοχή της. Πολύ γνωστό γλυπτό είναι αυτό του Κηφισόδοτου, πατέρα του Πραξιτέλη των αρχών του 4ου αιώνα π.Χ. που αναπαριστά την Ειρήνη να κρατά στην αγκαλιά της τον Πλούτο.

Για το πότε οι αρχαίοι Έλληνες άρχισαν να λατρεύουν την Ειρήνη ως θεά, υπάρχουν δύο γνώμες: Ο Πλούταρχος αναφέρει στον «Βίο του Κίμωνος» ότι οι Αθηναίοι έστησαν για πρώτη φορά βωμό της θεάς έπειτα από τη νίκη τους στον Ευρυμέδοντα ποταμό. Οι Ισοκράτης και Κορνήλιος Νέπως γράφουν ότι ο βωμός της Ειρήνης στήθηκε για πρώτη φορά ύστερα από τη νίκη του Τιμοθέου κατά των Λακεδαιμονίων κοντά στη Λευκάδα.

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