- Greek (culture)
- Celestial (attribute)
- Friendly (behaviour)
- Fairies and Nymphs (common type)
Irene is a Nymph who is a part of group of Nymphs that control the seasons known as the Horae. The Horae were originally known to be personifications of the different seasons of nature but later they became goddesses in their own right. The Horae were traditionally see at the gates of Olympus and functioned to increase the fertility of the Earth.
Irene in particular is known as ‘Peace.’ and is thus the personification or goddess of peace and wealth. In later paintings she is depicted as a young and beautiful woman holding a cornucopia, scepter and a torch or rhyton. Statues of Irene show her holding an infant Pluotos who was the personification of wealth. The Roman equivalent of Irene is Pax. Her sisters were Eunomia (Order or Good-Pasture) and Dike (Justice).
The ancient Greek writer Hesoid in his work, Works and Days 212 said of them:
“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.”
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Background Illustrations (Left top-bottom, right top-bottom): Medusa by Gonzalo Ordonez, Loch Ness Monster by dyb,
Basilisk by JustMick, Shuck by Serphire, Ts Um A Kas - Illustration of a rock painting (from Dover publications).