About Elpis – Goddess of Hope and Suffering in Greek Mythology

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Elpis, the minor Greek goddess of hope, appears in just a few of the epics and histories past down. The fatherless daughter of Nyx, goddess of night, might be classified more as a spirit, or daemon. She is generally referred to as a young woman offering flowers. Her biggest part in the Greek tales is that in Pandora’s Box, where she was used to provide the “moral of the story”. Here’s more information about Elpis, the goddess of both hope and suffering in Greek mythology:

Role During Pandora’s Box

Though there are several dissenting versions on the why, Zeus entrusts a box of all the spirits, or minor gods and goddesses, to Pandora, the first woman on Earth. Either due to curiosity or malice, she eventually opens the box, letting the spirits out. Rushing out are the presumptive bad spirits of evils and burdens. At the last moment, she closes the box, leaving Elpis trapped inside. Many debate the meaning of Hope being left out of humanity with two major factions. One sees it as simple irony and the curse of mankind; the other sees it as the negative viewpoint of hope by the Ancient Greeks.

Ancient Greeks’ Relationship to Hope

In every description of Elpis, hope is inextricably linked to suffering. This theme is recounted across much of Greek mythology, where hope breeds a lack of control, ability, and destiny. Moreover, the need for hope was usually irrelevant. That being said, later accounts began to describe Elpis in a positive light. Eventually, she was deemed the last righteous goddess on Earth, as all others had fled to Mt. Olympus. There lays the true meaning of Elpis and hope for the Ancient Greeks. She was a goddess of men on Earth, not of the gods at Mt. Olympus. Perhaps that is why she is most often referenced by the sick and dying in stories. Still, the ancient Greeks ordained her to have a certain negativity considering the family she came from.

Family of Elpis

The Greek goddess of the night, Nyx, mothered several children, mostly spirits and minor deities, by herself. Along with Elpis, Nyx birthed some of the most terrifying daemons in Greek mythology. These included the Moirai, or the Fates, who determined the lifespan of all mortals. Moros, the opposite and brother of Elpis, is the good of doom. Also, her siblings are two faces of death, grief, blame, and strife. Clearly, Elpis was placed in a family that personified the darker traits of humanity, giving light to the true meaning of Pandora’s Box.

Elpis, the minor Greek goddess of hope, who was so linked to suffering and the plight of mankind provides a momentary reflection in Greek mythology. Her appearance in the unexplained ending of Pandora’s Box will forever give historians and curious readers serious thought for debate. Though Elpis may be originally an undesirable spirit in Ancient Greece, she becomes the mother of Pheme, or fame, which they revered.


Wikipedia – Elpis 

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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