Iris: the Greek Goddess Essay

911 Words Dec 23rd, 2008 4 Pages
Goddess of the Rainbow:

In Greek mythology, Iris is the personified goddess of the rainbow. She is regarded as the messenger of the gods to humankind, and particularly of the goddess Hera whose orders she brought to humans. She is able to change shapes and when delivering messages to mortals Iris assumes the appearance of a mortal known to those who receive the message.

Iris is the daughter of the Titan Thaumas and the nymph Electra. Thaumas (his name means "wonder") is a Greek sea god and the son of Pontus and Gaia (Mother Earth). By the Oceanid Electra he fathered the Harpies and Iris.

Iris once saved her siblings from death. The Harpies were loathsome winged female creatures who daily would swoop down and eat and befoul
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Hera sent Iris flying to the island of Crete with news of the elopement, prompting Menelaus to raise an army and invade Troy.

Speaking of bad news, at the request of Hera, Iris also came to Hypnos, the god of Sleep, to ask him to fashion a shape resembling Ceyx, which appearing before Ceyx's wife Alcyone, would inform her of her husband's death. He had drowned and Alcyone didn't know it.

Before Zeus sent a flood to punish some evil humans, he destroyed their crops with the help of Iris. Zeus shut the North Wind (Boreas) up in the cave of Aeolus and let the wet and rainy South Wind (Notus) loose. Meanwhile Iris drew up water feeding it to the clouds. By way of this method all crops were destroyed, and the work of a whole year amounted to nothing.

Another time Hera wanted to punish a mortal woman named Leto, who was pregnant with Zeus' twins. Hera wouldn't permit Leto to deliver her babies, no matter where Leto went. The goddesses who were attending to Leto bribed Iris to fetch the goddess of childbirth, Ilithyia. They gave Iris a necklace strung with golden thread and she brought Ilithyia to Delos, where Leto finally had the twin gods Artemis and Apollo.

Hera also sent her messenger Iris to inform the noble mortal Peleus that he had been chosen to wed the Titaness Thetis. This Titaness was a priestess of Hera and she had rebuked the advances of

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