Thursday, June 21, 2012

The goddess of modesty and respect (shame) - Aidos

Aidos in Greek Mythology was the goddess of modesty and respect while Prophasis was the female personification of excuse. Prophasis was the daughter of the late-contriving Epimatheos (Afterthought, Pindar Pythian 5 epl). Aidos can be translated from Greek to English with modesty, respect, reverence, honour. Aidos is spelled Aedos in the Latin language. She was the female personification of modesty and respect and was a close companion of Nemesis. Aidos had a feeling of reverence or shame which restrains men from wrong while Nemesis had a feeling of reverence of righteous indignation aroused especially by the sight of the wicked in undeserved prosperity.

Aidos was the daughter of Prometheus (Forethought, Pindar Olympian 3). Aidos (reverence) gives to men virtue and valour´s  joy. Aidos (honour/reverence) brings men high renown, by hope of gain in secret. It was said that Aidos (modesty) makes mens cheeks as rosy as an apple. Aidos (shame) is one to have respect for, for she is the helpmate of the spear-fighting Aretas (valour, Plutarch: How young men should study poetry).

According to the old fable in Aesop (Fables 118) “man was made I such a hurry that Zeus had forgotten to put Modesty (Aiskhue) into his composition, among his other affections; and finding that there was no way of introducing it afterwards, man by man, he proposed the turning of it loose among the multitude: Aiskhue (Modesty) took her self at first to be a little hardly dealt withal, but in the end, came over to agree to´t, upon condition that Eros (daughter to Hermes and sister to Pan) might not be suffer´d to come into the same company; for where-ever that comes, says she, I´m gone”

Pausanias 3.20.10-11: “ The image of Aidos (Modesty), some thirty stades distant from the city (Sparta, Lakedaimon), they say was dedicated by Ikarios, the following being the reason for making it. When Ikaros gave Penelope in marriage to Odysseus, he tried to make Odysseus himself settle in Lakedaimon, but failing in the attempt, he next besought his daughter to remain behind, and when she was setting forth to Ithaka he followed the chariot, begging her to stay. Odysseus endured it for a time, but at last he bade Penelope to accompany him willingly, or else, if she preferred her father, to go back to Lakedaimon. They say that she made no reply, but covered her face with a veil in reply to the question, so that Ikarios, relising that she wished to depart with Odysseus, let her go, and dedicated an image of Aidos (Modesty); for Penelope, they say, had reached this point of the road when she veile herself.”
Kaare T. Pettersen

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