Furies - Encyclopedia




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FURIES (Lat. Furiae, also called Dirae), in Roman mythology an adaptation of the Greek Erinyes, with whom they are generally identical. A special aspect of them in Virgil is that of agents employed by the higher gods to stir up mischief, strife and hatred upon earth. Mention may here be made of an old Italian deity Furina (or Furrina), whose worship fell early into disuse, and who was almost forgotten in the time of Varro. By the mythologists of Cicero's time the name was connected with the verb furere and the noun feria, which in the plural (not being used in the singular in this sense) was accepted as the equivalent of the Greek Erinyes. But it is more probably related to furvus, fuscus, and signifies one of the spirits of darkness, who watched over men's lives and haunted their abodes. This goddess had her own special priest, a grove across the Tiber where Gaius Gracchus was slain, and a festival on the 25th of July. Authorities differ as to the existence of more than one goddess called Furina, and their identity with the Forinae mentioned in two inscriptions found at Rome (C.I.L. vi. 422 and 10,200).

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