In Greek legend, the goddesses of the grace and charm of beauty, and
of cheerful amusement, both in nature and in men. They were represented
as beautiful young modest maidens, winning and charming, always
dancing, singing and running. They also bathed in fountains and decked
themselves with flowers, especially with roses, as this flower was
sacred to them.
The Charites were usually to be found in the company of
Aphrodite,doing her bidding or just generally following and adoring
her. Their home was among the Muses of Olympus,where they often
entertained the other gods. There are various legends as to their
parentage;some say they were the offspring of Zeus
and Eurynome, others
Dionysos and Aphrodite. Their number, too, is in dispute. Three at least
are known of, these being Aglaea,
Euphrosyne and Thalia.
Phaenna are also spoken of, though these may merely be different names
for two of the three already mentioned, as are Auxo
and Hegemone. The
youngest of them is generally agreed to be Pasithea.
The Charites, also known as the Graces, helped out many of the
gods, standing as they did for beauty and sweetness, which was well
borne out in song, poetry and dance. Athene called for their aid in her
minstrations over life, Hernes had them assist in his function as
orator of the gods. Their sigils were the rose, myrtle and dice, ears of
corn, and musical instruments such as the lyre, flute and syrinx.