Iris (mythology)

Iris (Greek Ἶρις, Rainbow) is a deity of Greek mythology. She is the personification of the rainbow and can according to the physical presentation of the Greeks winds produce. In mythology she usually has the function of a divine messenger, preferably the goddess Hera.


According to Hesiod she is the daughter of Thaumas and Electra, and sister of the Harpies and the Arke, in Alcaeus of Lesbos is Zephyr the mother of Eros.

In Homer's Iliad she is called the messenger of the gods, and shall perform these functions for many different gods: Zeus sends it to the Trojans to warn them; so that they consider to Helena from the tower of the armies; Hera and Athena contrary, to keep them from entering the battle; to bring to Hektor him advice for the fight against Agamemnon; , to move it to Poseidon from the withdrawal from the fight; Thetis into the sea, to bring them to divine assembly; and Priam, so that the body of Achilles Hector triggers. By Hera, together with Apollo to Zeus and without Zeus ' knowledge secretly sent to Achilles. They also conducted Aphrodite from the battle, without having received a corresponding order, and acts of his own accord when she hears the prayers of Achilles ' and to help him, rushes to the wind gods. In the Odyssey, not her, but Hermes performs the function of the messenger of the gods. Noteworthy in this context is a Homeric hymn, in which they can not move to participate in the assembly of the gods Demeter, Hermes but so is successful.

In Hesiod Iris has a different function: Cancels dispute among the gods of Olympus from Zeus sends them out to bring in her golden cup of water from the river Styx. Does a god perjury on this water, he falls for a year in unconsciousness. After waiting for him still further penalties, and he is excluded for nine years by the assemblies, including nectar and ambrosia.

From the Hellenistic period it is increasingly seen as a personal servant and messenger of Hera. In the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, it is the guardian of Hera and is charged with concerning the delivery of messages in favor of the Argonauts at Thetis and Hephaestus Aiolos. Again, they will act on their own initiative, as it engages an arbitrator in the fight between her sisters, the Harpies, and the two Argonauts KALAIS and Zetes. From Zeus sent as a punishment, the Harpies stole the blind seer Phineus the food. KALAIS and Zetes came to his defense. After Iris had the Boreaden called to reason and even swore on the waters of the Styx, that the Harpies Phineus would be henceforth in peace, let persecutors and persecuted over the Strofades ( " Islands of Change" ) from each other.

Even in Virgil it is in Junos services. It cuts in Junos Dido order a lock on what is actually the task of Proserpina, and solves the soul from the spirit. She tries to persuade the Trojans to settle in and has Acestes Cycle attention to the opportunity to conquer the camp of the Trojans. But Jupiter takes their services: He sends them to Juno, so this cycle deprecated in combat.

In Ovid it is expressly designated as Juno's messenger ( nuntia Iunonis ), but also receives additional tasks. It fills the rain clouds of Deukalionischen flood with water, Juno rained upon their return from the underworld to clean them and sets almost Aeneas ships on fire. As a messenger asks Somnus matter of comfort Alcyone, and convinced Hersilia them to unite with her husband deified Romulus, whereby it becomes the Goddess Hora.