Yesterday Micheal suggested I do a post similar to the one on the Graces for the Furies. In Greek mythology the Erinyes also known as Furies, were female chthonic deities of vengeance; they were sometimes referred to as “infernal goddesses.” A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as “those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath.” Burkert suggests they are “an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath.” They correspond to the Dirae in Roman mythology, and some suppose that they are called Furies in hell, Harpies on earth, and Dirae in heaven.
According to Hesiod’s Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes as well as the Meliae emerged from the drops of blood when it fell on the earth (Gaia), while Aphrodite was born from the crests of sea foam. According to variant accounts, they emerged from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, “Night”, or from a union between air and Mother Earth. Their number is usually left indeterminate. Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto or Alekto (“unceasing”), Megaera (“grudging”), and Tisiphone or Tilphousia (“vengeful destruction”), all of whom appear in the Aeneid. Dante followed Virgil in depicting the same three-character triptych of Erinyes; in Canto IX of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis. Whilst the Erinyes were usually described as three maiden goddesses, the Erinys Telphousia was usually a by-name for the wrathful goddess Demeter, who was worshipped under the title of Erinys in the Arkadian town of Thelpousa.