A to Z Challenge Folklore

Vengeful Furies #AtoZChallenge #folklore

F is for Furies.

Learn more here.

Vengeful goddesses who destroy the wicked… Sounds awesome!


The Hymns of Orpheus, Translated by Thomas Taylor [1792]



VOCIFEROUS Bacchanalian Furies, hear!
Ye, I invoke, dread pow’rs, whom all revere;
Nightly, profound, in secret who retire,
Tisiphone, Alecto, and Megara dire:
Deep in a cavern merg’d, involv’d in night, 5
Near where Styx flows impervious to the sight;
Ever attendant on mysterious rites,
Furious and fierce, whom Fate’s dread law delights;
Revenge and sorrows dire to you belong,
Hid in a savage veil, severe and strong, 10
Terrific virgins, who forever dwell
Endu’d with various forms, in deepest hell;
Aerial, and unseen by human kind,
And swiftly coursing, rapid as the mind.
In vain the Sun with wing’d refulgence bright, 15
In vain the Moon, far darting milder light,
Wisdom and Virtue may attempt in vain;
And pleasing, Art, our transport to obtain
Unless with these you readily conspire,
And far avert your all-destructive ire.

The boundless tribes of mortals you descry,
And justly rule with Right’s impartial eye.
Come, snaky-hair’d, Fates many-form’d, divine,
Suppress your rage, and to our rites incline.

goddesses of vengeance

Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology by Theresa Bane


Variations: Angry Ones, Dirae, Erinyes (“disturbers of the mind”), Errinys, Eumenides, Furies, Kindly Ones, Night Born Sisters, Strong Ones.

The Furies of Greek mythology, three sisters named Alecto (“envy” or “never ending”), Megaera (“envious anger” or “slaughter”), and Tisiphone (“face of retaliation” or “rage”) are the opposite of the Muses who were associated with upholding cosmic order and proper behaviour; the Furies primary concern was with the retribution for the killing of family members. Linked with darkness, death, night and the Underworld, the Furies drink human blood rather than wine. Born the daughters of Gia and Uranus, they find the practice of human sacrifice reprehensible and will lash out their anger on those who practise it. Described as having a ghastly appearance, the Furies wear black robes, their eyes ooze and their breath reeks. When the Furies punished someone with obvious compassion they were called the Eumenides (“mild”).

*More can be read in the book.

aeschylus quote

The Forest in Folklore and Mythology by Alexander Porteous

The Furies were known as the Erinnyes, and on them devolved the bringing of light of secret crimes. There was a grove sacred to them at Kolónos, near Athens, and when Œdipus, who having in ignorance murdered his father and married his mother, became aware of having committed these crimes, he retired to this grove, and there, during a thunderstorm, his life terminated.”

*More can be read in the book.

three furies

Further Reading:

Furies in a Nutshell by Ronel

The Furies, ancient spirits of justice and vengeance, are the daughters of Uranus (Sky) and either Gaia (Earth) or Nyx (Night), depending on the source. Their numbers are indeterminate, but Virgil recognised three: Alecto (“unceasing”), Megaera (“grudging”) and Tisiphone (“avenging murder”). It is well-established that their role is to keep order and punish those that break the rules (e.g. persecuting murderers, etc.).

Goddesses of vengeance, personified curses, ghosts of the murdered: no matter what they are, the Furies punish their victims by driving them mad. They carry torches, whips and cups of venom to accomplish punishment. And when not working in the Land of the Living, they torture damned souls in Hades.

The Furies aren’t evil: they only punish evil-doers, so innocent people have nothing to fear from them. Even when they appear as storm clouds or swarms of insects.

favoured weapons

Furies in Modern Culture

Furies in Percy Jackson’s world

The Furies, also known as the Erinyes, are spirits of vengeance who serve the god Hades. They are his torturers in the Underworld and punish the crimes of the wicked. In Greek mythology, each Fury was sometimes represented as avenging a certain type of crime, such as crime, grudges, or murder. Ironically enough, they are often referred to as the Kindly Ones, in order to remain safe from them.

Alecto is disguised as Mrs. Dodds: a pre-algebra teacher at Yancy Academy. She dislikes Percy Jackson and always seems to prefer Nancy Bobofit, the class bully. It is later discovered that she was actually one of the Furies and thus not a human. On a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Percy kills her with Riptide (Although he does not realize it is Riptide yet; he thinks that he hallucinated everything that happened, including Mr. Brunner throwing him the pen.) and the monster disintegrates into dust.

Percy later fights Alecto (along with the other two Furies) again while on a bus just as he is setting out on his quest, and wins with the help of Grover and Annabeth.

Furies. Image credit.

Furies in My Writing

Origin of the Fae: Furies

Furies are legion. They collect the souls of the fallen to do battle at the end of time.
They also punish the wicked, avenge the innocent and interfere in the lives of mortals and fae.
They wear clothes of ash, cinders falling in their wake. They have wings resembling that of bats.
Furies are excellent in battle. They can wield any weapon and can decimate their enemies in close-quarter combat (with or without weapons).
They live in the Underworld. They answer to Dagda, the Keeper of the Veil and Ankou – the King of the Dead. Like all creatures associated with Death, the rules of Faerie do not apply to them. They can be classified as deathfae.

fury English Afrikaans
fury sketch Ronel
black moon book extract
Get it here.

What do you think about the Furies? Any other similar creatures in folklore that you know of? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to The Furies.

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14 thoughts on “Vengeful Furies #AtoZChallenge #folklore”

  1. Plenty of scary monsters around, but I don’t know of any who are there to punish evildoers. I do remember reading somewhere that the Erynnes/Furies/Kindly Ones(you never call them Furies if you have sense!) were originally there specifically to punish prop,e who had killed their mothers. Then the patriarchy took over, so you get a story like that of Orestes, who was pursued by them till there was a trial and it was put to a vote of the gods, with the casting vote going to Athene, who voted to release him, as the argument had been that women were not important and he had, after all, avenged his father. Mind you, I did like Kerry Greenwood’s novel Electra, in which Electra had been raped by her mother’s lover Aegisthus and Orestes was her child, not her little brother. The two of them had had a miserable life! (Published by Clan Destine Press in case you are interested)

  2. Your furies sound terrifying! I suppose bringers of retribution should really make an impression, shouldn’t they. You always have so much detail in your posts, I’m impressed.
    Tasha 💖
    Virginia’s Parlour – The Manor (Adult concepts – nothing explicit in posts)
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Vampire Drabbles
    P.S. Sorry I didn’t make it around yesterday, I was running around madly making sure everything was in place for the podcast launch today. I could have done with wings, although ash falling everywhere might have not agreed with technology.

  3. For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated with the Furies, ever sisnce I got into Greek Mythology as a teenager. I think it’s their purpose to punish evildoers, but in a way that is terrible in itself. They fight on the good side, but iwth such terrible tools.

    The Old Shelter – Living the Twenties

  4. I love the idea of furies. I remember learning about them from a Greek mythology book I had as a child. The idea of avenging wrongdoing is tempting to us humans, so I can understand their appeal. I like your interpretation of them as having bat wings and clothes of ash.

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