What Is Tisiphone

Vase, by Eumenides Painter showing Clytemnestra trying to awaken the Erinyes, at the Louvre.
Apulian red-figure bell-krater, from 380–370 B.C., by the Eumenides Painter, showing Clytemnestra trying to awaken the Erinyes, at the Louvre. Public Domain. Courtesy of Bibi Saint-Pol at Wikipedia Commons.

Tisiphone is one of the Furies or Erinyes in Greek mythology. Tisiphone is the avenger of murder. Her name means 'voice of revenge.' The Erinyes were formed when the blood of Uranus fell on Gaia when the son of Uranus, Cronus, killed him. The Furies pursued particularly heinous criminals and drove them mad. Their most famous victim was Orestes, whose crime was matricide. The names of the other Erinyes were Alecto and Megaira.

In the Eumenides, the tragedy by Aeschylus about the Erinyes and Orestes, the Erinyes are described as dark, not quite women, not quite Gorgons (Medusas), featherless, with rheumy eyes and partial to blood. Source: "The Appearance of Aeschylus' Erinyes," by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart. Greece & Rome, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Apr., 1973), pp. 81-84.

Jane E. Harrison (September 9, 1850 - April 5, 1928) says the Erinyes at Delphi and elsewhere were ancestral ghosts, who later became "detached ministers of divine vengeance". The Erinyes are the dark aspect of the benevolent Eumenides -- the angry ghosts. [Source: Delphika.-(A) The Erinyes. (B) The Omphalos," by Jane E. Harrison. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 19, (1899), pp. 205-251.] It is also claimed that Eumenides is a euphemism for the Erinyes.

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Gill, N.S. "What Is Tisiphone." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/tisiphone-greek-goddess-121229. Gill, N.S. (2017, February 9). What Is Tisiphone. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tisiphone-greek-goddess-121229 Gill, N.S. "What Is Tisiphone." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tisiphone-greek-goddess-121229 (accessed November 21, 2017).