MythHome: Greek Gods and Their Associates

MythHome: Greek Gods and Their AssociatesHekate

( Hecate )

Greek goddess associated with the underworld and with magic. Not mentioned in Homer, she is believed to have originated in Caria in southwest Anatolia. According to Hesiod she was the daughter of the Titan Perses and the nymph Asteria. Elsewhere she is said to be the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was also a goddess of crossroads and waysides, and pillars known as Hekataea were commonly erected at crossroads and doorways,perhaps to ward off evil. She was especially associated with travel by night, although it is not clear whether she was regarded as the protectress of night travellers or their chief peril. Hekate was also considered a patron of Medea and of witches,and she had an occult following among women in Thessaly, where she was regarded as a moon goddess. She assisted in the search for Persephone after her abduction by Hades. In this connection, as well as in connection with her role in night travel, she was depicted bearing a torch. In later representations, she was shown as having three bodies, particularly in the Hekataea which allowed her to keep watch over all roads at once. Her epithets included Enodia, a reference to her role as a goddess of waysides, and Trioditis, a reference to her role as a triform goddess of crossroads.

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