The Furies (Ἐρινύες in Greek, Erinyes) are goddesses of vengeance who serve Hades. They were his torturers in theUnderworld, and punished the crimes of the wicked. Their number varies, but most commonly there were said to be three. Each one was sometimes represented as avenging a certain type of crime, such as murder, marital infidelity, or patricide. They are often referred to as 'Kindly Ones' in order to remain safe from them, however ironic it is.


When the mighty Titan Kronos castrated his father Uranus and threw what was left into the sea, the Erinyes emerged from the drops of blood, while Aphrodite was born from the seafoam. According to a variant account, they issued from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, 'Night'. For the Orphism are Hades and Persephone the parents of the Erinyes.

History recognized three:

  • Alecto
  • Megaera
  • Tisiphone

In the story of Canto VIII of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis. The heads of the Erinyes, whom the two poets met in Canto IV, were wreathed with serpants and their eyes dripped with blood, rendering their appearance rather horrific. Sometimes they had the wings of a bat or bird, and the body of a dog.


The Furies are descriptet as old, but virgin women with black skin. Their hair is made of snakes and they wear grey robes. They also have leathery wings like bats, claws, a mouth full of yellow fangs and glowing eyes