Furies Picture

The Furies (or Erinyes) were daughters of the titan Cronus and in Greek and Roman mythology they were personification of vengeance and death.
There many myths and interpretations about them, but they are often recognised as three: Alecto, Tisiphone and Megaera.
In Dante's Inferno they appear in front of the city of Dis, before the heretics circle.

Lines from Canto IX:

<<And more he said, but it escapes my mind
35 For my eye had completely drawn me upward
To the high tower with the flame-tipped top

Where at one spot there straightaway stood up
Three infernal Furies stained with blood,
Their bodies and behavior that of women.

40 Their waists were cinctured with green hydras;
For hair they had horned snakes and poison adders
With which their savage temples were enwreathed.

And clearly recognizing the handmaidens
Of the Queen of unending mournfulness,
45 He said to me, "Look at the fierce Erinyes:

"That one there on the left is Megaera,
And on the right is Alecto, wailing;
Tisiphone is in the middle." He ceased.

With her nails each one tore at her own breasts,
50 Thrashed with her hands, and shouted out so loud
That in dread I drew closer to the poet.

"Bring on Medusa! We’ll turn him to stone!"
They all screeched out together, staring down;
"We ill revenged the raid of Theseus!"

55 "Turn your back now and keep your eyes shut tight,
For should the Gorgon come and you see her
You would not return to the world above."

So spoke my master. He himself turned me
Around and, not relying on my hands,
60 Covered my face as well with his own palms.>>
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