Or the Graces. Aphrodite's retinue was usually completed by the Charites and were usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, though they were also said to be daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite, or of Helios and Aegle
They were smiling divinities whose presence spread joy not only throughout the external world but also in the hearts of men. 'With you,' Pindar says to them, 'all becomes sweetness and charm.' Their number and their names often varied. According to epochs and regions they were called: Charis and Pasithea by Homer and he makes one the wife of Hephaestus, giving her the name of Grace.
The Lacedaemonians, however, say that the Graces are two, and that they were instituted by Lacedaemon, son of Taygete, who gave them the names of Cleta and Phaenna. In Sparta, Cleia and Phaenna: Hegemone and Auxo in Athens. But the most widely accepted tradition fixed their number as three and their names as Aglaia. Euphrosyne and Thalia. They were Aphrodite's companions and attended to her toilet. The goddess made use of their services when she wished to adorn herself in all her seductions.
The Tree Graces by Raphael. c.1601
With the return of Spring the Graces delighted in mingling with the nymphs, forming with them groups of dancers who tripped the ground with nimble step. This was because these divinities - in whom some have seen a personification of the sun's rays, but who were originally nature-goddesses - also presided over the budding of plant-life and the ripening of fruits.
Aglaia was 'the brilliant'. Thalia was 'she who brought flowers'. The joy which results from the sun's blessings is revealed in Euphrosyne's name: 'she who rejoices the heart'. In origin as well as function the Graces were closely connected with Apollo hence they often form part of his retinue.
They were also considered to be the goddesses of gratitude. Thus their mother was sometimes said to be Lethe (oblivion) because gratitude is quickly forgotten. The most celebrated sanctuary of the Graces was at Orchomenus in Boeotia, where they were worshipped in the form of aeroliths or meteorites. They also had two sanctuaries in Athens.
The Graces were at first clad in long chitons and wore crowns.
However, from the end of the fourth century B.C. they were
represented as three nude young women holding one another by the