Keres: Female Spirits of Death in Greek Mythology


     Queres (Keres) are Daemons of Greek Mythology and Represent Fatality and Violent Death. They are usually presented as women and daughters of the goddess Nyx.

Keres in Greek Mythology:

     Queres or Keres (fatality), in Greek Mythology, are daemones, female spirits of fatality and violent death. According to Hesiod in his Theogony, they were daughters of Nix, who had them without being united with any other deity, such as this was generated by Chaos. However, in some works it is possible to find variants of geneology, among which would be daughters of Tânato, who had them as well as Nix.

     Keres symbolize cruel, fatal and impossible to escape fate. They are goddesses who bring violent death to mortals. They have the character of every descendant of Chaos, they are infallible. Some mythological accounts bring them as messengers from Thanato, acting in the kingdom of Hades alongside the erinias.


     However, such goddesses are sisters of Thanatos, being gods of different profiles. Thanatos was responsible for the quiet death, therefore also his association with Hipnos. Queres, on the other hand, were goddesses responsible for taking the dead from the battlefield, so they come as death before time, cruel death. Thus, when Ares left for great wars, he summoned queries, since they were part of his procession. After the battle they devoured the dead or their blood and took souls to hell.

     It is not possible to define the correct number of these goddesses, each one would correspond to a specific type of violent death.

     Homer, on the other hand, goes further: in the Iliad, he says that all human beings have a Quer with you, which will personify their death. In this case, whether it comes in the direction of good or bad death.

Balance of Wanting:

     Kerostasia (or psychostasis) - The balance of wishes, here as the fate of death, of Zeus to decide the fate of the battle between Achilles and Memnon, as described by Aeschylus. Sketch of lécito, Capua conserved in the British Museum.


     In the arts, they were depicted winged (like most of the children of the goddess Nix), and looked hideous, with large canines, such as vampires in the modern sense, and hooked nails. In the Renaissance, they were mistaken for the erinias. Among the destructive personifications are (not all are called queres);

  • Poine - punishment
  • Limos - hunger
  • Hybrids - pride
  • Ólethros - destruction
  • Iskhnasía - devastation
  • Phthísis - putrefaction
  • Akhlýs - darkness