The Erinyes demand their victim; he pleads.
Epicaste (as Jocasta is called in Homer) hanged herself, and Oedipus lived as king in Thebes tormented by the Erinyes of his mother.
Their function of snatching away mortals to the other world brings them into connexion with the Erinyes, with whom they are often confounded.
Then, yielding to his wife's entreaties, he sallied forth and defeated the enemy, but was never seen again, having been carried off by the Erinyes, who had heard his mother's curse (or he was slain by Apollo in battle).
After the destruction of Thebes by the Epigoni, Alcmaeon carried out his father's injunctions by killing his mother, as a punishment for which he was driven mad and pursued by the Erinyes from place to place.
The epithet is applied to Zeus and the Erinyes as the deities of revenge and punishment.
His son Alcmaeon, as he had been bidden, slew his mother, a,nd was driven from place to place by the Erinyes, seeking purification and a new home (Apollodorus iii.
Compare the snake attributes of the Erinyes; see Harrison, 217 sqq..
The Homeric Erinyes chastise outrages on the poor, injuries to guests, failure to show the respect due to parents or to recognize the rights of age, in this life; only on perjury does the divine doom extend to the next.
In Aeschylus, the Erinyes are represented as awful, Gorgon-like women, wearing long black robes, with snaky locks, bloodshot eyes and claw-like nails.
The identification of Erinyes with Sanskrit Saranyu, the swif tspeeding storm cloud, is rejected by modern etymologists; according to M.
Breal, the Erinyes are the personification of the formula of imprecation (&p&), while E.
P. 205, according to whom the Erinyes were primarily local ancestral ghosts, potent for good or evil after death, earth genii, originally conceived as embodied in the form of snakes, whose primitive haunt and sanctuary was the omphalos at Delphi; E.
Furiae, also called Dirae), in Roman mythology an adaptation of the Greek Erinyes, with whom they are generally identical.
In the Eumenides of Aeschylus" the Erinyes are reproached in that by aiding Clytemnestra, who slew her husband, " they are dishonouring and bringing to naught the pledges of Zeus and Hera, the marriage-goddess "; and these were the divinities to whom sacrifice was offered before the wedding," and it may be that some kind of mimetic representation of the " Holy Marriage," the IEpos ydpos, of Zeus and Hera formed a part of the Attic nuptial ceremonies.'
Orestes, after the deed, goes mad, and is pursued by the Erinyes, whose duty it is to punish any violation of the ties of family piety.
With Aeschylus the punishment ends here, but, according to Euripides, in order to escape the persecutions of the Erinyes, he was ordered by Apollo to go to Tauris, carry off the statue of Artemis which had fallen from heaven, and bring it to Athens.