Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

home | greek | gods | free spirits | page 2 | Iris

Iris at a Glance

name | Iris (’IriV)

role | goddess of the rainbow

symbols | kerykeion, winged boots

Iris in Greek Mythology
Iris was the goddess of the rainbow in Greek mythology. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Iris was the daughter of an Oceanid named Electra and the Titan Thaumas:

"Thaumas took as his wife Electra, daughter of Okeanos,
whose stream is deep, and she bore swift Iris..."
(Hesiod, Theogony, 265-266)

In addition, this passage in the Theogony goes on to state that Iris was the sister of the Harpies (Hesiod describes the Harpies as two "lovely-haired" creatures with "fast wings").

In Greek myth, the rainbow goddess primarily acted as the messenger of the Olympian gods and goddesses. Iris often served as Hera's personal messenger in many ancient sources - indeed, it is interesting to note that the famous Parthenon frieze shows Iris in close proximity to Hera. However, the poet Homer tended to portray Iris as the messenger of Zeus in his pair of epics called the Iliad and the Odyssey. In this respect, Iris shared her role as messenger of the gods with the Olympian Hermes.

Scholars have suggested that Iris, as the personification of the rainbow, represented an example of a brief union of earth and sky. The qualities of this natural phenomenon in turn influenced her role in myth as the goddess who delivered messages between the heavens and earth.

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

Bulfinch's Mythology

Bulfinch's Mythology

The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.

Mythography Forums

Mythography Forums

Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!