In Greek Mythology, Who is Peitho?

Peitho is the goddess of rhetoric, persuasion, and seduction, and in ancient depictions, she tends to accompany Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Why Aphrodite? Because it is by artful and pretty words that your rational defenses—especially against love—are overcome and conquered (as in Gorgias’sEncomium for Helen“). Below, for example, is an ancient representation of Peitho on a pillar overseeing a scene of persuasion: Helen of Troy is below Peitho’s dangling feet while Aphrodite speaks to her; Paris, at the far right, is also receiving a “talking to”—by winged Eros.

Beware the power of Peitho! As poets might call on the muses for assistance, the rhetorician, the orator, the lawyer, the lover, the politician, the advertiser, and the propagandist might call on perhaps the most subtle and dangerous little daemon of all: the accompanying mistress of all mesmerizing bullshit, Peitho.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to In Greek Mythology, Who is Peitho?

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