Hesychia, or Hesykhia, is the Goddess of Silence, of Calm,
and Serenity. Pindar tells us She is the
daughter of Dike. Statius’s Thebaid pairs Her with Otia (Ease) in the house of
Somnus (Roman God of Sleep). She is mentioned in The
Golden Ass when Lucius at last finds peace. Euripides places Her as a counterbalance
to the madness of Dionysos.
As the power of Tranquility, She rules over civic peace,
which carries strength from Her lineage via Justice (Dike).
She is described as noble, and, to my own thought, is a
bright light that fills me when I am calm and still inside. For the Hellenic
line of thought, She is key to the desire for a peaceful and orderly polis,
though scholars debate whether She had a cult presence or if She was purely
Yet Pindar wrote an invocation in his Pythian (8.1-4):
Kindly Quiet, daughter
of Justice, who makes cities great, you who hold the sovereign keys of councils
and of wars…
Diogenes says that it was the Pythagorean Ameinias who
taught Parmenides to practice Hesychia (stillness). This concept of Hesychia
remains in some Christian traditions of prayer, known as hesychasm, though its
origin is generally attributed to an circa 8th century book by Pseudo-Hesychius,
and is a method of prayer that relies upon the ceaseless repetition of Jesus’
name in their minds.
Clark, Stephen. Ancient Mediterranean
Philosophy: An Introduction. A&C Black, 2013.
Gibbons, Reginald. Bakkhai, Oxford,
Miller, Andrew M. (ed.) Greek Lyric: An
Anthology in Translation, Hackett Pub, 1996.
Ogden, Daniel. A Companion to Greek
Religion, Wiley & Sons, 2010.
Scully, Stephen. Hesiod’s Theogony: from
Near Eastern Creation Myths to Paradise Lost, Oxford, 2015.
Stoll, Heinrich Wilhelm. Handbook of the
Religion and Mythology of the Greeks, trans. R.B. Paul, ed. T.K. Arnold, 1852.
Zaleski, Carol and Philip Zaleski. Prayer:
A History, Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
Image: Tucker’s Wood, Trivia, by Neheti, 2015. One of my most peaceful places.