God of Justice, Retribution, and Blood Feuds
Alastor often refers to a concept or different people. A specialist in Greek grammar and a dictionary compiler claimed that Alastor was a nickname Zeus used to describe himself as the avenger of evil deeds. Zeus was the Olympian god of the sky, thunder, lightning, justice, order, and the law. He was also the king of the Mount Olympus gods.
Others have likened Alastor as a masculine Nemesis, the goddess of retribution for evil deeds and the distributor of fortunes. Nemesis ensured balance making sure no one person had too much or too little happiness, sadness, luck or fortune. Therefore, as the purveyors of justice, Zeus and Nemesis, have most frequently been associated with the name, Alastor.
Alastor is also used loosely to describe a household evil genius or the spirit of vengeance. However, there may be traces leading to how this concept may have originated.
Many traces lead to Chloris as the mother of Alastor. However, there is a slight misunderstanding as to which Chloris mothered Alastor. Not to be confused with the Nymph and wife of Zephyrus, Alastor’s mother Chloris was the daughter of Amphion, the Minyan king. Chloris married Neleus, the king of Pylos.
Neleus, Alastor’s father, was the king of Pylos and the son of Tyro and Poseidon. Neleus had a twin brother, Pelias. Poseidon tricked Tyro by disguising himself as someone else. Once she realized it was Poseidon, she took the twins to a mountain and left them there. Commoners found the twins and raised them. Neleus became the king of Pylos and married Chloris.
Chloris and Neleus had several children together, Alastor being one of those children. After Neleus refused to clear a blood debt, Heracles killed him and all his sons except for Nestor.
In death, Alastor became the spirit of vengeance, enticing and spurring blood feuds between families. He also ensured that the stakes were so high that the spirit of vengeance passed down from generation to generation. In this way, Alastor ensured that cruelty of his death would not go unnoticed and his story would survive several lineages.
With so many variations on the name Alastor, it’s hard to say if one takes precedence over the other. Whether used to describe Zeus, Nemesis, Alastor, or a concept, it is clear that Alastor describes a common theme in Greek mythology: children paying for the sins of their parents. Essentially, Alastor symbolizes blood for blood idea that dominates Greek mythology.
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