Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



The Remorse of Orestes or Orestes Pursued by the Furies (1862) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, from the collection of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. It depicts the tale from Greek mythology of Orestes being tormented by the Erinyes for murdering his mother Clytemnestra (left), whose lover Aegisthus had killed Orestes’ father Agamemnon. The Erinyes, or Furies, are regarded as chthonic deities – spirits of the underworld.

From Ancient Greek χθών (khthṓn, ground, soil) +‎ -ic.



chthonic (not comparable)

  1. Dwelling within or under the earth.
    The young pantheon had remanded their elders to the role of smouldering, chthonic gods; to inhabiting dark, deep places, hidden from mortal eyes and influence.
    • 1835, Dissertations on the Eumenides of Aeschylus:
      In this ceremony the Olympian Gods are placed in opposition to the Chthonic genii, the divinities of death and the dark side of nature, in which class the heroes are also reckoned; but Zeus Soter is conceived as a third and lord over both worlds.
    • 1886, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, volume 7, page 17:
      In connexion with these Chthonic surroundings, the form of the head-dress which crowns the recumbent figure of Dionysos-Pluto, and is also occasionally seen on the kead of the Kourotrophos at the foot of the couch, is of considerable significance.
    • 2010, Lisa Strelein, editor, Dialogue about Land Justice: Papers from the National Native Title Conference:
      Glenn refers to Indigenous law as chthonic law, because it is the law of chthonic peoples — peoples 'who live ecological lives by being chthonic, that is, by living in or in close harmony with the earth'.

Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]