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The Erinyes were the chthonic deities responsible for vengeance, responding to blood spilled on the ground with the demand that new blood should be shed in retribution. They are portrayed as three elderly crones, implacable in pursuit of wrongdoers. They are of the older generation of gods, born from drops of blood that spilled on the ground when Cronus castrated his father Uranus. They are feared rather than loved, and one of the issues in the trial is that the Furies are suspicious that it is part of a plot by the younger gods to usurp the rightful powers of the older gods.
Athena forestalls the Furies' anger at the city and herself during and after the trial by offering them a position of honor and veneration as the goddesses of justice and declares that they will be known thereafter as the Eumenides, or the kindly ones, and honored throughout Athens, and given a place or temple of their own. The story of the trial also is a foundation myth for the function of the Areopagus as a homicide court in Athens; the Furies in the story essentially become the patron goddesses of the Areopagus.
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