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Geras

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In Greek mythology, Geras (Ancient Greek: Γῆρας, romanized: Gễras) was the god of old age. It was considered a virtue whereby the more gēras a man acquired, the more kleos (fame) and arete (excellence and courage) he was considered to have. According to Hesiod, Gēras was a son of Nyx. Hyginus adds that his father was Erebus. He was depicted as a tiny shriveled-up old man. Gēras's opposite was Hebe, the goddess of youth. His Roman equivalent was Senectus. He is known primarily from vase depictions that show him with the hero Heracles; the mythic story that inspired these depictions has been entirely lost.

In ancient Greek literature, Geras'(Ancient Greek: γέρας) can also carry the meaning of influence, authority or power; especially that derived from fame, good looks and strength claimed through success in battle or contest. Such uses of this meaning can be found in Homer's Odyssey throughout which there is an evident concern from the various 'Kings' about the Geras they will pass to their sons through their names. In this context, the concern with passing Geras on to their sons through association with their fathers' names is significant since kings at this time (such as Odysseus) are believed to have ruled by common assent in recognition of their powerful influence rather than hereditarily. Further analysis can be found here.

Geras' name is the root of the word "geriatric".

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