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Geras, detail of an Attic red-figure pelike, ca. 480 BC–470 BC, Louvre

In Greek mythology, Geras /ˈɪərəs/ (Ancient Greek: Γῆρας, romanizedGễras) was the god of old age.[1] 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.[2] Hyginus adds that his father was Erebus.[3] 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.

Geras' name is the root of the word "geriatric."[citation needed]


  1. ^ The distinct word Γῆρας, Gĕras means "old age" or in some other literature "dead skin" or "slough of a snake" (LSJ).
  2. ^ Hesiod. Theogony, 225.
  3. ^ Hyginus, Preface.