Gustave Dorè, Illustration of Dante's Inferno, canto IX
The Erinyes in the Greek mythologythey were infernal deities, daughters of the Avernoe of Gaea (the earth) or according to others of the Acheron and of the night or according to Hesiodated by the blood of Cronus.
The number of the Erinyes was variable. According to Euripides there were three Tesiphone(the punisher), Crone (hatred), To bed (the disturbance). Plutarch cites only one Adrastia In any case, the Erinyes were the personification of the divine curse and of reprimand and punished those guilty of blood crimes, especially those against family and friends.
It is said that on the fifth day of each month they left their homes to go to earth and punish the guilty accompanied by Terror, Anger and Pallorea, and once they reached the guilty they gnawed at his heart. According to some authors, they also had the task of darkening the minds of men and thus leading them to crime and misfortune.
But like all infernal gods they not only had a negative meaning in fact they were also kind to people who repented and were then called Eumenides.
Gustave Dorè, Illustration of Dante's Inferno
The Erinyes were generally represented as women with snakes in their hair and with mephitic breath.
In Roman mythology were identified with the Furies.
Dante writes (Inferno, IX, 38-42)
"(...) Three infernal Furies of blood dyed,
What female limbs they had, and act,
And with very green hydras they were surrounded;
Serpentelli and waxes had their horsehair,
So the proud temples were bound (...) "