Eos in Greek Mythology: Birth story, Family Tree, Symbols, & Powers

Eos goddess by Evelyn De Morgan (1895)

Eos, Roman name Aurora, was an ancient Greek goddess who was revered as the personification of the dawn. She is the daughter Greek Titans Theia and Hyperion. Eos and her siblings, Selene (Moon) and Helios (Sun), are considered second-generation Titans by virtue of being the grandchildren of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus.

By her husband, Astraeus (god of dusk), she is the mother of a number of deities, including Astraea and the four Anemoi (i.e. the four wind deities). It was also believed that she got up every morning from her abode at the boundary of the mighty Oceanus.

Eos in Greek Mythology

Goddess of: dawn

Parents: Hyperion and Thei

Siblings: Selene and Helios

Consort: Astraeus

Children: Astraea and Anemoi

Symbols: Rose

Association: Selene, Helios

Hinduism equivalent: Ushas

Roman name: Aurora

Birth story

Greek goddess of the dawn Eos was born to the Titans Theia and Hyperion. Eos’ mother Theia, also known as “wide-shinning”, was one of the twelve titans of the sky god Uranus and the earth goddess Gaia.  Theia, a deity of sight, is revered in Greek mythology as one who possesses rich minerals, including silver and gold. For consort, Theia took her brother and fellow Titan Hyperion, a sun deity. From that union came forth Eos and her two other siblings Selene (the Moon) and Helios (the Sun).

Eos married her cousin Titan Astraeus, the son of Titan Crius and Eurybia. By her husband, Astraeus (god of the dusk), Eos bore a number of children. Examples of some of those children are Astraea and the Four Anemoi (wind deities).

Family tree

Eos goddess

Eos took her cousin Titan Astraeus, a deity associated with winds, as her consort.

Eos’s sister Selene (the Moon) is most famous in Greek mythology for her romantic affair with the mortal Endymion. According to Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argonautica, Selene had a “mad passion” for Endymion. She could not help herself but pay him a visit every night to watch him sleep in a cave on Mount Latmus. Selene and Endymion bore fifty daughters.

Eos’ brother the sun god Helios was the deity that exposed the illicit affair between Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty) and Ares (the god of war). Due to his all-seeing abilities, Helios was able to spot the two gods making out while Hephaestus (Aphrodite’s husband) was away. The sun god then ratted out the cheating pair to Hephaestus, who would later plant an invisible net to ensnare Aphrodite and Ares.

Eos’s children

Memnon in Greek mythology

Eos had a number of children, including the goddess Astraea, Memnon, and Emathion. Image: Eos and the slain Memnon on an Attic red-figure cup, ca. 490–480 BCE

By her husband, Astraeus (god of the dusk), Eos bore a number of children. Examples of some of those children are Astraea and the Four Anemoi (wind deities).

  • The Four Anemoi: By Astraeus, Eos gave birth to the Anemoi, four wind gods that were associated with a cardinal direction. In some accounts, the four Anemoi, were depicted as horses that resided in the stables of Greek god and keeper of storms Aeolus. In Homer’s Odyssey, Aeolus gifted the Anemoi to Greek hero Odysseus. The four Anemoi are Boreas (the north wind), Zephyrus (the west wind), Eurus (the east wind), and Notus (the south wind).
  • Astraea (the “starry one”): In Greek mythology, Astraea is known as the goddess of innocence and justice. Similar to deities like Artemis and Hestia, Astraea was seen as a virgin. Aside from her purity, she was also known for her precision. Her closest association, in terms of justice and divine law, will be Dike, the goddess of Justice.
  • Five Astra Planeta, also known as “Wandering Stars”, is the god of the planet Mars (the wandering star Areios).
  • Memnon: Most known in Greek mythology as the king of Ethiopia, Memnon is the son of Tihonus, prince of Troy, and the goddess Eos. He is also known to have fought and died in the Trojan War. According to Hesiod, his death came at the hands of the hero/demigod Achilles. After Memnon’s death, Eos pleaded with Zeus to make her son immortal.
  • Emathion: Emathion was a son of Eos and Trojan Prince Tithonus. Emathion was  killed by Heracles (Hercules), who was on his way to get the golden apples of the Hesperis.

Eos and Tithonus

Enchanted by the beauty of Trojan prince Tithonus, Eos is said to have abducted him. She then successfully convinced Zeus to make Tithonus immortal. However, she forgot to ask Zeus to make him eternally young. Therefore, even though Tithonus was immortal, he began to age physically like all mortals do. His hair turned grey and he became old, however, he did not die. It’s been said that as Thithonus withered away, Eos stopped paying him a visit.   In the end, Eos took pity on him and turned the helpless old man into a cicada.

Eos – Greek goddess and the personification of dawn

Depiction

Greek goddess is often depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a saffron-colored robe with flowers. She also has rosy fingers or rosy forearms, according to Greek poet Homer. She is usually depicted with a tiara or diadem atop her head while surrounded by attic vases. In some cases, she can be seen with large white-feathered wings.

Depiction and symbols of Greek goddess Eos

Eos and Zeus

The ancient Greek mother goddess Gaia sunk into a deep sadness after hearing of children’s (i.e. the Titans) defeat at the hands of the Greek Olympian gods during the Titanomachy.

Desiring to free the Titans from their prison in Tartarus, Gaia sent an army of giants to take down Zeus and his Olympian gods. However, she first sought a powerful herb that would make the giants indestructible.

When Zeus heard of Gaia’s quest for the special herb, he ordered Eos and her siblings – Helios (sun) and Selene (moon) – not to shine their light. Under the cover of the dark, Zeus and his associates proceeded to harvest all the special herbs, preventing Gaia from getting hold of the herb in the first place.

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Aphrodite’s curse

After having an affair with Ares, the Greek god of war and chaos, Eos incurred the wrath of a jealous Aphrodite. The Greek goddess of beauty and love cursed Eos to be always in love and have a strong sexual desire. This myth explains why there are many stories of Eos falling madly in love and then abducting young beautiful mortal men, including Cephalus, Tithonus, Orion, and Cleitus.

Eos and the mortal Cephalus

Cephalus was an Athenian prince and the son of Princess Herse and Greek god Hermes. As a result of Cephalus’ beauty, Greek goddess Eos abducted him while he was hunting. Eos took him to Syria, where she ended up having three children with him, including Hesperus (the planet Venus / Evneing Star), and Phaethon.

Cephalus’ long period of homesickness left Eos with no other option than to return the mortal to his wife Procris. But before Cephalus went back home, Eos planted several doubts into his mind about his wife being unfaithful. Cephalus disguised himself as a stranger to test his wife’s love. At first, Procris turned down the stranger’s advances; much to Cephalus’ disappointment Procris ultimately gave in. Regardless of the betrayal, Procris and Cephalus were still able to reconcile, which did not go down well with the goddess of the dawn.

Eos went ahead to plant doubts in Procris’ mind about her husband’s faithfulness. The myth goes on to say that Cephalus, while hunting, called upon the breeze, ‘Aura’, to refresh his body. Thinking that her husband was calling out to another woman, Procris immediately came out of her hiding spot. Her husband, startled by her presence, released his spear and mistakenly killed her.

Read More: List of Roman Gods and the Greek Equivalents

More on Greek goddess Eos

Eos and her husband Astraeus are second-generation Titans in Greek mythology. Image: Eos in her chariot flying over the sea, red-figure krater from South Italy, 430–420 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen

  • In Vedic traditions (i.e. Hinduism), the goddess Ushas is the equivalent of Eos. In ancient Rome, the goddess of dawn was known as Aurora.
  • According to some accounts, Eos is responsible for opening the gates of heaven for the Sun to rise.
  • In the Odyssey, Greek goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare Athena ordered Eos to delay the rise of the Sun so that Odysseus could spend a bit more time with his wife Penelope. in the Odyssey
  • Taken aback by the beauty of the mortal Cleitus, son of Mantius, Eos made him immortal.
  • Her horse – her chariot across the sky – in the Odyssey – “Firebright” and “Daybright”.
  • To the Etruscans, Eos was known as the goddess Thesan.
  • In some accounts, Eos’s father is rather Pallas, the son of Titans Crius and Eurybia. And according to Mesomedes of Crete, an ancient Greek poet, the sun god Helios is her father.

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