Eos in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

(Ἠώς), in Latin Aurora, the goddess of the morning red, who brings up the light of day from the east. She was a daughter of Hyperion and Theia or Euryphassa, and a sister of Helios and Selene. (Hes. Th. 371, &c.; Hom. Hymn in Sol. ii.) Ovid (Ov. Met. 9.420, Fast. 4.373) calls her a daughter of Pallas. At the close of night she rose front the couch of her beloved Tithonus, and on a chariot drawn by the swift horses Lampus and Phaeton she ascended up to heaven from the river Oceanus, to announce the coming light of the sun to the gods as well as to mortals. (Hom. Od. 5.1, &c., 23.244; Verg. A. 4.129, Georg. 1.446; Hom. Hymn in Merc. 185; Theocrit. 2.148, 13.11.) In the Homeric poems Eos not only announces the coming Helios, but accompanies him throughout the day, and her career is not complete till the evening; hence she is sometimes mentioned where one would have expected Helios (Od. 5.390, 10.144); and the tragic writers completely identify her with Hemera, of whom in later times the same myths are related as of Eos. (Paus. 1.3.1, 3.18.7.) The later Greek and the Roman poets followed, on the whole, the notions of Eos, which Homer had established, and the splendour of a southern aurora, which lasts much longer than in our climate, is a favourite topic with the ancient poets. Mythology represents her as having carried off several youths distinguished for their beauty. Thus she carried away Orion, but the gods were angry at her for it, until Artemis with a gentle arrow killed him. (Hom. Od. 5.121.) According to Apollodorus (1.4.4) Eos carried Orion to Delos, and was ever stimulated by Aphrodite. Cleitus, the son of Mantius, was carried by Eos to the seats of the immortal gods (Od. 15.250), and Tithonus, by whom she became the mother of Emathion and Memnon, was obtained in like manner. She begged of Zeus to make him immortal, but forgot to request him to add eternal youth. So long as he was young and beautiful, she lived with him at the end of the earth, on the banks of Oceanus ; and when he grew old, she nursed him, until at length his voice disappeared and his body became quite dry. She then locked the body up in her chamber, or metamorphosed it into a cricket. (Hom. Hymn. in Ven. 218, &c.; Hor. Carm. 1.22. 8, 2.16. 30; Apollod. 3.12.4; Hes. Th. 984; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. 1.447, 3.328, Aen. 4.585.) When her son Memnon was going to fight against Achilles, she asked Hephaestus to give her arms for him, and when Memnon was killed, her tears fell down in the form of morning dew. (Verg. A. 8.384.) By Astraeus Eus became the mother of Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, Heosphorus, and the other stars. (Hesiod. Theog. 378.) Cephalus was carried away by her from the summit of mount Hymetttus to Syria, and by him she became the mother of Phaeton or Tithonus, the father of Phaeton; but afterwards she restored her beloved to his wife Procris. (Hes. Th. 984; Apollod. 3.14.3; Paus. 1.3.1; Ov. Met. 7.703, &c.; Hygin. Fab 189; comp. CEPHALUS.) Eos was represented in the pediment of the kingly stoa at Athens in the act of carrying off Cephalus, and in the same manner she was seen on the throne of the Amyclaean Apollo. (Paus. 1.3.1, 3.18.7.) At Olympia she was represented in the act of praying to Zeus for Memnon. (5.22. 2.) In the works of art still extant, she appears as a winged goddess or in a chariot drawn by four horses. - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

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