Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Helios - Ἥλιος

Homeric Hymn 31 to Helius (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"And now, O Mousa Kalliope, daughter of Zeus, begin to sing of glowing Helios (the Sun) whom mild-eyed Euryphaessa (Wide Shining), the far-shining one, bare to the son of Gaia (Earth) and starry Ouranos (Heaven). For Hyperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, his own sister, who bare him lovely children, rosy-armed Eos (Dawn) and rich-tressed Selene (Moon) and tireless Helios (Sun) who is like the deathless gods. As he rides in his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes with his eyes from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming form the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him. Then, when he has stayed his golden-yoked chariot and horses, he rests there upon the highest point of heaven, until he marvellously drives them down again through heaven to Okeanos (the Ocean-Stream). Hail to you, lord! Freely bestow on me substance that cheers the heart. And now that I have begun with you, I will celebrate the race of mortal men half-divine whose deeds the Mousai have showed to mankind."

Orphic Hymn 8 to Helius (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Helios (Sun), Fumigation from Frankincense and Manna. Hear, golden Titan, whose eternal eye with matchless sight illumines all the sky. Native, unwearied in diffusing light, and to all eyes the object of delight: Lord of the seasons, beaming light from far, sonorous, dancing in thy four-yoked car. With thy right hand the source of morning light, and with thy left the father of the night. Agile and vigorous, venerable Sun, fiery and bright around the heavens you run, foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide, over all his steps propitious you preside. With various-sounding golden lyre ‘tis thine to fill the world with harmony divine. Father of ages, guide of prosperous deeds, the world’s commander, borne by lucid steeds. Immortal Zeus, flute-playing , bearing light, source of existence, pure and fiery bright; bearer of fruit, almighty lord or years, agile and warm, whom every power reveres. Bright eye, that round the world incessant flies, doomed with fair fulgid rays to set and rise; dispensing justice, lover of the stream, the world’s great master, and over all supreme. Faithful defender, and the eye of right, of steeds the ruler, and of life the light: with sounding whip four fiery steeds you guide, when in the glittering car of day you ride, propitious on these mystic labour shine, and bless thy suppliants with a life divine."

Helios' Appearance: Often represented as a handsome youth with a rayed headdress indicating his solar attributes.

Symbol or Attributes of Helios: Rayed headdress, his chariot pulled by the four horses Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon, the whip he drives them with, and a globe.

Helios' Strengths: Powerful, fiery, bright, tireless

Helios' Weaknesses: His intense fire can burn

Birthplace of Helios:The Greek island of Rhodes

Parents:Usually said to be Hyperion, supposedly a still-earlier sun god, and Theia

Spouse: Perse

Children:By Perse, Aeëtes, Circe, and Pasiphae. He is also the father of Phaethusa, Phaeton, and Lampeta.

Some Major Temple Sites:The island of Rhodes, where the famous huge statue "The Colossus of Rhodes" probably depicted Helios. Also, the island of Thrinacia was said by Homer to be Helios' special territory, but its actual location is unknown.

Basic Story:Helios rises from a golden palace beneath the sea and drives his fiery chariot across the sky every day, providing daylight. Once he let his son Phaeton drive his chariot, but Phaeton lost control of the vehicle and plunged to his death or, alternately, set the earth on fire and was killed by Zeus to keep him from burning up all of mankind.

Interesting Fact: Helios is a Titan, a member of the earlier order of gods and goddesses which preceded the later Olympians. Whenever we encounter the "os" ending in a name, it usually indicates an earlier, pre-Greek origin.

In modern Greece, many hilltop chapels are dedicated to "Saint" Ilios, and are likely to mark ancient temple sites for Helios.

Alternate Spellings:Helius, Ilius, Ilios.

From: here
HELIOS (or Helius) was the Titan god of the sun. He was also the guardian of oaths and the god of gift of sight. Helios dwelt in a golden palace located in the River Okeanos at the eastern ends of the earth. From there he emerged each dawn driving a chariot drawn by four, fiery winged steeds and crowned with the aureole of the sun. When he reached the the land of the Hesperides (Evenings) in the West he descended into a golden cup which carried him around the northern streams of Okeanos back to his rising place in the East. Once his son Phaethon attempted to drive the chariot of the sun, but losing control, set the earth on fire. Zeus then struck him down with a thunderbolt.

Helios was depicted as a handsome, and usually beardless, man clothed in purple robes and crowned with the shining aureole of the sun. His sun-chariot was drawn by four steeds, sometimes winged. Helios was identified with several gods including fiery Hephaistos and light-bringing Apollon.


HE′LIOS (Hêlios or Êelios), that is, the sun, or the god of the sun. He is described as the son of Hyperion and Theia, and as a brother of Selene and Eos. (Hom. Od. xii. 176, 322, Hymn. in Min. 9, 13; Hes. Theog. 371, &c.) From his father, he is frequently called Hyperionides, or Hyperion, the latter of which is an abridged form of the patronymic, Hyperionion. (Hom. Od. xii. 176, Hymn. in Cer. 74; Hes. Theog. 1011; Hom. Od. i. 24, ii. 19, 398, Hymn. in Apoll. Pyth. 191.) In the Homeric hymn on Helios, he is called a son of Hyperion and Euryphaëssa. Homer describes Helios as giving light both to gods and men: he rises in the east from Oceanus, though not from the river, but from some lake or bog (limnê) formed by Oceanus, rises up into heaven, where he reaches the highest point at noon time, and then he descends, arriving in the evening in the darkness of the west, and in Oceanus. (Il. vii. 422, Od. iii. 1, &c., 335, iv. 400, x. 191, xi. 18, xii. 380.) Later poets have marvellously embellished this simple notion: they tell of a most magnificent palace of Helios in the east, containing a throne occupied by the god, and surrounded by personifications of the different divisions of time (Ov. Met. ii. 1, &c.); and while Homer speaks only of the gates of Helios in the west, later writers assign to him a second palace in the west, and describe his horses as feeding upon herbs growing in the islands of the blessed. (Nonn. Dionys. xii. 1, &c.; Athen. vii. 296; Stat. Theb. iii. 407.) The points at which Helios rises and descends into the ocean are of course different at the different seasons of the year; and the extreme points in the north and south, between which the rising and setting take place, are the tropai êelioio. (Od. xv. 403; Hes. Op. et Dies, 449, 525.) The manner in which Helios during the night passes front the western into the eastern ocean is not mentioned either by Homer or Hesiod, but later poets make him sail in a golden boat round one-half of the earth, and thus arrive in the east at the point from which he has to rise again. This golden boat is the work of Hephaestus. (Athen. xi. 469; Apollod. ii. 5. § 10; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1632.) Others represent him as making his nightly voyage while slumbering in a golden bed. (Athen. xi. 470.) The horses and chariot with which Helios makes his daily career are not mentioned in the Iliad and Odyssey, but first occur in the Homeric hymn on Helios (9, 15; comp. in Merc. 69, in Cer. 88), and both are described minutely by later poets. (Ov. Met. ii. 106, &c.; Hygin. Fab. 183; Schol. ad Eurip. Pholen. 3 ; Pind. Ol. vii. 71.)

Helios is described even in the Homeric poems as the god who sees and hears every thing, but, notwithstanding this, he is unaware of the fact that the companions of Odysseus robbed his oxen, until he was informed of it by Lampetia. (Od. xii. 375.) But, owing to his omniscience, he was able to betray to Hephaestus the faithlessness of Aphrodite, and to reveal to Demeter the carrying off of her daughter. (Od. viii. 271, Hymn. in Cer. 75, &c., in Sol. 10; comp. Soph. Ajax, 847, &c.) This idea of Helios knowing every thing, which also contains the elements of his ethical and prophetic nature, seems to have been the cause of Helios being confounded and identified with Apollo, though they were originally quite distinct; and the identification was, in fact, never carried out completely, for no Greek poet ever made Apollo ride in the chariot of Helios through the heavens, and among the Romans we find this idea only after the time of Virgil. The representations of Apollo with rays around his head, to characterise him as identical with the sun, belong to the time of the Roman empire.


HELIOS was the Titan god of the sun who predided over the various facets of the solar body, from the measurement and divisions of the day, the year and the seasons, to the powers of heat and fire, and the gift of sight.

The name Helios takes a number of forms in the different Greek dialects, such as the Doric form of the name Halios.

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ἁλιος Halios Halius Sun (Doric spelling)

Helios had a large number of poetic epithets and by-names.
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ὑπεριων Hyperiôn Hyperion He Who Goes Above (hyper, iôn)
Ὑπεριονιδες Hyperionides Hyperionides Son of Hyperion, He Who Goes Above
Τιταν Titan Titan Titan God, The Straining God
Ηλεκτωρ Êlektôr Elector The Beaming (êlektôr)
Ελευθεριος Eleutherios Eleutherius Of Freedom (eleutherios)
Σωτηρ Sôtêr Soter Saviour (sôtêr)

From: Theoi (see additional links for tons more info)
Helios (play /ˈhiːli.ɒs/; Greek: Ἥλιος "Sun", Latinized as Helius) was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod (Theogony 371) and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia (Hesiod) or Euryphaessa (Homeric Hymn) and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn. The names of these three were also the common Greek words for Sun, Moon and dawn. Ovid also calls him Titan, in fact "lumina Titan".[1] The Emperor Julian the Apostate, forsook to show Romans that Helios was the only true god, and that the other Roman gods were just an image or manifestations of the supreme solar divinity, during that time the solar monotheism was the official religion of the Roman Empire, and Sol Invictus, was recognized as the supreme god.

Helios was imagined as a handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. Homer described Helios's chariot as drawn by solar steeds (Iliad xvi.779); later Pindar described it as drawn by "fire-darting steeds" (Olympian Ode 7.71). Still later, the horses were given fiery names: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.

As time passed, Helios was increasingly identified with the god of light, Apollo. However, in spite of their syncretism, they were also often viewed as two distinct gods (Helios was a Titan, whereas Apollo was an Olympian). The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, specifically Sol Invictus.

The best known story involving Helios is that of his son Phaëton, who attempted to drive his father's chariot but lost control and set the earth on fire.

Helios was sometimes characterized with the epithet Helios Panoptes ("the all-seeing"). In the story told in the hall of Alcinous in the Odyssey (viii.300ff), Aphrodite, the consort of Hephaestus, secretly beds Ares, but all-seeing Helios spies on them and tells Hephaestus, who ensnares the two lovers in nets invisibly fine, to punish them.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his surviving crew land on Thrinacia, an island sacred to the sun god, whom Circe names Hyperion rather than Helios. There, the sacred red cattle of the Sun were kept:

You will now come to the Thrinacian island, and here you will see many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep belonging to the sun-god. There will be seven herds of cattle and seven flocks of sheep, with fifty heads in each flock. They do not breed, nor do they become fewer in number, and they are tended by the goddesses Phaethusa and Lampetia, who are children of the sun-god Hyperion by Neaera. Their mother when she had borne them and had done suckling them sent them to the Thrinacian island, which was a long way off, to live there and look after their father's flocks and herds.[3]

Though Odysseus warns his men, when supplies run short they impiously kill and eat some of the cattle of the Sun. The guardians of the island, Helios' daughter, tell their father about this. Helios appeals to Zeus telling them to dispose of Odysseus' men or he will take the Sun and shine it in the Underworld. Zeus destroys the ship with his lightning bolt, killing all the men except for Odysseus.
Solar Apollo with the radiant halo of Helios in a Roman floor mosaic, El Djem, Tunisia, late 2nd century

In one Greek vase painting, Helios appears riding across the sea in the cup of the Delphic tripod which appears to be a solar reference. Athenaeus in Deipnosophistae relates that, at the hour of sunset, Helios climbed into a great golden cup in which he passes from the Hesperides in the farthest west to the land of the Ethiops, with whom he passes the dark hours. While Heracles traveled to Erytheia to retrieve the cattle of Geryon, he crossed the Libyan desert and was so frustrated at the heat that he shot an arrow at Helios, the Sun. Almost immediately, Heracles realized his mistake and apologized profusely, in turn and equally courteous, Helios granted Heracles the golden cup which he used to sail across the sea every night, from the west to the east because he found Heracles' actions immensely bold. Heracles used this golden cup to reach Erytheia.[4]

By the Oceanid Perse, Helios became the father of Aeëtes, Circe, and Pasiphaë. His other children are Phaethusa ("radiant") and Lampetia ("shining").[5]

From: Wiki

Also see:
Theoi -- has tons of info!
Helios Index & General Myths
Helios & Phaethon Myth
Helios God of
Helios Loves
Helios Estate & Attendants
Helios Cult


Sun God Helios and his son Phaethon

Helios summary
Helios - Shadow of Olympus
Helios - Sun God and Cattle Man
Helios info

Modern festivals -- Heliogenna (Winter Solstice)
Some prayers and info
Some info

His sisters --
Deity of the Week: Eos - Ἠώς
Σεληνη - Selene