In the mythical history of Greece there are three personages of this name, who are spoken of by ancient writers as connected with one another, but this connexion is so confused, that it is impossible to gain a clear view of them. We shall follow Diodorus, who distinguishes between the three, although in other passages he confounds them.

A son of Hellen and the nymph Orseis, and a brother of Dorus and Xuthus. He is described as the ruler of Thessaly, and regarded as the founder of the Aeolic branch of the Greek nation. He married Enarete, the daughter of Deimachus, by whom he had seven sons and five daughters, and according to some writers still more.1 According to Müller's supposition, the most ancient and genuine story knew only of four sons of Aeolus, viz. Sisyphus, Athamas, Cretheus, and Salmoneus, as the representatives of the four main branches of the Aeolic race. The great extent of country which this race occupied, and the desire of each part of it to trace its origin to some descendant of Aeolus, probably gave rise to the varying accounts about the number of his children.

According to Hyginus2 Aeolus had one son of the name of Macareus, who, after having committed incest with his sister Canace, put an end to his own life. According to Ovid3 Aeolus threw the fruit of this love to the dogs, and sent his daughter a sword by which she was to kill herself.4

See further Aeolus II, the great-grandson of Aeolus I, and Aeolus III, the grandson of Aeolus II.



  1. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 7.3; Scholiast on Pindar's Pythian Odes iv, 190.
  2. Fabulae, 238, 242.
  3. Heroides, 11.
  4. Comp. Plutarch. Parallel Lives of the Noble Greek and Romans, 312.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.