"Dawn." 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.1 Ovid2 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 Phaethon 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.3 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;4 and the tragic writers completely identify her with Hemera, of whom in later times the same myths are related as of Eos.5 The later Greek and the Roman poets followed, on the whole, the notions of Eos, which Homer had established, and the splendor of a southern aurora, which lasts much longer than in our climate, is a favorite 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.6 According to Apollodorus,7 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,8 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.9 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.10
By Astraeus Eos became the mother of Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, Heosphorus, and the other stars.11 Cephalus, the son of Hermes, was carried away by her from the summit of Mount Hymettus to Syria, and by him she became the mother of Phaethon or Tithonus, the father of Phaeton.12 She is also said to have carried off a second Cephalus, the son of Deion, but to have afterwards restored her beloved to his wife Procris.13
Eos was usually depicted on Greek vases with wings and wearing a long robe, but also riding a chariot pulled by two sets of winged horses. An amphora by Execias (ca. 530 BCE; at the Vatican Museum) shows Eos mourning at the body of Memnon; she was similarly represented at Olympia in the act of praying to Zeus for Memnon.14 A bowl by Calliades and Duris (ca. 490 BCE) depicts a winged Eos holding the dead hero in her arms.
An archaic relief by Camirus (sixth century BCE) depicts Eos with a small Cephalus in her arms, and a frieze on the altar at Pergamon (second century BCE) shows her riding a horse in front of Helius. She 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.15 In the works of art still extant, she appears as a winged goddess or in a chariot drawn by four horses. A more recent work is the Aurora by Guido Reni.
- Hesiod. Theogony, 371 ff.; Homer. Hymn to Helios, ii.
- Metamorphoses, ix, 420; Fasti iv, 373.
- Homer. Odyssey v, 1 ff.; xxiii, 244; Virgil. Aeneid iv, 129; Georgics i, 446; Homer. Hymn to Hermes, 185; Theocritus, ii, 148; xiii, 11.
- Odyssey v, 390; x, 144.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 3.1; iii, 18.7.
- Homer. Odyssey v, 121.
- Metamorphoses i, 4.4.
- Odyssey xv, 250.
- Homer. Hymn to Aphrodite, 218 ff.; Horace. Carmina i, 22.8; ii, 16. 30; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 12.4; Hesiod. Theogony, 984; Servius on Virgil's Georgics i, 447; iii, 328, Aeneid iv, 585.
- Virgil. Aeneid viii, 384.
- Hesiod. Theogony, 378.
- Hesiod. Theogony, 984; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 14.3; Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 3.1.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses vii, 703 ff.; Hyginus. Fabulae, 189.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece v, 22.2.
- ibid. i, 3.1, iii, 18.7.
- Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- 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.