The Greek personification of sleep, a son of Nyx, and regarded as the brother of Thanatos, Death.1 Both divinities lived in the underworld.

Hypnos' attributes are a poppy stem, a horn (with sleep-inducing opium), a branched dipped in the River Lethe (forgetfulness), and an inverted torch. At Sicyon there was a statue of Sleep surnamed Epidetes (Ἐπιδώτης), the giver.2


He is depicted as a nude youth with wings attached to his shoulders or to his temples. A Hellenic statue of Hypnos (third century BCE) represents him as a striding youth with the head slightly bent forward. In the right hand, which is held high, he holds a horn dripping with poppy juice and in the left hand a poppy stem. On grave reliefs he is portrayed as an old, bearded man with wings attached to his shoulders, leaning on a staff or inverted torch.



  1. Hesiod. Theogony, 211 ff.; Virgil. Aeneid vi, 277.
  2. Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 10.2


  • Bartelink, Dr. G.J.M. (1988). Prisma van de mythologie. Utrecht: Het Spectrum.
  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.