The Greek Goddess Eos: Mythology, Overview

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we explore the Greek goddess Eos. The bringer of dawn and sister to the sun and moon, Eos played an important role by signaling the beginning of each day.

Up With the Sun

When do you like to get up in the morning? Chances are - if you can - you like to sleep in. Everybody knows one or two people who will sleep the entire day away if they are allowed. Unfortunately, sleepyheads the world over have little chance of ever seeing the dawn, and the brilliant colors it can often paint across the sky. The dawn was so important to the ancient Greeks that it had its own goddess: Eos.

Who Was Eos?

Eos was charged with bringing the dawn to the Greek world each morning. She was the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and she was sister to Helios and Selene: the sun and the moon, respectively.

Popular depictions of Eos and how she completed her duties vary; at times she is shown riding a golden chariot drawn by a winged horse, while she is also commonly depicted using her own set of wings to fly across the sky each morning. She was described as being incredibly beautiful (Homer described her as being 'rosy-fingered' and the epithet has stuck) and clad in fine silks and linens.

According to Greek myth, Eos was cursed by Aphrodite to have an insatiable lust for men, and she was married several times. Eos loved her second husband, Tithonus, a prince of Troy, so much that she begged Zeus to grant Tithonus immortal life, so the two could be together forever. Zeus granted Tithonus his immortality, but as Eos forgot to also ask for eternal youth, Tithonus grew withered and old, and lost all of his beauty.

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