:"For other uses of the name Eos, see Eos (disambiguation). For the Slavic goddesses called the Auroras, see The Zorya."

Eos (Greek ΗPolytonic|ώς, or Έως "dawn") is, in Greek mythology, the Titanic goddess [Lycophron calls her by an archaic name, "Tito" ("the Titaness") Kerenyi, noting this observes that Tito shares a linguistic origin with Eos' lover Tithonus, that belonged to an older, pre-Greek language (Kerenyi 1951:199 note 637).] of the dawn, who rose from her home at the edge of Oceanus, the Ocean that surrounds the world, to herald her brother Helios, the sun.

The Greek worship of the dawn as a goddess is believed to be inherited from Indo-European times. The name "Eos" is cognate to Latin Aurora, to Vedic Ushas.

Eos in Greek literature

As the dawn goddess, Eos with "rosy fingers" opened the gates of heaven [Nonnus: "Eos had just shaken off the wing of carefree sleep (Hypnos) and opened the gates of sunrise, leaving the lightbringing couch of Kephalos." ("Dionysiaca" 27. 1f, in A.L. Rouse's translation).] so that Apollo could ride his chariot across the sky every day. In Homer ("Iliad" viii.1; xxiv.695), her saffron-colored robe is embroidered or woven with flowers ("Odyssey" vi:48 etc); rosy-fingered and with golden arms, she is pictured on Attic vases as a supernaturally beautiful woman, crowned with a tiara or diadem and with the large white-feathered wings of a bird.

From "The Iliad" :

:"Now when Dawn in robe of saffron was hastening from the streams of Okeanos, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached the ships with the armor that the god had given her." (19.1)

:"But soon as early Dawn appeared, the rosy-fingered, then gathered the folk about the pyre of glorious Hector." (24.776)

Quintus Smyrnaeus pictured her exulting in her heart over the radiant horses (Lampos and Phaithon) that drew her chariot, amidst the bright-haired Horae, the feminine Hours, climbing the arc of heaven and scattering sparks of fire ("Posthomerica" 1.48).

She is most often associated with her Homeric epithet "rosy-fingered" ("rhododactylos"), but Homer also calls her Eos Erigeneia:: "That brightest of stars appeared, "Eosphoros," that most often heralds the light of early-rising Dawn ("Eos Erigeneia")."::—"Odyssey" 13.93

Hesiod wrote: "And after these Erigeneia ["Early-born"] bore the star Eosphoros ("Dawn-bringer"), and the gleaming stars with which heaven is crowned." ::—"Theogony" 378-382

Thus Eos, preceded by the Morning Star (Venus), is seen as the genetrix of all the stars and planets; her tears are considered to have created the morning dew, personified as Ersa or Herse.


Eos is the daughter of Hyperion and Theia (or Pallas and Styx) and sister of Helios the sun and Selene the moon, "who shine upon all that are on earth and upon the deathless Gods who live in the wide heaven" Hesiod told in "Theogony" (371-374). The generation of Titans preceded all the familiar deities of Olympus, who supplanted them.


Eos is free with her favors and had many consorts, both among the generation of Titans and among the handsomest mortals. With Astraios, she bore all the winds and stars. Her passion for the Titan Orion was unrequited. Eos kidnapped Cephalus, Clitus, Ganymede, and Tithonus to be her lovers. Eos' most faithful consort was Tithonus, from whose couch the poets imagine her arising. When Zeus stole Ganymede from her to be his cup-bearer, she asked for Tithonus to be made immortal, but forgot to ask for eternal youth. Tithonus indeed lived forever but grew more and more ancient, eventually turning into a cricket.

In the more restrictive Hellenic world, Apollodorus, a later Greek poet, claimed, in an anecdote rather than a myth, that her disgraceful abandon was a torment from Aphrodite, who found her on the couch with Ares. [Apollodorus. "The Library", 1.27.]


According to Hesiod ("Theogony" 984ff) by Tithonus Eos had two sons, Memnon and Emathion. Memnon fought among the Trojans in the Trojan War and was slain. Her image with the dead Memnon across her knees, like Thetis with the dead Achilles and Isis with the dead Osiris, are icons that inspired the Christian Pietà.

The abduction of Cephalus had special appeal for an Athenian audience because Cephalus was a local boy, [Mary R. Lefkowitz, "'Predatory' Goddesses" "Hesperia" 71.4 (October 2002, pp. 325-344) p. 326.] and so this myth element appeared frequently in Attic vase-paintings and was exported with them. In the literary myths [(Hesiod "Theogony" 984; pseudo-Apollodorus "Bibliotheke" iii. 14.3; Pausanias i. 3.1; Ovid "Metamorphoses" vii. 703ff; Hyginus "Fabula 189.] Eos kidnapped Cephalus when he was hunting and took him to Syria. The second-century CE traveller Pausanias was informed that the abductor of Cephalus was Hemera, goddess of Day. [Pausanias remarking on the subjects shown in the Royal Stoa, Athens (1.3.1) and on the throne of Apollo at Amyklai (3.18.10ff).] Although Cephalus was already married to Procris, Eos bore him three sons, including Phaeton and Hesperus, but he then began pining for Procris, causing a disgruntled Eos to return him to her — and put a curse on them. in Hyginus' report [Hyginus, "Fabula" 189.] telling Cephalus accidentally killed Procris some time later after he mistook her for an animal while hunting; in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" vii, Procris, a jealous wife, was spying on him and heard him singing to the wind, "Aura", but thought he was serenading his ex-lover Aurora (Eos).

Etruscan interpretations

Among the Etruscans, the generative dawn-goddess was Thesan. Depictions of the dawn-goddess with a young lover became popular in Etruria in the fifth century, probably inspired by imported Greek vase-painting. [Marilyn Y. Goldberg, "The 'Eos and Kephalos' from Cære: Its Subject and Date" "American Journal of Archæology" 91.4 (October 1987, pp. 605-614) p 607.] Though Etruscans preferred to show the goddess as a nurturer ("Kourotrophos") rather than an abductor of young men, the late Archaic sculptural acroterion from Etruscan Cære (Cerveteri), now in Berlin, showing the goddess in archaic running pose adapted from the Greeks, and bearing a boy in her arms, has commonly been identified as Eos and Cephalus. [ Goldberg 1987:605-614 casts doubt on the boy's identification, in the context of Etruscan and Greek abduction motifs.] On an Etruscan mirror Thesan is shown carrying off a young man, whose name is inscribed TINTHU [N] . [Noted by Goldberg 1987: in I. Mayer-Prokop, "Die gravierten etruskischen Griffspiegel archaischen Stils" (Heidelberg) 1966, fig. 61.]

Roman interpretation

Her Roman equivalent is Aurora, her Etruscan equivalent is Thesan. The Dawn became associated in Roman cult with Matuta; later known as Mater Matuta she was also associated with the sea harbors and ports. She had a temple on the Forum Boarium. On June 11, the Matralia was celebrated at that temple in honor of Mater Matuta; this festival was only for women in their first marriage.

List of consorts and children

The following are lovers of Eos, described in various myths, and her children by them.
# With Astraios
## Boreas
## Eurus
## Eosphoros
## Hesperos
## Notus
## All the stars/planets
## Zephyrus
# With Tithonus
## Emathion
## Memnon
# With Cephalus
## Phaëton
## Tithonos
# With Zeus
## Ersa
## Carae



*Kerenyi, Karl. "The Gods of the Greeks". Thames and Hudson, 1951.

External links

* [http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Eos.html Theoi Project - Eos]

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