Helios - Greek God of the Sun

Image ID: 1623916 Adulterium in Dijs Punitum. [[Venus and Mars surprised by Vulcan]]
Image ID: 1623916 Adulterium in Dijs Punitum. [[Venus and Mars surprised by Vulcan]] Helios, the Sun, looks on. NYPL Digital Gallery

Definition: Helios is the Greek sun god and the sun itself. He is equated with the Roman Sol. Helios drives a chariot led by four fire-breathing horses across the sky each day. At night he is carried back to his starting place in a great divinely-wrought cup. In Mimnermus (fl. 37th Olympiad; Ionian Greek poet), Helios' vehicle is a winged, golden bed. From his lofty traveling vehicle, Helios sees everything that happens during the day, so he acts as tale-bearer to the gods.

Persephone Story

Helios saw Hades abducting Persephone. Demeter didn't think to ask him about her missing daughter but wandered the earth morosely for months until her friend, the witchcraft goddess Hekate suggested that Helios might have been an eye witness.

Venus and Mars Caught in a Net Story

Helios owed Hephaestus for the cup that carries him to his morning daily starting point, which the smithy god had made for him, so when he witnessed an event of importance to Hephaestus, he didn't keep it to himself. He hurried to reveal the affair between Hephaestus' wife Aphrodite and Ares.

Parentage and Family

Although Hyperion may simply be part of Helios' name, usually Helios' parents are the Titans Hyperion and Theia; his sisters are Selene and Eos. Helios married the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, Perseis or Perse, by whom he had Aeetes, Circe, and Pasiphae. By the Oceanid Clymene, Helios had a son Phaethon and maybe Augeas, and 3 daughters, Aegiale, Aegle, and Aetheria. These 3 daughters and two Helios had by Neaera, Lampetie, and Phaethusa, were known as the Heliades.

Sun God: Helios to Apollo

Around the time of Euripides, the sun of Helios became identified with Apollo.

Source: Oskar Seyffert (1894) A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

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Pronunciation: 'hē.lē.os

Also Known As: Hyperion

Alternate Spellings: Helius

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Gill, N.S. "Helios - Greek God of the Sun." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/helios-greek-god-of-the-sun-119008. Gill, N.S. (2020, August 26). Helios - Greek God of the Sun. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/helios-greek-god-of-the-sun-119008 Gill, N.S. "Helios - Greek God of the Sun." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/helios-greek-god-of-the-sun-119008 (accessed June 1, 2023).