Learn About the Sun Gods and Goddesses

Greek Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion
Harald Sund/ Photographer's Choice RF/ getty Images

In ancient cultures, where you find gods with specialized functions, you'll probably find a sun god or goddess. Many are humanoid and ride or drive a vessel of sort across the sky. It may be a boat, a chariot, or a cup. The sun god of the Greeks and Romans rode in a 4-horse (Pyrios, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon) chariot.

There may be more than one god of the sun. The Egyptians differentiated among the aspects of the sun and had several gods associated with it: Khepri for the rising sun, Atum, the setting, and Ra, at noon, who rode across the sky in a solar bark.

The Greeks and Romans also had more than one sun god.

You may notice that most sun deities are male and act as counterparts to female moon deities, but don't take this as a given. There are goddesses of the sun just as there are male deities of the moon.

 

NameNationality/ReligionGod or Goddess or ?Notes
AmaterasuJapanSun Goddess 
Arinna (Hebat)Hittite (Syrian)Sun GoddessThe Iconography of Religion in the Hittite, Luwian, and Aramaean Kingdoms PDF
ApolloGreece and RomeSun God 
FreyrNorseSun GodNot the main Norse sun god, but a fertility god associated with the sun.
GarudaHinduBird God 
Helios (Helius)GreeceSun GodBefore Apollo was the Greek sun god, Helios held that position.
HepaHittiteSun GoddessThe consort of a weather god, she was assimilated with the sun goddess Arinna.
Huitzilopochtli (Uitzilopochtli)AztecSun God 
Hvar KhshaitaIranian/PersianSun GodEarlier than Mithras.
IntiIncaSun God 
LizaWest AfricanSun God 
LughCelticSun God 
MithrasIranian/PersianSun God"Mit(h)ra(s) and the Myths of the Sun" David H. Sick. Numen (2004).
Re (Ra)EgyptMid-day Sun GodAn Egyptian god shown with a solar disk. Center of worship was Heliopolis. Later associated with Horus as Re-Horakhty. Also combined with Amun as Amun-Ra, a solar creator god.
Shemesh/ShepeshUgaritSun goddessFemale solar deities (Jürg Eggler) PDF
Sol (Sunna)NorseSun GoddessShe rides in a horse-drawn solar chariot.
Sol InvictusRomanSun GodThe unconquered sun. A late Roman sun god. The title was also used of Mithras.
SuryaHinduSun GodRides the sky in a horse-drawn chariot.
TonatiuhAztecSun God 
Utu (Shamash)MesopotamiaSun God 
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Gill, N.S. "Learn About the Sun Gods and Goddesses." ThoughtCo, Aug. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/sun-gods-and-sun-goddesses-121167. Gill, N.S. (2017, August 7). Learn About the Sun Gods and Goddesses. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/sun-gods-and-sun-goddesses-121167 Gill, N.S. "Learn About the Sun Gods and Goddesses." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/sun-gods-and-sun-goddesses-121167 (accessed November 23, 2017).