"Theia yielded to Hyperion's love and gave birth
to great Helios and bright Selene and Eos,
who brings light to all the mortals of this earth
and to the immortal gods who rule the wide sky."
(Hesiod, Theogony, 371-74)
Eos also plays a role in the epics of Homer. The Greek poet frequently mentions this beautiful goddess in the Iliad and the Odyssey, referring to her as "rosy-fingered", "early-rising", and "saffron-robed". The team of horses that pull her chariot across the sky are named in the Odyssey as Lampos and Phaethon (translated as Firebright and Daybright).
There are a number of mythical stories about the affairs of Eos. Some scholars have attributed her strange fascination with mortal men to an unfortunate incident - apparently, the goddess of the Dawn had a fling with Ares. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was no doubt angry that her lover had been involved with Eos, so she punished the dawn-goddess by making her fall for a series of mortals. Tithonus, Cephalus, and Orion are some of the fatal attractions of Eos.
Children often came from these romantic liaisons. Eos was the mother of several notable offspring, including the Winds (Zephyrus, Boreas, and Notus) and the Morning Star (Eosphoros) all of whom she bore to the Titan Astraeus; and Memnon, her son by Tithonus.
The Romans called the goddess of Dawn Aurora.
Eos in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Eos in art, visit the Mythography gallery!
Who's Who in Classical Mythology