The sun in the Greek
language. In earlier Greek Mythology
, the sun was personified as a deity called Helios
), driving a fiery chariot across the sky. The best known story involving Helios is that of his son Phaeton
, who drove the sun chariot to his own disaster. In later mythology Helios was conflated with Apollo
, who thereby became the sun god.
The names of the horses were Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon.
Helios was worshipped throughout the Peloponnesus, especially on Rhodes (an island he pulled out of the sea), where annual gymnastic tournaments were held in his honor. The Colossus of Rhodes was dedicated to him.
Helios was often depicted as a haloed youth in a chariot, wearing a cloak and with a globe and a whip. Roosters and eagles were associated with him.
In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his surviving crew landed on an island, Thrinacia[?], sacred to Helios, where he kept sacred cattle. Though Odysseus warned his men not to, they killed and ate some of the cattle. The guardians of the island, Helios' daughters, Lampetia and Phaethusa, told their father. Helios destroyed the ship and all the men save Odysseus. Sometimes, Apollo replaced Helios.
Helios was sometimes referred to with the epithet Helios Panoptes ("the all-seeing").
While Heracles traveled to Erytheia to retrieve the cattle of Geryon, he crossed the Libyan desert and was so frustrated at the heat that he shot an arrow at Helios, the sun. Helios begged him to stop and Heracles demanded the golden cup which Helios used to sail across the sea every night, from the west to the east. Heracles used this golden cup to reach Erytheia.
Helios' Roman equivalent was Sol. On the Quirinalis, he was worshipped as Sol Indiges. The Circus Maximus housed another temple.
Emperor Heliogabalus[?] imported Sol Invictus ("the invincible son") from Syria. Sol Invictus was designated the god of the Roman Empire.
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