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Eos

Titan goddess of dawn

Eos was the goddess of dawn, bringer of the early light when came from the ocean's stream at the far east to overcome the night. She was often described as being hope and rejuvenation to all living mortal beings, as they woke up in the morning, filled with energy and ready to resume their work and journey and life in general. Eos is usually described as the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, but on some occasions she is also noted as the daughter of Nyx or the daughter of Pallas.

She is said to have been bringing light to Heavens ans Earth and was also used to describe all the charms of the dawn by the authors, for the movement of the stars and orientation or navigation and on the other hand, she was personalised to the goddess when it suited the authors. Like mentioned in the Odyssey, her home island was Aeaea, the dancing grounds of Eos.

Love affairs and her descendants

Divine lovers

The Goddess of dawn is credited to be the mother of the winds and planets. She had consorted with her cousin Astraeus and gave birth to the winds Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus and sometimes also mentioned Favonius. Eos also gave birth to planets, known as Astra. According to Hesiod, first of these planets was Erigenia and shortly after Eosphorus. She was also the mother of planet Venus, also called Lucifer or Hesperus. But that was not all, Eos is also mentioned to be the mother of Astraea, the virgin goddess of justice, who was strongly equated with Dike, one of the Horae, the daughter of Themis.

It seemed that the goddess had enough of descendants already, so she once bedded Ares out of pleasure, no plan to get pregnant. This however was not easily overseen by Aphrodite, lover of Ares, who consequently put a spell on Eos to be perpetually in love.

Mortal lovers

So because of the spell of Aphrodite, Eos became fond of mortal men. She fell in love with Tithonus, prince of Troy, and gave birth to Memnon, who became the king of Ethiopians and later one of the heroes of Trojan war when he came to aid the Trojans, and variously lord Emathion, brother of Memnon. However, many of authors are not mentioning Emathion. The goddess of Dawn also wanted for Tithonus to become like her, immortal, so therefore she went to Zeus, asking him to make him immortal. Zeus granted her wish and they lived happily for a while, until the age has come to him.

The goddess forgot to ask for his eternal youth and once his hair became grey, she rather kept away from his bed even though she still cherished and nourished him with food and Ambrosia and gave him rich clothing. But when the full age has come to him, Tithonus shriveled and babbled for eternity.

Eos also had a thing for Cephalus. The myth can be found in Hyginus' Fabulae where Eos, already a wife of Tithonus, fell in love with Cephalus while he was hunting in the mountains in the early morning. Cephalus already had a wife whom he loved and was unwilling to give in to the plea of Eos to embrace her and make love to her.

He told her that he promised her wife never to cheat on her. Therefore, Eos tricked him by changing his form and giving him gifts for Procis, his wife. When he came to her, Procis was unable to recognise her husband Cephalus. But this stranger seemed kind to her, reminded her of her husband and after giving her gifts, she made love to him. Then Eos changed back his form and Procis knew she was tricked by the goddess.

To Cephalus soon became clear what just happened and for the first time realised that the promise, he and his wife made to each other, was not so strong as he liked to believe. Procis ashamed, fled to the island of Crete where Artemis used to hunt. She told the goddess what happened and Artemis decided to help her. She gave her a javelin that could not miss its target and a dog that no pray could escape.

She also changed her appearance and encouraged her to challenge her husband Cephalus in a hunt. When Cephalus, the hunting enthusiast, saw the incredible javelin and dog in action, he asked her to sell both to him, not knowing he was talking to his wife. When they finally agreed to exchange, she took off the tunic and showed him who she really was. Cephalus then accepted his wife back and it was all fine for a while. However, this angered Eos who still wanted Cephalus for herself. Therefore she again tricked Cephalus one day when he was hunting. She also made sure that Procis was in the woods at the time.

The goddess then hid herself in a bush in the vicinity of Procis and made noise. Cephalus thought it was an animal and threw his javelin and killed his wife instead. Eos also had an affair with demi-god Orion whom she carried off to Delos, after falling in love with him. There was also a mortal youth of great beauty, called Calamos. He lived in earlier times and in beauty surpassed all of her other lovers.

Trojan war

Eos was involved in the Trojan war, supporting the Trojans, mostly because her son Memnon who was called to aid by the Trojans and her lover Tithonus, father of Memnon and prince of Troy. She is said to had been bringing morale to the Trojans with her early morning beams of light. She is also noted to had intervened in battle, when two experienced Greek hunters wanted to kill Memnon.

Phereus and Thrasymedes decided to end the life of Memnon and while on battlefield, they hurled long spears at him with extreme power and precision. He would have been killed to death by the spears but, with the intervention of Eos who misguided the spears, they hit far from the flesh of Memnon. The hero was left to live the famous battle with Achilles which overshadowed most of the battles in Trojan war. It is said that the eyes of all gods were focused on this particular battle and all of them cheered for their favourite. Eos naturally hoped that her son would be able to defeat Achilles, but the fates had other plans. Achilles managed to overcome and kill Memnon.

And it is said that when Memnon fell by the sword of Achilles, Eos groaned and moaned, palled herself in clouds and the earth was darkened. The winds gathered to the Plains and floated around the bodies of fallen men. The gods later gathered the bodies on a pile and made a river that, while fertile all year, would once a year turn into blood as a memory to Memnon.

Eos still moaned and didn't want to show up the next morning. But Zeus found this to be outrageous and summoned her with his thunderbolt. She then begged him for proper funeral of her son and Zeus, thought of it as just, granted her wish. When Memnon's nation, the Ethiopians, buried him, the goddess transformed them into birds sweeping through air around the barrow of the mighty dead.

[1]

Sources

[1] "Greek Gods"




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