Eos, goddess of the dawn

auroraEos (Aurora, Dawn) was a 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 a daughter of Hyperion and Theia, but on some occasions she is also noted as a daughter of Nyx or a daughter of Pallas. She is said to have been bringing light to heavens and earth and was also used to describe all the charms of dawn, for the movement of the stars and orientation or navigation, and on the other hand she was personalised to a goddess whenever it suited the authors. In the Odyssey, it is said that 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 a mother of the winds and planets. She had consorted with her cousin Astraeus and gave birth to the winds Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus and sometimes, variously, also to 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 a mother of planet Venus, also called Lucifer or Hesperus. But that was not all, Eos is also mentioned to be a mother of Astraea, a virgin goddess of justice, who was strongly equated with Dike, one of the Horae, daughters 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

Because of the spell of Aphrodite, Eos became fond of mortal men. She fell in love with Tithonus, a prince of Troy, and gave birth to Memnon, who became a king of Ethiopians and later one of the heroes of Trojan war when he came to aid the Trojans, and variously lord Emathion, a brother of Memnon. The goddess of Dawn also wanted for Tithonus to become like her, immortal, so therefore she went to Zeus with a plea. The king of the gods granted her wish and they lived happily for a while, until the age has come to him. Eos forgot to ask for his eternal youth as well and once his hair has become grey, she rather kept away from his bed even though she still cherished and nourished him with heavenly food and ambrosia, and gave him rich clothing. But when the full age has come to him, Tithonus shriveled and babbled for eternity which was not in the original plan by the goddess who also had a thing for a mortal man by the name of 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 early morning. Cephalus already had a wife who he loved and was unwilling to give in to the plea of Eos, to embrace her and make love to her.Aurora and Cephalus He told her that he promised his 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 prey could escape. She also changed her appearance and encouraged her to challenge her husband Cephalus in a hunt. When Cephalus, a hunting enthusiast, saw the incredible javelin and the 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 the javelin and killed his wife instead. Eos then carried him off and, according to Hesiod, bore him a son Phaethon. However, according to Apollodorus, she bore him Tithonus which would negate the story above from Hyginus' Fables. Anyway, the goddess also had an affair with a 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 a Trojan war, supporting the Trojans, mostly because of her son Memnon, who was called to aid by the Trojans, and her lover Tithonus, a father of Memnon and a 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 a battle when two experienced Greek hunters wanted to kill Memnon. Phereus and Thrasymedes decided to end the life of Memnon and, while on a 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 on 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 a proper funeral of her son and Zeus, thought of it as just proposal, 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.