Hyperion (mythology)

Last updated
Titan of heavenly light
Member of Titans
Abode Tartarus
Battles Titanomachy
Personal information
Consort Theia
Offspring Helios, Eos and Selene
Parents Uranus and Gaia

In Greek mythology, Hyperion ( /hˈpɪəriən/ ; Greek : Ὑπερίων, translit.  Hyperíōn, "The High-One") was one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky) who, led by Cronus, overthrew their father Uranus and were themselves later overthrown by the Olympians. With his sister, the Titaness Theia, Hyperion fathered Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn). [1] [2] [3] [4] Keats's abandoned epic poem Hyperion is among the literary works that feature the figure.

Greek mythology body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.



Hyperion's son Helios was referred to in early mythological writings as Helios Hyperion (Ἥλιος Ὑπερίων, "Sun High-one"). In Homer's Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the Sun is once in each work called Hyperionides (Ὑπεριωνίδης, "son of Hyperion"), and Hesiod certainly imagines Hyperion as a separate being in other writings. In later Greek literature, Hyperion is always distinguished from Helios; the former was ascribed the characteristics of the "God of Watchfulness, Wisdom and the Light", while the latter became the physical incarnation of the Sun. Hyperion is an obscure figure in Greek culture and mythology, mainly appearing in lists of the twelve Titans:

Helios Ancient Greek personification of the sun

Helios is god and personification of the Sun in Hellenistic religion. He is often depicted in art with a radiant crown and driving a horse-drawn chariot through the sky.

Homer name ascribed by the ancient Greeks to the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey

Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms. It focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.

Hesiod ancient Greek poet

Hesiod was a Greek poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is generally regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Hesiod and Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping.

"Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and their nature." - Diodorus Siculus (5.67.1)

There is little to no reference to Hyperion during the Titanomachy, the epic in which the Olympians battle the ruling Titans.

Titanomachy series of battles in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, the Titanomachy was a ten-year series of battles fought in Thessaly, consisting of most of the Titans fighting against the Olympians and their allies. This event is also known as the War of the Titans, Battle of the Titans, Battle of the Gods, or just the Titan War. The war was fought to decide which generation of gods would have dominion over the universe; it ended in victory for the Olympian gods.

As the father of Helios, Hyperion was regarded as the "first principle" by Emperor Julian, [5] though his relevance in Julian's notions of theurgy is unknown.


Neoplatonism is a term used to designate a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the third century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encapsulates a chain of thinkers which began with Ammonius Saccas and his student Plotinus and which stretches to the sixth century AD. Even though Neoplatonism primarily circumscribes the thinkers who are now labeled Neoplatonists and not their ideas, there are some ideas that are common to Neoplatonic systems, for example, the monistic idea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle, "the One".


Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more deities, especially with the goal of achieving henosis and perfecting oneself.


Hyperion's family tree [6]
Uranus Gaia Pontus
Oceanus Tethys HYPERION Theia Crius Eurybia
The  Rivers The  Oceanids Helios Selene   [7] Eos Astraeus Pallas Perses
Cronus Rhea Coeus Phoebe
Hestia Hera Poseidon Zeus Leto Asteria
Demeter Hades Apollo Artemis Hecate
Iapetus Clymene  (or  Asia)  [8] Themis (Zeus) Mnemosyne
Atlas   [9] Menoetius Prometheus   [10] Epimetheus The  Horae The  Muses


  1. Morford, p. 40; Keightley, p. 47; Smith, "Hyperion"
  2. Hesiod. Theogony, 134 & 371; Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 1.1.3 & 1.2.2
  3. Hymn to Helios (31) 47 calls Hyperion's sister and mate "Euryphaëssa" probably, an epithet of Theia, see Morford, p. 61 and West 2003, note 61 p. 215.
  4. Other accounts make Selene the daughter of the Titan Pallas (Hymn to Hermes (4), 99100) or of Helios (Euripides, The Phoenician Women 175 ff.; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44.191).
  5. "A Summary of Pythagorean Theology". Archived from the original on 2013-05-08.
  6. Hesiod, Theogony 132138, 337411, 453520, 901906, 915920; Caldwell, pp. 811, tables 1114.
  7. Although usually the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, as in Hesiod, Theogony 371374, in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes (4), 99100, Selene is instead made the daughter of Pallas the son of Megamedes.
  8. According to Hesiod, Theogony 507511, Clymene, one of the Oceanids, the daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, at Hesiod, Theogony 351, was the mother by Iapetus of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus, while according to Apollodorus, 1.2.3, another Oceanid, Asia was their mother by Iapetus.
  9. According to Plato, Critias , 113d114a, Atlas was the son of Poseidon and the mortal Cleito.
  10. In Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 18, 211, 873 (Sommerstein, pp. 444, 445 n. 2, 446, 447 n. 24, 538, 539 n. 113) Prometheus is made to be the son of Themis.

Related Research Articles

Eos Greek goddess of the dawn

In Greek mythology, Eos is a Titaness and the goddess of the dawn, who rose each morning from her home at the edge of the Oceanus.

Oceanus Ancient Greek god of the sea

Oceanus, also known as Ogenus or Ogen, was a divine figure in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world.

In Greek mythology, the Meliae were usually considered to be the nymphs of the ash tree, whose name they shared.

Themis ancient Greek Titaness

Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as "[the Lady] of good counsel", and is the personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom. Her symbols are the Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic. Themis means "divine law" rather than human ordinance, literally "that which is put in place", from the Greek verb títhēmi (τίθημι), meaning "to put".

In Greek mythology, Coeus was one of the Titans, the giant sons and daughters of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). His equivalent in Latin poetry—though he scarcely makes an appearance in Roman mythology—was Polus, the embodiment of the celestial axis around which the heavens revolve.

Horae goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology the Horae or Horai or Hours were the goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time.

Selene Ancient Greek goddess of the Moon

In Greek mythology, Selene is the goddess of the moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, but only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.

Peitho Oceanid of Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Peitho is the goddess who personifies persuasion and seduction. Her Roman name is Suadela or Suada.

In Greek mythology, Thaumas was a sea god, son of Pontus and Gaia, and the full brother of Nereus, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.

Theia female Titan in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Theia, also called Euryphaessa "wide-shining", is a Titaness. Her brother/consort is Hyperion, a Titan and god of the sun, and together they are the parents of Helios, Selene, and Eos. She may be the same with Aethra, the consort of Hyperion and mother of his children in some accounts.

In Greek mythology, Deioneus or Deion is a name attributed to the following individuals:

In Greek mythology, Iapetus, also Japetus, was a Titan, the son of Uranus and Gaia, and father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was also called the father of Buphagus and Anchiale in other sources.

Phoebe (Titaness) Titan in Greek mythology

In ancient Greek religion, Phoebe was one of the first generation of Titans, who were one set of sons and daughters of Uranus and Gaia.

Meander, Maeander, Mæander or Maiandros is a river god in Greek mythology, patron deity of the Meander river in Caria, southern Asia Minor. He is one of the sons of Oceanus and Tethys, and is the father of Cyanee, Samia, Kalamos and Callirhoe.

In Greek mythology, Pallas was one of the Titans. According to Hesiod, he was the son of Crius and Eurybia, the brother of Astraeus and Perses, the husband of Styx, and the father of Zelus, Nike ("Victory"), Kratos, and Bia. Hyginus says that Pallas, whom he calls "the giant", also fathered with Styx: Scylla, Fontes ("Fountains") and Lacus ("Lakes"). Pallas was sometimes regarded as the Titan god of warcraft and of the springtime campaign season.

In Greek mythology, Phaethon was a son of Eos by Cephalus or Tithonus, born in Syria.

In Greek mythology, Electra was the Oceanid daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. According to Hesiod, she was the wife of Thaumas, and by him, the mother of Iris, the messenger of the gods, and the Harpies.

Euryale, in Greek mythology, was the second eldest of the Gorgons, the three sisters that have the hair of living, venomous snakes.

By some accounts described in Greek mythology, Cephalus (; Ancient Greek: Κέφαλος Kephalos was an Athenian son of Hermes and Herse. His great beauty caused Eos to fall in love with him. He was eventually carried off and ravished by her in Syria. Consorting with the goddess, by some accounts Cephalus became the father of Tithonus, the father of Phaethon. In some accounts, he was the son of Hermes by Creusa or of Pandion while Phaeton was said to be his son instead of Tithonus.


Aeschylus ancient Athenian tragic playwright

Aeschylus was an ancient Greek tragedian. He is often described as the father of tragedy. Academics' knowledge of the genre begins with his work, and understanding of earlier tragedies is largely based on inferences from his surviving plays. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in the theater and allowed conflict among them; characters previously had interacted only with the chorus.

Loeb Classical Library

The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each left-hand page, and a fairly literal translation on the facing page. The General Editor is Jeffrey Henderson, holder of the William Goodwin Aurelio Professorship of Greek Language and Literature at Boston University.

Harvard University Press American university publishing house

Harvard University Press (HUP) is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. After the retirement of William P. Sisler in 2017, the university appointed as Director George Andreou.