Aeolus (son of Hippotes)

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In Greek mythology, Aeolus[1] (/ˈələs/; Ancient Greek: Αἴολος, romanizedAíolos [ǎi̯.o.los], Greek: [ˈe.o.los] (listen), lit.'quick-moving, nimble')[citation needed] was the keeper of the winds and king of the island of Aeolia, one of the abrupt rocky Lipara islands close to Sicily. Diodorus describes him as a just and pious king, who taught sailing and navigation to his subjects, and divined the nature of the winds in a fire. Hence, he becomes described in much mythology as the ruler over the winds, and thus a god. Other writers tell a different story. Homer portrays him as neither a god nor the father of the winds, but merely the ruler of the Aeolian island, whom Cronion had made the home of the winds for his own pleasure.[2]


Juno asking Aeolus to release the winds, by François Boucher, 1769, Kimbell Art Museum.
Aeolus by Alexandre Jacovleff shows Aeolus as an embodiment of Wind himself.

Aeolus was the son of Hippotes, son of Mimas, a son of Aeolus, son of Hellen. He was most frequently conflated with Aeolus, the son of the sea-god Poseidon. According to some accounts, Hippotes married the same Melanippe who was the mother of Arne.[3]

Like Aeolus, the son of Poseidon, this Aeolus was said to have had twelve children - six sons and six daughters. According to Diodorus, he was father of six sons by Cyane, daughter of Liparus (the eponym of the island Lipara, whom Aeolus assisted in conquering lands above Surrentum, Italy). The sons' names were Agathyrnus, Astyochus, Androcles, Iocastus, Pheraemon, Xuthus, whereas the daughters are not mentioned at all. The sons were said to have become kings: Iocastus of the region in southern Italy as far as Rhegium; Pheraemon and Androcles of the part of Sicily between the Strait of Messina and Lilybaeum; Xuthus of Leontini; Agathyrnus of what was known as Agathyrnitis, having founded Agathyrnum; and Astyochus of Lipara. All were said to have been remembered as just and pious rulers.[4]

Another list of Aeolus's children is found in scholia on the Odyssey. The latter source gives the sons' names as Androcles, Chrysippus, Iocastus, Phalacrus, Pheraemon, Xuthus, and the daughters' as Aeole, Astycrateia, Dia, Hephaestia, Iphthe, Periboea; their mother in this account is Telepora or Telepatra, daughter of Laestrygon.[5]

Lastly, another account presented that Aeolus's sons were named as Periphas, Agenor, Euchenor, Klymenos, Xouthos and Macareus, whereas the daughters were Klymene, Kallithyia, Eurygone, Lysidike, Kanake and an unnamed one.[6]

Parthenius of Nicaea[7] recorded a love affair between Odysseus and Aeolus' daughter Polymele; the latter was said to have ended up betrothed to her own brother Diores.[8][page needed]



Aeolus and Juno by Lucio Massari

This Aeolus and his family lived on the floating island of Aeolia which was surrounded by a wall of unbreakable bronze and smooth rocks.[9] In order to preserve concord and affection among his children, Aeolus yoked his sons and daughters in matrimony.[10][11] Being a favorite of the gods, he spent all his days in feasting and banqueting with his wife and children. Luxuries never failed in their happy place.

“We reached the island of Aeolia. There lived
Aeolus Hippotades, dear to gods immortal,
on a floating island, a wall of unbreakable bronze
all around it, and the smooth rock ran sheer up.

His twelve children were also in the palace,
six daughters and six sons in their prime.
He gave his daughters to his sons to be their wives.
They always dine beside their dear father and devoted mother.
Countless good things lie beside them, and the house,

steaming with sacrifice, echoes around the courtyard
by day, and at night they sleep again beside their venerable wives
in blankets and in corded beds."[12]

Aeolus was made by Cronion the ταμίης (tamiēs) of the winds, which he might soothe or excite according to his pleasure.[13]


After their misadventure in Polyphemus' cave, Odysseus and his crew visited Aeolus and his family in their palace. The latter gave them hospitality for a month and provided them a west wind to carry them home to Ithaca. He also provided a gift of an ox-hide bag containing all winds but the west. Odysseus and his crew members traveled steadily and anxiously for several days, but with his native land in sight, Odysseus sank overpowered by sleep. His men proceeded to indulge their curiosity to see the costly presents which they thought the bag contained, opened it unwittingly, and out burst the imprisoned winds with such a roar that the force drove the ship back to Aeolus' island. Aeolus refused to provide any further help,[14] because he believed that their short and unsuccessful voyage meant that the gods did not favour them.

This Aeolus was perceived by post-Homeric authors as a god, rather than as a mortal and simple Keeper of the Winds (as in the Odyssey).

Other myth[edit]

In the Aeneid by Virgil, Juno (Hera) offers Aeolus the nymph Deiopea as a wife if he will release his winds upon the fleet of Aeneas,[15] but Neptune (Poseidon) later calms the sea.


Aeolus and Odysseus[edit]

Aeolus and Juno[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chaucer's Eolus (de Weever, Jacqueline (1996). Chaucer Name Dictionary, s.v. "Eolus". (Garland Publishing) Retrieved on 2009-10-06
  2. ^ "AEOLUS (Aiolos) - Greek God King of the Winds". Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  3. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.67.3 (trans. Oldfather)
  4. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.7.6 & 4.8.3
  5. ^ Scholia on Homer, Odyssey 10.6
  6. ^ Tzetzes, John (2019). Allegories of the Odyssey. Translated by Goldwyn, Adam J.; Kokkini, Dimitra. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-674-23837-4.
  7. ^ Parthenius, Erotica Pathemata 2
  8. ^ Tzetzes, John (2019). Allegories of the Odyssey. Translated by Goldwyn, Adam J.; Kokkini, Dimitra. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. ISBN 978-0-674-23837-4.
  9. ^ Homer, Odyssey 10.3–4
  10. ^ Tzetzes, John (2019). Allegories of the Odyssey. Translated by Goldwyn, Adam J.; Kokkini, Dimitra. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. pp. 147, 10.43–44. ISBN 978-0-674-23837-4.
  11. ^ Homer, Odyssey 10.6 & 11–12
  12. ^ Homer, Odyssey 10.1–12 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  13. ^ Homer, Odyssey 10.21–22
  14. ^ Homer, Odyssey 10.2
  15. ^ Virgil, Aeneid 1.71-75


External links[edit]