Hyperion (mythology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Titan of heavenly light
Member of Titans
Personal information
OffspringHelios, Eos and Selene
ParentsUranus 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] Keats's abandoned epic poem Hyperion is among the literary works that feature the figure.


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:

"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.

As the father of Helios, Hyperion was regarded as the "first principle" by Emperor Julian,[2] though his relevance in Julian's notions of theurgy is unknown.


Hyperion's family tree [3]
The RiversThe OceanidsHeliosSelene [4]EosAstraeusPallasPerses
IapetusClymene (or Asia[5]Themis(Zeus)Mnemosyne
Atlas [6]MenoetiusPrometheus [7]EpimetheusThe HoraeThe Muses


  1. ^ Morford, p. 40; Keightley, p. 47; Smith, "Hyperion" ; Hesiod, Theogony 134, 371; Hymn to Helios (31) 4–7; Apollodorus, 1.1.3; 1.2.2 The Homeric Hymn to Helios calls Hyperion's sister and mate "Euryphaëssa" probably, an epithet of Theia, see Morford, p. 61 and West 2003, note 61 p. 215. Other accounts make Selene the daughter of the Titan Pallas (Hymn to Hermes (4), 99–100) or of Helios (Euripides, The Phoenician Women 175 ff.; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44.191).
  2. ^ "A Summary of Pythagorean Theology". Archived from the original on 2013-05-08.
  3. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 132–138, 337–411, 453–520, 901–906, 915–920; Caldwell, pp. 8–11, tables 11–14.
  4. ^ Although usually the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, as in Hesiod, Theogony 371–374, in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes (4), 99–100, Selene is instead made the daughter of Pallas the son of Megamedes.
  5. ^ According to Hesiod, Theogony 507–511, 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.
  6. ^ According to Plato, Critias, 113d–114a, Atlas was the son of Poseidon and the mortal Cleito.
  7. ^ 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.


  • Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921.
  • Euripides, The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O'Neill, Jr. in two volumes. 2. The Phoenissae, translated by E. P. Coleridge. New York. Random House. 1938.
  • Evelyn-White, Hugh, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Homeric Hymns. Cambridge, Massachusetts., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914.
  • Hesiod, Theogony, in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, Massachusetts.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914.
  • Keightley, Thomas (1877). The mythology of ancient Greece and Italy.
  • Morford, Mark P. O.; Lenardon, Robert J. (1999). Classical Mythology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514338-6.
  • Nonnus, Dionysiaca; translated by Rouse, W H D. Loeb Classical Library Volumes 344, 354, 356. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1940.
  • West, Martin L. (2003). Homeric Hymns, Homeric Apocrypha, Lives of Homer. Loeb Classical Library. no. 496. Cambridge, Massachusetts. ISBN 978-0-674-99606-9{{inconsistent citations}}
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, London (1873).