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Helios (Ἥλιος Hēlios, Latinized as Helius; Greek: Ἠέλιος in classic dialect) was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia (Hesiod) or Euryphaessa (Homeric Hymn) and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn. Ovid also calls him Titan.
Helios was imagined as a handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. Homer described Helios's chariot as drawn by solar steeds (Iliad xvi.779); later Pindar described it as drawn by "fire-darting steeds" (Olympian Ode 7.71). Still later, the horses were given fiery names: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.
As time passed, Helios was increasingly identified with the god of light, Apollo. However, in spite of their syncretism, they were also often viewed as two distinct gods (Helios was a Titan, whereas Apollo was an Olympian). The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, specifically Sol Invictus.
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April 6th, 2013
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