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Peri Êous

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De Aurora Libellus

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This booklet [libellus] is for Dawn Devotions. It explains how Eos, the Goddess of the Dawn, brings the Sun to the new day. Herein also are Dawn Prayers and Hymns to Dawn.
  1. Name & Epithets
  2. Genealogy
  3. Characteristics
  4. Actions at Dawn
  5. Prayer
  6. Hymns
  7. Quotations
  8. Sources
  9. Notes

Name & Epithets

I write of Eos [Êôs or Heôs], Goddess of the Dawn, known as Aurora to the Romans, who is called Mistress [Potnia], Golden-throned [Khrusothronos], Saffron (yellow) Robed, Rosy-fingered [Rhododaktulos], Early-born [Êrigeneia] and the Dawn-Maiden.


Eos is the daughter of Hyperion, the One Above, Who Travels High Above the Earth, and of Theia The Divine, or, according to others, of Euryphassa, the Widely-shining One, or of Pallas (and so She is called Aurora Pallantias, Aurora of Pallas). In any case, Her parents are a Sun God and a Moon Goddess, and She is a Titaness of the second generation.


Eos is young, highly spirited, and lovely; it is Her nature to awaken desire. Her eyelids are snowy, Her cheeks rosy and Her head crowned with beautiful, dewy tresses. She has rosy arms and fingers and large, white wings. She wears a radiant crown or a star on Her head, and sometimes She is veiled. Her robes are saffron yellow or dazzling white and purple, and she wears yellow shoes.

She rides a rose-colored, purple or golden chariot drawn by white horses. Or She may float in air, holding in each hand a pitcher, from which She pours the dew. Or again She may come riding on Pegasos and carrying a torch, for She requested Pegasos from Zeus after He punished Bellerophon.

Tender-hearted Eos is always eager for young mortal lovers; this is a punishment inflicted on Her by Aphrodite for having slept with Ares. Like Aphrodite, She brings love to mortals, but is not so easily placated as the Goddess of Love. So also Dawn brings a renewal of erotic passions and the morning erection.

Actions at Dawn

Eos lives by the streams of Ocean at the eastern end of the Earth. According to some, this is on Ortygia (or Delos), the Isle of the Rising Sun, where Apollo and Artemis were born. The cocks call Her in the morning, and She awakes and leaps eagerly from the bed of Tithonos, the deathless Trojan prince who is Her husband.

She leaves Her court, glowing with rosy light, and opens the purple Eastern Gates of pearl upon the pathway strewn with roses. Swiftly She rides forth in Her chariot drawn by two horses, Lampus [Shiner] and Phaethôn [Blazer], while Nux and Hupnos [Nox and Somnus, Night and Sleep] fly in front of Her.

Eos lifts the veil of night and chases away the hosts of stars. (So also the souls of the dead depart at daybreak.) The first light of Dawn is white, for that is the color of Her wings. Next we see the golden radiance from Her saffron robe and yellow shoes. Finally Her rosy arms and fingers stretch across the heavens. The flowers and plants, drenched by the dew that She pours from her pitchers, lift their faces to Her in gratitude for the new day.

A fresh wind is felt at Dawn's approach, for Astraios, who is the Dawn Wind, and Eos unite at dawn, to produce a fertilizing spirit. And so, by Starry Astraios, She is the mother of the strong-hearted winds: brightening Zephyros [west], Boreas [north], headlong in His course, and Notos [south]; the remaining wind is Argestês [Bringer of Brightness], which is either Apheliotês [east] or Euros [southeast].

These are the winds of morning, which bring benefits to mortals (as opposed to the other, turbulent, chaotic winds), for the beneficial winds are born of Eos, "the eternally new light of the dawning day," and Astraios, "the luminous radience of the night sky." The Four Winds help to organize human labor and to orient the sea lanes; they also define the cycle of the seasons.

To Astraios, the Ancient Father of the Stars, She also bore the star Heôsphoros [Dawn-bringer] and the other gleaming stars by which the heaven is crowned. That is, the God of the Night Sky united with Dawn to engender the Morning Star [Heôsphoros]. Others say that this Daystar, who is called Phôsphoros [Lucifer] or Phaethôn, the Illuminator, is the son of Eos and Kephalos. In any case, carrying a torch He flies by his own wings before Her chariot.

The Hindus say that Dawn is a young wife, who wakes Her children and gives them new strength for the day's work. But because "to be awakened" is "to be wise," they also say She is the Goddess who brings wisdom.

As the New Day, Eos accompanies Her brother Helios, the Sun, throughout the day, riding or walking ahead of His chariot. Therefore She is identified with daylight and is called Hêmera [Day], Titô [cf. Titan < Day] and Hêlia; She is Queen of Day. At dusk She accompanies the Sun to the west, where She is called Hespera [Evening]. Yet again, as Goddesses, Eos, Hêmera and Nux [Dawn, Day, Night] are the Maiden, Mother and Crone.

Helios is preceded on His course by Selene and Eos, His sisters; Eos is the wilder and more turbulent of the two. Observe: Selene, Eos and Helios are Night, Dawn and Day; Their colors are the Black of Night, the Red of Morning and the White of Day. Alchemically They are Quicksilver, Salt, and Sulphur; the Quicksilver (Silver Moon) and the Sulphur (Golden Sun) join together in the Salt. Aurora's complementary partner, for whom She strives, is the Green youth.

Dawn Prayer

Hê Êôia Litê

Preces Aurorae

It is appropriate to pour a libation [of coffee!] for Eos. Close your eyes and visualize Her actions at Dawn (as described above). Then reach out your hand in salutation to the Dawn and say:
I greet Thee, Eos Goddess of the Dawn,
who brings the newborn day; the stars are gone,
and fled before Thy face; both Sleep and Night
are routed by Thy torch, and put to flight.

The flowers are awakened by Thy dew,
and turn toward the light, for You renew
their life; so also may Thy dew revive
my soul today with thanks to be alive.
You care for all that's fresh and young,
so care for me, to whom Thy dew has clung.
For You remind us that the darkest night
must yield to day and flee before the light.

I pray Thee, shining Dawn, to bring to me
abundant wisdom, love and energy.
I ask Thee, gracious Goddess, for a wealth
of hope, of time to do, of strength and health.
Especially, this day I ask of Thee:
(fill in request) So may it be!

I give my thanks for all this day may bring,
all things embraced by Dawn and Evening.

Blow a kiss toward the Dawn.

Hymns to Dawn

Humnoi eis Êô

Hymni ad Auroram


Aurora is the first of all to wake;
She tramples over transitory night
the mighty Goddess, bringer of the light,
beholding every thing from Heaven's height,
the ever youthful, all reviving Dawn,
to every invocation She comes first.


Auspicious Eos yokes Her chariot from
afar, above the rising Sun, and She
comes gloriously unto men on many wheels.2


Aurora, daughter born of Heaven, dawn
upon us with Thy riches, spreading light,
and dawn upon us with abundant food;
delightful Goddess, dawn on us with wealth.3


"Hail, gentle Dawn! mild blushing goddess, hail!
Rejoiced I see thy purple mantle spread
O'er half the skies: gems pave thy radiant way,
And orient pearls from every shrub depend.
- Somerville4


[Ecce iam,] ecce vigil rutilo perfecit ab ortu
purpureas Aurora fores et plena rosarum
atria: diffugiunt stellae, quarum agmina cogit
Lucifer et caeli statione novissimus exit.5


The vigilant Aurora opened forth
Her purple portals from the ruddy East,
Disclosing halls replete with roses. All
The stars took flight whilst Lucifer, the last
to quit his vigil, gathered that great host
And disappeared from his celestial watch.
- Ovid, Met. II.114ff, tr. Brookes More


"Eos who shines upon all that are on Earth and upon the deathless Gods who live in the wide heaven." (Theog. 372ff)

"Now Dawn rose from Her couch from beside lordly Tithonus to bring light to Immortals and to mortals." (Iliad XI.1)

"Eos the early-born was rising from deep-flowing Ocean, bringing light to mortals." (Homeric Hymn to Hermes, l. 184)

For Huperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, His own sister, who bare Him lovley children, rosy-armed Eos and rich-tressed Selene and tireless Helios who is like the deathless Gods." (Homeric Hymn XXXI, To Helios)

See Owen Meredith's poem (Guerber 72)

See Tennyson's "Tithonus" (Gayley 177-9 etc.)


  1. Apollodorus, Biblioteca 1.4.4.
  2. Bonnefoy, Greek and Egyptian Mythologies, p. 210.
  3. Carpenter, Art and Myth in Ancient Greece.
  4. Oswalt, Concise Encyc. Greek & Rom. Myth.
  5. Gantz, Early Greek Myth, p. 315.
  6. Gayley, Classic Myths, p. 95.
  7. Graves, The Greek Myths, sec. 40.
  8. Guerber, Myths of Greece and Rome, pp. 72, 90.
  9. Hesiod, Theogony, ll. 372ff.
  10. "Homeric Hymn V to Aphrodite," ll. 218ff.
  11. Hornblower & Spawforth, Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed., s.v. Eos.
  12. Kerényi, Gods of the Greeks, 192-205.
  13. Kerényi, Goddesses of Sun & Moon.
  14. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology.
  15. Lempri¸re, Lempri¸re's Classical Dictionary, s.v. Aurora.
  16. Murray, Manual of Mythology, 202-5, 376.
  17. Nilsson, Greek Folk Religion, 5.
  18. Ovid, Metamorphoses, II.114, V.440.
  19. Seyffert, Nettleship & Sandys, A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, s.v. Eos.
  20. Yonge, English-Greek Lexicon, s.v. Aurora.


1 Adapted from a Vedic hymn to Ushas (Murray 376)
2 Adapted from a Vedic hymn to Ushas (Murray 376).
3 Adapted from a Vedic hymn to Ushas (Murray, 376).
4 Quoted in Guerber (90).
5 Sightly adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses II.114ff.

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Last updated: Sun Dec 13 12:44:32 EST 1998