Hyperion in Greek Mythology

Hyperion was a Titan in Greek mythology. He is perhaps most famous in legend for his role as father, for Hyperion sired a trio of illustrious - and luminous - offspring. Let us therefore explore this notable Titan in more detail, and learn more about how Hyperion contributed to the compelling myths of ancient Greece.

One of our best ancient sources for information about mythology is the Greek poet Hesiod. Hesiod's poems, which include the Theogony, Works and Days, and the Shield, each reveal a great deal about the mythological figures that so occupied the imaginations of Greek writers, poets, and artists. Furthermore, Hesiod has left us a remarkable record of the legendary birth of many of the Greek gods and goddesses in his Theogony. And so it is to the Theogony that we turn for stories of Hyperion. According to Hesiod, Hyperion was the son of two important divine beings. These powerful gods were called Gaia and Ouranos, and they represented the Earth (Gaia) and the Sky (Ouranos). Together, Gaia and Ouranos had many children, and the poet Hesiod seems to delight in listing the names of their sons and daughters in his Theogony. Here is a relevant passage from that work:
"But then she [Gaia] did couple with Ouranos to bear deep-eddying Okeanos,
Koios and Kreios, Hyperion and Iapetos, Theia and Rheia, Themis and Mnemosyne, as well as gold-wreathed Phoebe and lovely Tethys."
Later in the poem, Hesiod states that the Titans Hyperion and Theia joined together and conceived three magnificent mythical divinities - Eos, Selene, and Helios.

Helios in Greek Mythology

Helios was the Sun god in Greek mythology. As the god of the Sun, Helios was thought to ride a chariot drawn by horses through the sky, bringing light to the earth. The journey of the Sun, naturally, began in the East and ended in the West, at which point Helios completed his daily rounds and floated back to his Eastern palace in a golden bowl. Details of this compelling description of Helios's role as Sun god appear in myth, literature, poetry, and art.
According to the Greek poet Hesiod, Helios was the son of two Titans - Theia and Hyperion. In Hesiod's Theogony, therefore, Helios was also the brother of Eos (the goddess of Dawn) and Selene (the goddess of the Moon). It is interesting to note that the Dawn goddess Eos began the procession of morning, followed closely by her brother Helios.

Selene in Greek Mythology

Selene was the Greek goddess of the Moon. According to the poet Hesiod, Selene was the daughter of the Titans Theia and Hyperion, making the goddess the sister of Helios (the Sun) and Eos (the Dawn). However, other ancient sources claim that she was the child of Pallas and Euryphaessa.
Regardless of her ancestry, Selene, as the personification of the Moon, was an influential goddess. One of her best known myths involves the handsome Endymion. The moon-goddess fell in love with this mortal, and she therefore engaged in an affair with Endymion that resulted in the birth of fifty daughters. But Endymion was, alas, human, and so susceptible to aging and eventually death. Selene could not bear the thought of this cruel fate. According to one version of the myth, she made certain that Endymion would remain eternally youthful by casting a spell that would cause him to sleep forever. In this way, Endymion would always live, sleeping through the ages.
It is also important to note that some Classical authors identified Selene with the Olympian goddess Artemis (indeed, in time Artemis was increasingly recognized as a moon goddess in her own right).
Selene was important enough to the ancient Greeks to inspire a Homeric Hymn. The Hymn to Selene describes the beauty and power of the goddess of the moon.