Eos is the rosy-armed goddess of the dawn. She resides in the east near the home of her brother Helios [Sun] and the Dread-Goddess Kirke [Circe]. Eos mounts her chariot each morning and guides her horses Lampos and Phaethon into the sky to signal the approach of Helios.
Determining the parents of Eos presents a problem because of the antiquity of her birth ... after all, she was literally born at the dawn of time. Her father was definitely Hyperion, who was one of the Titans, i.e. a child of Gaia [Earth] and Ouranos [Heavens]. Eos's mother is listed as two different goddesses and both references come from the same time period [circa 750 BCE]. Eos's mother was either a Titan named Theia or Euryphaessa. In Theogony by Hesiod, Euryphaessa is not mentioned as a Titan but in a Homeric Hymn to Helios, Euryphaessa is listed as the sister/wife of Hyperion which would imply that she was a Titan. Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa were also the parents of tireless Helios and rich-tressed Selene [Moon].
The divinity of Eos is unique in that she is represents a specific time of day whereas noon and sunset are without a god or goddess. To add to her uniqueness, Eos is celebrated in almost every poem of the ancient Greeks.
Eos rarely enters the affairs of the mortals on the earth but she is notorious for some of her lovers and children.
In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, we are told the story of Eos and Tithonos. Eos became infatuated with Tithonos because if his youthful beauty and abducted him to become her lover. As a gesture of sincerity, Eos asked Zeus to grant Tithonos immortality ... Zeus nodded his head and removed the pall of death from Tithonos. Eos would later regret her request.
With Tithonos as her consort, Eos conceived two sons, Memnon and Emathion. We know quite a bit about Memnon but Emathion is only briefly mentioned in the ancient texts where he is simply called Lord Emathion. Memnon fought in the Trojan War as a Trojan ally. He had the distinction of killing Antilochos, a son of the aged Achaean commander Nestor. Memnon was finally killed circa 1240 BCE by the greatest hero of all times, Achilles.
When Eos asked Zeus for immortality for Tithonos she neglected to ask for his eternal youth. As the years passed, Tithonos began to age until he finally lost all strength in his limbs. Eos, with love and pity, put him in a private room and shut the shining doors. We can only assume that he is still there.
Eos and Tithonos
A love affair that was even more tragic than her relationship with Tithonos, was Eos's obsession with a mortal man named Kephalos. Kephalos was married to a woman named Prokris, who was the daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens. Kephalos was a very handsome man and attracted the desires of Eos. The goddess abducted Kephalos and ravaged him. A son named Phaethon was the result of that union.
Understandably, Prokris became jealous of Kephalos's affair with Eos so to ease Prokris's anger, the goddess Artemis gave her a dog that had once belonged to King Minos of the island of Crete. The dog was named Lailaps [Storm] and could catch anything he pursued. Also, Artemis gave Prokris a spear that would strike any prey at which it was thrown. Prokris gave the hound and spear to Kephalos as an act of reconciliation but she was still unsure of Eos's intentions. Acting on her suspicions, Prokris secretly followed Kephalos when he went hunting. When Kephalos heard a noise in the bushes he hurled the spear at what he thought was an animal but hit Prokris, killing her.
Eos and Kephalos's son Phaethon inherited his mother's radiant beauty and was so handsome that Aphrodite [goddess of Love] stole him away and kept him as her temple-keeper.
Eos abducting Kephalos
Eos was the consort of Astraios and became the mother of the Winds: Zephyros [West Wind], Boreas [North Wind] and Notos [South Wind].
Eos also bore a host of shining stars including Eosphoros, the dawn star. The father of Eosphoros is unknown.
Eos on a Red-Figure krater at the Louvre Museum; circa 330-310 BCE.