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HELIOS

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In Greek mythology, the Sungod, son of the Titan Hyperion (whose name he bears himself in Homer) and the Titaness Theia; brother of Selene (the Moon) and Eos (Dawn). The poets apply the name Titan to him in particular, as the offspring of Titans. He is represented as a strong and beautiful god, in the bloom of youth, with gleaming eyes and waving locks, a crown of rays upon his head. In the morning he rises from a lovely bay of the Ocean in the farthest East, where the Ethiopians dwell. To give light to gods and men he climbs the vault of heaven in a chariot drawn by four snow-white horses, breathing light and fire; their names are Eoos, Aethiops, Bronte, and Sterope. In the evening he sinks with his chariot into the Ocean, and while he sleeps is carried round along the northern border of the earth to the East again in agolden boat, shaped like a bowl, the work of Hephaestus. He is called Phaethon, from the brilliant light that he diffuses; he is the All-seer (Panoptes) because his rays penetrate everywhere. He is revealer of all that is done on earth; it is he who tells Hephaestus of the love of Ares and Aphrodite, and shows Demeter who has carried off her daughter. He is accordingly invoked as a witness to oaths and solemn protestations. On the island of Trinacria (Sicily) he has seven flocks of sheep and seven herds of cattle, fifty in each. It is his pleasure, on his daily journey, to look down upon them. Their numbers must not be increased or diminished; if this is done, his wrath is terrible. (See ODYSSEUS.) In the 700 sheep and oxen the ancients recognised the 700 days and nights of the lunar year. The flocks are tended by Phaethusa (the goddess of light) and Lampetie (the goddess of shining), his daughter by Neaera. By the ocean Nymsh Perse or Perseis he is father of Aeetes, Circe, and Pasipae, by Clymene the father of Phaethon, and Augeas was also accounted his son. His children have the gleaming eyes of their father. After the time of Euripides, or there-abouts, the all-seeing Sun-god was identified with Apollo, the god of prophecy. Helios was worshipped in man places, among which may be mentioned Corinth and Elis. The island of Rhodes was entirely consecrated to him.. Here an annual festival (Halia) was held during the summer in his honour, with chariot-racing and contests of music and gymnastics; and four consecrated horses were thrown into the sea as a sacrifice to him. In 278 B.C. a colossal bronze statue, by Chares of Lindus, was erected to him at the entrance of the harbour of Rhodes. Herds of red and white cattle were, in many places, kept in his honour. White animals, and especially white horses, were sacred to him; among birds the cock, and among trees the white poplar. The Latin poets identified Helios with the Sabine deity Sol, who had an ancient place of worship on the Quirinal at Rome, and a public sacrifice on the 8th of August. But it was the introduction of the ritual of Mithras which first brought the worshit of the sun into prominence in Rome. (See MITHRAS.)

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HELIOS. (Metope from temple of Athena, probably of 2nd century B.C., at the Greek city of Ilium, Hissarlik.)
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