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HELIOS - ÍLIOS - ΗΛΙΟΣ

THE SUN


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Ílios - (Helios or Helius; Gr. Ἥλιος, ΗΛΙΟΣ. Pronounced EE-lee-ohs.)

 Ílios is a Titan deity, the sun itself, the God of the Sun, and as such is one of the most important deities in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. According to Isíodos (Hesiod, Ἡσίοδος) in Θεογονία 371, Ílios is the son of Titans. Ypæríohn (Hyperion, Ὑπερίων) is his father, for which he is sometimes called Ypærionídis (Hyperionides, Ὑπεριονίδης). His mother is Theia (Theia, Θεία).

Ílios has numerous offspring. Some are divine, such as the Όrai (Horai, Ὧραι), the Khǽritæs (Charities, Χάριτες), Pasipháï (Pasiphae, Πασιφάη), and Sælíni (Selene, Σελήνη). Other children of Ílios appear to be mortal, such as Aiítis (Aeetes, Αἰήτης) and Phaǽthohn (Phaethon, Φαέθων).

In mythology, Ílios emerges in the east every morning from his golden palace in the river Okæanόs (Oceanus, Ὠκεανός). He bursts forth in his four-horsed chariot and flies through the sky to the Æspærídæs (Hesperides or Evenings, Ἑσπερίδες), his destination in the west. All through the night, Ílios sails in a golden vessel through the northern stream of Okæanόs where he arrives in the east in time to begin his journey again through the sky.

Ílios is said to see everything. For example, when Pærsæphóni (Persephone, Περσεφόνη) was abducted by Ploutohn (Pluto, Πλούτων), this act, which is etiological root of the Ælefsínia Mystíria (Eleusinian Mysteries, Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια), was observed by Ílios, who then related his knowledge to Dimítir (Demeter, Δημήτηρ), the mother of Pærsæphóni.

The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the so-called wonders of the ancient world, was a gigantic statue of Ílios.

The Sun is not Apollo, despite what you may have read. The confusion began in antiquity with authors such as Ovid who would depict the two deities as if they were the same. The popularity of Ovid in the medieval world solidified this association. The early Christians were very much enamored of the Neoplatonists. Some Neoplatonists equate the sun with Apollo, but this identification is symbolic because the Sun is associated with Platonic ideas such as The Good or The One. Indeed, there is a tie between Apollo and the Sun, but they are two entirely separate beings. Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων) has dominion over Ílios, the celestial body which is a star. Similarly, his sister Artæmis (Ἄρτεμις) has dominion over Sælíni (Selene, Σελήνη), the celestial body which is the moon.

There are yet more associations of the Sun with other deities which we find in antiquity. From the Neoplatonist Porphýrios (Porphyry, Πορφύριος) we find this passage:

 

"...they supposed a power of this kind to belong to the sun and called it Apollo, from the pulsation of his beams. There are also nine Muses singing to his lyre, which are the sublunar sphere, and seven spheres of the planets, and one of the fixed stars. And they crowned him with laurel, partly because the plant is full of fire, and therefore hated by daemons; and partly because it crackles in burning, to represent the god's prophetic art.

 

"But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called him Heracles (from his clashing against the air) in passing from east to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours, as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven; and they arrayed him with a club and a lion's skin, the one as an indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his strength in "Leo" the sign of the zodiac.

 

"Of the sun's healing power Asclepius is the symbol, and to him they have given the staff as a sign of the support and rest of the sick, and the serpent is wound round it, as significant of his preservation of body and soul: for the animal is most full of spirit, and shuffles off the weakness of the body. It seems also to have a great faculty for healing: for it found the remedy for giving clear sight, and is said in a legend to know a certain plant which restores life.

 

"But the fiery power of his revolving and circling motion, whereby he ripens the crops, is called Dionysus, not in the same sense as the power which produces the juicy fruits, but either from the sun's rotation, or from his completing his orbit in the heaven.

 

And whereas he revolves round the cosmical seasons and is the maker of "times and tides," the sun is on this account called Horus.

 

"Of his power over agriculture, whereon depend the gifts of wealth, the symbol is Pluto.

 

He has, however, equally the power of destroying, on which account they make Sarapis share the temple of Pluto: and the purple tunic they make the symbol of the light that has sunk beneath the earth, and the sceptre broken at the top that of his power below, and the posture of the hand the symbol of his departure into the unseen world.

 

"Cerberus is represented with three heads, because the positions of the sun above the earth are three, rising, midday, and setting."  

 

(Porphýrios On Images, Frag. 8, excerpt, trans. Edwin Hamilton Gifford, died 1905)


And one last one:

 

"The sun they indicate sometimes by a man embarked on a ship, the ship set on a crocodile. And the ship indicates the sun's motion in a liquid element: the crocodile potable water in which the sun travels. The figure of the sun thus signified that his revolution takes place through air that is liquid and sweet."

   

(Porphýrios On Images, Frag. 10, excerpt, trans. Edwin Hamilton Gifford, died 1905) 

Any of these ideas of Porphýrios should be balanced with the knowledge, as stated above, that the sun is a planet and that divine things should not be confounded with natural phenomena, except in the most general way, i.e., that all things are divine. In the essay Περὶ Ἴσιδος καὶ Ὀσίριδος in section 66-67 (377b-f), Ploutarkhos (Plutarch, Πλούταρχος) warns about thinking that, for instance, Diónysos (Διόνυσος) is, literally, the beverage wine, or that Íphaistos (Hephaestus, Ἥφαιστος) is fire, or that Zefs (Ζεύς) is thunder, etc. He considers such ideas as foolishness, as if someone were to mistake the sails and ropes of a ship for the pilot, giving several more examples. He calls such thinking atheism.

 

EPITHETS OF ÍLIOS 

Ælefthǽrios - (eleutherius; Gr. ἐλευθέριος, ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟΣ) bountiful one, he who freely gives.

Æpóptis - (epoptes; Gr. ἐπόπτης, ΕΠΟΠΤΗΣ. Noun.) overseerwatcher.

Antauges – See Antavyís.

Antavyís - (antauges; Gr. ἀνταυγής, ΑΝΤΑΥΓΗΣ) sparkling, reflective of light.

Dadoukhos - (daduchus; Gr. δᾳδοῦχος, ΔΑΔΟΥΧΟΣ) torch-bearer.

Daduchus – See Dadoukhos.

Elector – See Ilǽktohr.

Eleutherius – See Ælefthǽrios.

Epoptes - See Æpóptis.

Hyperion – See Ypæríohn.

Hyperionides – See Ypærionídis.

Ilǽktohr - (elector; Gr. ἠλέκτωρ, ΗΛΕΚΤΩΡ) beaming, the beaming sun.

Paeon – See Paián.

Paián - (paeon; Gr. παιάν, ΠΑΙΑΝ. Pronounced pay-AHN.) healer, savior.

Sohtír – (soter; Gr. σωτήρ, ΣΩΤΗΡ) savior.

Soter – See Sohtír.

Titán – (Gr. Τιτάν, ΤΙΤΑΝ) Titan.

Ypæríohn – (Hyperion; Gr. Ὑπερίων, ΥΠΕΡΙΟΩΝ) Sometimes Ílios is called by his father’s name.

Ypærionídis - (Hyperionides; Gr. Ὑπεριονίδης, ΥΠΕΡΙΟΝΙΔΗΣ) son of Ὑπερίων (Hyperion).


Festival of the birth of Ilios: ILIOUYÆNNA


The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): 
The Nature of the Gods.
How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.



The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

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