Ílios - (Hêlios; Gr. Ἥλιος, ΗΛΙΟΣ. Pronounced EE-lee-ohs.)

Ílios is the sun itself, and as such is one of the most important deities in Ællînismόs (Hellênismos, Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. According to Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 371, Ílios is the son of Titans. He is sometimes called Ypærionídîs (Hyperionidês, Ὑπεριονίδης) after his father Ypæríôn (Hyperiôn, Ὑπερίων). His mother is Theia (Θεία).

Ílios has numerous offspring. Some are divine, such as the Όrai (Hôrae, Ὧραι), the Kháritæs (Charities, Χάριτες), Pasipháï (Pasiphaë, Πασιφάη), and Sælínî (Selênê, Σελήνη). Other children of Ílios appear to be mortal, such as Aiítîs (Aeêtês, Αἰήτης) and Phaǽthôn (Phaethôn, Φαέθων).

In mythology, Ílios emerges in the east every morning from his golden palace in the river Ôkæanόs (Ôceanus, 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 Ôkæanόs where he arrives in the east in time to begin his journey again through the sky. On a larger scale, the apparent path of Ílios in the firmament, as he passes through the constellations through the year, is the zodiac.

Ílios sees everything. When Pærsæphónî (Persephonê, Περσεφόνη) was abducted by Ploutôn (Plutô, 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 Dîmítîr (Dêmêtêr, Δημήτηρ), the mother of Pærsæphónî.

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

The Sun is not Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων) with the exception as a metaphor. 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 Apóllôn, 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 Apóllôn and the Sun, but they are two entirely separate beings. Apóllôn has dominion over Ílios, the celestial body which is a star. Similarly, his sister Ártæmis (Artemis, Ἄρτεμις) has dominion over Sælíni (Selênê, 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."

(Περὶ ἀγαλμάτων Πορφυρίου 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."

(Περὶ ἀγαλμάτων Πορφυρίου 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 star 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.


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

Æpóptîs - (epoptês; Gr. ἐπόπτης, ΕΠΟΠΤΗΣ. Noun.) overseer, watcher.

Antaugês – See Antavyís.

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

Astǽrarkhos – (asterarchus; Gr. ἀστέραρχος, ΑΣΤΕΡΑΡΧΟΣ) sovereign of the stars.

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

Daduchus – See Dadoukhos.

Êlectôr – See Îlǽktôr.

Eleutherius – See Ælefthǽrios.

Epoptês - See Æpóptîs.

Hyperiôn – See Ypæríôn.

Hyperionidês – See Ypærionídîs.

Îlǽktôr - (êlectôr; Gr. ἠλέκτωρ, ΗΛΕΚΤΩΡ) beaming, the beaming sun.

Paeon – See Paián.

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

Sôtír – (sotêr; Gr. σωτήρ, ΣΩΤΗΡ) savior.

Sôtêr – See Sôtír.

Titán – (Gr. Τιτάν, ΤΙΤΑΝ) Titan.

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

Ypærionídîs - (Hyperionidês; Gr. Ὑπεριονίδης, ΥΠΕΡΙΟΝΙΔΗΣ) son of Ὑπερίων (Hyperion).

Festival of the birth of Ilios: ILIOUYÆNNA

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic 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.

This logo 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 Apóllôn (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 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:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of HellenicGods.org by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by HellenicGods.org of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

For more information: Inquire.hellenicgods@gmail.com

For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

© 2010 by HellenicGods.org. All Rights Reserved.


hit counter
Web Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter