Helios (mythology)

   In Greek mythology, Helios was the god of the sun. He was the son of Hyperion and Thea and brother of Eos (Aurora) and Selene. Sometimes he is called by his father's name. Homer's ac­count of this god is very simple. Helios arises in the east, traverses the heavens, and descends into darkness and Oceanus in the west. The later poets have woven many fanciful ideas into their stories of Helios. According to these writers he dwells in a palace behind Colchis with his sister Eos. Each day he issues from the portals of the dawn and drives his splendid steeds across the sky. Having passed through the gates of evening, he cools his horses in the ocean and drives them into a marvelous golden bowl built by Hephaestus, which bears them along the northern shore of ocean back to Colchis. Helios sees all things, and occasionally has great influence upon mortals by telling of some event which he has beheld. Helios came to be con­founded with Apollo, but there was a mark­ed difference in the original character of the two gods. Helios represents the physic­al phenomena of light, while Apollo stands for mental illumination. The Romans called the sun god Sol. The famous statue called the Colossus of Rhodes is supposed to have been erected in honor of Helios. White rams, goats, bulls, lambs, and espe­cially white horses, were sacrificed to He­lios. The cock that crows in the dawn was sacred to him.