In Greek mythology, the Heliades ("children of the sun") were the daughters of Helios and Clymene the Oceanid.

According to one source, there were three of them: Aegiale, Aegle, and Aetheria. According to another source, there were five: Helia, Merope, Phoebe, Aetheria, and Dioxippe.[1] Yet other sources[2][3] include on the list Phaethousa and Lampetia, who are otherwise called daughters of Neaera.[4]

Their brother, Phaëton, died after attempting to drive his father's chariot (the sun) across the sky. He was unable to control the horses and fell to his death (according to most accounts, Zeus struck his chariot with a thunderbolt to save the Earth from being set afire). The Heliades grieved for four months and the gods turned them into poplar trees and their tears into amber.[5][6] According to some sources, their tears (amber) fell into the river Eridanos, in which Phaethon had fallen.[7][8][9]

According to Hyginus, the Heliades were turned to poplar trees because they yoked the chariot for their brother without their father Helios' permission.[10]


  1. Gaius Julius Hyginus Fabulae 154
  2. Aeschylus, Heliades (play survived only in brief fragments)
  3. Ovid Metamorphoses 2.340
  4. Homer Odyssey 12.128
  5. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 23. 2
  6. Ovid, Metamorphoses 10. 262 ff
  7. Philoxenus of Cythera, Fragment 834
  8. Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 4. 1
  9. Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 627 ff
  10. Gaius Julius Hyginus Fabulae 152A


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1870).

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Heliades. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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