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Hyperion (mythology)

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Hyperion (Greek: Ὑπερίων, "The High-One") was one of the twelve Titan gods of Ancient Greece, which were later supplanted by the Olympians.[1][2] He was the brother of Cronus. He was also the lord of light, and the titan of the east. He was the son of Gaia (the physical incarnation of Earth) and Uranus (literally meaning 'the Sky'), and was referred to in early mythological writings as Helios Hyperion (Ἥλιος Υπερίων), 'Sun High-one'. However, in the Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter the Sun is once in each work called Hyperionides (περίδής) 'son of Hyperion', and Hesiod certainly imagines Hyperion as a separate being in other writings. In later Ancient Greek literature, Hyperion is always distinguished from Helios - the former was ascribed the characteristics of the 'God of Watchfulness and Wisdom', while the latter became the physical incarnation of the Sun. Hyperion plays virtually no role in Greek culture and little role in mythology, save in lists of the twelve Titans. Later Greeks intellectualized their myths:

"Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and their nature." —Diodorus Siculus (5.67.1)

There is little to no reference to Hyperion during the Titanomachy, the epic in which the Olympians battle the ruling Titans, or the Gigantomachy, in which Gaia attempts to avenge the Titans by enlisting the aid of the giants ("Γίγαντες") that were imprisoned in Tartarus to facilitate the overthrow of the Olympians.

Later representations

William Shakespeare used the name as a personification of the sun.[3] In Hamlet, Hamlet compares his father (the late Old Hamlet) to Hyperion and his usurping uncle Claudius to a satyr in Act I, Scene II: "Hyperion to a satyr," contrasting the beauty of the former with the ugliness of the latter. [4] Hyperion is mentioned again in Act III, Scene IV. Interpreting Hyperion as a sun god of Ancient Egypt and alluding to the succession of mythological dynasties, John Keats wrote the poems "Hyperion" and "The Fall of Hyperion".[5]


  1. Morford, Mark P. O.; Lenardon, Robert J. (2000). Classical Mythology. Oxford University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0195143386. 
  2. Keightley, Thomas (1877). " The mythology of ancient Greece and Italy. p. 47.". 
  3. William Shakespeare, Sir Henry Irving, Frank Albert Marshall, Edward Dowden (1890). The works of William Shakespeare, Volume 8. Scribner and Welford. p. 98. 
  4. William Shakespeare, James Boswell, Edmond Malone, Samuel Johnson, Alexander Pope, Mr. Theobald (Lewis), George Steevens, Sir Thomas Hanmer, William Warburton, Edward Capell, Richard Farmer, Isaac Reed, Nicholas Rowe, Arthur Brooke, George Chalmers (1821). Plays and poems of William Shakespeare. F. C. and J. Rivington. p. 203. 
  5. Harold Bloom (2006). John Keats. Infobase Publishing. p. 101. ISBN 079109314X. 

External links

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

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