Hyperion: The Titan God Of Light In Greek Mythology

Meet with us Hyperion, one of the most magnificent Titans of Greek mythology. Discover his most fascinating legends and powers.

hyperion god

Hyperion the Titan of Light

In Greek mythology, Hyperion was part of the titan sons of Uranus, who later along with one of his brothers, Cronus overthrew their father. He was associated with observation from above. He was also known as a pillar of the East. Along with his three other brothers, Crœus, Ceo, and Iapetus, he presided as the pillars holding heaven and earth apart. There was more to Greek mythology than just the gods. In this lesson, we will meet a different divine being and see what role he played in the Greek cosmos.

who was Hyperion?

Hyperion was one of the Titans, son of Uranus and Gaia. He represented light, wisdom and vigilance. He was the father of the sun, the moon and the dawn. In some early texts, the sun is mentioned as Helios Hyperion; however, in later texts, including the writings of Homer and Hesiod, Hyperion and Helios are two different deities, the latter being a physical representation of the sun. Hyperion is not mentioned in the Titanomachy, the War that resulted in the overthrow of the Titans and the beginning of the age of the Olympians.

History of the Titan god of light

Hyperion is a Titan, one of the ancient gods who ruled before the Olympians. The god of light, he is the son of Uranus, or the sky and Gaea or the earth. Hyperion in turn is the father of the sun, Helios; the moon, Selene; and the dawn, Eos.

Hyperion married his sister, Theia, and they had three children, Helios, Selene, and Eos. He was considered one of the four pillars that hold the heavens and earth apart, and since his daughter was the dawn, he was probably the pillar of the east.

The other three pillars were his brothers Coeus (northern pillar), Crius (southern pillar), and Iapetus (western pillar). These four Titans were the ones who kept their father Uranus in his place, while Cronus castrated him with a sickle.

Dios de la luz

Appearance and meaning of the name Hyperion

It was said to be breathtakingly beautiful. Hyperion’s name comes from the Greek meaning“the one who looks down from above“. He is said to be the first to understand the cycles of the sun, stars, moon and sunrise or even to have ordered them in the first place.

There were twelve Titans. Hyperion had five brothers and six sisters. The Titans, as their name implies, were giants. Powerful both in strength and wisdom and in their knowledge of magic and ancient rituals, they lived on Mount Orthrys, a real mountain 5663 feet high that lies in the center of Greece.

Origin and role with the Titans

Hyperion was one of the Titans, beings of great power who often personified cosmic forces. His parents were the primordial beings. In these ancient times, Uranus behaved as a tyrant towards his children, provoking Hyperion, Kronos, to conspire a coup against him.

When Uranus arrived on Gaia, Hyperion and three brothers (Krios, Koios and Iapetos) immobilized him so that Kronos could castrate him. Thus, the Titans overthrew their father and initiated a new era. Since the four brothers were responsible for restraining Uranus and keeping him away from Gaia, they became the four cardinal pillars that hold up the sky and prevent it from colliding with the world.

Hyperion and the celestial lights

The Titan of celestial light and the Titans of ether had three children representing the three lights of heaven: Eos (Dawn), Helios (Sun) and Selene (Moon).

Since Hyperion was the father of the dawn, the Sun and the Moon, it is safe to assume that he represented the eastern pillar, the direction from which these celestial lights appeared. However, his significance may be even greater. Hyperion set these celestial bodies in motion as his children, and taught them the cycles we use to measure our lives.

The god of light and humanity

Hyperion and all his brothers were seen as ancient gods who were responsible for the creation of man, each titan bestowing a quality on mankind. Hyperion was supposed to have given man the gift of sight because his name actually means “the one who looks down from above.”

Hyperion’s wife, Theia, was also Titans of sight, so it made sense that they would give that gift to mankind. Another thing that made the Greeks think that Hyperion and Theia gave them this gift is because they believed that the eyes emitted a small ray of light that allowed them to see.

Myth about Hyperion

He was one of the four Titan brothers who conspired with Cronus to castrate and depose their father Uranos. When Heaven descended to lie with Earth, Hyperion, Krios (Crius), Koios (Coeus) and Iapetos (Iapetus); stationed at the four corners of the world, seized their father and held him down while Cronus castrated him with a sickle.

Uranus imprisoned the Titans in Tartarus, a dark place that lies beneath Hades. He seemed to have done this as soon as each of the children were born. Hyperion conspired with his brothers and Gaea, who was angry at the imprisonment of his children, to overthrow him. When Uranus went to visit his mother, Hyperion, Crius, Coeus and Iapetus went to the four corners of the earth: Hyperion to the east; Crius to the south; Coeus to the north and Iapetus to the west.

Cronus castration


They separated his parents and placed him with his father. They held him while his other brother, Cronus, castrated him with a sickle Gaea had made. The Giants, Meliae, Erinyes and eventually, Aphrodite, sprang from the blood of this mutilation. The Titans then dragged Uranus to Tartarus and chained him there, but Uranus cursed Cronus and told him that he too would be overthrown by his children.

The Titans reigned long enough to give birth to other Titans. But Cronus, who was aware of his own father’s curse, imprisoned his brothers again in Tartarus over time, where they were guarded by the giant one-eyed Cyclops and the monstrous giants called the Hecatoncheires.

Because the Cyclops and the Hecatoncheires were sons of Gaea and Uranus, they were the full brothers of Hyperion and the Titans. The Hecatoncheires had fifty heads and one hundred hands. In some accounts, their presence so horrified Uranus that when they were born he pushed them back into Gaea’s womb, which caused him no small amount of distress. It was then that she began to plan her husband’s destruction in earnest.

The prophecy

Cronus, fearful of his father’s prophecy, swallowed his own children for his sister Rhea as soon as they were born. These were the Olympians. He ate them all except ZEUS, who was hidden by his mother. When Zeus was old enough, he pretended to be a servant and gave Cronus a drink that made him vomit up the other children.

Eventually, the Olympians overthrew the Titans in a terrible decade-long war called the Titanomachy. In some stories, Hyperion does not seem to have played a major role in this war, although he supported the Titans who fought against his nephews and nieces.

In other stories, he led the fight when Cronus was defeated and fought valiantly, even though the Titans were still falling to defeat. When the war ended, Hyperion and the other Titans were thrown back into Tartarus, where they were once again guarded by the Hecatoncheires, who had sided with the Olympians.

While Hyperion and the other Titans languished in Tartarus, their roles in governing the cosmos were taken over by the Olympians, including Zeus, Hera, Demeter, Hades and Poseidon, The Titans literally became the pillars that held up the earth and sky, although in some accounts Zeus, the chief of the gods, freed them.

Hyperion and his brothers were believed to have cooperated in the creation of human beings, and each gave a gift to mankind. Hyperion’s gift was sight.

Four Titans

In this myth, these four Titans symbolize the great pillars that support the separate heaven and earth or the whole cosmos described in the cosmogonies of the East. Being the father of the sun and the dawn, Hyperion was considered the Titan of the eastern pillar. And his brothers Koios, Krios and Iapetos presided over the north, south and west respectively.

The Titans were finally deposed by Zeus and thrown into the pit of the Tartars (Tartarus). Hesiod describes it as a void lying beneath the foundations of everything, where earth, sea and sky have their roots.

Here the Titans change in cosmological terms from being possessors of the sky to being bearers of the whole cosmos. According to Pindar and Aeschylus (in his lost play Prometheus Unbound) the Titans were finally released from the pit through the clemency of Zeus.

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