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Aeolus

by Dr Anthony E. Smart
Custodian of the four winds. A minor deity, he is the son of a king called Hippotes, and lived on one of the rocky Lipara islands, close to Sicily. In the caves on this island were imprisoned the winds, and Aeolos, directed by the higher gods, let out these winds as soft breezes, gales, or whatever the higher gods wished. Being visited by the Greek hero Odysseus, Aeolos received him favorably, and on the hero's departure presented Odysseus with a bag containing all the adverse winds, so that his friend might reach Ithaca with a fair wind. Odysseus did as Aeolos bid, but in sight of his homeland, having been untroubled by foul weather, he fell asleep and his men, curious, opened the bag, thus releasing all the fierce winds, which blew their ship far off course (Odyssey X, 2; Vigil I, 52).

Aeolus is also the name of the legendary ancestor of the Aeolians.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Aeolos
    Aiolos
  • Pronunciation:
    ee'-oh-luhs
  • Etymology:
    Earth destroyer

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