Aeolus is the name of a few different characters in Greek mythology, but the one most commonly associated with the name is the god of winds. He plays a key role in Homer’s Odyssey, in which he’s also known as the keeper of the winds. This Aeolus, from the story, was originally human, but in later classical writings he was treated as only a god.
Aeolus – God Of Wind
The god of wind was the son of Hippotes, who was mortal. Aeolus himself was king of the island of Aeolia and befriended Odysseus when his crew was stranded on the island. The friendship led to Aeolus bagging up all the winds except a gentle westerly wind, which would help Odysseus get home (this Aeolia was located near Sicily, and in real life is part of the Lipari Islands). But his crew got greedy and, after deciding the mysterious bag must hold untold wealth, opened the bag and released the other winds, which only prolonged their journey home.
In Other Myths
Aeolus is also the name of a half-human son of Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, and the name of another human who may have been the ancestor of the other two. The god-of-wind and son-of-Poseidon Aeoluses are often confused by writers.
The third Aeolus, the son of Hellen and a nymph, Orseis, married Enarete and lived in another area called Aeolia, which later became Thessaly. This version had a daughter named Arne, who later gave birth to the Aeolus who was the son of Poseidon. The son of Poseidon, when not conflated with the god of wind, is sometimes treated as a grandfather of the god of wind, and also as the founder of Lipara in the Lipari Islands. It was extremely confusing to Greek writers and historians, too.
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