Greek mythology contained stories of many gods and goddesses. Some are more prevalent than others, appearing in a myriad of tales from Homer, Hesiod, and a slew of other poets. Their importance in ancient Greece varied, with some having entire religions and temples dedicated in their honor. Meanwhile, others operated in the background and offered very little in the way of legendary tales.d
Even still, their presence in the mythos is crucial. Not only did they play a part in the foundation of ancient Greece, but many personified fundamentals of the Earth as we know it!
One example of a lesser-known god is Aestraeus. As the god of dusk, he controlled the sky, the stars, and many aspects of astrology.
The Origins of Astraeus
Astraeus is a second-generation Titan. He came after the early primordial deities like Chaos and Erebus. He was born to Crius and Eurybia. Crius was the son of Uranus and Gaia. Uranus was the personification of the sky, while Gaia represented the Earth. Crius was one of the Twelve Titans alongside Cronus, Theia, Oceanus, Tethys, Rhea, Phoebe, and more.
Eurybia was also born of Gaia. However, her father was Pontus, a primordial sea god. In “Theogony,” Hesiod states that Crius and Eurybia are Aestraeus’ true parents. However, other accounts say that he descended from Gaia and Tartarus. In this version of the legend, Astraeus is one of the Gigantes.
Wife and Children
Aestraeus was the god of dusk. He was associated with everything that occurrs in the sky during twilights, which gave him power over the stars, the planets, and more. Many consider him the god of astrology as well due to the legacy left by his children.
Naturally, Aestraeus would go on to marry an equally powerful goddess. He wed Eos, who was the daughter of Hyperion and Theia. She was a Titaness and the goddess of dawn. Together, Aestraeus and Eos represented nightfall and daybreak, controlling the sun and time.
The powerful couple gave birth to many children and had an expansive family tree. They went on to play important roles in Greek mythology, with some interacting with famous heroes and Olympian Greek gods.
Some of Aestraeus’ more famous children are the Anemoi, or “winds.” They are wind deities who represented cardinal directions from which their winds came. Because they controlled how the wind blows, the Anemoi were associated with seasons and weather conditions.
The first Anemoi was Boreas. He personified the cold north wind. Boreas brought on winter. This Anemoi appears in many legends. He reportedly kidnapped the Athenian princess, Orithyia, and even sunk 400 Persian ships.
Next is Zephyrus. Zephyrus is the god of the west wind. Like Boreas, Zephyrus appeared in many stories. He had several wives, transported the princess Psyche to Apollo’s castle, and even killed some famous figures.
The third Anemoi is Notus, or Auster. Notus is the god of the south wind. He’s most commonly associated with midsummer and was often feared for killing crops with his heat.
Finally, there’s Eurus. Eurus was the god of the east wind. However, some accounts say that he controlled the southeast winds. Either way, Eurus had a reputation for creating turbulent storms in the sea that would toss and wreck ships.
The Astra Planeta
In addition to the Anemoi, Aestraeus and Eos conceived the Astra Planeta. Also known as the “wandering stars” or “planets,” the Astra Planeta are personifications of the classical planets. Ancient Greeks didn’t have the in-depth knowledge of the solar system we have now, but they could see several cosmic bodies in the night sky. The Astra Planeta were their immortal representations. They did not, however, take the place of sun and moon. Those roles belonged to Helios and Selene, respectively.
The first was Phainon. His name translates to “shining,” and he personified the ringed planet of Saturn.
Phaethon is the personification of Jupiter. His name translates to “blazing.”
Pyroeis is the representation of Mars. His name means “Fiery.”
Eosphoros, or Phosphorus, translates to “dawn-bringer.” He personified the planet of Venus.
Finally, there’s Stilbon. Stilbon means “gleaming” or “glittering.” He represented the planet of Mercury.
The Astra Planeta were said to live among the stars. They reportedly inhabited a mystical river that encircled the planet.
According to some accounts, Aestraeus and Eos also had one daughter. Her name was Astraea. Astraea was a virgin goddess of innocence, purity, and justice. She appears pretty frequently in mythology as well.
Her stories usually involve the goddess Dike, the goddess of justice and spiritual order. Dike was the daughter of Zeus and Themis. Many retellings of Dike and Astraea overlap, leading some to believe they are one and the same. The daughter of Aestraeus and Eos is often confused with Asteria, too.
Other spellings of Aestraeus include “Astraeus” and “Astraios.”
Not to be confused with Astraeus, the Mysian son of Poseidon.
Aestraeus is an astrological deity, and his name translates roughly to “starry.”
Aestraeus is sometimes considered the god of stars, planets, and the art of astrology. However, he’s most commonly referred to as the god of dusk.
He is the progeny of first-generation Titans Crius and Eurybia.
Aestraeus might have played a part in Titan and Giant wars.
Aestraeus married Eos. Together, they had approximately ten children.
The god of dusk appears in stories involving Demeter, Tyche, and other deities.
The most famous children of Aestraeus are the Anemoi and the Astra Planeta.
Some accounts say that Aestraeus has a connection to Aeolus, the Keeper of the Winds.
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