Hyperion plays a vital role in the Greek Creation Myth, which was based on the idea that the Gods resembled mortals. However, these supernatural beings were much larger than mortal men and women, and they controlled great mystic and magical powers. As one of these supernatural beings, Hyperion played an important role in Greek mythology, the life of the ancient Greeks, and their beliefs.
Who Was Hyperion?
Hyperion himself was the father of Helios, God of the Sun; Eos, Goddess of the Dawn; and Selene, Goddess of the Moon. He was married to his sister Thea, who was a fellow Titan and the Goddess of the Blue Sky.
Hyperion was a diligent observer. In fact, his name translates to “the one who watches from above.” He was believed to be incredibly beautiful, and he was also the first being to grasp the cycles of the sun, moon, stars, and the dawn. Many ancient Greeks believed he was the one to have created these cycles in the first place, making him responsible for the calendar and the seasons.
Hyperion and his Titan brothers were also thought to play a large role in the creation of humans. It was believed that each Titan gave humankind a particular gift. As the observer, Hyperion’s gift to humanity was sight.
From the Depths of Tartarus to the Corners of the Earth
Hyperion had six sisters and five brothers, so there were 12 Titans in all. Each were giants in human form. They possessed strength, power, wisdom, and great knowledge of ancient magic and mysticism. Together, they lived on Mt. Othrys, a real-life mountain located in the center of Greece. This served as their base during the 10-year war with the Olympians, known as the Titanomachy.
Before this, however, Hyperion and the other Titans were imprisoned by their father, Uranus, in Tartarus. Tartarus was a dark place deep beneath Hades, and afraid of the power of his Titan children, Uranus imprisoned them their right after their birth.
Despite their father’s wishes, they didn’t remain in Tartarus. Instead, Hyperion conspired with his mother Gaea and his brothers to escape from Tartarus and overthrow Uranus.
According to Greek legend, when Uranus went to visit Gaea, Hyperion and his brothers went to the corners of the Earth. Coes went to the North, Crius went to the South, Iapetus went to the West, and Hyperion went to the East.
Together, they were able to hold their parents apart and contain their father. The four of them held Uranus down while their other brother, Cronus, used a sickle made by Gaea to castrate him. Hyperion and the other Titans avenged their imprisonment by dragging Uranus down to Tartarus and keeping him there in chains.
The Curse of Cronus and the Rise of the Olympians
While chained in Tartarus, Uranus cursed Cronus and told him he would also be overthrown by his children. Fearful of this curse, Cronus swallowed his own children immediately after they were born. These swallowed children were the Olympians.
Cronus ate all of them except for Zeus, who his mother hid. When Zeus grew older and the time was right, he pretended to be a servant and served Cronus a drink to vomit and free his brothers and sisters.
When freed, the Olympians set forth to overthrow the Titans in a decade long war known as the Titanomachy.
The Fall of Hyperion and the Titans
In some legends, Hyperion supported his brothers and sisters but didn’t play much of a role during the Titanomachy. In other tales, he became the leader and valiantly led the fight against the Olympians when Cronus was defeated. However, the Olympians eventually won the war and cast the Titans back into Tartarus once again.
Hyperion Fast Facts:
Status – Principal figure in the first dynasty of Titans
Role – The God of Light and Creator of Daily Cycles
Gender – Male
Father – Uranus
Mother – Gaea
Brothers – Cronus, Crius, Coeus, Lapetus, and Oceanus
Sisters – Phoebe, Themis, Rhea, Tethys, Theia, and Mnemosyne
Wife – Theia
Children – Eos, Helios, and Selene
• Hyperion sided with the Titans and against the Olympians in the Titanomachy.
• Hyperion and his Titan brothers Coes, Crius, and Lapetus took up post as the pillars of the four corners of the world in order to hold down their father, the Sky God Uranus, while their brother Cronus castrated him with a sickle.
• As the God of Light, Hyperion was associated with the dawn and was therefore the pillar of the East.
• Hyperion was also known as “The Observer,” and his name translates to “he who watches from above.”
• In ancient Greek mythology, all of Hyperion’s children represented light. Helios was the God of the Sun, Selene was the Goddess of the Moon, and Eos was the Goddess of the Dawn.
• At the end of the Titanomachy, commonly called the Titan War, Hyperion and his Titan siblings were cast back into Tartarus by Zeus.