Greek Titan


Up by Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells via Unsplash (2017)

Hyperion, father of the celestial gods Helios, Selene, and Eos, was closely associated with the heavens and sometimes considered the first astronomer. Up (2017).

Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz RozellsUnsplash


One of the twelve Titans of Greek mythology, Hyperion was the father of Helios, Selene, and Eos—the gods of the sun, moon, and dawn, respectively. He was sometimes said to have participated in Cronus’s rebellion against their father Uranus, and helped to establish his brother as ruler of the cosmos. In time, the Titans were supplanted by Zeus and the Olympians and consigned to the most dismal part of the Underworld, known as Tartarus.


The name “Hyperion” (Greek Ὑπερίων, translit. Hyperiōn) was derived from the ancient Greek word meaning “high one.” Despite this lofty title, Hyperion does not appear to have ever held a position of power in the Greek mythos. His name may instead allude to his association with the heavens.


  • English
    TartarusὙπερίων (translit. Hyperiōn)
  • Phonetic
    [hahy-PEER-ee-uhn]/haɪˈpɪər i ən/


Hyperion was so closely associated with heavenly bodies that his children Helios and Selene were thought to embody the sun and the moon, respectively. The historian Diodorus of Sicily, probably inspired by this association, made the rationalizing claim that Hyperion was the first to study and comprehend astronomical phenomena.[1] While Hyperion’s connections with the heavens are well documented, little else is known about him.


Hyperion was the son of Gaia, the incarnation of the earth, and Uranus, the embodiment of the heavens. His siblings included the other Titans—CoeusCriusIapetusMnemosyneOceanusPhoebeRheaTethysTheaThemis, and Cronus—as well as more monstrous brethren, such as the one-eyed Cyclopes and the hundred-handed Hecatoncheires. Despite their familial connections, these monsters were feared and reviled by the Titans.

Family Tree


Much of Hyperion’s mythology has been lost to time. In Hesiod’s Theogony, he was mentioned only in relation to other Titans or as the father of other gods: 

And Theia was subject in love to Hyperion and bare great Helius (Sun) and clear Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn) who shines upon all that are on earth and upon the deathless Gods who live in the wide heaven.[4] 

Marble relief of sun god Helios circa 300 BCE Altes Museum

Marble relief showing the sun god Helios with rays of sun as a crown (ca. 300 BCE). Helios' mother Thea was often associated with heavenly bodies and other forms of light.

Gary ToddCC0

Hyperion is also mentioned in Homer’s epics (as Helios’ father) and in a handful of other ancient works, though these appearances did little to expand his mythos.

There is little to no information on Hyperion’s role in the Titanomachy, the ten-year war between the Titans (led by Cronus) and the Olympians (led by Zeus). At the end of the war, the Olympians cast the defeated Titans into Tartarus. Yet Hyperion’s actions during the conflict, and his eventual fate, are uncertain.[5]

Pop Culture

Hyperion has appeared in many popular representations of Greek mythology. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for example, he inspired works by Johann Hölderlin and John Keats.

In the video game God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008), Hyperion is one of several Titans chained up in Tartarus. He also appears in the seventh episode of Xena: Warrior Princess and is a recurring character in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

Hyperion was further appropriated by novelist Dan Simmons for his science-fiction/fantasy series The Hyperion Cantos. With novels including Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the series centers on the fictional planet of Hyperion, a place of pilgrimage in an intergalactic civilization threatened by war and chaos.

One of Saturn’s many moons is named for Hyperion. Discovered in 1848, it is unique due to its lopsided shape and irregular orbit.



  1. Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 5.67.1.

  2. Hesiod, Theogony 371ff. In some sources, she is called Euryphaessa (Homeric Hymn 31.4), Basileia (Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 3.57), or Aethra (Hyginus, preface to Fabulae). However, these may all be different names for the same person.

  3. This is the best-known account (see Hesiod, Theogony 371ff; Apollodorus, Library 1.2.2). In some versions, however, the parentage of Helios, Eos, and Selene is different.

  4. Hesiod, Theogony 371–74, trans. H. G. Evelyn-White.

  5. The scholia on Homer’s Iliad 14.274 is one of the only sources to mention Hyperion specifically in connection with the conflict.

Primary Sources


  • Homer: The earliest references to Hyperion are found in the Iliad and the Odyssey (eighth century BCE), where he is named in connection with Helios (sometimes as an epithet for the more important sun god).

  • Hesiod: Hyperion’s genealogy is outlined in the seventh-century BCE epic the Theogony.

  • Aeschylus: Prometheus Unbound, a tragedy by the fifth-century BCE poet Aeschylus, features a chorus of freed Titans that may have included Hyperion, but unfortunately this work has been lost.

Mythological Handbooks (Greek and Roman)

  • Diodorus of Sicily: The Library of History, a work of universal history covering events from the creation of the cosmos to Diodorus’ own time (mid-first century BCE), contains references to a rationalized version of Hyperion as the first astronomer (see above).

  • Apollodorus: The Library, a mythological handbook from the first century BCE or the first few centuries CE, contains references to Hyperion.

  • Hyginus: The Fabulae, a Latin mythological handbook (first or second century CE), includes references to Hyperion.

Secondary Sources


Kapach, Avi. “Hyperion.” Mythopedia, March 10, 2023.

Kapach, Avi. “Hyperion.” Mythopedia, 10 Mar. 2023. Accessed on 6 Jun. 2024.

Kapach, A. (2023, March 10). Hyperion. Mythopedia.


  • Avi Kapach

    Avi Kapach is a writer, scholar, and educator who received his PhD in Classics from Brown University

    Avi Kapach Profile Photo