The ancient Greeks created myths to explain everything that surrounded them and for which they had no explanation. In Supercurioso we have seen how it was assigned to echo a story related to a nymph to explain the reverberation of the sound or the Iris , the messenger, who draws an arch with her wings when the gods make peace with humans after the storms. On this occasion we wanted to approach a phenomenon that especially interested the Greeks of antiquity: the appearance at dusk of a star in the sky. As they used to do, they assigned him a god and a myth. Join us to meet Hesperos, the Greek god of "the evening star" .
The phenomena and celestial bodies inspired many of the myths about the Greek gods . In addition to the aforementioned rainbow, gods or semi-divine figures were assigned to the dawn , the 5 planets that are seen with the naked eye and the Sun or the Moon, among others. The evening star receives the name of Hésperos, Héspero or Éspero indistinctly. The Roman equivalent of Hesperus is Vesper.
Hesperos, the Greek god of "the evening star"
For Greek mythology there were two brothers, children of Aurora, the goddess of the morning and of Astreo, the god of the sunset who were called Phosphorus and Hesperos . Phosphorus, which we already talked about in the post Phosphorus, the god who gave name to matches, do you know the myth? He personifies the morning star and his brother, Hesperos, the evening star. They are usually represented as two young men with a torch in their hands and who have two tasks when they precede the cars of their parents: announce the presence of the Olympic gods and alternating, anticipate the arrival of dawn and dusk that bring their parents. Hesperos and Phosphorus they had other brothers who were the four winds: Boreos, Euros, Zephyros and Notos.
"Fósforo y Héspero" by Evelyn de Morgan (1881)
The inhabitants of the old Greece At first they thought that Hesperos and Phosphorus were two different stars and that is why they were given and assigned two names of gods, one for when they saw it in the morning and another for the one in the afternoon. Centuries later and possibly influenced by the Mesopotamian culture, they discovered that they were one and that corresponded to what they believed was a wandering star or planet and what we now know as Venus, however, the myths remained in force.
Detail of "Héspero" by Anton Raphael Mengs, 1765
There is a very old myth that speaks of Hesperos and why the evening star bears that name and that it moves away from classical myths. Account that Hesperos He was Atlas's son or brother, a titan, and he was a star seeker. One sunset, it was placed in the Atlas Mountains , in North Africa, who bore the name of their father or brother, and began to observe how the stars came out in the sky looking for new stars. At that moment a furious storm broke out that made him fall from the top of the Atlas mountains and, mysteriously, disappeared without a trace. The men who accompanied him and who knew his kindness, thought that he could not have died and believed that he had become a star, in particular in which he brings the benefactor rest of the night. That star was given the name of the young man: Hesperos .
Another myth about Hèsperos relates him to Hymenaeus, the protective god of marriages we are talking about in the post: The myth of Hymenaeus | The god from which the words hymn and hymen come . Hesperos , fell in love with the young and beautiful Hymenaeus and when the latter was singing at the wedding of Dionysius and Ariana lost his voice. As a tribute to his lover and in memory of this fact, in all nuptial ceremonies a "Canto a Himeneo" was sung.
"The garden of the Hespérides", Frederic Leighton (1892).
The last of the myths related to Hesperos What we want to tell you is what makes him father or grandfather of the Hespérides. These were nymphs of the trees that lived and took care of a wonderful garden full of fruit trees that was located near the Atlas mountain range. They were three sisters and were also known as the "sunset nymphs" since it was considered that their garden was located in the west, where the sun sets. From this mythical garden, Hercules stole the three golden apples, deceiving Atlas, related to the Hesperides and Hesperos , who was the one who supported the world.
It is interesting to know the main Greek myths since they have reached our days reflected in numerous works of art and have been a source of inspiration also for literature. Did you know these myths about the evening star or Heroes? Do you know any more? Get it with us! If you want to know more about Greek mythology, we invite you to read:
- Procne and Filomela | The most dramatic history of Greek mythology
- 10 things that you probably did NOT know about Greek mythology
- God Jupiter | Curiosities of the Zeus of Roman mythology