previous next




The ruler of the winds, son of Hippotas and Melanippé, daughter of Chiron. He reigned over the Aeolian Islands, and made his residence at Strongylé, the modern Stromboli. The island was entirely surrounded by a wall of brass, and by smooth, precipitous rocks; and here he dwelt in continual joy and festivity, with his wife and his six sons and as many daughters. The island had no other tenants. The sons and daughters were married to each other, after the fashion set by Zeus and Heré. Odysseus came in the course of his wanderings to the island of Aeolus, and was hospitably entertained there for an entire month. On his departure, he received from Aeolus all the winds but Zephyrus, tied up in a bag of ox-hide. Zephyrus was favourable for his passage homeward. During nine days and nights the ships ran merrily before the wind; on the tenth they were within sight of Ithaca, when Odysseus, who had hitherto held the helm himself, fell asleep. His comrades, who fancied that Aeolus had given him treasure in the bag, opened it: the winds rushed out, and hurried them back to Aeolia. Judging, from what had befallen them, that they were hated by the gods, the ruler of the winds drove them with reproaches from his isle. The name Aeolus has been derived from αἰόλος, “varying,” “unsteady,” as a descriptive epithet of the winds.


A son of Hellen, father of Sisyphus, Cretheus, and Athamas, and the mythic progenitor of the great Aeolic race.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: