Hypnos god of sleep

In Greek mythology, Hypnos god of sleep was, in fact, a mere personification of sleep. His Roman name was Somnus. He was the son of Nyx and some cite Erebus as his father. Thanatos (Peaceful Death) was his twin brother and the Oneiroi (Dreams) were considered either his brothers or his sons.

Sleep and his Half-Brother Death


Sleep and his Half-Brother Death

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Waterhouse, John...
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He was represented as a young man with wings on his head...

Head of Hypnos, or Sleep, an Auxiliary of Hades, Represented as a Winged Youth


Head of Hypnos, or Sleep, an Auxiliary of Hades, Represented as a Winged Youth

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... or as a bearded man with wings on his shoulders.

Hypnos is the Greek God of Sleep Known as Somnus to the Romans


Hypnos is the Greek God of Sleep Known as Somnus to the Romans

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Hypnos was the one who brought the gift of sleep and rest to anyone, and as such he had power over both mortals and gods.

In the Illiad, Homer narrates an episode about Hera who went to Hypnos and asked him to help her by putting Zeus to sleep, so as he wouldn't interfere with the war by helping the Trojans. She promised him a golden throne that Hephaistos would make himself. Hypnos was reluctant to help her, as he recalled a previous episode.

Long time before, Hera had asked Hypnos to put Zeus to sleep. When he did that, Hera was free to torture Herakles, who was at sea. Due to a tempest, all his friends died. When Zeus woke up and found out about it, he looked for Hypnos and wanted to punish him. But the god of sleep took refuge near his mother, Nyx, and Zeus left him alone, because he didn't want to anger Nyx.

Hera answered Hypnos by telling him that Zeus wouldn't be as furious over the Trojan thing as he was for his son, Herakles. She also promised him to help him marry the youngest of the Charites, Pasithea, with whom he had been in love all his life. She also swore on the waters of the river Styx and that convinced Hypnos god of sleep to help her. He turned into a bird who hid in a pine tree near Zeus and put him to sleep. After that, he flew to Poseidon and told him to help the Achaeans while Zeus was sleeping.

Also from the Illiad we know that, when Sarpedon died, Zeus, his father, sent Hypnos god of sleep and Thanatos god of Death to take his body from the battle field to Lykia, where he should be given a proper burial.

Attic Red-Figure Calyx Krater Depicting Hypnos and Thanatos Carrying the Body of Sarpedon


Attic Red-Figure Calyx Krater Depicting Hypnos and Thanatos Carrying the Body of Sarpedon

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Attic Lekythos Depicting Hyphos and Thanatos Carrying a Dead Man, circa 450 BC


Attic Lekythos Depicting Hyphos and Thanatos Carrying a Dead Man, circa 450 BC

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Sarpedon's Corpse Carried Away by Sleep and Death


Sarpedon's Corpse Carried Away by Sleep and Death

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Hypnos god of sleep was said to live in the Underworld, where the Sun never shines, or in a cave on the island of Lemnos, through which the river Lethe runs.

The Kingdom of Hypnos


The Kingdom of Hypnos

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Carpioni, Giulio
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Hypnos gave Endymion the gift of sleeping with his eyes open, so as to be able to always see his beloved Selene. Another version asserts that Hypnos himself was in love with Endymion and made his sleep with his eyes open because he wanted to see always Endymion's beautiful eyes.