Aeolus Greek God of Winds

Aeolus Greek god of winds (also spelled as Aiolos or Aeolos) was the son of Hippotes. He kept all the winds inside a mountain, on a floating island called Aeolis or Aeolia, which was also surrounded by a bronze wall. In fact, he was the king of this island, who had been made "keeper of the winds" by Zeus.

When Odysseus arrived on his island, king Aeolus gave him hospitality for one month, and before his departure, he gave Odysseus a bag which contained all the winds, but one, Zephyros, the western wind, which was not put into the bag, so as to gently push their ship towards the island of Ithaca.

During the trip, Odysseus steered the ship all the time. When they finally caught glimpse of the coast of Ithaca, he fell asleep. His men took advantage of that and opened the bag, thinking it would be full of gold and silver. Thus, all the winds got out and the storm created by them pushed the ship back to the island of Aeolia.

When Aeolus saw Odysseus again, he understood that the gods were against him, so he refused to help him again and told him to leave the island forever.

Here is an image of Aeolus, Greek god of winds:

That is what he could do when he released the winds:

This is the island of Aeolus Greek god of winds:

In Virgil's Aeneid, Juno (the Roman counterpart of Hera) asks Aeolus to unleash the winds against Aeneas' fleet, by promising him the hand of her most beautiful nymph, Deiopea. Aeneas was Venus' son, who had managed to flee Troy and was trying to get to Italy, in order to establish a Trojan colony. And Juno hated Venus' guts, as you probably remember. Here are some paintings dealing with this subject.

In this image, you can see she can also ask nicely:

But, in the end, things worked out differently, because Neptune/Poseidon calmed the seas, in order to allow Aeneas to reach Italy safe and sound.

In Pietro di Cosimo's painting Vulcan and Aeolus, he represents the dawn of civilization. People and animals live together in harmony, fire was already discovered, Vulcan (i.e. the Greek god Hephaestus) works at the anvil and Aeolus blows the bellows. The man riding the white horse symbolizes the animal's domestication. Behind them, there are people who build a house from tree trunks.

For the other characters named Aeolus, click here.

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