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Die in Pappeln verwandelten Schwestern des Phaeton by Santi di Tito (2nd half of 16th century)

In Greek mythology, the Heliades (Greek: Ἡλιάδες, "children of the sun") were the daughters of Helios and Clymene the Oceanid.


Heliades by Rupert Bunny, 1920s

According to one version recorded by Hyginus, there were three of them: Aegiale, Aegle, and Aetheria. According to another version, there were five: Helia, Merope, Phoebe, Aetheria and Dioxippe.[1] Aeschylus's fragmentary Heliades[2][3] names Phaethousa and Lampetia, who are otherwise called daughters of Neaera.[4]


Their brother, Phaëthon, died after attempting to drive his father's chariot (the sun) across the sky. He was unable to control the horses and fell to his death (according to most accounts, Zeus struck his chariot with a thunderbolt to save the Earth from being set afire). The Heliades grieved for four months and the gods turned them into poplar trees and their tears into amber.[5][6] According to some sources, their tears (amber) fell into the river Eridanos, in which Phaethon had fallen.[7][8][9]

According to Hyginus, the Heliades were turned to poplar trees because they yoked the chariot for their brother without their father Helios' permission.[10]


  1. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 154
  2. ^ Aeschylus, Heliades (play survived only in brief fragments)
  3. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.340
  4. ^ Homer, Odyssey 12.128
  5. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 5.23.2
  6. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.262 ff
  7. ^ Philoxenus of Cythera, Fragment 834
  8. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.4.1
  9. ^ Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica 5.627 ff
  10. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 152A


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Heliades at Wikimedia Commons