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HELIOS

Real Name: Helios

Occupation: God of the sun, Patron God of Rhodes

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Helios except as a mythological character.

Other Aliases: Sol (Roman name), Cathas (Etruscan name), (In ancient times, he was sometimes confused with Apollo.)

Place of Birth: possibly Olympus

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Hyperion (father), Theia (mother) , Aurora, Selene (sisters), Pandia, Ersa, Nemea (nieces), Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Demeter, Hera, Hestia, (cousins), Hercules, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus (nephews), Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Persephone, Discord, Helen, Hebe, Eileithyia (nieces), Perseis (wife), Phaethon (son by Clymene, deceased), Circe (daughter by Perseis), Aegle, Lampetia, Phaethusa (daughters by Clymene, deceased), Aeetes (son by Perseis, deceased), Augeas (son, deceased)

Group Affiliations: The Gods of Olympus 

Base of Operations: Olympus

First Appearance: (unidentified) Thor Annual 1, (actual) Thor #301

History: Helios is the son of Hyperion and Theia, members of a extra-dimensional race of beings called the Titans, who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Greeks. Zeus had overthrown the Titans for control of Olympus and several of the Titans were exiled to Tartarus, the most dismal region of the underworld called Hades. Some of the Titans had sided with Zeus in the war with Olympus, such as Helios, the sun-god, who had supported Zeus in conquering Olympus and was one of the few to retain his power although he was later eclipsed by the god Apollo, who was worshipped by the Ancient Greeks as a god of the sun. Zeus allowed Helios to claim the island of Rhodes as his own. As a god, Helios traversed the sky over the environs of ancient Greece masked by the bright lights of the sun from mortals during the day toward Rhodes, and at night, he sailed the journey back to his starting point on a distant shore of the Black Sea. (In later myths, Helios's chariot was erroneously translated as being the sun itself).

Helios meanwhile took Clymene, a minor sea-goddess, as his wife, but he had several mortal lovers. He was father of Aeetes, King of Colchis, the goddess Circe and Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete who gave birth to the Minotaur. Rhode, daughter of Poseidon, bore him several sons. He was also father of King Augeas of Elis whose stables were cleaned by Hercules on his Sixth Labor, and the goddess Circe, who he gave the island Aeaea. One of his most famous children was a mortal son named Phaethon who lived in Egypt and was a close friend of Epaphus, the heir to the throne of Libya. Phaethon boasted that he had flown Helios's golden chariot as it traversed the route of the sun across the sky to Epaphus and sought out Helios far east of Greece for permission to guide the chariot. Having sworn by the sacred waters of the Styx, Helios hesitantly allowed his son to guide the sun-chariot unattended, but as Phaethon tried to sway the horses from their route, their brilliance began to scorch the earth and Zeus blasted the foolish mortal with a thunderbolt for his hubris. In grieving for their brother, Phaethon's sisters, the Heliades, were transformed into poplars by his grave near the Eridanus River (modern Po) in Italy where he was buried.

Despite his responsibility to his actions, Helios wasn't reprimanded for his dereliction to duty because of his vow. Although he was not considered part of the high council of the Olympian gods, he was a valued allied of the pantheon. He disputed worship rites in Corinth with Poseidon and with Briareus deciding between them, they decided to share it equally; Helios received the heights, and Poseidon the isthmus. A great statue of Helios once sat near the harbor on Rhodes until its destruction in the Ninth Century BC.  

In the course of his travels, Helios patrolled the skies over Ancient Greece and often described to Zeus of events of importance to the gods. He served as witness to the abduction of Persephone by Hades and also informed Hephaestus that his wife Aphrodite had been unfaithful to him. Angry at Helios for revealing her fling with Hephaestus' brother, Ares, Aphrodite smote him with love for the Persian princess Leucothoe and he seduced her. the goddess, Clytie, revealed the seduction to her father, King Orchamus, who buried her alive as punishment. Helios mystically gave her eternal life as a shrub that gave frankincense and punished Clytie by turning her into a heliotrope, a flower which follows the course of the sun through the day.

Helios showed the same amount of compassion to Hercules on his tenth labor as the son of Zeus ventured to claim the cattle of King Geryon in Erytheia. Stressed by the heat, Hercules shot an arrow at the sun out of frustration and knocked Helios out of his chariot obscured by the sun's rays. Crashing to earth, Helios was impressed by Hercules' boldness to knock him out of the sky and lent him his craft to sail the Mediterranean to Erytheia. Helios might have lent his craft to Hercules out of spite to Geryon since he too had cattle grazing near Erytheia and without him, his cattle would have full roam of the area.  

Helios did not show much restraint when members of the crew of Odysseus slaughtered part of his herd of sheep on Thrinacia for food without his permission. Threatening to to unleash the sun's brightness in the underworld, he reported the dishonor to Zeus who then struck down Odysseus's men, but not Odysseus, who had wisely not tasted the meat of the stolen sheep. 

In his travels, Helios became allies with Surya, the Hindu god of the sun in ancient India, close to where he kept his horses for their daily journeys. With Surya, he was credited with warming the earth while it was still cold after creation, but as strong as this myth was in India, it was not as recognized in the Roman Empire which honored rites of the god Mitra, another Hindu god, in Rome. Centuries after the Olympians stopped seeking active worshippers, Helios welcomed the god Thor to Olympus as he came to collect from Zeus the life energies to restore the Asgardian gods to life after the Fourth Host of the Celestials.

During the attack of the Dark Gods, Helios came to the defense of Olympus and covered the retreat of several gods fleeing for cover to Earth. Helios traveled to earth shortly thereafter and found asylum from the attack in Circe's villa, now relocated in an uncertain location on earth away from its original location near Italy. 

Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 345 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

Strength Level: Helios possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) up to 30 tins under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Helios possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian gods. Like all Olympians, he is immortal: he has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Zeus, Poseidon and Apollo or for a number of Olympian gods of equal power working together to revive him. Helios also possesses superhuman strength and his Olympian metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)

Helios has considerable mystical powers, but he is no where as powerful as gods like Zeus or Odin. He can conjure and emanate great light as bright or as hot as the sun, the intensity of the heat equal to the amount of light he conjures. He can change form and that of other living things, such as Clytie and the Heliades. He has healing power and once cured the blindness of the giant Orion.

Abilities: Helios is an exceptional archer comparable to Apollo and Artemis.

Weapons: Helios carries a sword and a bow with an enchanted quiver of arrows.

Transportation/Pets: Helios rides in an enchanted chariot pulled through the air by four, carnivorous horses. Capable of a sub-orbital flight, these horses are obedient to him, Apollo and Hercules, who have also borrowed them at times. He also owns a small wind-sail craft enchanted to catch any breeze.

Comments: As yet, Helios has not actually appeared in Marvel or DC Comics. His post-myth history here is conjectural against the known modern history of the Olympian gods.  

Clarifications: Helios is not to be confused with:  

Last updated: 05/07/06

 

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