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Sphinx (Riddle of)
the Twin Brother of Death
was one of the many relatively minor and very ancient deities of the Greek pantheon. Hypnos the bountiful, as he was known by the ancients, rests in the arms of his mother Nyx (Night). His father is
, the pure darkness of
, the Underworld. Hypnos dwells with his twin brother
, god of Death, in a dark cave by the banks of the river
(Oblivion), at the entrance to
Hypnos is a gentle and benevolent god who sometimes takes the form of a singing bird, sometimes that of a winged youth or old man. He carries a drinking horn, from which he pours sleep-inducing opium. He is most beloved of the Muses, and his spouse is
, one of the Charities.
Father: Erebus, the deity of Darkness
Mother: Nyx, the deity of the Night.
Wife: Pasithea, the deity of hallucinations
Hypnos delivers mortals from pain and mental suffering, with the help of his sons and his brother
(Dream) he colours their sleep with dreams. Hypnos opens two gates, the
Gates of Horn and Ivory
, through which
comes into the minds of men. Through the
Gates of Horn
come prophetic dreams, and through the
Gates of Ivory
come deceptive dreams which mislead
Hypnos is said to have fathered three sons known as the Oneiroi: Morpheus, Phobetor and Phantasos. Morpheus, like his father, became closely associated with sleep and dreams. According to Spartan myth, the warlike people associated the god Hypnos closely with his twin brother Thanatos. Thanatos was the Greek god of death. Hypnos governed the “little death”' or the sleep from which you could awake and Thanatos governed the sleep from which you never awake.
It is said that Hypnos obeys Zeus' command, but that he leaves Endymion asleep with his eyes open so he may always look upon the beauty of his love: Selene. Sleeping with your eyes open is a common phrase associated with hypnosis.
Hypnos and his mother
Hypnos was, according to Greek mythology, the personification of sleep. The Roman name for it was Somnus. Hypnos had a twin who was named Thanatos (or Death). Their mother was the goddess known as Nyx (or Night) and his father was Erebus .Hypnos lived in a dark cave where the sun never shines and at the entrance was a bunch of poppies and other plants. Still another story tells that Hypnos and his twin brother lived in the Underworld. As one story goes, Hypnos lived in a cave under an island and the river of forgetfulness known as the Lethe. It was said that Zeus sentenced Endymion to an eternal sleep and he received the power to sleep with his eyes open so he could keep his eyes on his wife, Selene. According to the poet Licymnius of Chios, however, Hypnos himself fell in love with the young shepherd Endymion, and allowed him to sleep with his eyes open so he could enjoy the beauty of his beloved boy. Whe it came to art paintings, etc., Hypnos was portrayed as a naked youthful man and sometimes had a beard. He also sometimes was seen with wings attached to his head., and sometimes attached to his shoulders. In some art pieces he is seen lying on a bed of feathers and a black curtain drawn around him. Morpheus was the chief minister and he prevented noises from waking Hypnos up. His image was always put near that of death in the Sparta art
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