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AURORA (perhaps through a form ausosa from Sansk. ush, to burn; the common idea of “brightness” suggests a connexion with aurum, gold), the Roman goddess of the dawn, corresponding to the Greek goddess Eos. According to Hesiod (Theog. 271) she was the daughter of the Titan Hyperion and Thea (or Euryphassa), and sister of Helios and Selene. By the Titan Astraeus, she was the mother of the winds Zephyrus, Notus and Boreas, of Hesperus and the stars. Homer represents her as rising every morning from the couch of Tithonus (by whom she was the mother of Emathion and Memnon), and drawn out of the east in a chariot by the horses Lampus and Phaëthon to carry light to gods and men (Odyssey, xxiii. 253); in Homer, she abandons her course when the sun is fully risen (or at the latest at mid-day, Iliad, ix. 66), but in later literature she accompanies the sun all day and thus becomes the goddess of the daylight. From the roseate shafts of light which herald the dawn, she bears in Homer the epithet “rosy-fingered.” The conception of a dawn-goddess is common in primitive religions, especially in the Vedic mythology, where the deity Usás is closely parallel to the Greco-Roman; see Paul Regnaud, Le Rig-Véda in Annales du musée Guimet, vol. i. c. 6 (Paris, 1892). She is also represented as the lover of the hunter Orion (Odyssey, v. 121), the representative of the constellation that disappears at the flush of dawn, and the youthful hunter Cephalus, by whom she was the mother of Phaëthon (Apollodorus iii. 14. 3). In works of art, Eos is represented as a young woman, fully clothed, walking fast with a youth in her arms; or rising from the sea in a chariot drawn by winged horses; sometimes, as the goddess who dispenses the dews of the morning, she has a pitcher in each hand. In the fresco-painting by Guido Reni in the Rospigliosi palace at Rome, Aurora is represented strewing flowers before the chariot of the sun. Metaphorically the word Aurora was used (e.g. Virg. Aen. viii. 686, vii. 606) for the East generally.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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