Hypnos played his own role in Greek mythology. As the personification of sleep, this deity represents an essential aspect of human life. Hypnos was the son of Nyx and Erebus. Hypnos' family tree would not be complete without his twin brother Thanatos. Thanatos was the famous god of death. Together they had the power to grant people peace and rest, and to end a life. Hypnos can be found in all aspects of the ancient Greeks' daily lives. From stories and prayers to art and religious practices, nothing is left out. In this article, we will analyze all aspects of Hypnos in ancient Greece. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Hypnos, Guardian of Dreams: The Exploration of Divine Kinship
Hypnos - Greek God of Sleep - Credits: delcarmat/Shutterstock
According to Greek mythology, Hypnos is the god of sleep. He is described as a calm and gentle deity who brings rest and peace to people. Interestingly, the word “Hypnos" comes from the word "hypnosis". In Roman mythology, he is also called “Somnus”. Hypnos’ mother was Nyx, the ancient goddess of the night, and Erebus, the god of darkness. It is therefore obvious why he plays an essential role in the day cycle. His twin brother is Thanatos, the god of death. The two of them work closely together and help people to avoid suffering and die peacefully while they sleep.
Homer, Iliad 16. 453 ff : [Hera speaks about his son Sarpedon's death :] “But after the soul and the years of his life have left him, then send Thanatos, and Hypnos, who is painless (Hypnos), to carry him away".
Hypnos is described in various myths living in different places, such as in the underworld where his brother rules, on the island of Lemnos or in a dark and musty cave. The god of sleep is married to Pasithea. Pasithea is one of the youngest Charites, and the goddess of meditation and relaxation and thus symbolizes the connection between sleep and rest. Hypnos and Pasithea had many children, known as the Oneiroi. Oneiroi represented dreams. The most famous among them is Morpheus, who is known for his ability to shape dreams according to the desires and fears of mortals.