Have you ever heard about doppelgangers? It is the one where you have a double version of yourself who exactly looks like you.
This is also happening in Greek mythology, but not exactly where they share the same physical features.
In fact, they share the same powers, making them sort of doppelgangers but not really. One of the double versions that you need to know is the god of the sun in Greek myth. They are the Greek gods Helios and Apollo.
Those are two different gods with different lineage, but they have a considerable resemblance to their powers.
Who Is Helios?
One of the distinctions between Helios and Apollo is that Helios is a titan god of the sun. He is the son of the titans Hyperion, also considered a sun god, and Theia, the goddess of wide brightness.
Helios lived with his sisters Selene (the moon goddess) and Eos (the dawn goddess) and ruled the sun.
He is seen as a very dashing titan with wavy hair. He adorns himself with the aureole crown of the sun, crossing it with his four horses, namely Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.
The titan god married his sister Selene, but like any other god, he had many children.
Circe is his daughter with an Oceanid named Perseids. She is a witch goddess who is in love with Odysseus and turned Odysseus’s men into wild boars.
He also had a child named Phaeton, who remembered to try and drive Helios’s chariot, but he lost his control over the steeds, and he ended up burning the whole earth. Horae is also his daughter, who has control over the four seasons. The Charites are also considered his daughter with Aigle, and they are considered the goddesses of grace and beauty.
Interestingly, even though Helios is rarely stated in the accounts of Greek mythology, some accounts always see the titan god as mighty as Zeus. Helios took part in Greek mythology’s key events like witnessing Persephone’s abduction. Not much later on, he also helped Hephaestus who revealed the love affair between Ares and Aphrodite.
The Watchman of Mortals and Gods
Helios earned this title because he acts as the overseer of the affairs of the humans and the gods. With him parading through the skies, his eyes are pierced through the clouds, witnessing the moment Hades took Persephone down in the underworld with him.
Demeter begged the titan god to tell her where Persephone went, and Helios told her that Zeus gave her the answer to Hades’s request for a wife.
The Affair Between Ares and Aphrodite
Hephaestus is the god of the blacksmiths and forgery, and he is the husband of Aphrodite. Yet, when Helios, the titan god who can see everything from the skies, found that the goddess of love and beauty is doing things with her lover Ares, he immediately told Hephaestus about what is happening between them.
Because he found out that his wife was cheating on him, Hephaestus made an invisible chain and presented them to the gods, mocking them with laughter and embarrassment in the end.
He also briefly interacted with Heracles, giving him a golden cup to pass through Erytheia and fulfill one of his labors. But out of them all, one of the best-known stories related to the sun god is the tale of his own child Phaeton.
Phaeton’s Chariot Mishap
Helios is great at his job, and because of that, he is admired by his son Phaeton. He wanted to do what Helios does, so he did, but Phaeton doesn’t know how to run the chariot, and so he caused massive destruction on the earth’s surface.
Zeus has to punish Phaeton due to his action, striking him with Zeus’s lightning bolt, which got him killed in the end.
Now that you know Helios by what he is mainly known for, it is time to meet the Olympian god Apollo.
Who Is Apollo?
What sets the difference between Helios vs. Apollo? Helios is a titan god, while Apollo is an Olympian god.
Starting with his father, who established the new set of gods, Zeus, they reside at the top of the sacred mountain of Mount Olympus along with his royal consort Hera and other gods. However, Apollo was not a child of a legitimate marriage.
In fact, Hera was so jealous of their mother, Leto, that she punished Leto. She doesn’t want Leto to give birth to what she bears, so Hera prevents her from giving birth on any land where she can lay her feet on the ground.
Leto first gave birth to his twin sister Artemis and Artemis made Leto’s birth of Apollo easier.
The two twins are inseparable and very protective of their mother. They also developed a high skill in archery, which made Apollo the god of archery while Artemis became the goddess of the hunt. They fought off the Python that torments their mother, Leto, and from there, Apollo established his city of Delphi, where the mortals are looking for his oracles.
Apollo’s Love Interests
There is much lore in connection with Apollo’s lovers. Some men and women are entangled with Apollo’s beauty, but he is often rejected by those he pursued.
One of the famous rejections that he faced was the story of Daphne, who was struck by a lead-tipped arrow by Cupid. It is known that those who are touched by the said arrow would clearly repel those who are struck with golden tips. Apollo was madly in love with Daphne, but in an attempt to escape the god’s pursuit, she asked for her father’s help and turned herself to become a tree.
The other princess who received such passion was Cassandra, a Trojan princess. She has an extraordinary power of persuasion, and people were trusting her skills in it. However, when she turned down Apollo, he took away her powers, and now nobody wants to believe her anymore.
And if you’re looking at one of his male tragic lovers, maybe you should see the story of the flower Hyacinth.
Hyacinthus was Apollo’s favorite, but the mortal had another lover, and he was very jealous. With Zephyrus’s ability to control the wind, he manipulated it to change its course and ultimately kill Hyacinthus by the wound on his head. From his death emerged the beautiful flowers of Hyacinth to remind Apollo of the beauty of his former lover.
Some of the notable children of Apollo are Asclepius, Troilus, Aristaeus, and Orpheus.
Helios vs Apollo: Similarities
Even though we are looking forward to seeing Helios and Apollo, the two gods share some similarities. Ultimately, aside from sharing the sun, the gods have some similarities with each other, namely:
- The two of them have significant dead sons – Asclepius for Apollo and Phaeton for Helios.
- Both of them can see things not easily seen by others. Helios can see things from the sky with his chariot in his hands, while Apollo has a priestess who performs the oracles to see the future.