Eos in Her Chariot


replica: from the Louvre, Paris

gift of: Mr. Byng Thayer in memory of Helen Thayer

date of the original: 1st century BC 

provenance of the original: Herculaneum; now in the collection of the Duc de Loule in the Lisbon Museum, Lisbon

description: Relief showing Eos driving a quadriga. Her lover (Tithonus or Cephalus) at the horses’ heads. Plaster replica; marble original. Height 74 cm, width 143 cm, depth 9 cm.

This is a neo-Attic relief dating from the first century BC, but which is itself a replica of a fourth century prototype. Fragments of a twin relief can be seen in the House of Telephus in Herculaneum. Aurora or Eos, the dawn goddess, usually depicted in a two-horse chariot (biga) drawn by Lampos and Phaeton (Shiner and Bright), was the sister of Helios (the Sun) and led him each day into the Heavens. From the fifth century she was often depicted pursuing or carrying off Cephalus or Tithonus, her lovers. According to Homer, her son Memnon was killed by Achilles in the Trojan war; the morning dew is said to be the tears she shed for him.