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Aeolus was the keeper of the winds, and a son of Hippotes. He was king of the island of Aeolia, one of the abrupt rocky Lipara islands close to Sicily, along with his wife and their six sons and daughters, who were married to one another. Later classical writers regarded him as a god.
He often either freed or penned up the winds at the bidding of some deity. Hera requested him to still the winds except for a gentle west wind to insure an easy homeward passage for Jason's Argo. She later commanded Aeolus to destory the ships of Aeneas, but Poseidon, jealous of his authority over the sea, quieted the sea.
Aeolus was especially kind to sea travellers. He hospitably received Odysseus (Ulysses) and his crew after their misadventure in Polyphemus' cave. On departing, he gave Odysseus a great bag of oxhide containing all the contrary winds, and placed it on board the ship, so that Odysseus might reach Ithaca with a fair wind. They traveled steadily and anxiously for several days, but with his native land in sight, Odysseus sank overpowered by sleep. His men proceeded to indulge their curiosity to see the costly presents which they thought the bag contained, opened it, and out burst the imprisoned winds with such a roar that the force drove the ship back to Aeolus' island. Fearing to aid anyone who was so obviously hated by the gods, Aeolus this time drove them away.
The 16 Lesser Deities:
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