In Greek mythology, Aeolus (//; Ancient Greek: Αἴολος, romanized: Aíolos [ǎi̯.o.los], Greek: [ˈe.o.los] (listen), lit. 'quick-moving, nimble') is a name shared by three mythical characters. These three personages are often difficult to tell apart, and even the ancient mythographers appear to have been perplexed about which Aeolus was which. Diodorus Siculus made an attempt to define each of these three (although it is clear that he also became muddled), and his opinion is followed here.
- The first Aeolus was a son of Hellen and eponymous founder of the Aeolian race.
- The second Aeolus was a son of Poseidon, who led a colony to islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
- The third Aeolus was a son of Hippotes who is mentioned in Odyssey and the Aeneid as the Keeper of the Winds.
All three men named Aeolus appear to be connected genealogically, although the precise relationship, especially regarding the second and third Aeolus, is often ambiguous as their identities seem to have been merged by many ancient writers.
Aeolus was also the name of the following minor characters:
- Aeolus was a defender of Thebes in the war of the Seven against Thebes. He was killed by Parthenopaeus.
- Aeolus was a Trojan, companion of Aeneas in Italy, where he was killed by Turnus, King of the Rutulians. Aeolus was father of Clytius and Misenus. "Otherwise unknown to fame", he survived both the Greeks and Achilles at Troy, and Richard F. Thomas pointed out textual parallels between this passage and the Illiad, book 20.
- Chaucer's Eolus (de Weever, Jacqueline (1996). Chaucer Name Dictionary, s.v. "Eolus". (Garland Publishing) Retrieved on 2009-10-06
- Schmitz, Leonhard (1864), "Aeolus (1), (2) and (3)", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, p. 35, archived from the original on 2013-10-09, retrieved 2007-10-25
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.7.3
- Hyginus, Fabulae 238 & 242
- Homer, Odyssey 10.2
- Statius, Thebaid 9.765
- Virgil, Aeneid 6.163 ff., 9.774 & 12.542
- Thomas, Richard F. (2009). "The Isolation of Turnus (Aeneid, book 12)". In Stahl, Hans-Peter (ed.). Vergil's Aeneid: Augustan Epic and Political Context. Classical Press of Wales. pp. 271–303. ISBN 9781910589304.
- Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
- Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Homer, The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
- Publius Papinius Statius, The Thebaid translated by John Henry Mozley. Loeb Classical Library Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1928. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Publius Papinius Statius, The Thebaid. Vol I-II. John Henry Mozley. London: William Heinemann; New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1928. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Publius Vergilius Maro, Aeneid. Theodore C. Williams. trans. Boston. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1910. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Publius Vergilius Maro, Bucolics, Aeneid, and Georgics. J. B. Greenough. Boston. Ginn & Co. 1900. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.