Rain (hyô, hyetos)
HYAS was a minor god (daimon) of seasonal rains heralded by the rising of the constellation Aquarius. He was a brother of the Hyades (Rain-Nymphs) and a son of the sky-bearing Titan Atlas.
As a young boy Hyas was killed by a lion while fetching water and was afterwards placed amongst the stars as the constellation Aquarius. His five mourning sisters and the lion were also elevated to the sky as the constellations Hyades and Leo. Aquarius and Leo do not share the sky at the same time--one sets as the other rises--, an eternal chase playing out in the heavens.
Hyas was probably identified with Hylas, a young lover of Herakles who was kidnapped by water-nymphs when sent to fetch water.
FAMILY OF HYAS
[1.1] ATLAS & PLEIONE (Hyginus Fabulae 192)
[1.2] ATLAS & AITHRA (Hyginus Astronomica 2.21, Ovid Fasti 5.164)
[1.1] THE HYADES (by Boiotia) (Hyginus Astronomica 2.21)
HYAS (Huas). The name of the father and brother of the Hyades. (Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 21; Ov. Fast. v. 181; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1155.) The father was married to Boeotia, and was looked upon as the ancestor of the ancient Hyantes. (Plin. H. N. iv. 12; comp. Müiller, Orchom. p. 124.) His son, or the brother of the Hyades, was killed in Libya by an animal, a serpent, a boar, or a lion. (Hygin. Fab. 192.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Hesiod, Astronomy Fragment 2 (from Scholiast on Aratus 254) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"But Zeus made them [the sisters of Hyas] into the stars which are called Hyades."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 192 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Atlas by Pleione or an Oceanid had twelve daughters, and a son, Hyas. The son was killed by a wild boar or a lion, and the sisters, grieving for him, died of this grief. The five of them first put among the stars have their place between the horns of the bull--Phaesyla, Ambrosia, Coronis, Eudora, Polyxo--and are called, from their brother's name, Hyades."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 21 :
"The Pleiades (Many) were so named, according to Musaeaus, because fifteen daughters were born to Atlas and Aethra, daughter of Oceanus. Five of them are called Hyades, he shows, because their brother was Hyas, a youth dearly beloved by his sisters. When he was killed in a lion hunt, the five we have mentioned, given over to continual lamentation, are said to have perished. Because they grieved exceedingly at his death, they are called Hyades. The remaining ten brooded over the death of their sisters, and brought death on themselves; because so may experienced the same grief, they were called Pleiades. Alexander says they were called Hyades because they were daughters of Hyas and Boeotia, Pleiades, because born of Pleio, daughter of Oceanus, and Atlas."
Ovid, Fasti 5. 164 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"When darkening twilight ushers in the night, the whole flock of Hyades is revealed. Taurus' face gleams with seven rays of fire, which Greek sailors call Hyades from their rain-word. To some they were the nurses of Bacchus [Dionysos], to others granddaughters of Tethys and old Oceanus. Atlas did not shoulder the load of Olympus yet, when lovely, eye-catching Hyas was born. Oceanus' daughter, Aethra, bore him and the Nymphae in timely births, but Hyas was born first. While his beard was fresh, stags trembled in terror before him, and the hare was welcome prey. But when years matured his manhood, he breavely closed with the shaggy lioness and the boar. He sought the lair and brood of the whelped lioness and was bloody prey to the Libyan beast. His mother sobbed for Hyas, his sad sisters sobbed and Atlas, whose neck would haul the world. The sisters surpassed both parents in pious love and won heaven. Their name is from Hyas."
- Hesiod, Astronomy Fragments - Greek Epic C8th - 7th B.C.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Astronomica - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Ovid, Fasti - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.