Aurora (dawn) In Roman mythology, the dawn; daughter of Hyperion and Thia (or Thea); married to Astraeus; mother of the wind and the stars; called Eos by the Greeks. Aurora’s chariot, drawn by white horses, raced across the heavens and caused the constellations to disappear at her approach. The subject is found frequently in Baroque paintings, including works of Carracci, Guercino, and Guido Reni.

In literature, Shakespeare refers to the dawn in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as “Aurora’s harbinger,” (3.2.380), and Spenser in The Faerie Queene (book 1) writes: “And fayre Aurora from the deawy bed / Of aged Thitone gan herselfe to reare.” Thitone is Spenser’s spelling of Tithonus, the old lover of the goddess. Ancient references are found in Homer’s Odyssey (book 10), Vergil’s Aeneid (book 6), and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 3).


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

Aurora is the Spirit of Dawn. Roses fall from her hair to Earth. Every morning she signals the day by riding across the sky in her chariot. Her siblings are Sol the sun and Luna the moon. In the Aeneid, Virgil describes Aurora leaving her “saffron bed.” The image of the saffron bed is very erotic. In addition to its use as an important medicinal, dye, perfume, and cosmetic, saffron was perceived as a potent aphrodisiac. Aurora’s throne and robes are the color of saffron, as is perhaps the goddess herself.




Saffron crocus (Crocus sativa); meditate on a saffron crocus flower and you will understand its associations with dawn. The flower’s center is the intense yellow of the Mediterranean sun, while its petals are the color of dawn’s purple clouds.


Roses; crocuses; foods cooked with rosewater or saffron, still Earth’s most expensive spice



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.