Aurora, rosy-fingered Dawn

As the goddess of dawn, Eos (Latin equivalent: Aurora) rises early in the morning. With her ‘rosy-fingered’ (ροδοδακτυλος — rhododaktylos) hands she then opens the gates of heaven. Just in time for her brother, Helios, who in the East rises from the ocean.  She lifts the dark veil of the night and drops roses on his track.

She is dressed in saffron (κροκοπεπλος — krokopeplos: krokos = red-saffron = the ovary of the crocus sativus).  A pair of horses, Lampos (= torch ) and Phaëthon (= the luminating) pulls her chariot. Four horses pull Helios’ chariot of fire  along the sky.

In the image below, the colour saffron of Eos’ cloak has become gold (the red saffron ovaries indeed produce a yellow-gold colour). Looking closely, she indeed drops roses on the road.

‘Rosy-fingered’ is her epitheton ornans, ever since Homer added it to her name, describing events that take place ‘at dawn’.

Guido Reni: Aurora-fresco in het Palazzo Rospigliosi Pallavaccini in Rome (1613)