|Johann Heinrich Füssli Füssli, Johann Heinrich (17411825) Sleep and Death carrying away Sarpedon of Lycia|
Hypnos is the personification of sleep. His twin was Thanatos ("death"); their mother was the goddess Nyx ("night"). His palace was a dark cave where the sun never shines. At the entrance were a number of poppies and other hypnogogic plants.
Hypnos' offspring consisted of the things that occur in dreams, the Oneiroi. The three principals of these appear in the dreams of kings: Morpheus, Phobetor and Phantasos. According to one story he lived in a cave underneath a Greek island; through this cave flowed Lethe, the river of forgetfulness.
Endymion, sentenced by Zeus to eternal sleep, received the power to sleep with his eyes open from Hypnos in order to constantly watch his beloved Selene. But according to the poet Licymnius of Chios, it was Hypnos himself who fell in love with the young shepherd Endymion, and allowed him to sleep with his eyes open, the better for the god to enjoy the beauty of his beloved boy.
In art, Hypnos was portrayed as a naked youthful man, sometimes with a beard, and wings attached to his head. He is sometimes shown as a man asleep on a bed of feathers with black curtains about him. Morpheus is his chief minister and prevents noises from waking him. In Sparta, the image of Hypnos was always put near that of death.
His sons are Morpheus the Principal God of Dreams, Phobetor God of Dreams and Phantasos God of Dreams.
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