Aeolus (Grk: “fleet”): A mythological figure. He was the son of Arne and the sea-god Poseidon. As king of the Aeolian (or Lipari) Islands, off the N coast of Sicily; Aeolus is often identified with the Lord of the Winds. He plays an important role in Homer’s Odyssey, providing Odysseus with a bag (or ox-hide bottle) of winds to utilize in that hero’s attempt to return home. When that plan was thwarted through the actions of Odysseus’s crew, Aeolus refused to help them a second time. Some sources state that there were actually two kings of Aeolean Islands, father and son, who went by the name Aeolus. It was the younger of the two who figured in the story of Odysseus. Aeolus had several wives. By the first, whose name is unknown, he fathered six sons and six daughters whom he paired off as married couples. His second wife was Cyane, the daughter of Liparus, an exile from the Italian mainland. This match produced seven children: Lapithus (whose son, Lesbos became king of the same-named island), Astyochus (king of the island of Lipara), Xuthus (king of the Sicilian city of Leontini), Androcles and Pheraemon (both kings in Sicily), Jocastus (king of Rhegium), and Agathyrnus (king of the northern Sicilian city of Agathyrnum). By his third wife, also anonymous, Aeolus fathered one daughter, Arne. She became the wife of Metapontus (associated with the southern Italian city of Metapontum). Among her children were Boeotus (eponymous hero of the Greek Boeotians and a successor to the kingdom of Aeolus) and Aeolus (the third by that name, who also became king of the Aeolian Islands). Aeolus’s fourth, unnamed, wife produced a son, Diores, and a daughter, Polymele, who entered into an incestuous relationship with one another. Polymele also consorted with Odysseus while that hero visited her father’s kingdom. By his last wife, Amphithea, Aeolus fathered 6 more sons and 6 more daughters.
Aeolis is also credited with being a great astronomer and the inventor of sails.