AskDefine | Define Hesperus

Dictionary Definition

Hesperus n : a planet (usually Venus) seen at sunset in the western sky [syn: evening star, Vesper]

User Contributed Dictionary



From hesperus, from , originally an adjective ‘western’.



Proper noun

  1. The evening star.

Extensive Definition

In Greek mythology, Hesperus (Greek Hesperos), the Evening Star and Eosphorus ( Eosphoros "dawn-bearer"; also Phosphorus, Lucifer "light-bearer", Iubar), the Morning Star are sons of the dawn goddess Eos (Roman Aurora). Hesperus' father was Cephalus, a mortal, while Eosphoros' was the star god Astraios. Hesperos Roman equivalent was Vesper. (cf. "west", direction of sunset/dusk/evening star and "east", direction of morning star/dawn/sunrise). Venus shines very bright because its dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide reflects the sunlight extremely well.

Variant names

Hesperus (Greek Hesperos) is the personification of the "evening star", the planet Venus in the evening. His name is sometimes conflated with the names for his brother the personification of the planet as the "morning star" Eosphorus (Greek , "bearer of dawn") or Phosphorus (Ancient Greek: , "bearer of light", often translated as "Lucifer" in Latin), since they are all personifications of the same planet Venus. "Heosphoros" in the Greek LXX Septuagint and "Lucifer" in Jerome's Latin Vulgate were used to translate the Hebrew "Helel" (Venus as the brilliant, bright or shining one), "son of Shahar (Dawn)" in the Hebrew version of Isaiah 14:12.
When named thus by the early Greeks, it was thought that Phosphoros (Venus in the morning) and Hesperos (Venus in the evening) were two different celestial objects. The Greeks later accepted the Babylonian view that the two were the same, and the Babylonian identification of the planets with the Great Gods, and dedicated the "wandering star" (planet) to Aphrodite (Roman Venus), as the equivalent of Ishtar.
Eosphorus/Hesperus was said to be the father of Ceyx and Daedalion. In some sources, he is also said to be the father of the Hesperides.

"Hesperus is Phosphorus"

"Hesperus is Phosphorus" is a famous sentence in the philosophy of language (see, e.g., proper name). Gottlob Frege used the terms "Hesperus" and "Phosphorus" to illustrate his distinction between sense and reference. Saul Kripke used the sentence to demonstrate that the knowledge of something necessary (in this case the identity of Hesperus and Phosphorus) could be discoverable rather than known a priori.


Hesperus in Catalan: Fòsfor (fill d'Astreu)
Hesperus in Czech: Éósforos
Hesperus in German: Hesperos
Hesperus in Modern Greek (1453-): Έσπερος (μυθολογία)
Hesperus in Spanish: Eósforo
Hesperus in French: Éosphoros
Hesperus in Italian: Phosphoros
Hesperus in Russian: Геспер
Hesperus in Finnish: Hesperos
Hesperus in Ukrainian: Геспер
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