THE AETOS DIOS was a giant golden eagle which served as Zeus’ personal messenger and animal companion. According to some, the eagle was once a mortal king named Periphas, whose virtuous rule was so celebrated that he came to be honoured like a god. Zeus, in anger would have smote him with a thunderbolt, but Apollon intervened and transforming the king into an eagle, set him beside the throne of Zeus. In other accounts, Zeus adopted the eagle as his bird when it first appeared to him before the Titan War as a sign of good omen. The eagle was later sent by Zeus to carry the handsome youth Ganymedes up to heaven to become the cupbearer of the gods.
The bird received a place amongst the stars as the constellation Aquila. Its consort was Lyra, the heavenly vulture.