Phaëthon or Phaeton was the name of several characters, including the sons of Helios and Eos (the latter Phaëthon was abducted as a boy by Aphrodite) and, rather unexpectedly, the leader of the herd of twelve bulls that belonged to Augeas (whose stables Heracles cleaned out for his Fifth Labour).

For all these, and appropriately indeed for Helios' son, the name means 'shining', from phaetho, 'to shine'. Eos, as goddess of the dawn, was also, of course, the daughter of Helios, so in these relationships 'their shining names are told' quite clearly.

Phaëthon was also a by-name of the wretched Apsyrtus, who was so called since he 'outshone' all the other Colchian youths. Phaëthon the son of Helios came to grief while driving his father's chariot, and this incident produced the word ('phaeton') used in English for a type of open four-wheeled carriage.