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Kronos

Κρονος

Cronos

Father of the Olympians

Kronos

The Titans
The Confrontation With Ouranos
Kronos Reigns
The Birth of the Olympians
The War of the Titans
Kronos in The Iliad (reference)
Kronos in The Odyssey (reference)
Other Text References

The Son of Gaia and Ouranos

Kronos is one of the Titans which was one of the earliest generations of Immortals to inhabit the earth. Kronos's mother was Gaia, the Earth ... she was the second Immortal to come into existence ... her first creation was Ouranos, the Heavens. Gaia and Ouranos joined to produce two very important groups of offspring.

The first group of Immortals to be conceived by Gaia and Ouranos were the three brothers Briareos, Kottos (Cottus) and Gyes ... they were monstrous ... each one had fifty heads and fifty arms sprouting from his massive shoulders.

When Ouranos saw the potential threat which Briareos, Kottos and Gyes posed to his authority, he refused to allow them to be born by keeping them inside Gaia's womb. This was an action for which Ouranos would be severely punished and Kronos was destined to be the instrument of that punishment.

The second group of Immortals created by the union of Gaia and Ouranos was the Titans. Kronos is one of the Titans.

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The Titans

The birth of the Titans seemed less threatening to Ouranos but he quickly realized that they were not going to be easily controlled. There were twelve Titans ... six males and six females. Ouranos named them Titans because they quickly demonstrated their complete lack of restraint ... the name Titans literally means Stretchers or Strainers ... they stretched and strained the limits of propriety and indulged themselves to the point of self destruction. With Kronos as their nominal leader, the Titans not only brought about their own demise, they were also responsible for the demotion and mutilation of their father, Ouranos.

The Titans are:

The Titans were the first generation of Immortals to have a human appearance and even though we associate the derivative term Titanic with something very large, the Immortals who preceded the Titans were truly enormous ... the Earth, the Heavens, the Mountains and the Seas.

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The Confrontation With Ouranos

Kronos was the youngest of the Titans and his name is often preceded by a variety of non-complementary adjectives ... wily, crafty, devious, devising ... nonetheless, when his mother Gaia pleaded with her children for help, Kronos was the only one to come to her assistance.

Ouranos had been becoming more and more overbearing in his relationship with Gaia and she desperately wanted her children to intervene and make Ouranos assume his proper place in the order of things. Kronos was the only one to agree to help Gaia. She created the element flint and formed a sickle for Kronos to use as a weapon.

Gaia gave Kronos the flint sickle with its jagged edge and hid him in a secret place so that he could surprise Ouranos. As night fell, Ouranos came to Gaia ... Kronos took the sickle in his left hand and struck at his father ... Ouranos was caught unawares and could not protect himself from the cruel flint ... his male members were cut off and the drops of blood were absorbed by Gaia. As the seasons passed, Ouranos's blood gave life to Erinys (the Punisher), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the Ash Tree). The remaining flesh fell into the sea and from the foam and water a maiden was created ... this maiden became the goddess of Love, Aphrodite.

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Kronos Reigns

Kronos became the most respected and feared Immortal on earth. He chose Mount Olympos (Olympus) as his home and evicted the previous residents, Eurynome, a daughter of Okeanos (Ocean), and her consort Ophion. To further assist his mother, Kronos freed the awesome brothers Briareos, Kottos and Gyes from her womb but he soon began doubting that decision. While the three "boys" were still manageable, Kronos buried them in the earth and kept them prisoner.

Kronos had a romantic encounter with Philyra, a daughter of Okeanos (Ocean) ... Kronos came to Philyra in the guise of a horse and the result of that union was the noble Centaur, Cheiron (Chiron).

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The Birth of the Olympians

Kronos and his sister Rheia (Rhea) married and began to have children. Gaia and Ouranos warned Kronos that one of his children would eventually overthrow him and become the foremost Immortal. To prevent that possibility, Kronos decided that he would swallow any children which Rheia bore.

Kronos swallowed Rheia's first five children but Rheia was not pleased with his actions. She consulted Gaia and Ouranos and they told her to conceal her next child and when Kronos demanded the infant, to substitute a stone for him to swallow. The clever plan worked ... Kronos swallowed the stone without realizing that he had been fooled. Rheia named the infant Zeus gave him to the Kouretes (Curetes) of Mount Ida on the island of Crete to be nurtured and protected.

The Kouretes were semi-divine beings who would make a ruckus to drown out the cries of the infant Zeus and keep his existence a secret from Kronos and the other Titans. When Zeus reached maturity, he ambushed Kronos while the aged god was out hunting. Zeus kicked Kronos in the stomach so hard that he vomited up the stone and the five children he had swallowed. In this way Demeter, Hades, Histia (Hestia), Hera and Poseidon were born. Zeus took the stone that Kronos had vomited up and placed it at the foot of Mount Parnassos (Parnassus) near the city of Delphi and proclaimed that the stone would be a portent and marvel for the mortals of the earth for all time. The stone was called the Omphalos (Navel) and its location became known as the Navel of the Earth. The Omphalos became the centerpiece for the Temple of Apollon at Delphi.

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The War of the Titans

Kronos was not willing to surrender his authority to his children without a fight ... with the Titans at his side Kronos initiated what came to be known as the War of the Titans. Zeus gathered the Immortals who seemed inclined to become his allies against the Titans and promised that any Immortal who did not have an office or rights under Kronos would be elevated if they helped him defeat the Titans. Zeus also freed Briareos, Kottos and Gyes from their bondage and they readily agreed to fight the Titans, especially Kronos.

The War of the Titans lasted for ten brutal years. Finally, Zeus unleashed all his fury as Briareos, Kottos and Gyes buried the Titans with boulders ... the war was finally over. Zeus banished the Titans to an underground pit beneath Tartaros (Tartarus) where they remained until after the Age of Heroes was over. Zeus had pity on Kronos and removed him to the Islands of the Blessed where he became the ruler of the departed Heroes.

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Kronos is often confused with the Roman god, Saturnus.

Kronos and Rheia

Rheia substitutes a stone for the infant Zeus to fool Kronos

Kronos in The Iliad

(listed by book and line)

The line numbers listed here correspond fairly well with the Lattimore and Murray/Wyatt translations of The Iliad. Other translations (Fitzgerald, Fagles et al) do not correspond as well but, with a small amount of effort, you should be able to find the reference you need regardless of the translation you use.

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Kronos in The Odyssey

(listed by book and line)

The line numbers listed here correspond fairly well with the Lattimore and Murray/Dimock translations of The Odyssey. Other translations (Fitzgerald, Fagles et al) do not correspond as well but, with a small amount of effort, you should be able to find the reference you need regardless of the translation you use.

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Other Text References

Theogony

Works and Days

Hymn to Pythian Apollon III

Hymn to Aphrodite V

Hymn to Histia XXIX

Hymn to Herakles the Lion-Hearted XV

Hymn to Hermes XVIII

Hymn to Demeter XIII

The War of the Titans

The Kypria

The Little Iliad

Shield of Herakles

The Argonautika

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