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Ouranos

Ουρανος

Uranus

The Heavens

Ouranos and Kronos
The War of the Titans
A Failed Prophecy
The Titans
Ouranos in The Iliad [reference]
Ouranos in The Odyssey [reference]
Other Text References

The Son of Gaia

Ouranos is the Heavens … he was the fifth Immortal to come into existence.

Chaos was the first Immortal … he was soon followed by Gaia, Tartaros (Tartarus) and Eros. Gaia is the Earth, Tartaros is the Pit and Eros is Love. Gaia became the foundation of all the Immortal and mortal generations that followed.

Gaia's first creation was Ouranos (Uranus) … she created him to cover herself on all sides and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods.

Ouranos was not only Gaia's son, he was her first consort … three monstrous boys were conceived as a result of their first union … they were named Briareos (Obriareos), Kottos (Cottus) and Gyes … as a mortal, you might know Briareos by the title Aigaios's son.

When the three gigantic boys were ready to emerge from Gaia's womb, Ouranos pushed them back inside … he feared the boys because of their power and beauty … they had fifty heads and fifty arms sprouting from their massive shoulders … they were Gaia's first attempt at producing an Immortal that had "human" characteristics … they were indeed beautiful!

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Ouranos and Kronos

Despite Ouranos's indulgent behavior, Gaia again mated with him and twelve children were born from that union. These children looked more "human" than Briareos, Kottos and Gyes … Ouranos named them Titans because they quickly demonstrated their complete lack of restraint … the name Titans means Stretchers or Strainers … they stretched and strained the limits of propriety and indulged themselves without consideration of consequences. The Titans not only brought about their own subjugation, they were also responsible for the demotion and mutilation of Ouranos.

Gaia was still suffering from the delayed birth of Briareos, Kottos and Gyes … she needed relief and Ouranos had no intention of allowing the boys to see the light of day. Gaia pleaded with her Titan sons to help her be rid of Ouranos's interference. Five of the Titan males were fearful of Ouranos and refused to help … Kronos (Cronos) was the only one willing to do Gaia's bidding and confront his father. Kronos reasoned that Ouranos was the first to act shamefully and there would be no blame for standing against him.

Gaia created the element flint and formed a sickle … she 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 the Erinys [the Punisher], the Giants and the Meliae, i.e. the 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.

The site of the of the ambush is not known with certainty but there are two locations we might consider. There is a cape on the northern Peloponnesian Peninsula called Cape Drepanum, i.e. Cape Sickle … the traveler/historian Pausanias thought this was the setting for the assault on Ouranos but that assumption ignores the creation of Aphrodite. The goddess of Love is called Kypros and was created, like a good number of the Greek Immortals, in "the east" … we should therefore look towards the island of Cyprus, i.e. Kypros, as her birthplace. There is a place on the western coast of Cyprus named Drepanum [Sickle] and this is more than likely the place where Ouranos was castrated and bled into the sea creating Aphrodite.

Drepanum

After the mutilation of Ouranos, Kronos reveled in his newfound glory and became the de facto leader of the Titans. Like his father before him, Kronos thought that Briareos, Kottos and Gyes would be a threat to his authority and would not allow the boys to be born. The tyranny of Kronos only lasted one immortal generation … his son Zeus deposed him. When Zeus established himself on Mount Olympos (Olympus) he freed Briareos, Kottos and Gyes from their underground tomb/womb. The firstborn children of Gaia and Ouranos were finally free.

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The War of the Titans

The children of Ouranos and Gaia were destined to face one another in what became known as the War of the Titans. Kronos led the other Titan children against their own children to win back Mount Olympos and thus the rest of creation.

When Zeus freed Briareos, Kottos and Gyes they were truly grateful and promised their support in the war with the Titans. The three monstrous brothers were pivotal in the success of the war … they literally ripped up mountains and hurled them at the Titans until they were forced to surrender.

As an ironic conclusion to the war, Zeus banished the Titans to the Underworld and placed Briareos, Kottos and Gyes as their guards … after all the years the brothers spent trapped underground, they voluntarily returned because of their loyalty to Zeus.

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A Failed Prophecy

When Zeus, the grandson of Gaia and Ouranos, became infatuated with the goddess Metis, both Gaia and Ouranos warned him that any child she conceived would be powerful and apt to challenge Zeus for his throne. Zeus took the warnings seriously and promptly swallowed Metis. Inside the vastness of Zeus, Metis remained a prisoner until she gave birth to a marvelous daughter … this was the child that Ouranos and Gaia had warned Zeus about.

Metis's daughter was named Athene (Athena) … when she was born inside Zeus she matured and was born a second time when she burst from Zeus's head, fully armed. She did not contend with Zeus or try to usurp his power and authority but instead became his loving and obedient daughter. She is called the goddess of Wisdom and is equally at home teaching crafts for the home and routing armies on the field of battle.

The prophecy of Ouranos and Gaia could have come to pass but in this case it did not.

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The Titans

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Ouranos in The Iliad

Ouranos is mentioned in The Iliad only as the progenitor of the Olympian gods. The following list includes the titles and names used by four different translators.

Richmond Lattimore

Loeb Classical Library

[listed as Uraniones in the index]

Robert Fagles

Robert Fitzgerald

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Ouranos in The Odyssey

[listed by book and line for four different translations]

Richmond Lattimore

Loeb Classical Library

Robert Fagles

Robert Fitzgerald

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Other Text References:

Theogony

Hymn to Demeter II

Hymn to Delian Apollon III

Hymn to Pythian Apollon III

Hymn to Gaia the Mother of All XXX

War of the Titans

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Odes of Pindar

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Description of Greece by Pausanias

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Library of History by Diodorus Siculus

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