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Ouranos

Ουρανος

Uranus

The Heavens

The Titans
Briareos, Kottos and Gyes
The War of the Titans
A Failed Prophecy
Ouranos in The Iliad (Reference)
Ouranos in The Odyssey (Reference)
Other Text References

The Son of Gaia

Ouranos was the fifth Immortal to come into existence but the length of time which transpired from the first Immortal until the creation of Ouranos is impossible to estimate.

Chaos was the first Immortal to come into existence and he was soon followed by Gaia (Gaea), Tartaros (Tartarus) and Eros. Gaia is the Earth, Tartaros is the Pit and Eros is the god of Love. Gaia became the foundation of all the Immortal and mortal generations which followed.

Gaia's first creation was the Heavens ... she named him Ouranos (Uranus). Gaia gave birth to Ouranos to cover herself on all sides and to be her equal in all ways. Ouranos proved to be a difficult son ... he was devious and sometimes dangerous.

Ouranos had absolute dominion over the Heavens but he became too concerned with the affairs of Gaia and, much to her disapproval, tried to dominate her as well.

As her first consort, Gaia chose Ouranos. She became pregnant with three gigantic boys who would be named Briareos (Obriareos), Kottos (Cottus) and Gyes. Ouranos feared the boys ... he kept pushing them back inside Gaia's womb and refused to allow them to be born. Ouranos was worried that the three monstrous boys would be more powerful than himself and usurp his power.

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The Titans

With Ouranos as the father, Gaia became pregnant again but this time Ouranos allowed the children to emerge from Gaia's womb ... thus the Titans were born. Ouranos named these children 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. The Titans not only brought about their own demise, they were also responsible for the demotion and mutilation of Ouranos.

The Titans are:

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Briareos, Kottos and Gyes

Briareos, Kottos and Gyes were three of the most bazaar of Gaia and Ouranos's children ... they were presumptuous and overmastering ... and worst of all, they hated their father. Each time they would attempt to emerge from Gaia's womb, Ouranos would force them back inside ... Gaia suffered greatly and finally, in desperation, she devised a treacherous and evil plan ... she created the element flint and formed a sickle ... she then called upon her male children and explained to them that Ouranos had to be punished for his brutal behavior. Fearing their father, all but one of her sons refused to help ... only the devious, devising Titan Kronos was willing to stand against Ouranos. He reasoned that Ouranos was the first to act shamefully and anyone who stood against him would be absolved of any blame.

Gaia rejoiced when Kronos promised to help her ... 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.

Ouranos was vanquished and diminished but he was not destroyed.

There were twelve Titans ... six males and six females ... they paired off and began having children. Kronos married his sister Rheia (Rhea) but before they had any children, Ouranos and Gaia warned Kronos that one of his children would overthrow him and become the master of all creation. This was obviously a problem for Kronos but it also posed a problem for all the other Titans as well.

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The War of the Titans

It seemed that Kronos was destined to have a confrontation with one of his sons but he did not realize that he was also going to have to fight three of his step-brothers, i.e. the first three sons of Ouranos and Gaia ... Briareos, Kottos and Gyes. When Ouranos refused to let the monstrous boys be born, he forced Gaia to defend herself by having him neutered. After mutilating Ouranos, Kronos was terrified by the gigantic boys and forced them under the ground so they would not pose a threat to his newfound position of authority.

To prevent the prophecy of Ouranos and Gaia from coming true, Kronos began to swallow Rheia's children as soon as they were born. Rheia was not powerful enough to stop Kronos from swallowing the children but she was very clever ... when the sixth child was born, Rheia substituted a stone for the infant and gave it to Kronos to swallow ... Kronos did not realize his mistake until it was too late.

The child Kronos did not swallow was named Zeus ... when he reached adulthood, he confronted Kronos and during the course of the violent struggle, Kronos was forced to disgorge the swallowed children ... a new generation of Immortals had been born.

Zeus and his newly freed brothers and sisters challenged the authority of Kronos and the other Titans. The conflict became known as the War of the Titans. Zeus marshaled as many of the Immortals as he could to fight the Titans but his most potent allies were Briareos, Kottos and Gyes.

With Briareos, Kottos and Gyes instrumental in the downfall of Kronos, a certain form of justice had come full circle ... Kronos, a Titan son of Ouranos, had maimed his father and now, the three sons which Ouranos feared so much, helped vanquish his nemesis.

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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. The child Ouranos and Gaia had foreseen was the wise and fierce Athene (Athena), goddess of Wisdom ... she finally burst from Zeus's head fully clad in armor ... she did not contend with Zeus or try to usurp his power and authority but instead became his loving and obedient daughter.

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Ouranos in The Iliad

Ouranos is mentioned in The Iliad only as a reference to the Olympian gods and they do not describe Ouranos or offer any details of his exploits. The references are to the Uranian gods, sons of heaven, lords of heaven, the gods of heaven, the heavenly gods, gods of the sky and gods of the bright sky. I have listed the book and line for each text reference and given the appropriate titles for each entry 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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