The birth of the world: the kingdom of Cronus and the kingdom of Uranus - Greek mythology

The birth of the world: the kingdom of Cronus and the kingdom of Uranus - Greek mythology

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The kingdom of Uranus and the kingdom of Cronus

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Challenging the long journey of time, stories, myths and legends about the birth of the universe have come down to us. The ancient Greeks say that in the beginning there was only empty and endless cosmogonic space. There were no stars. There was no land. There was no such thing as creation. IT WAS ONLY CHAOS, without form, beyond time and space.

Suddenly from the Chaos appearedGea, mother earth, principle of life and mother of men and of the divine lineage, first material reality of creation. After her they appeared Eros the love; the Tartar place of punishment of evil souls; L'Erebus the night.

GEA GENERATED URANUS BY ITSELF the sky (which fertilizes the earth with a beneficial rain) with which he united and from whose union the twelve Titans, six males (Oceano, Ceo, Crio, Iperione, Iapeto, Cronus) and six females (Tea, Rea, Temi, Teti, Phoebe, Mnemosine); the three Hecatonchirs or Centimani, Briareo, Gia and Cotto monsters with fifty heads and a hundred arms; the three Cyclops Bronte, Sterope and Arge all with one eye in the middle of the forehead.

GEA GENERATED BY ITSELF BRIDGE the sea with which he joined and from which he had Taumante who according to some was the father of the Harpies; Forco, the personification of the stormy sea; Class the personification of the dangers that lurk in the stormy sea and Euribia personification of the stormy violence of the sea.

At that time Gaea chose Uranus as her husband and thus began the KINGDOM OF URANUS, who together with Gaea ruled creation.

The Mutilation of Uranus by Kronos
Giorgio Vasari, (16th century), Palazzo Vecchio, Florence (Italy)

Uranus, disgusted by the monstrous appearance of his children, the Giants, the Hecatonchirs and the Cyclops, and obsessed with the idea that they could one day deprive him of the dominion of the universe, made them sink to the center of the earth.

Gaea, sad and angry at the fate that her husband had destined for the children, decided to react. Unbeknownst to Uranus, he built a sickle with iron extracted from his bowels and gathered his children, he asked everyone to rebel against their father.

Only one, the youngest dared to follow the advice of his mother, the titan Chrono who, armed by his mother, hid in the Earth and awaited the arrival of his father. It was in fact the habit of Uranus, to descend the night from the sky to embrace his bride in the darkness. As soon as Uranus appeared, Cronus jumped out and immobilized his father with one hand while with the other he castrated him with the sickle.

Cronus representing with a scythe in his hand
Pompeian fresco

The blood that gushed copiously from the wound fertilized Gea from which the were born Erinyesinfernal deities; the Meliadi nymphs (Ash nymphs) protectors of the flocks; the Giants gigantic creatures of frightening strength, symbol of brute force and the devastating violence of nature such as earthquakes and hurricanes. From the foam of the waves created by the genitals of Uranus that fell into the sea, it was generated Aphrodite the goddess of love.

Uranus, however, managed to escape far and since then he has never approached the earth, his bride.

The government of the earth would have fallen to the eldest, Oceano (one of the Titans), but Cronus, by deception, managed to take over the throne and reign over creation.

Thus began the KINGDOM OF CHRONUS.

The first thing that Kronos did was to free his brothers from the captivity to which their father had relegated them with the exception of the Cyclops and the Hecatonchiri towards whom he had serious doubts about their loyalty to him. This was a grave mistake on his part, a mistake that would cost him dearly in the years to come.

To continue the work of creation Cronus chose Rhea (one of the Titans), his sister, to move.

Cronus devours Poseidon
Pieter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640),
oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid (Spain)

Meanwhile, the great work of creation continued and numerous deities appeared:

  • the Graie and the Gorgons;
  • Thanatos the death;
  • Eris discord;
  • Nemesis revenge;
  • the Moire destiny (all sons of Erebus, the night);
  • Elios the sun;
  • Selene the moon;
  • Eos the morning (all children of the Titan Hyperion);
  • Iris the rainbow and others.

With Rea, Cronus had numerous children including three sons Poseidon, Hades, Zeus, and three females, Was, Demeter, Estia.

Under the reign of Cronus the earth experienced the golden age but its tranquility was undermined by a sad prophecy: it was in fact predicted that his reign would end at the hands of one of his sons. Terrified, to try to deceive fate, he began to devour his children as soon as they were born, thus keeping them prisoners in his bowels.

Rhea, desperate, immediately after the birth of her youngest son Zeus, went to Cronus and instead of introducing him to her son, she handed him a boulder wrapped in swaddling clothes which Cronus swallowed without suspecting anything.

In the meantime, little Zeus had been taken to a cave on Mount Ida on the island of Crete and entrusted to the care of the nymphs Melissa (or Ida) and Adrastea and according to some historians he was suckled by the goat Amalthea while according to Ovid (Fasti, V, 115 et seq.) Amalthea was the name of the nymph Amalthea who owned a goat that had two kids which was the pride of her people for the superb horns curved backwards and for the rich udders of milk, worthy of breastfeeding the great Zeus.

One day the goat broke a horn by hitting a tree losing half of its beauty. The horn was collected by Amalthea who filled it with fruit and herbs and gave it to Zeus (1). The Panacride bee also fed Zeus by giving him honey and an eagle brought him the nectar of immortality every day. His cries were covered by the Curetes who beat the iron to prevent anyone from hearing his cries.

Rhea giving Kronos a stone in place of Zeus

When Zeus was big enough he went up to heaven and by deception he made Kronos drink a special drink prepared byMetiswho made him vomit the children he had devoured and after that declared war on his father.

Thus began a long war that lasted ten years which saw on one side Cronus, alongside which the Titans and on the other Zeus, at whose side were all his brothers.

Both sides fought with no holds barred. The earth was devastated by the Titans who with their strength changed the contours of the earth, destroying mountains by throwing them into Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, where Zeus and his brothers had established their kingdom.

The war would have continued for quite some time if Gaea had not intervened to advise Zeus to free the Cyclops and forge an alliance with them. The Cyclops, to repay Zeus for having made him free, manufactured for him the weapons that would become legendary and with which he would have ruled his kingdom from the top of Olympus: lightning.

Zeus also freed the Hecatonchirs, who with their hundred arms began to throw an infinite quantity of boulders against the allies of Cronus who, together with the lightnings thrown by Zeus, decreed the final victory.

Cyclops working in the forge of Hephaestus, ancient relief

There are several hypotheses on the fate that Zeus made his father Cronus do. According to some he was allowed to reign in the islands of the Blessed, on the edge of the world. According to others, he was led to Tule and plunged into a magical sleep, according to others he was chained in the deepest bowels of the earth.

On the other hand, the fate destined to the Titans is certain: they were chained in Tartarus, and their custody was entrusted to the Ecantonchiri.

Luciano recounts in the Saturnalia in a singular dialogue between the dethroned and old Cronus and one of his priests: «(…) Cronus: I'll tell you. At first, being old and lost from Podagra (and this made the common people believe that I was chained), I could not suffice to contain the great wickedness that exists now: that having to always run up and down, to brandish the lightning, and to electrocute the perjury, the sacrilegious, the violent, was a great and young effort; so with all my pleasure I left her to Zeus. And still it seemed good to me to divide my kingdom among my children, and I enjoy it quietly and quietly, without having broken my head from those who pray and who often ask contrary things, without having to send thunder, lightning and sometimes showers. of hail. And so when I am less old I have a quiet life, I look good, I drink some more pure nectar, and I have a little conversation with Iapetus and with others of my age; and he has the kingdom and a thousand chores. (...) ».

Thus ended the reign of Cronus, the second ruler of the divine family, and that of Zeus, the third ruler and his son began.

Dr. Maria Giovanna Davoli

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(1) Once Zeus became the king of the gods, he placed Amalthea among the constellations and made the horn that still bears his name, cornucopia (from the Latin cornu "Horn" e copy "abundance").

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