Cronus of Greece - Strange Deities
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16-10-2019    698 times
Cronus of Greece

Cronus was the King of the Titans, who ruled the cosmos during the Golden Age, after castrating and deposing his father Uranus. His functions were connected with agriculture and though he is regarded as the god of time as it affects the course of human life, he should not be confused with Chronos, the god of time. Later, he was identified with the Roman god Saturn.

In a time of the Golden Age of man, the mighty Titans ruled the world before the Olympians. Living at Mount Othrys, they were immortal giants of incredible physical strength and extensive knowledge of old religion rituals and magic.

They were interpreted as personifications of the Earth (Gaea) and the Sky or Heavens (Uranus) in the Greek culture and also known as the Elder Gods.. The first generation of Titans, the direct descendants of Gaea and Uranus, originally gave birth to Twelve Titans, six males and six females. Among the siblings, Cronus was the wiliest and youngest of their offspring and perhaps the most powerful. They came to power when Cronus, in a plot with his mother and his brothers, castrated his father Uranus and took the reign of Cosmos from him.

Cronus Of Greece

According to the Theogony by Hesiod, Uranus enraged Gaea, as he imprisoned her two children, the hundred-handed Hecatonchires and the one-eyed Cyclopes in Tartarus To teach him a lesson, Gaea created a great stone sickle and persuaded the Titan brothers to castrate their father. Only Cronus was willing to do that, as he envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe and when it was done, the blood and semen of Uranus that fell on Earth created the Gigantes, Erinyes and Meliae, while the rest that fell into the sea created white foam; from which emerged the goddess Aphrodite.

Cronus Of Greece
Castration of Uranus, by Peter Paul Rubens

After overthrowing Uranus, Cronus and his sister Rhea took the throne as the King and the Queen and ruled during a Golden Age, when there was no law, as there was no immorality. However, Cronus did not release the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes and commanded the dragon Campe to guard them.

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Rhea gave birth to many children by Cronus. In addition, Cronus also fathered a child through his infidelity with Philyra, daughter of Oceanus. When Rhea found them in compromising situation, Cronus leapt out of the bed and galloped off in the form of a stallion. Subsequently, Philyra gave birth to Chiron, the wise and half-divine centaur. However, Cronus was scared of his children, as his father Uranus predicted that, one day one of his sons would overthrow him. Consequently, he consumed all the children immediately after their birth. Finally, to save her last baby, Rhea took the baby to Crete, where Amaltheia, a cave-dwelling goat nymph, raised him. After that, as advised by her mother, Rhea deceived Cronus with a stone wrapped with clothes, which he mistook as the baby and swallowed immediately.

Cronus Of Greece
Cronus and his child, by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli

With the passing of time, the hidden baby grew up as Zeus and forced Cronus to disgorge his siblings. After that, in the war of Titanomachy, Zeus and his brothers and sisters were based on Mount Olympus and the Titans on Mount Othrys. Eventually, the Olympians were successful and drove their opponents into the pit of Tartarus. Consequently, Zeus released the imprisoned Hecatoncheires and the Cyclopes, who forged for him his thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident and Hades' helmet of darkness.

However, the fate of Cronus is not very clear. According to Homer, he was imprisoned with the other Titans in Tartarus. In a few other tales, Cronus was imprisoned in solitary confinement, in the cave of Nyx, whilst according to some other accounts Zeus eventually forgave his father and made him the ruler of the Elysian Islands, home of the blessed dead in the Underworld.

Cronus Of Greece

Cronus is depicted either as a vigorous male, tall and powerful or as an old bearded man. In his old man form, he usually has an exceptionally long beard, carrying a walking stick. Usually, he holds a sickle, the instrument he used to castrate his father. However, he does not have a distinct symbol, but sometimes he is pictured showing part of the zodiac, the ring of star symbols.

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During the ancient days, the pre-Hellenic population of Greece worshiped Cronus as a male deity, but he was not widely celebrated in the popular religious activity or worshipped by the Greeks. Nevertheless, in Athens, on the twelfth day of the Athenian month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus, which was agrarian, as it occurred after the final grain harvest and Cronus, as the god of agriculture, was closely connected to the event. Later, Cronus was identified with the Roman god Saturn.

Cronus Of Greece
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Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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