Thursday, November 19, 2015

Theogony - Part 2: The second generation - Cronus castrating his father Uranus

As we discussed in our previous post, Uranus didn't like his children, the  Cyclopes, and the three Hecatonchires, and decided to hide them from Gaia. He threw them all into Tartarus. Gaia got angry for this and convinced her Titan children to overthrow their father god Uranus. From all the titans, only Cronus (or Cronos), the youngest and most terrible of her children, was ready to kill his father.

Painting of ancient Greek God Cronus castrating his father Uranus.
Cronus is castrating his father, Uranus.
Cronus castrated his father with a long sickle with jagged teeth, from Gaia. Uranus was losing blood, and from his scattered blood d to earth various creatures created. The blood produced Giants (Γίγαντες), Erinyes (Ερινύες-Furies), and  Meliai (Μελιάδες). Here we have a variation of the myth. According to Theogony, Cronus threw his father testicles into the Sea, creating foam. The foam transformed into the goddess of Love and desire, Aphrodite. In contrast with other texts and Greek myths, Aphrodite was the daughter of Uranus and the goddess Thalassa (Sea). Gaia married the God Pontus after Uranus's castration. They have many children, including sea deities, sea nymphs, and hybrid monsters.

Nereus (Old Man of the Sea) is child of Gaia and Pontus. According to Hesiod, "men call him the Old Man because he is trusty and gentle and does not forget the laws of righteousness". He marries Doris, a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, and has Nereids, the fifty nymphs of the sea, one of whom is Thetis (Θέτις).  Another child of Gaia and Pontus is Thaumas (Θαύμας - "wonder"), who was a sea god. Later, Poseidon overthrew him and became the new sea god. Thaumas married Electra (Ηλέκτρα), an Oceanid, a sea nymph. The children of Thaumas and Electra were the Harpies and Iris, the goddess of rainbows and a messenger of the gods; according to some, also Arke.

Gorgons. Three sisters who had hair made  of living snakes that turned those who beheld  her to stone. Medusa is one of the most famous.
Gorgons. Three sisters who had hair made
of living snakes that turned those who beheld
her to stone. Medusa is one of the most famous.
Phorcys (Φόρκυς) is a god of the hidden dangers of the deep, as a primordial sea god. Phorcys and Ceto, two siblings, marry each other and have the Graiae, the Gorgons, Echidna, and Ophion. A Gorgon (Γοργών/Γοργώ Gorgon/Gorgo) is a female creature, and the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair made of living, venomous snakes, as well as a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Medusa, one of the Gorgons, has two children with Poseidon: the winged horse Pegasus and giant Chrysaor, at the instant of her decapitation by Perseus. Chrysaor marries Callirhoe, another daughter of Oceanus, and has the three-headed Geryon.

Gaia also marries Tartarus and has a son Typhon. Typhon (Τυφῶν- Typhoeus - Tuphōs) was the most fearsome monster of Greek mythology. According to Hesiod, Typhon was "terrible, outrageous and lawless", and on his shoulders were one hundred snake heads, that emitted fire and every kind of noise. Typhon married Echidna, and they have Orthos, Kerberos, Hydra, and Chimera.

Lernea Hydra and Hercules.
Lernean Hydra and Hercules.
Orthrus (Ὄρθρος-Orthros) was a two-headed dog who guarded Geryon's cattle and was killed by Heracles. Cerberus (Κέρβερος-Kerberos), often called the "hound of Hades", is a monstrous multi-headed dog, who guards the gates of the underworld, preventing the dead from leaving. Hydra served as a guard at the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, that reputed to be an entrance to the Underworld. It possessed many heads and, each time one was lost, it was replaced by two more. It had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly. The Hydra was killed by Heracles as the second of his Twelve Labors. The Chimera (Chimaera-Χίμαιρα) was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature, composed of the parts of more than one animal. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake's head.

From Orthos and either Chimera or Echidna two monsters born, the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion. A sphinx (Σφίγξ) is a mythical creature with the head of a human, the haunches of a lion, and sometimes the wings of a bird. The Nemean lion (Νεμέος λέων) was a vicious monster lived at Nemea. It was eventually killed by Hercules. It could not be killed with mortals' weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than mortals' swords and could cut through any armor.

According to Theogony, the Titans Oceanus and Tethys marry and have three thousand rivers
 (most notably the river Nile and Skamandar) and three thousand Oceanid Nymphs (including Electra, Calypso, and Styx). The Titans Theia and Hyperion marry and have Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon), and Eos (Dawn). Kreios and Eurybia marry to bear Astraios, Pallas, and Perses. Eos and Astraios have seven children Zephyrus, Boreas, Notos, Eosphoros, Hesperos, Phosphoros and the Stars. The Titan Pallas and Oceanid Styx have four children: Nike (Victory), Zelus (Zeal), Cratos (Strength), and Bia (Violence Force). Koios and Phoibe marry and have Leto, Asteria. Iapetos marries Klymene (another Oceanid Nymph) and they four children: Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus.

Meanwhile, Nyx parthenogenetically produced children: Moros (Μόρος-Doom), Oneiroi (Όνειρα-Dreams), Ker and the Keres (Πεπρωμένο-Destinies), Eris (Discord), Momos (Blame), Nemesis (Retribution), Hesperides (Daughters of Night), Hypnos (Sleep), Philotes (Love), Geras (Old Age), Thanatos (Death), Moirai (Μοίρα-Fates),  Oizys (Hardship), and Apate (Deceit). Eris, following in her mother's footsteps, she parthenogenetically born Ponos (Pain), Hysmine (Battles), the Neikea (Quarrels), the Phonoi (Murders), Lethe (Oblivion), Makhai (Fight), Pseudologos (Lies), Amphilogia (Disputes), Limos (Famine), Androktasia (Manslaughters), Ate (Ruin), Dysnomia (Anarchy and Disobedient Lawlessness), the Algea (Illness), Horkos (Oaths), and Logoi (Stories). We are going to discuss Nyx and his children/grandchildren in a later blog spot more thoroughly.

In the next post, we are going to explain the overthrown of Cronus from his son Zeus that later will become with the ruler of gods.