Friday, November 20, 2015

Theogony - Part 3: Overthrow of Cronus

After Cronus had castrated his father Uranus, he took control of the Cosmos, wanted to ensure that he maintained power. Uranus and Gaia gave the prophecy to him that one of his children would overthrow him. Thus, when he married Rhea, he swallowing each of the children she birthed: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. Rhea (Ῥέα) is the Titaness daughter of Gaia and Uranus, and she would be the mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods as we are going to show later.

When Rhea gave birth to Zeus, asked Gaia and Uranus for help in saving him by sending her to Crete to bear Zeus. She deceived Cronus and gave him a huge stone to swallow thinking that it was another of Rhea's children. Gaia then took Zeus and hid him deep in a cave beneath the Aegean Mountains. Tricked by Gaia, Cronus ate the stone instead of the other Zeus. As the years rolled on, Zeus was growing up, and he was planning how to fight his father. Although not fully explained in "Theogony", Cronus was tricked from Rhea and Zeus and vomited up his five children and the stone which he had swallowed last. The five children joined Zeus and they waged a great war on the Titans for control of the Cosmos.

The war lasted ten years, with the Olympian gods, Cyclopes, Prometheus and Epimetheus, the children of Klymene, on one side, and the Titans and the Giants on the other.Epimetheus and Prometheus are a pair of Titans, sons of Iapetus and Clymene (daughter of Ocean), who in other contexts was the father of Atlas. While Prometheus is characterized as ingenious and clever, Epimetheus is depicted as foolish. Eventually, Zeus released the Hundred-Handed ones to shake the earth, allowing him to gain the upper hand. They remembered to be grateful to him for his kindness, and gave him thunder and the glowing thunderbolt and lightning. Zeus used his thunderbolts at the Titans, throwing them into Tartarus. Zeus later battled Typhon, a son of Gaia and Tartarus, created because Gaia was angry that the Titans were defeated, and was victorious again.

Because Prometheus helped Zeus, he was not sent to Tartarus like the other Titans. However, Prometheus sought to trick Zeus. Slaughtering a cow, he took the valuable fat and meat and sewed it inside the cow's stomach. Prometheus then took the bones and hide them with a thin layer of fat. Prometheus asked Zeus' opinion on which offering pile he found more desirable, hoping to trick the god into selecting the less desirable portion. However, Zeus saw through the trick and denied the benefit of fire to man. In response, Prometheus sneaked into the gods' chambers and stole a glowing ember with a piece of reed and gave fire to humanity. For this theft, Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a cliff, where an eagle fed on his ever-regenerating liver every day. Prometheus would not be freed until Heracles, a son of Zeus, came to free him. Since man had access to fire, Zeus devised woman as a general punishment, in trade. Hephaistos and Athena built woman with exquisite detail, and she was considered beautiful by all men and gods. Despite her beauty, the woman is a bane for mankind, attributing women with laziness and a waste of resources.

In the next post, we are going to discuss the third generation of Greek Gods, children of Zeus and Poseidon. Zeus married seven wives and had numerous children.