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Thursday, 17 November 2011

God Uranus, Cronus/Saturn

Edited June 23, 2012
Uranus  (Ancient Greek meaning "sky"), was the primal Greek god personifying the sky. His equivalent in Roman mythology was Caelus.  In Ancient Greek literature, according to Hesiod in his Theogony, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth. Uranus and Gaia were ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times.

In the Olympian creation myth, as  Hesiod tells it in the Theogony, Uranus came every night to cover the earth and mate with Gaia, but he hated the children she bore him. Hesiod named their first six sons and six daughters the Titans, the three one-hundred-armed giants the Hecatonchires, and the one-eyed giants the Cyclopes.

 The Cyclops Polyphemus, Annibale Carracci


Gustave Moreau, Galatea

Gustave Moreau, Galatea


Soon after they were born their father Uranus threw them into the depths of Tartarus because he saw them as hideous monsters. The Hekatonkheires remained there, guarded by the dragon Campe, until Zeus rescued them, advised by Gaia that they would serve as good allies against Cronus and the Titans. During the  War of the Titans the Hekatonkheires threw rocks as big as mountains, one hundred at a time, at the Titans, overwhelming them.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus_(mythology)


Campe was a dragon with a woman's head and torso and a scorpion-like tail.
In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus (sea) is Tartarus, or Tartaros( deep place). It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato (c.400 BC) wrote that souls were judged after death and those who received punishment were sent to Tartarus.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartarus

THE TITANS were six elder gods named Cronus (in Roman mythology Saturn),  Coeus,  Crius, Japetus, Hyperion and Oceanus, sons of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth), who ruled the cosmos before the Olympians came to power. When their father was king he imprisoned six giant brothers of the Titanes--the Cyclops and Hekatonkheires--in the belly of Earth.  Their names were Briareus the Vigorous, also called Aigaion , Latinised as Aegaeon, the "sea goat", Cottus  the Striker or the Furious, and Gyges  or Gyes  the Big-Limbed.
 Briareus is mentioned in the Divine Comedy poem Inferno as one of the Giants in the Ninth Circle of Hell (Inferno XXXI.99)
Titans and giants, including Ephialtes on the left, in Gustave Dore's illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy.


 Gaia was incensed and incited her Titan sons to rebel. Led by Cronus, five of the six brothers, laid an ambush for their father, seizing hold of him as he descended to lie upon Earth. Four of them--Hyperion,  Crius, Coeus  and Japetus -were posted at the four corners of the earth to hold Sky fast, while Cronus in the centre castrated him with an adamantine sickle. After they had seized control of the cosmos, the Titans released their storm giant brothers from Gaia's belly, only to lock them away shortly afterwards in the pit of Tartaros.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 3 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Now Ge (Earth), distressed by the loss of her children [the Cyclopes & the Hekatonkheires] into  Tartarus, persuaded the Titans to attack their father, and she gave Cronus a sickle made of adamant. So all of them except Oceanus set upon Uranus (Heaven), and Cronus cut off his genitals, tossing them into the sea . . . Thus having overthrown Uranus’ rule the Titans retrieved their brothers from Tartarus and gave the power to Cronus
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Titanes.html

Cronus (Saturn) castrates his father Uranus, Giorgio Vasari
                                                                                     Cronus

Saturn as Saturday
Villa at Orbe-Bosceaz, Orbe, Switzerland C3rd AD

Kronos-Saturn represents Saturday in a mosaic depicting the seven days of the week. He rides on a stool carried by two winged gods.


Ivan Akimov, Saturn

Caravaggio Saturn



Angera castle ( Varese ). Hall of Justice - Fresco showing Saturn

After Uranus was deposed, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes in Tartarus. Uranus and Gaia then prophesied that Cronus in turn was destined to be overthrown by his own son, and so the Titan attempted to avoid this fate by devouring his young. Zeus,  through deception by his mother Rhea, avoided this fate.


Cronus and Rhea
Metropolitan Museum, New York City, USA
 ca 475 - 425 BC 


The goddess Rhea, standing on a rock, hands the omphalos stone wrapped in swaddling cloth over to Cronus, as a substitute for her infant Zeus. The Titan raises his hand to receive the mock child which he will devour. He holds a royal sceptre in his other hand.

 Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon by Rubens



 Francisco de Goya, Saturn devouring his Son

Wenzel Hollar, Saturn






CRONUS KING OF THE GOLDEN AGE

Cronus ruled over the first generation of mankind during the so-called Golden Age of Man, a time of prosperity, peace and general ease. When Zeus came to power these had been replaced by the Silver, who in turn were succeeded by the Bronze, the Hero, and the Iron races. In the time of Cronus it was said the animals spoke with a human voice. He  ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son, Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus. 


Callimachus, Iambi Fragment 192 (from Oxyrhynchus Papyri 7) : 
"[In the Golden Age when Cronus ruled :] It was the time when birds and creatures of the sea and four-footed animals could talk in the same way as the Promethean clay . . (lacuna) in the time of Cronus, and even before. Just is Zeus, yet unjust was his ruling when he deprived the animals of their speech, and--as though we were in a position to give part of our voice to others--diverted it to the race of men."

Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 66. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"Cronus, since he was the eldest of the Titans, became king and caused all men who were his subjects to change from a rude way of living to civilized life, and for this reason he received great approbation and visited many regions of the inhabited earth. Among all he met he introduced justice and sincerity of the soul, and this is why the tradition has come down to later generations that he men of Cronus’ time were good-hearted, altogether guileless, and blest with felicity. His kingdom was strongest in the western regions, where indeed he enjoyed his greatest honor; consequently, down even to comparatively recent times, among the Romans [called by them Saturn] and the Carthaginians [elsewhere the author mentions elsewhere that the Carthaginians sacrificed children to the god], while their city still stood, and other neighbouring peoples, notable festivals and sacrifices were celebrated in honor of this god and many places bore his name. And because of the exceptional obedience to laws no injustice was committed by any one at any time and all the subjects of the rule of Cronus lived a life of blessedness, in th
unhindered enjoyment of every pleasure. To this the poet Hesiod also bears witness in the following words: ‘And they who were Cronus’ day, what time he reigned in heaven, lived like gods, no care in heart, remote and free from ills and toils severe, from grievous sicknesses and cares; old age lay not upon their limbs, but they, equal in strength of leg and arm, enjoyed endless delight of feasting far from ills, and when death came, they sank in it as in a sleep. And many other things were theirs; grain-giving earth, unploughed, bore for them fruit abundantly and without stint; and glad of heart they dwelt upon their tilth throughout the earth, in midst of blessing manifold, rich in their flocks, loved by the blessed gods.’ This then, is what the myths have to say about Cronus."

 
Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 88 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The Golden Age (Aetas Aurea) was that first age [of mankind] which unconstrained, with heart and soul, obedient to no law, gave honor to good faith and righteousness. No punishment they knew, no fear; they read no penalties engraved on plates of bronze; no suppliant throng with dread beheld their judge; no judges had they then, but lived secure. No pine had yet, on its high mountain felled, descended to the sea to find strange lands afar; men knew no shores except their own. No battlements their cities yet embraced no trumpets straight, no horns of sinuous brass, no sword, no helmet then--no need of arms; the world untroubled lived in leisured ease. Tellus (Earth) [Gaia] willingly, untouched, not wounded yet by hoe or plough, gave all her bounteous store; men were content with nature’s food unforced, and gathered strawberries on the mountainside and cherries and the clutching bramble’s fruit, and acorns fallen from Jove’s [Zeus’] spreading tree. Springtime it was, always, forever spring; the gentle zephyrs with their breathing balm caressed the flowers that sprang without a seed; anon the earth untilled brought forth her fruits, the unhallowed fields lay gold with heavy grain, and streams of milk and springs of nectar flowed and yellow honey dripped from boughs of green. When Saturn [Cronus] fell to dark Tartarus  and Jove [Zeus] reigned upon the earth, the Silver Race (Proles Argentea) replaced the Gold, inferior, yet in worth above he tawny bronze."
Plato, Laws 713a (trans. Bury) :
"[Plato employs the myth of the Golden Age of Cronus in his description of an ideal state ruled by a philosopher-elite :] Long ages before even cities existed . . . there existed in the time of Cronus, it is said, a most prosperous government and settlement . . . Well, then, tradition tells us how blissful was the life of men in that age, furnished with everything in abundance, and of spontaneous growth. And the cause thereof is said to have been this : Cronus was aware of the fact that no human being is capable of having irresponsible control of all human affairs without becoming filled with pride and injustice; so, pondering this fact, he then appointed as kings and rulers for our cities, not men, but beings of a race that was nobler and more divine, namely, Daimones (Spirits). He acted just as we now do in the case of sheep and herds of tame animals: we do not set oxen as rulers over oxen, or goats over goats, but we, who are of a nobler race, ourselves rule over them. In like manner the god, in his love for humanity, set over us at that time the nobler race of Daimones who, with much comfort to themselves and much
to us, took charge of us and furnished peace and modesty and orderliness and justice without stint, and thus made the tribes of men free from feud and happy. And even today this tale has a truth to tell, namely, that wherever a State has a mortal, and no god, for ruler, there the people have no rest from ills and toils; and it deems that we ought by every means to imitate the life of the age of Cronus, as tradition paints it." [Cf. The Daimones of Hesiod's Works and Days above.]
  
Fountain of Saturn
CRONUS GOD OF TIME


Cronus, the god who devoured his own children (Poseidon representing the sea, Demeter the earth, Hera the air, and Hestia heavenly fire) symbolized the destructive ravages of time, which consumed all. As the King of the Golden Age, and of the Islands of the Blessed, he represented the passing of the ages. The name Cronus, means simply time (khronos).


Temple of  Saturn de la villa Torlonia

 Statue of Cronos in the Central Cemetery of Bogotá


Edzell Castle, Angus, Scotland. One of the seven planetary deities carvings.



CRONUS IDENTIFIED WITH EL OLAM (PHOENICIAN)


 Cronus was identified by the Greeks with the Phoenician god of time El Olam (El of Eternal Time), spelt Oulomos in Greek. The child sacrifices offered this god underlined the connection in the Greek mind.



Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 66. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"His [Cronus'] kingdom was strongest in the western regions, where indeed he enjoyed his greatest honor; consequently, down even to comparatively recent times, among the Romans [called by them Saturn] and the Carthaginians [elsewhere the author mentions the Carthaginians sacrifice of children to the god], while their city still stood, and other neighbouring peoples, notable festivals and sacrifices were celebrated in honor of this god and many places bore his name."

CRONUS IDENTIFIED WITH SATURN (ITALIAN)

Cronus was identified with the Italian agricultural god Saturn, in whose honor the mid-winter Saturnalia festival was celebrated.


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 3 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Now Ge (Earth), distressed by the loss of her children [the Cyclopes & the Hekatonkheires] into  Tartarus, persuaded the Titans to attack their father, and she gave Cronus a sickle made of adamant. So all of them except Oceanus set upon Uranus (Heaven), and Cronus cut off his genitals, tossing them into the sea . . . Thus having overthrown Uranus’ rule the Titans retrieved their brothers from Tartarus and gave the power to Cronus."


Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 4 - 9 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[1 & 2] [The Titan] Cronus . . . then married his sister [Titans] Rhea. Because both Ge (Earth) and Uranus (Sky) had given him prophetic warning that his rule would be overthrown by a son of his own, he took to swallowing his children at birth. He swallowed his first-born daughter Hestia, then Demeter and Hera, and after them Hades and Poseidon. Angered by this, Rhea, when she was heavy with Zeus, went off to Crete and gave birth to him.



Virgil, Aeneid 7. 48 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Faunus ( Greek god Pan) was son of Picus, who called Saturn his father--yes, Saturn originated their line."
CRONUS, PHILYRA & THE BIRTH OF CHIRON



Eumelus or Arctinus, Titanomachia Fragment 6 (from Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius 1. 554) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
 "The author of the War of the Giants says that Cronus took the shape of a horse and lay with Philyra, the daughter of Oceanus. Through this cause Chiron was born a centaurs: his wife was Khariklo."



Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 9 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"The Titans had children . . . Chiron, a double-formed centaurs, was born to Cronus and Philyra."



Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 126 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Saturn [Cronus], as a horse begot the centaur Chiron."


 
Chiron and Achilles in a fresco from Herculaneum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples).
The Education of Achilles, by Eugene Delacroix


Uranus and Váruṇa


Uranus is connected with the night sky, and Varuna is the god of the sky and the celestial ocean, which is connected with the Milky Way. His daughter Lakshmi is said to have arisen from an ocean of milk, a myth similar to the myth of Aphrodite. Both Lakshmi and Aphrodite are associated with the planet Venus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus_(mythology)

The God Varuna on his mount makara, 1675-1700