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Uranus


Uranus, or Ouranos, was the primordial god of the Greeks. Hesiod, in the seventh century BC, in his Theogony traced the genealogy of the Greek gods back to the first divine pair Uranus and Gaea, sky and earth. Their relationship was passionate, since Uranus was "drawing near and spreading out in all directions, eager for love, enveloped the earth in all directions." But this act was also destructive: Uranus permanently coupling with Gaea meant that the sky could hold back the children in the earth's womb. They had six giant sons--Okeanos, Koeos, Kreos, Hyperion, Iapetos, and Cronus--and six daughters--Klymene, Rhea, Tea, Thetis, Mnemosyn, and Phoebe. The twelve collectively were known as the Titans. Uranus fearing their power threw them into the abyss of the Tartarus and chained them their. However, one of these buried offspring, Cronus, the youngest son, was determined to overthrow his sky father. It was said that Gaea conceived a sickle with sharp teeth, for Cronus threw the weapon so well that he cut off Uranus' phallus within the earth's body.

The emasculated sky was separated from the earth, pushed asunder according to the West Asian myth, which relates from his blood Gaea conceived the "strong ones," the Erinyes, the Titans, and other creatures, while the fallen phallus engendered in the sea Aphrodite. Uranus then passed into oblivion while Cronus ruled the universe, taking his sister Rhea for his wife. The Titans ruled and lived in the Golden Age, but Cronus too disposed of his sons because he was warned by an oracle of Gaea the a son also would overthrow him. Cronus knew why this curse had been placed on him, because after overthrowing his father Gaea requested that he free his brothers that Uranus had imprisoned, a request that Cronus ignored.

Eventually this prophecy was fulfilled. By disguise and with the help of Gaea, Rhea saved her youngest son Zeus. He was reared in secrecy until reaching maturity when he overthrew his father and the Titans. A.G.H.


Sources:

Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman's Sons, 1980, p. 152
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, pp. 197

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