Cronus, the God of Time | By Georgia

Time is destructive; it’s an all-devouring force. Cronus was both of these things. He was the titan god of time and the son of Uranus, the ruler of the universe. This is Cronus’ story. Gaia, the mother of the earth, was angry. Her children had been taken from her – the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, locked away in the underworld, Tartarus, unable to see the light or feel the sun on their skin, and for what? Because Uranus was disgusted? Afraid? Was the ruler of the universe really unable to bear the sight of his own children? As she felt the weight of the stone sickle that rested across her palms, the answer was clear to her, in all of its simple, violent glory. She called the titans to her – the twelve children Uranus had allowed her to keep. All of them, from Oceanus, the oldest, to Cronus, the youngest, agreed with their mother that the only way to release their brethren from Tartarus was to deal Uranus a great wound – he was a god, and unable to be killed, but the titans knew that if they were able to weaken Uranus, he could be overthrown. However, when Gaia raised her voice and asked her children which of them would perform the deed, all fell silent. No one wanted to be the one to risk angering their father; to risk the consequences that failure would bring. The silence blanketed the siblings in a smothering layer – until Cronus spoke up. He announced to his mother that he would be the one to wound Uranus, that he would be the one to end his tyrannical reign. Unbeknownst to the rest of the titans, Cronus envied his father’s power. He was secretly determined that once Uranus had been dispatched, he should be the one to take his place. And so, the day came. Cronus lay in wait for his father, holding the sickle given to him by Gaia. When Uranus appeared, Cronus leapt out and, catching him by surprise, wounded Uranus gravely. Uranus fled, dripping blood as he went. As each drop of blood fell to the earth, it created something new. The first created the Gigantes, the second the Erinyes and the third, the Meliae. The final drop of blood that fell from the wound landed in the ocean and created the white foam from which the goddess Aphrodite was born. Gaia and the titans rejoiced, happy for Uranus to be gone and for the freedom of the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes. Their joy, however, was short lived, as Cronus immediately took control. He once again incarcerated his youngest siblings, this time commanding the dragon Campe to guard them. He took his throne as king, and forced Rhea, the goddess of motherhood and fertility, to become his queen. Cronus and Rhea ruled all throughout the Golden Age. Cronus was happy – he had achieved his goals, and his subjects were loyal to him. He was the ultimate ruler of all. He feared nothing, other than the prophecy. The prophecy that decreed that Cronus would be overthrown by his son, just as Uranus had been. The idea of losing his throne was his weakness – his one fear. Because of this fear, every time his wife Rhea gave birth to a child, Cronus would swallow each one whole – they would not be killed, but they would not be able to harm him. In a desperate attempt to save her youngest son, Zeus, from Cronus, Rhea stole him from his cradle and gave him to the nymph Adamanthea to raise on Mount Ida, away from his dangerous father. To try and avoid suspicion, Rhea swaddled a large rock in cloth and placed that in the cradle in place of Zeus. Cronus, not realising anything was wrong, swallowed the rock and believed himself to be safe. And so Zeus was raised on the mountain, far away from his father. When he was a baby, Rhea convinced nymphs to play loud, beautiful music at the mouth of his cave to cover the sounds of his cries. As he grew, he got stronger and stronger, and the desire to save his siblings and drive away his tyrannical father grew within him. By the time he was fully grown, Zeus had a plan; but he couldn’t do it alone. So, for the first time since was a baby, he returned to Rhea. His mother was delighted to see him, and to see how well he had grown. When he told her his plan, Rhea agreed almost immediately. Seeing Zeus again had made her realise that the grief she felt for her lost children could be eased – she might be able to get them back. The plan was simple; Rhea would poison Cronus. Of course, he was immortal and therefore unable to be killed, just as his father was before him, but the poison was sure to make him so sick that he would be unable to stop himself from vomiting up Zeus’ brothers and sisters. The next day, Zeus hid as he watched his mother give Cronus the poison, disguised as a herbal concoction of strength. The effects were almost immediate, and Zeus’ siblings began to appear in front of him. At last, Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon joined Zeus on the earth, and turned against their father in fury. One look at their raging faces, and Cronus turned and ran. Cronus’ defeat is what started the 10-year war between the Olympians – Zeus and his siblings – and the remaining titans. After a decade of war and violence, the Olympians emerged triumphant, having defeated and imprisoned the titans in the deepest pits of Tartarus. The Olympians used their new power to finally release the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes from their prison. The Cyclopes were so grateful to them for ending their imprisonment that they crafted weapons and armour for Zeus, Hades and Poseidon – the gods of the heavens, sea and underworld. Zeus was given his thunderbolts, Hades his helmet and Poseidon his trident.

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