Cronus (Kronos, Chronos, Saturn)

Titan god of time and the ages

Cronus was the Titan god of time and the ages and was above all, associated with the destructive force of time which sooner or later consumes everything. He represented the changing time, from his status of being the King of the Golden Age to his place of being imprisoned in Tartarus, and according to Hesiod`s Works and Days, from Tartarus being promoted by Zeus to become the King of the Islands of the Blessed or Elysian Fields somewhere in the underworld.

Cronus was married to his sister Rhea with whom they represented "eternal flow", as they gave birth to new generation gods, known as the Olympian Gods, who then took control of the world, just like they had done in the past. According to a fragment found in a collection of fragments from the Greek Epic cycle, Cronus also had another descendant. It is said that he took the shape of a horse and impregnated Philyra, daughter of Oceanus, who then gave birth to famous centaur Chiron

Becoming the Ruler of Cosmos

According to most of the authors, Cronus was the youngest son of Uranus and Gaea and most egoistic of all. He envied his father for being the ruler of the world and because he was very much like his father, he soon got the opportunity to dethrone him. Uranus, because of the fear that his children would overthrown him, made a mistake when he imprisoned Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes in Tartarus. He made Gaea angry and Cronus saw his chance now that he wasn`t alone in plotting against him anymore.

At last, when the time was right and when Uranus came to lay with Gaea, they attacked him and with the help of Crius, Coeus, Hyperion and Iapetus who had probably held him still, Cronus castrated his father with flint-sickle, made by his mother Gaea. There is, however, alternative story presented by Diodorus Siculus, where Cronus is described as the eldest of the titans and inherited the kingship from his father. There is also a support to the alternative story by Fulgentis, where it is said that it was Cronus who actually got castrated, not Uranus like most believed.

King of the Golden Age

His father gone, Cronus became what he always wanted, the Ruler of the World. He was supported by most of his brothers and sisters. And the time couldn't have been better. It was the Golden Age of Men, the time of prosperity, peace and harmony between all the living beings. It is said that in this time animals spoke with human voice and no one would get ill, physically or mentally. They had lived in harmony and in abundance of everything and even when they had died, the death came peacefully during sleep.

According to Diodorus Siculus, whose Cronus was a kind character, it is said that Cronus taught men to change their living from rude way to civilised life and introduced them sincerity of soul and justice and therefore people became good-hearted and guileless. Now back to the mainstream story, all of the living beings were happy and pleased during this age and even Cronus got himself a bride who appeared to be his sister Rhea. Together they made it possible for six children to be born. But before they were born, Uranus and Gaea had foretold the future, which disturbed Cronus very much. And instead of living the abundant and peaceful life in harmony, things changed for the worst.

Plot and rebellion against Cronus

When Rhea was pregnant, Cronus was prophesied of being dethroned by one of his sons. He did not want nor let that happen and he swallowed Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, and Demeter at the moment they were born, not even checking whether it's a boy or a girl. Rhea became mad and bore Zeus in secrecy and gave her husband a stone in swaddling clothes to swallow. Cronus continued to believe that he was safe from the prophecy. Meanwhile, Zeus grew up and came to free her brothers and sisters. He mixed his elixir into his father`s drink who later vomited all his children. They then all supported Zeus and rebelled against their father and the titans.

Titanomachy and punishment

Soon the war broke out and Cronus acted recklessly with too much pride. He thought they would overcame the Olympians with ease, because they were bigger and stronger. But he forgot his own arrogance towards others who joined Olympians in the war. Some of them were Hecate, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Metis. But above all, re-imprisoning Hekatoncheries and Cyclopes after decapitating his father was decisive, because when Zeus released them from Tartarus, the Olympians had gained the upper hand in war. In the end after fighting each day for the last ten years, Olympians managed to defeat the Titans and cast them to Tartarus, to be faced with eternal punishment.

Overtime, according to Aeschylus` lost play, he was later released by Zeus from Tartarus with the rest of the titans. And according to Hesiod, Cronus was then appointed as the King of the Islands of the Blessed, where he ruled the souls of departed heroes.

What happened to living beings of the Golden Age during Titanomachy is unknown. It is only said that the earth covered over this race and that the spirits of these beings still exist. Perhaps they were destroyed in the war by battles of massive magnitude which were fought by the gods themselves.



[1] "Greek Gods"

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