Uranus (divinity)

Article

May 25, 2022

Uranus (in ancient Greek: Οὐρανός, Ūrānòs, "starry sky, firmament") was, in Greek mythology, a primordial divinity. He is the personification of Heaven as a fruitful element.

Genealogy

He is the father of the Titanides Phoebe, Teti, Rhea, Themes, Mnemosine and Theia and of the Titans Oceano, Hyperion, Ceo, Crio, Iapetus and Cronus, of the three Cyclopes Bronte, Sterope and Arge and of the Hecatonchiri Cotto, Briareus and Gyges. The twelve titans listed above are the first titans who, by mating in turn, will generate other children in turn defined as Titans. From the member of Uranus that fell on Gaea he also generated the Erinyes (Aletto, Megera and Tisifone), the Curetis and the Meliadi nymphs; and according to other versions of the myth also the Giants. According to one version of the myth, he also sired Aphrodite, from her member cut off by Cronus who fertilized Thalassa.

Mythology

In Hesiod's work, Theogony, he is the son and spouse of Gaea (the Earth Mother). Other poems and stories make him the son of Aether (the upper Heaven), without his mother's name being revealed to us in this tradition dating back to the Titanomachy. Most likely the latter was Emera (the personification of the Day). According to the Orphic theogony, Uranus and Gaea are two children of the Night. He put the Cyclops in chains throwing them, as they were born, in Tartarus (the entrails of Gaea) and prevented the other children from coming to light. According to some authors the reason for this refusal would lie in their "monstrosity", while according to others it is the evident fear of being ousted by them. Gaea, repelled by her husband's act, persuaded the Titans to attack her father and gave Cronus a scythe she had made. So Uranus, taken by surprise by his son just as he was about to rejoin Gaea, was emasculated. Her genitals were thrown into the sea near Cyprus and from the sea foam formed Aphrodite (which is said to have emerged from the beach at the locality of Petra Rou Romiou, today called "Aphrodite's Beach"), while the drops of blood that fell on soil fertilized the earth one last time, giving life to the Erinyes, the Giants and the Melie Nymphs. Dethroned Uranus, the Titans unearthed the brothers who had been thrown into Tartarus and handed over power to Cronus. The site of this mutilation was located in different parts of the Mediterranean: usually it is identified with Capo Drepano (in fact drepanon in Greek means "sickle"); sometimes this place is placed on the island of the Phaeacians, which would have been the sickle of Cronus thrown into the sea and rooted in that place (and in fact it was said that the Phaeacians were born from the blood of Uranus); finally some placed it in Sicily, more precisely in Messina (the ancient Zancle, another Greek noun meaning "sickle") or in Trapani (the ancient Drepanon). In any case, Sicily - fertilized by the blood of Heaven - would therefore have become a particularly fertile land.A different tradition is reported by Diodorus Siculus regarding this entity. He would have been the first king of the Atlas, a very pious and just people, who lived on the shores of the ocean. He would have taught them to cultivate the earth, to live civilly and would have invented the calendar according to the movement of the stars. Upon his death great divine honors would be rendered him and having been a great astronomer, over time, he was identified with Heaven. In this tradition, 45 children are attributed to Uranus, 18 had by Tite (later identified with Gaia), and precisely for this reason called Titans. His daughters were Basileia ("the Queen"), later Cybele, and Rhea, nicknamed Pandora. The beautiful Basileia succeeded the throne of her father and married her brother Hyperion, from whom she had Elio and Selene (or the Sun and the Moon). Diodorus also mentions Atlas and Cronus as sons of Uranus. Plato also puts Ocean and Thetis in it. The heterogeneity of the genealogy of Uranus is due to the fact that it is a