Caerus (kairos): the Timely God of Greek Mythology


     Kairos or Caerus is the grandson of Chronos (personification of time) and is a little talked about God in Greek Mythology, he is known for being the representation of opportune time.

Kairos in Greek Mythology:

     Kairos (the opportune, right or supreme moment), in Greek Mythology, is the god of opportune time. Kairos is referred to from the 5th century BC, when Ion de Chios dedicated a hymn to him, in which he celebrates him as the youngest son of Zeus. In Sícion, there was a statue of Kairós, sculpted by Lisipo. Kairós also had an altar in Olympia.

     In the linguistic, symbolic and temporal structure of modern civilization, a single word is generally used to signify the notion of "time". The ancient Greeks had two words for the time: chronos and kairós. While the first refers to chronological or sequential time (the time that is measured, of a quantitative nature), Kairós has a qualitative nature, the indeterminate moment in the time when something special happens: the experience of the opportune moment. In ancient and modern Greek, kairos (in modern Greek it is pronounced keros) also means "climatic weather", like the word weather in English.

     The term is also used in theology to describe the qualitative form of time, as the "time of god" (eternity), while khronos is quantitative in nature, the "time of men".


     In Greco-Roman philosophy, Kairós is the experience of the right moment. The Pythagoreans considered Kairós as an "opportunity". Kairos is potential time, eternal and nonlinear time, while Chronos is the linear measure of a movement or period. In rhetoric, Kairos was a central notion, because it characterized "the fleeting moment when an opportunity / opening presents itself and must be faced with strength and dexterity for success to be achieved".

     In the practical philosophy of medicine attributed to Hippocrates, diseases, for a certain time, evolve silently until they reach the crucial moment, called krisis (crisis), when the disease defines itself, towards a cure or not. The good doctor must identify the kairós (opportune time) to act. This time (kairos) does not last long (khronos) and, therefore, the doctor has no time to lose.

     For the atomist philosophers of antiquity (such as Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius), who reject all teleology in nature, the formation of the world is the result of the combination and dissociation of innumerable atoms by which each thing emerges immanently at the "opportune moment" when some of infinite atoms, which collide at random over time, combine consistently, lasting for a time until decomposition, until death.

Kairós was the son of Zeus:

     In mythology, Kairos was usually considered the minor son of Zeus and the goddess of prosperity, Tyche. Kairos was fast, walked naked and had only a lock of hair on his forehead. It was only possible to grab it by holding it by that tuft. If this were not the case, it would be impossible to follow him or bring him back.

     Kairos was seen in the intelligence of Athena, in the love of Eros and even in the wine of Dionysus. Later, in the genealogy of the gods, he seems to be associated with all of them, as a manifestation of a specific moment. Kairós could be (or be manifested in) Chronos (Tempo), already in Christian theology, in the notion of Aeon (eternity). At no time would Kairós reflect the past or envision the future; it symbolizes the best moment in the present: the moment when chaos can be removed and happiness embraced.

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