All about Greek Goddess Rhea: Wife of Cronus

29/05/2020
     Rhea wife Goddess of Cronus, whom she managed to deceive, preventing her son Zeus from being swallowed by him. When Zeus was born, Rhea gave Cronus a stone to swallow in place of the newborn.

Rhea in Greek Mythology:

     Rhea, in Greek Mythology, was a titanid, daughter of Uranus and Gaia. In Roman mythology it is identified as Cybele, the Magna Mater. The twelve titans, sons of Uranus and Gaia, were Ocean, Ceos, Cryo, Hyperion, Iapetus, Web, Reia, Themis, Mnemosyne, the golden crown Phoebe and the beloved Tethys and Cronos. 

     Cronus' sister and wife, generated in this order, according to Pseudo-Apollodore, Hera (the oldest), followed by Demeter and Hestia, followed by Hades and Poseidon; the next to be born, Zeus, was hidden by Reia in Crete, who gave a stone for Cronos to eat. Higino lists the children of Saturn and Ops as Vesta, Ceres, Juno, Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune, he also reports an alternative version of the legend, in which Saturn encloses Orco in Tartarus and Neptune under the sea, instead of eating them. 

     Because she is the mother of all the Olympian gods, she is known as the Mother of the Gods. She is a goddess related to fertility; this leads to an erroneous relationship with the goddess Cybele; which is the original Mother Earth from Asia Minor, and belatedly adapted to Roman mythology.

RHEA and Kronos:

     Due to an oracle of Uranus, who had prophesied that Cronos would be dethroned by one of the sons, he started to swallow all the sons as soon as they were born. Reia decided that this would not happen to the sixth child. Thus, when Zeus was born, Reia hid him in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete in the care of the curette assistants who were later priests and, in his son's place, gave Cronos a stone wrapped in cloth. Cronos swallowed it, thinking he was the son. There are several versions of who created Zeus. Some report that it was created by Gaia; others, by a nymph (Adamanteia or Cinosura); according to another version, it was nourished by a goat (Amalthea); there is another version, that Amalthea is a nymph and possessed the goat Aix that gave milk to newborn Zeus. 

     Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus dethroned his father, forced him to vomit the brothers and took over Olympus. Following the rise of son Zeus to the status of king of the gods, she challenged a part of the world and ended up taking refuge in the mountains, where he surrounded himself with wild creatures. It is usually associated with lions or a chariot pulled by lions. In Asia Minor, she was known as an earth goddess, being worshiped with orgiacal rites. The name means "flow", apparently in reference to female menstruation, and "comfort", perhaps in reference to easy births.

BIRTH OF ZEUS:

     Kronos had several children with Reia: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, but he swallowed them (minus Poseidon, Hades and Hera) as soon as they were born, after hearing from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be deposed by his son, just as he had deposed his own father - an oracle that Reia became aware of and could avoid. When Zeus was about to be born, Reia sought out Gaia and devised a plan to save him, so that Cronus would be punished for his actions against Uranus and his own children. Reia gave birth to Zeus on the island of Crete, and gave Cronos a stone wrapped in baby clothes, which he promptly swallowed.

CHILDHOOD:

     Rhea would have hidden Zeus in a cave on the Dicty hills in Crete. According to the various versions of the story, it would have been created:
  • By Gaia;
  • For a goat called Amalthea, while a platoon of curettes - soldiers or lesser gods - danced, screamed and beat their spears against their shields so that Cronos would not hear the baby's cry;
  • By a goat named Aix (who belonged to the nymph Amalthea), and from her skin Zeus made Aegis;
  • By a nymph called Adamanteia. Since Kronos was lord of the earth, the heavens and the sea, she hid him hanging by a rope from a tree, so that he, being neither on earth, nor in sky nor at sea, would have been invisible to her father;
  • For a nymph named Cinosura, and as a thank you, Zeus would have placed her among the stars.
  • By Melissa, who breastfed him with goat's milk and honey.

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