Zeus vs Chronos: History repeats itself

chronos eating his son

Zeus vs Chronos: History repeats itself

Continuing with the story of Chronos and Uranus, which you can read here, I am going to tell what happened next.

An authoritarian husband

After overthrowing his father, Chronos ruled in his place and, for a while, everything was fine. But Chronos did not take long to become a capricious tyrant.

The bad behavior of the king of the titans did not take long to affect his own wife, Rhea. The earth goddess began to resent her husband and prophesied that one of her sons would steal the throne from him, like he stole the throne from Uranus.

Fearful of the prophecy, Chronos decided to eat his children as they were being born: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon…

The sixth is the charm

But when she was pregnant for the sixth time, Rhea was already tired of her husband’s behavior and decided to flee to Crete.

On Mount Ida she gave birth to Zeus and hid him in a very deep cave in Crete. But something worried her: Zeus’s crying shook the Aegean Sea and threatened to expose them to Chronos.

Nannies to the rescue

Then the goat nymph Amalthea appeared and offered to nurse the baby. The nymphs of the ash tree also appeared and also the curettes, some ugly but graceful genies who wore bronze spears and shields.

The curets began to sing and dance in a circle, while clashing their spears and shields. Thus, among all they managed to make Zeus stop crying to have fun by watching them.

Knowing that these creatures would take good care of her son, Rhea wrapped Zeus’ diaper around a rock and went to Chronos to deliver it to him. Her husband swallowed the stone, without even looking, and always believed that he had eaten his son.

titanomachy by Perín del Vaga
titanomachy by Perín del Vaga

And the boy grew up

Zeus grew up with the nymphs of the ash trees, the curetes and Amalthea, who gave him a good education and trained him to be a warrior god. Sadly, Amalthea died when Zeus was still very young. In homage, Zeus removed its skin and built an impenetrable shield called the Aegis out of it. Wonder Woman’s bracelets are also made out of this material.

When it was time to face his father, Zeus went to his cousin Metis for advice. Later, Zeus would have an affair with her, which I give more details about here.

I just serve it

But at that moment, all Metis did was helping him make a plan: With the help of his mother, Zeus managed to get Chronos to accept him as his cupbearer. Thus, Zeus offered him a drink mixed with a concoction that caused him to vomit.

First, Chronos vomited up the stone. At that moment, he must have sensed that something was wrong. Then he began to vomit Zeus’s brothers, who came out as adults.

Immediately, the children of Chronus started a war against the Titans that lasted 10 years. At that time, the forces were so evenly matched that it was hard to tell which side would win.

But one day, Gea advised Zeus to release the hecatonchires and the cyclops who were imprisoned in Tartarus.

New allies

Zeus headed for the underworld to free those monsters and promised them freedom, in exchange for allying with him and his brothers. The monsters agreed to help him and began to make weapons.

The Cyclops gave Zeus lightning and thunder, while Hades received a helmet, which allowed him to become invisible, and Poseidon received a trident that, when struck at the base, made the earth and sea tremble.

titanomachy by Joachim Wtewael
titanomachy by Joachim Wtewael

The final battle

Then, Poseidon threatened Chronos with his trident to cause earthquakes and tidal waves, buying time, while Chronos was thinking of a way to avoid such a catastrophe.

Meanwhile, the hecatonchires began to throw rocks to prevent the other titans from trying to protect Chronos. At the same time, Hades used his helmet to reach Chronos and disarm him.

With Chronos already disarmed, Zeus attacked with his lightning bolts and won. Once the war was won, Zeus imprisoned the Titans in Tartarus and sent the Hecatonchires, this time, as jailers.

Dividing up the loot

Now the kingdom had to be divided between the brothers: Poseidon got the sea, Hades the underworld and Zeus Mount Olympus, where they would all meet regularly to deliberate.

Hera married Zeus, while her sisters remained single: Hestia remained a virgin forever, never left Olympus, and came to symbolize the safety of the home. Demeter, for her part, came to represent the terrestrial motherhood of cultivated land and wheat became her symbol.

For a while, all went well, but another prophecy would threaten to repeat history. Although that is another story that you can read here.

titanomachy by Jacob Jordaens
titanomachy by Jacob Jordaens


Antes del principio, by Ariel Pytrell

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