When it comes to the Olympian creation myth, Uranus plays an important role. However, he wasn’t exactly a willing participant. The god would experience a betrayal by one of his offspring that set off a chain of events that changed the course of power and other occurrences. In this article, you will learn more about Uranus’ connection to the creation myth of the Olympians.
Who is Uranus?
The Greeks associated the sky with Uranus , the being known as ‘Father Sky’ , the personification of the son and husband of Gaia (Mother Earth). In Greek myths, Uranus and Gaia are referred to as the ancestors of nearly every one of the Greek gods. He’s so much one of the earliest gods that he does not appear in the painted pottery and other artifacts associated into the Classical period. The majority of Greeks saw Uranus as being primordial, meaning he had no parentage to speak of.
The Ancient Greek Creation Myth
What is known about the Olympian creation myth comes from a poem titled Theogony, which was written by Hesiod , a Greek poet who dates back to around 700 BC. Theogony speaks of the origins and genealogies of the ancient Greek gods. The presentation of the poem was similar to the way Homer wrote his epic poems.
According to Hesiod, Uranus appeared every night to cover the earth and mate with Gaia, who bore him children. However, he was not pleased with his offspring and hated all of the children. The first six sons and six daughters were named the Titans. He also had three giants with 100 arms each that were called the Hecatonchires. He also fathered the one-eyed giants infamously known as the Cyclopes.
Uranus also imprisoned Gaia’s youngest children in Tartarus, which was located deep inside the earth. Their positioned caused Gaia pain. Because of this, she crafted a flint-bladed sickle and asked her sons to castrate Uranus. Only one of the Titans was willing to accomplish this task. Cronus was the youngest and most ambitious of all his siblings. He caught his father off guard and castrated him , tossing the severed testicles into the sea.
The blood that spilled from Uranus’ castration created more offspring, such as the three avenging Furies (the Erinyes), the ash-tree nymphs (called the Meliae), and the Gigantes (giants with the legs of serpents). The genitals in the sea gave birth to Aphrodite. After Cronus bested Uranus, he sent the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes back to Tartarus. Both Uranus and Gaia prophesized that their ambitious son would be overthrown by his own son. Keeping this in mind, Cronus devoured any offspring that he had. However, Rhea (who gave birth to Zeus) avoided this fate by making sure her son lived.
Some ancient myths speak of Uranus as a defeated god of an elder time, who existed “before real time began.” It is described that after being castrated, the “Sky came no more to cover the Earth at night, but held to its place.