Rhea

Kronos

Cronus & Rhea, Athenian red-figure pelike C5th B.C., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Rhea (Greek: Ῥέα) is the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, in Greek mythology and sister and wife to Cronos. In early traditions, she is known as “the mother of gods” and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right. The Romans identified her with Magna Mater (their form of Cybele), and the Goddess Ops.

Myths and genealogy

Cronus sired six children by Rhea: Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus in that order, but swallowed them all as soon as they were born except Zeus, since Cronus had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own child as he had overthrown his own father. When Zeus was about to be born, however, Rhea sought Uranus and Gaia to devise a plan to save him, so that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus and his own children. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed.

Romolo_e_remo

Faustulus (to the right of picture) discovers Romulus and Remus with the she-wolf and woodpecker. Their mother Rhea Silvia and the river-god Tiberinus witness the moment. Painting by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1616 (Capitoline Museums).

Then she hid Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete.

1. He was then raised by Gaia,
2. He was suckled by his first cousin, a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes, soldiers, or smaller gods, shouted and clashed their swords together to make noise so that Cronus would not hear the baby’s cry,
3. He was raised by a nymph named Adamanthea, who fed him goat milk. Since Cronus ruled over the earth, the heavens, and the sea, Adamanthea hid him by dangling him on a rope from a tree so he was suspended between earth, sea, and sky and thus, invisible to his father.

Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge the other children in the reverse order in which they had been swallowed, the oldest becoming the last, and youngest: first the stone, which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, then the rest. In some versions, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the babies, or Zeus cut Cronus’ stomach open. Then Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonkheires, and the Cyclopes, who gave him thunder and lightning, which had previously been hidden by Gaia. Zeus and his siblings, together with the Gigantes, Hecatonkheires, and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Similarly, in later myths, Zeus would swallow Metis when she was pregnant with Athena, because of a prophecy that said she would later give birth to one who would be more glorious than the father. Athena was born unharmed, bursting out of his head in full armor. Source Wikipedia.


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