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Uranus. RVI-0116: Caelus, statuette. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Göttingen, 1845- Dresden, 1923), Ausfürliches Lexikon der griechisches und römisches Mythologie, 1884.

"There is, first of all ... the greatest lie about the things of greatest concernment, which was no pretty invention of him who told how Uranus did what Hesiod says he did to Cronos, and how Cronos in turn took his revenge; and then there are the doings and sufferings of Cronos at the hands of his son. Even if they were true I should not think that they ought to be thus lightly told to thoughtless young persons. But the best way would be to bury them in silence, and if there were some necessity for relating them, that only a very small audience should be admitted under pledge of secrecy and after sacrificing, not a pig, but some huge and unprocurable victim, to the end that as few as possible should have heard these tales." (Socrates. Plato, Republic 378a).

"Of Gaia and Uranus were born the children Oceanus and Tethys; and of these, Phorcus, Cronos, Rhea, and all that go with them; and of Cronos and Rhea were born Zeus and Hera and all those who are, as we know, called their brethren; and of these again, other descendants." (Timaeus. Plato, Timaeus 41a).

"... Cronos, according to tradition, is the son of Uranus; but the upward gaze is rightly called by the name urania ... and the astronomers say ... that from this looking people acquire a pure mind." (Socrates. Plato, Cratylus 396c).

Uranus is Sky or Heaven.

First ruler

Since nothing is, strictly speaking, created, but procreated, some have said that Uranus (Sky) is the son of Gaia (Earth), who came into being short after Chaos. Uranus, who was the first ruler of the Universe, covered Gaia on every side and became, in time, the abode of the gods.

No starry sky

Someone might recall, when thinking about Uranus, the stars with which Heaven is crowned. But even though Uranus has been later called "starry heaven", that was not the case in those primeval times, and not even Night was starry. For there were no stars in the sky yet, just as there was no Sun and no Moon. For Helius (Sun) is the grandson of Uranus, and Selene (Moon) his granddaughter. And the stars themselves were procreated later by Astraeus 1, son of Crius 1, one of the TITANS, and Eurybia 1, daughter of Gaia.

Cruel against his children

Uranus had intercourse with his mother Gaia and had by her the HECATONCHEIRES, the CYCLOPES, and TITANS. But he, they say, hating his offspring, hid some or many of them away in a secret place on earth, or as some say, cast them into Tartarus, which is a gloomy place in the Underworld as far from Earth as Earth is from Heaven.

Castration of Uranus

But since stern tyrants are often conspired against, Gaia, grieved at the fate of her children, addressed the TITANS, saying:

"My children, gotten of a sinful father, if you will obey me, we should punish the vile outrage of your father; for he first thought of doing shameful things." (Gaia to the TITANS. Hesiod, Theogony 165).

This is how she persuaded the TITANS to attack their father, arming Cronos with an adamantine sickle with jagged teeth. So when Uranus, longing for love, lay about Gaia spreading himself full upon her, Cronos, coming out from his ambush, lopped off his father's genitals, and cast them away to fall behind him into the sea at cape Drepanum in Achaea; but some say that the island of Corcyra, said also to be the abode of the Phaeacians, was called Drepane (Sickle-island) for this same reason.


However, as Heaven's generative power is strong, many others were born from the severed genitals of Uranus (see Castration of Uranus). And when this first ruler of the universe was thus defeated by his own offspring, he prophesied that they had performed a fearful deed, and that vengeance for it would come afterwards.

Advises his daughter

When Rhea 1 was about to give birth to Zeus, who later dethroned Cronos as Uranus and Gaia prophesied, she came to her parents, seeking for help to devise a plan in order to conceal her child, and avoid it being devoured by Cronos. Then her parents told her to hide in Crete, and revealed what was fated to happen to Cronos.

Advises his grandson

When Zeus, after overthrowing his father Cronos, had married his first wife Metis 1, he, following the instructions of Uranus and Gaia, devoured this most wise goddess and put her in his belly. For, Uranus and Gaia had said, she was destined to bear a son that would dethrone his father. But wise Metis 1 being in his belly, all good or evil that she might devise, would be for the benefit of the god who swallowed her.

Held by Atlas

When the OLYMPIANS fought the TITANS, the conflict reached such a magnitude that Heaven groaned and was shaken, threatening to fall upon earth. But after the war, and ever since, Heaven has been kept apart from Earth, and the great vault of the sky is held by Atlas, who tireless keep it upon his head until today.


Parentage (two versions)





Gaia (by herself)


Aether & Hemera


Aether is the brighter purer air, or upper sky. Hemera is Day.

Some have said that even some elder MUSES are daughters of Uranus, the younger ones being those who are children of Zeus.
The order in which Uranus' children were born is matter of dispute. Some give the order here shown to the left, whereas others say that first the HECATONCHEIRES were born, then the CYCLOPES, and then the TITANS.
Concerning the GIANTS, some say that they were born last of them all, being the offspring of Uranus and Gaia; but others affirm that they were born from Uranus' Blood, when Uranus was castrated.


The HECATONCHEIRES were of huge size and might, and each of them (they were three: Briareus, Cottus, and Gyes) had a hundred hands and fifty heads.
Uranus cast them into Tartarus, and for that reason Gaia persuaded Cronos and the TITANS to revolt against their father. But when Cronos seized power, he again hurled them down to Tartarus. Later, as Zeus attacked Cronos, Gaia prophesied victory to him if he would have as allies the HECATONCHEIRES. And when Zeus overcame the TITANS, he shut them up in Tartarus instead, and appointed the HECATONCHEIRES their guards.




Lyssa is the kind of raging madness remembered for having driven Heracles 1 out of his mind.

Uranus' Blood

The blood that flowed when Cronos cut off his father's genitals, falling on earth, created the ERINYES, the MELIADS (see NYMPHS), and the GIANTS.

Uranus' Genitals

From Uranus' Genitals, which Cronos threw into the sea, Aphrodite was born.

Related sections

Apd.1.1.1-4, 1.5.1, 1.6.1; Cic.ND.2.63; Eur.Her.844 and passim; Hes.The.127-153, 154ff., 178ff,; Hyg.Pre.; Nonn.2.335, 13.440; Ov.Met.4.484; Pau.9.29.4; TIT.2.