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Kronos is a major figure in Greek mythology. He was once a anti-heroic figure, but his act of patricide leads him to his villainous role.
Kronos is sometimes depicted as a tall, powerful man with a black or grey hair and beard, blessed with well proportioned features and dressed in simple robes. Alternatively, he is depicted as a skinny old man with wispy grey hair and beard and a wicked expression.
According to Greek mythology, Kronos (aka Cronus, Cronos, or Saturn in Rome) was the youngest of the Titans, the twelve children of Gaia (the earth) and Ouranos (the sky). Ouranos, however, hated his children; he then locked the Hekatonkheires and Elder Kyklopes deep within Earth, causing Gaia great displeasure and pain.
As the story goes, Gaia was angered that Ouranos cast her children into the pit of Tartarus, and had created a sickle (or scythe) from the strongest metal. She then gathered her remaining children, the Titans, urging them to take the scythe, so as to take vengeance against Ouranos and free their brothers. The Titans, however, out of fear of their father, refused. Only Kronos was willing.
He took the scythe and then convinced his older brothers (Hyperion, Koios, Krios, and Iapetos) to help him ambush their father (Okeanos, the eldest Titan, refused to help with the murder). When Ouranos came down to earth to lay with Gaia, the four of them ambushed their father, holding him down by his arms and legs. Kronos castrated Ouranos, and threw his genitals into the sea, as an insult to Okeanos for not helping with the murder. Ouranos' blood spilled across the earth, and from it came forth the Gigantes, and Erinyes. Where Kronos threw Ouranos' genitalia, sea foam started to form and Aphrodite sprung forth from it. Afterwards, he is said to kill his father, and take over as the new ruler of the universe, but did not free the Cyclopes or Hecatonchires (the hundred-handed giants).
Kronos married his sister Rhea and they had six children; Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. In fear of his father's words (or according to a prophecy he heard) that one of his own children would overthrow him and be his downfall, he then swallowed them after they were born. However, when Rhea was pregnant with her sixth child, Zeus, she went to a cave on Mount Ida in Crete where she gave birth to him in private. Rhea then took a boulder which she wrapped in a blanket, which she gave to Kronos instead of Zeus. Rhea left Zeus on the island of Crete where he grew up. Fearing Kronos would hear Zeus' crying, Rhea sent Nymphs to make noise so loud, Kronos would never hear him.
She had also sent a goat named Amaltheia and a few other nymphs to tend to him and they raised him deep within a cave. Once he grew to a formidable age, he was nearly ready to combat Kronos. Zeus married the goddess of prudence, Metis, for he needed her good advice. Zeus gained a position as Kronos' cup-bearer; he gave Kronos a mixture of mustard and wine to drink (some sources say nectar). Kronos thought it would make him more powerful, but to his surprise, he instead vomited his children.
Enraged by their father's cannibalism, the six gods then declared war on Kronos. The three most powerful gods, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, went down to Tartarus and freed their uncles, the Elder Cyclopes and Hekatonkheires. In gratitude, the beings allied with the gods; the Elder Kyklopes forged the brothers powerful weapons; Zeus a lightning bolt, Poseidon a trident, and Hades a helm, which granted the wearer invisibility. Zeus also gets aid from one of the Titans named Themis and her son Prometheus.
For ten long years, the gods waged a brutal war against the Titans, slowly conquering their realms, and forcing them into Mount Othrys. On the final battle, the Hekatonkheires razed Kronos' palace on Mount Othrys, and Zeus sheared Othrys' peak with his lightning bolts, toppling Kronos from his throne. The Titans were defeated and chained. Zeus then took Kronos' scythe and eviscerated his father into pieces, although in some stories, his body was not butchered.. He cast them into the dark pit of Tartarus, along with the other Titans who supported Kronos.
In some myths after Zeus and the other Olympians defeated the titans, Kronos was given a happier fate and ruled over the Isles of Blessed. And in a Roman myth, Saturn became the king of Latium after he was banished from Olympus and taught his people agriculture and the blessings of civilization.
With his major role in Greek mythology, Kronos has been used in countless works of fiction. Notable examples are:
- SCP-2845: An extraterrestrial being that is presumably Kronos/Saturn.
- Kronos: The main antagonist in the 2012 film Wrath of the Titans.
- Kronos: The main antagonist of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians franchise.
- Cronus: The main antagonist of the animated fantasy TV series Class of the Titans.
- Cronus: A minor antagonist in the 2001 animated TV series Samurai Jack.
- Cronos: An overarching antagonist of the Greek Era of the God of War series.
Powers and Abilities
Kronos was the most powerful Titan ever. He was as powerful as any of his sons (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades). Note: the latter are assumptions based on his domain, as in surviving Greek theogonous texts his powers are not described.
- Chronokinesis: Kronos could control the effects of time, even when he was imprisoned in Tartarus.
- Chlorokinesis: Kronos was the Titan of Plants and Agriculture.
- Atmokinesis: Being the Lord of Heavens, Kronos had that ability, though it was probably lesser compared to Zeus.
- Raw Strength and Stamina: Being a Titan, Kronos was physically strongest of the Titans, only surpassed by Atlas.
- Psychological Manipulation: Kronos was said to be the Crooked One, because he used a lot of cunning and deceit to win support.
- Kronos's Scythe: Kronos's Scythe (referred to by some as the "Bronze Scythe") was one of the most powerful weapons ever. It could instantly kill any lesser being, destroy the bodies of immortals and could destroy their sentience. It was powerful enough to harm Ouranos, a primordial deity.
Names in Other Languages
- Spanish and Portuguese: Saturno or Kronos (The former name comes from the Latin Saturnus, which was his Roman name, while the latter is a borrowing from his Greek name, Krónos)
- Italian: Satúrno or Crónus (Satúrno comes from the Latin Saturnus, which was his Roman name)
- Latin: Saturnus or Cronus (Cronus comes from his Greek name)
- Greek: Krónos
- Japanese: Kuronosu (Borrowing from his Greek name)
- Korean: Keuronos (Borrowing from his Greek name. Written: 크로놋)