Who was Uranus?
Uranus (Ouranos) was one of the primordial deities, and god of the heavens. Another version of his name was 'Ouranos' meaning "sky" or "heaven". He was the first son of Gaia, who he also married. Their union produced the race of giant gods called the Titans. Uranus was a refined but melancholy deity, representing the light and air of heaven. He possessed the distinguishing qualities of light, heat, purity, and omnipresence, the state of being everywhere at once.
Uranus (Roman Counterpart was Caelus)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Uranus (Ouranos), were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Uranus was Caelus.
Uranus and the Ancient Greek Gods
According to mythology the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses, including Uranus consisted, of three major dynasties from different generations:
- The First generation of Ancient Greek Gods were the Primeval deities of which Uranus (Ouranos) was a member
- The Primordial, or Primeval, gods were those that existed at or from the beginning of time and resided within the region of the universe known as the Elemental Chaos
- The Second generation of Ancient Greek Gods were the Titans
- The Third generation of Ancient Greek Gods were the famous Olympians
Each generation, or dynasty, of the Ancient Greek Gods overthrew the previous generation.
Uranus in Greek Mythology - Father of the Titans
Uranus (Ouranos) was a primordial deity, the god of the heavens, and the first son and consort of Gaia. The union between Uranus and Gaia produced 12 gigantic children called the Titans. The Titans was the name given to their six sons (Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Cronus) and the Titanides their six daughters (Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys). Uranus and Gaia overthrew the 'elder gods' and Uranus adopted the role of the ruler of the gods.
Uranus and the Titans
Uranus and Gaia produced another 3 giant sons, the Cyclopes and three more sons called the Centimani (Hundred-Handed Ones) who were giants of incredible strength and ferocity. Uranus was frightened of his gigantic children and in order to prevent them taking his power as the ruler of the Primordial gods he hurled them down into a dark abyss, a prison that was called Tartarus, where he kept them in chains. Gaia pleaded with Uranus to release the children but Uranus sternly refused her request. Uranus knew that their release would pose a huge threat to his position of ruler of the gods.
Uranus and Cronus
Gaia hated the treatment that her 12 children had received at the hands of Uranus and swore revenge on her consort. She convinced her children to conspire against Uranus (Ouranos) and take his throne. Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, hated Tartarus and his cruel father for his harsh treatment. Gaia released him from his chains, and gave him a weapon, an incredibly sharp scythe, to attack his father. Cronus fought with Uranus and castrated his father during their struggle for power. He then bound his father in chains and threw him into Tartarus. The Gigantes, or giants and the Furies were born of the blood that spilled onto earth when Cronus castrated his father during their struggle for power. Cronus then took possession of the vacant throne, intending to rule the universe forever. Uranus cursed his son and prophesied that a day would come when Cronus would also be supplanted by his children and suffer just punishment for his rebellion. The Titan males joined with their sisters to produce children and the next generation of gods came to power.