Mythology Monday: Deities Associated with Asclepius

Asclepius, mythology monday, greek mythology retelling, young adult

Short and sweet Mythology Monday today because I had a few too many more notes on Asclepius to include in last week’s post.

Asclepius had a wife and a handful of daughters who were all associated with healing, and there’s a bit of repetition and overlap among them, so bear with me.

Epione was Asclepius’s wife. She was also the goddess of the soothing of pain, and by most accounts, mother to the goddesses listed below.

Hygeia (Salus) was the goddess of good health, the reason why good health is called hygiene, and an all together different goddess than her sister Aegle (Aigle) who was the goddess of the radiant glow of good health and shared her name with a variety of other goddesses.

Akeso was the goddess of curing illness. She’s different from her sister, Panacea (Panakeia) the goddess of universal remedy (or as gamers might know her, the cure-all), because she stands more for the process of getting better rather than the cure itself. Iaso was also a goddess of recovery, but not cure-alls and not the process of getting cured.

Paeon (Paion) The physician of the Olympian gods. He was sometimes considered a unique god, other times he was considered an epitaph of Apollo or Asclepius.

P.S Persephone is on sale from May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word.

Mythology Monday: Asclepius

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I shook my head. “Put Zachary in charge of Reaping. You can trust him. If we can find two, maybe three other souls we can trust on the surface, I think they can handle it.”

“Zachary?” Hades gave me a quizzical look.

“Asclepius’ new persona,” Cassandra explained.

“What makes you think you can trust him?” Charon gave me a surprised look.

“He helped me when the Reapers were attacking me. And he never had to be charmed. He swore fealty on his own. Who’s Asclepius?”

“He swore fealty? To you?” Hades’ eyebrows shot up. “Well . . . okay then. You’ll still have to try to charm him, but if you say he’s trustworthy . . . ”

“Who is he?” I asked again.

“He’s the first Reaper.” Hades was talking fast, indicating we needed to move on from this conversation. “He was a god of healing, and he tried to stop death. That violated the rules of nature We put into place. Rather than changing the nature of the dead, it changed him.”

The way he said “We” emphasized the capital letter, and I understood he was talking about my mother, Zeus, and the rest of the original six. When they created the world, they’d all agreed on its natural laws. Earth and all its inhabitants formed a complex system involving all their powers. To protect their creation, they’d even given up the ability to lie. Words had power; the wrong words could unintentionally change the nature of something. I’d never considered the ramifications of a god intentionally trying to change the rules.

I felt sick. Poor Zachary. He’d tried to stop death and become its first agent.

~@~

Asclepius (to cut open) was the mortal son of Apollo and a princess named Koronis. Unfortunately, his mother died during childbirth (for was murdered for being unfaithful to Apollo, myths vary), so his father had to cut him from her body (hence the name). His mother was placed among the stars (The Crow constellation).

The demigod was then placed into Chiron’s care and taught medicine. Chiron taught him all he knew, but Asclepius also learned medicine from snakes whispering in his ears. Snakes are sacred to medicine to ancient Greeks, so the demigod grew so skilled that he figured out how to stop death and restore the sick back to life. Unfortunately, Zeus was very against the idea of immortal man, so citing fear of overpopulation, he killed Asclepius’s with a lightning bolt. Other myths claim he was killed for bringing back a specific person (Hippolytus).

The gods honored the fallen demigod with the constellation Ophiochus (the serpent holder), and performed apotheosis to turn him into a god so he could continue to be their doctor.

In most vases and paintings, Asclepius looks like an old, bearded man holding the staff with a snake around it that you’ll see in so many hospitals. (He was kind of a big deal in medical circles).

Asclepius participated in the Calydonian Boar Hunt at some point. He also married  Epione, the goddess of soothing pain, and had five daughters (Hygieia, the goddess of health;  Panacea, the goddess of universal remedy;  Aceso, the goddess of recuperation; Iaso, the goddess of healing, and Aglaea, the goddess of beauty) and three sons (Machaon, Podaleirios and Telesphoros). He may have also had a son named Aratus, with a woman named Aristodama. More on them in a minute

In my universe, he wasn’t turned into a god, because let’s face it, that’s uncharacteristically kind of the gods. He was turned into the first reaper. Now instead of healing people, he releases souls. You’ve met him in the Persephone trilogy as the reaper, Zachary.

 

Mythology Monday: Epic Moms

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In honor of Mother’s day next week, I’m dedicating this week to the amazing mom’s in Greek mythology. Ancient cultures may not have had the most respect for women in general, but they respected the role of motherhood. Here’s the top three mommy myths in Greek mythology. By the way, I’m leaving both Hera and Gaia off this list because in my opinion they sucked as mothers.

Demeter

I’ve already went into Demeter’s myth at length several Mythology Mondays ago, but I can’t leave her out of this list.

She was by all accounts, an awesome mom. She took great care of Persephone, protected her, and kept her out of the drama of Olympus, no small feat.

When her daughter went missing, she scoured the earth to find her and didn’t rest until her daughter was returned to her arms.

It’s a pretty epic myth, all things considered and in my opinion the most powerful myth about motherhood in Greek mythology.

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Rhea

Rhea was married to a kind of awful guy. And yes, it took him eating a couple of her kids to realize the true depths of his depravity, but eventually that mothering instinct took over and rather than allow Cronus to kill Zeus, she, at great risk to herself, snuck him away and tricked her husband. Later, she gives Zeus the tools he needs to save her other children. This decision cost her a kingdom, a husband, every bit of status she had ever gained. She wasn’t killed with the rest of the Titans but she faded into obscurity.

"For two days and two nights the boat was and hither and thither" by Walter Crane - The story of Greece : told to boys and girls (191-?) by Macgregor, Mary. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:For_two_days_and_two_nights_the_boat_was_and_hither_and_thither.jpg#/media/File:For_two_days_and_two_nights_the_boat_was_and_hither_and_thither.jpg

“For two days and two nights the boat was and hither and thither” by Walter Crane – The story of Greece : told to boys and girls (191-?) by Macgregor, Mary. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:For_two_days_and_two_nights_the_boat_was_and_hither_and_thither.jpg#/media/File:For_two_days_and_two_nights_the_boat_was_and_hither_and_thither.jpg

Danae

Danae was a princess whose child was fated to kill her father. Her dad locked her up so no man could reach her, but that didn’t stop Zeus. As punishment for getting knocked up, her father locked her and her baby in a coffin and threw them out to sea so Poseidon would get the blame for killing them, not him. Poseidon didn’t cooperate so mom and son, Perseus, made it to shore, where a king fell in love with her. She wasn’t interested in marriage (no doubt emotionally scarred from her horrible treatment with her father), but the king raised Perseus and agreed not to pursue her for awhile anyway. When Perseus grew up, the king lost patience and tried to marry Danae, but Perseus used Medusa’s head to turn him to stone.

That tells me a few things about Danae. The main one being she’s an awesome mother. Perseus loved her enough to go to great risk and kill a father figure for the love of his mom. That means rather than shutting down or blaming Perseus for all the trouble he brought her, she kept mothering on like a good human being. Given her insane childhood, that’s kind of awesome, so props to Danae.

So there you have it. My top three favorite Mom myths in Greek mythology. What’s your favorite Greek mother?

Mythology Monday: Ariadne

Ariadne, Greek mythology retellings, young adult greek mythology, Dionysus, maze, TheseusAriadne (Libera) was one of the few humans in Greek mythology to be elevated to a divine status. She was a Princess of Crete, daughter to Minos, and she played a large role in Theseus’s quest to solve the labyrinth and defeat the minotaur (she gave Theseus a sword and thread). Theseus took her with him when he left Crete, but being the class act that he was, then abandoned her while she slept. The lesson here, Greek princesses, is do not defy your father to help heroes save the day, because heroes are jack-asses, and you will lose everything. Seriously. Every time. (Though in fairness, some versions of the myth have her being brutally murdered by Artemis before he could “enjoy” her, so it’s possible he didn’t abandon her, he just thought she was permanently dead. It’s also possible Dionysus told Theseus to leave because he wanted to marry her/Athena warned him away and Theseus had had enough experience going against gods to leave).

Fortunately, Dionysus found her and fell in love. The two married and she became a goddess either by walking up the mountain with him after their wedding, or after being killed by Artemis and brought back to life by Dionysus, or after being turned to stone with the head of Medusa by Perseus and brought back to life by Dionysus, or after killing herself and being dragged back from the Underworld by Dionysus. It just depends on who is telling the myth.

In my universe, she remained mortal and was simply abandoned by Theseus. This is because Dionysus doesn’t exist in my universe (well, not as a single god), and Theseus being a jerk is completely in keeping with his stories in mythology (this is the guy who abducted ten year old Helen of Troy and helped Pirithous try to abduct Persephone from the Underworld after all). I’d love to use her in later stories, because she’s an interesting character, but since her father is a dead judge in Hades’s Underworld, that would be hard to explain.

 

Mythology Monday: The Charities and The Graces

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“There’s a girl. She’s…” Adonis’s voice rang out of the room. “You’re going to want to see this.”

I led us to the last small room with glass walls, every step a lesson in agony.

Adonis stood in the doorway. “I don’t recognize her, but…” Adonis swallowed audibly, stepping aside so we could see the skeletal figure lying atop the metal table. “She doesn’t look good.

“Who is that?” I demanded with a gasp as we crowded into the room. The smell of infection almost overwhelmed me.

The goddess was connected to an IV, lying unconscious on a metal table, just as Hades had been. But unlike Hades, she was skin and bones. Pockmarked scars crisscrossed her flesh. Scars. The age of them told me just how long it had been since she had any access to her own divine healing abilities.

Hades worked a muscle in his jaw as he looked her over. “Aglaia.”

The name clicked into place. She was a Daughter of Zeus, one of the Graces. Her sister, Thalia, had mentioned she was missing back before we bought Zeus. But we’d assumed he’d already killed her.

Gods, this poor girl. Her gaunt skin rose and fell with shallow, pained breaths. I could hear the death rattle in her chest over the sound of the fight behind me. The Graces were harmless, alive only because Zeus had passed on token amounts of charm. But even without the poison, she couldn’t have had enough power reserved to heal from what they’d done to her.

They wanted to see what made me tick, Adonis’s haunted voice echoed in my mind.

Hades let out a long breath. “She went missing back when Zeus…” His throat bobbed as his ice blue eyes took in a fate he hadn’t quite escaped from yet. “We assumed he killed her.” He put a hand on her forehead and closed his eyes. “She’s gone.”

My heart wrenched. I hadn’t known her, but I knew of her. The Graces lived up to their name. They were harmless and kind. She didn’t deserve this. And every god lost was an irreparable blow to our species as a whole.

“The machines say otherwise,” Adonis said, pointing at the beeping machines monitoring her.

Hades gave him an icy look. “I know death when I see it.”

 

~@~

 

The Charities, also known as the Graces, were goddesses of sugar, spice, and everything nice. Basically. (Okay, the official list is joy, pleasure, mirth, beauty, dancing, feasts, marriage and banquets. Thank you Theoi).

The Graces acted as handmaidens for Hera, Aphrodite, and Dionysus. There were three primary Graces and a bunch of minor Graces mentioned in random throwaway lines of Greek mythology.

The three primary Graces are Aglaea (Charis), Euphrosyne, and Thalia. Aglaea was a goddess of beauty, and Hephaestus’s second wife. She plays a minor role in Love and War and Venus Rising. Euphrosyne was the goddess of good cheer. Thalia (the Grace, not the Muse) was the goddess of festivities, (except in Sparta, where the third Grace was Cleta). Thalia plays a minor role in Iron Queen.

The primary graces were most often considered to be daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, but sometimes they were mentioned as daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite, or Helios and Aegle.

 

Of the younger graces, (most of whom were Hephaestus’s and Aglaea’s kids) the most notable was the oldest, Pasithea. She was Hypnos’s wife and the goddess of rest and relaxation. Others included Auxo, who might have been a Grace, might have been a Hora (Seasonal deities) or might have been a title for Persephone; Peitho, the goddess of persuasion; Antheia, goddess of flowers; Eudaemonia, goddess of happiness; Euthymia, goddess of good cheer; Hegemone; Cleta; goddess of fame and glory; Paidia, the goddess of amusement; Pandaisia, the goddess of rich banquets; Pannykhis, the goddess of night parties; and Pheanna.

You’ll notice a lot of repeats, cross-overs, and straight up emptiness in that list. That’s because the Charities were often depicted in art work, but few mentions of them survived in actual writings. For my purposes, there are only three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mythology Monday: Dionysus

Dionysus, Bacchus, Bacchanalia, Greek mythology, young adult greek mythology retelling, Daughters of Zeus, Persephone, Kaitlin Bevis

Dionysus (Bacchus) was the Greek god of revelry and pleasure. Depending on which painted vase you’re looking at, he was either an old man with a beard, or a pretty boy with long hair. He was the son of Zeus and a princess of Thebes named Semele (or possibly he was a son of Zeus and Demeter, Io, Dione, Arge, Persephone, Io, or Lethe, or possibly the son of Ammon and Amaltheia, but let’s go with Semele). While Semele was pregnant with Dionysus, Zeus promised her anything she asked. Hera tricked Semele into asking to see Zeus in his full glory. Zeus, bound by his promise, had to comply, and Semele burned to a crisp. Zeus managed to save Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh and carrying him to term. (The gods are SO weird!)

OR Dionysus is a son of Demeter or Persephone and Zeus and was sent to be eaten by the Titans by a jealous Hera. Zeus swooped in to save the day and found they’d already eaten everything but his heart. Athena or Rhea or Demeter managed to restore him from that by placing the heart in Zeus’s thigh until he reformed and Zeus gave birth. Because of this dying then being born thing, he’s considered a death and rebirth deity.

After giving birth, Zeus sent Dionysus to live (in some versions of the myth disguised as a girl) with Semele’s sister, Ino, and brother-in-law, Athamas (He may have lived with some nymphs prior to moving in with his aunt and uncle, or he might have lived with a daughter of  Aristaeus, and Athena named Nysa, or Hermes, or Persephone, or Rhea). Hera, enraged to discover the child still lived, drove Ino and Athamas insane. They killed their children and then themselves. In some versions of the myth, Zeus saved Athamas from madness by turning him into a ram and having him take the young Dionysus into a cave on Mount Nysa, where he was then brought up by Nymphs. I’m sure Athamas appreciated being rescued from madness after his wife and children were slaughtered by his own hands.

Dionysus grew up among one group of nymphs or another (his origin stories are vast if you can’t tell. There’s about as many different versions as there were people in ancient Greece), and possibly took lessons from Chiron. As an adult, Hera cursed him with madness and forced him to roam the country side introducing people to the wonders of wine. This trick had a profound impact on the young Dionysus, and violence and madness became his go-to punishment. King Lycurgus angered Dionysus and ended up killing his entire family and then himself with an ax (he thought they were vines). King Pentheus was torn limb from limb by his daughters and/or wife, King Proteus was flayed alive for refusing the introduction of the grape vine, a group of pirates leapt overboard convinced they were dolphins, women who didn’t acknowledge his divinity ate their young, a nymph who pursued him was (predictably) turned into a plant, and so on. This was not a guy you wanted to upset. Despite that bloody history, he was regarded as a god of peace, civilization, and law.

He was also all about partying. His bacchanalias were famous. He went everywhere, establishing towns, introducing wine, driving out and killing invading amazons. He cursed Midas with the golden touch (though it was intended to be a gift) and eventually journeyed to the Underworld and led his mother back to the realm of the living.

In some versions of the myths he could tell the future or heal mankind. He was often seen as a god of art or protector of theater.

Dionysus came about fairly late in the Pantheon, and some interpretations of the myth suggest many myths involving Demeter may have been altered to give Dionysus credit (I mean, think about it, she was the goddess of the harvest, wine should be her thing). He’s also virtually identical to Iachus and a few more minor mythological gods and figures that may have combined to create one deity. Other interpretations consider him to be another aspect of Hades because “the cult of Dionysus is also a “cult of the souls”; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead” (thank you wikipedia).

You’ll notice Dionysus isn’t included in my books, like, at all. That’s mostly because he is such a compilation of other deities that I have included/may include in my books. His insanity is reflected in Zeus, his chthonic tendencies in Hades, his powers in Demeter. Orpheus and some not-yet-introduced characters share other characteristics. Plus, he’s technically a demigod, so if he did exist in my universe, his time would have already come and gone.

Mythology Monday: Lethe

Don't forget, blue elephant, river lethe, greek mythology, the underworld

“So that—” Cassandra pointed at one of the beautiful rivers winding its way through the landscape “—is the River Lethe. Don’t drink the water, bathe in it, or even touch it.”

“Why?” I gazed longingly at the translucent water and pressed my hand against the cool glass. I’ve always hated swimming, and all the water I’d ever drank came from a faucet, but something about the sparkling water called to every fiber of my being.

“You’ll forget things. Sometimes when a soul comes here, their death was traumatizing, or maybe their whole life sucked. This river gives them a chance to forget the things that would otherwise haunt them.”

“Like Oreithyia?”

Cassandra hesitated. “She’s an extreme case. There are different levels of memory loss. The Lethe can take away all memories associated with a singular event or person, or wipe away their entire lives, and everything in between. Some memories go deeper than others. Boreas knew she would be coming here so he . . . made it difficult. He doesn’t like to be forgotten.”

I didn’t ask how. I was having a hard enough time dwelling on what could have happened to me. I didn’t need further details.

“We also use it on people who’ve done bad things in life,” Cassandra continued. “We take away all their memories, and they serve in the palace or around the Underworld until their sentence is up.”

That didn’t seem like much of a punishment. “Why?”

“For most people, their circumstances contributed to whatever crime they committed. This gives them a blank slate. When they finish their sentence they can live the rest of their afterlife in peace. Of course it doesn’t work like that for everyone, but between me and Moirae we can usually tell who should go straight to Tartarus.”

~@~

Lethe (the River of Unmindfulness) is both a river in the Underworld and a goddess of oblivion (daughter of Eris and Oceanus). Geographically, if flowed around the caves of Hypnos on the border of Elysium. Souls who drank from her water soon forgot all they knew, so the dead frequently used it to forget their mortal lives. In some versions of the myths, every resident of the Underworld had to drink from the water and were forced to forget their entire lives. In others, drinking from the Lethe was a requirement for reincarnation. Some cults taught souls were given a choice between the Lethe or a twin river called the Mnemosyne that would give memories and even omnipotence.

In my universe, the Lethe doesn’t equal complete forgetfulness unless a soul drinks a lot of it. There are levels and it can be used to forget specific traumas or for souls who committed crimes in their mortal lives to forget both the crimes and the circumstances. The reason for that is two fold (and very inspired by Kelley Armstrong’s Haunted).

 

Mythology Monday: Aphrodite

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I’m reposting my Mythology Monday on The Goddess of Love.

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In the distance, a girl stood thigh-high in the ocean, clad in a gown of strategically placed sea foam. Although her back was to me, I could tell she was perfect. The curly ringlets of hair cascading down her flawless cream skin matched the intense orange of the sky as the sun sank in the sea.

I glanced down at my sun-kissed skin. I’d never felt self-conscious because of a tan before but gods. She made pale look really good. A movement caught my attention and I glanced up as she looked over her shoulder, aquamarine eyes meeting mine. 

“Who is that?” I motioned at the water. “And why did you send for me? What do you know about Zeus?”

“Look at her. You can’t tell what she is?” Poseidon replied.

I stared at the girl, her red hair swirling in the wind. I could tell she was a goddess, but knew he meant something more than that.

Hades narrowed his eyes and swore. “What has Zeus done?”

I gave the girl a closer look, but couldn’t see anything different.

“You are new,” Poseidon mused, looking me over curiously. “How old are you?”

“She’s Zeus’,” Hades explained, motioning toward the girl on the water.

“Yeah, I gathered that. So have you guys ever seen her before, or . . . ” I trailed off at Hades’ expression.

“No she’s really new.” Hades squinted his eyes against the setting sun.

“She appeared on the waves the day I sent for you,” Poseidon added.

“And you kept her out there? What’s wrong with you?” I demanded. I imagined spending two days in the ocean and shuddered.

“I’m not setting that thing loose in the world. If you can’t see the level of charisma she’s projecting, then I’ve severely overestimated your abilities.”

“She’s never seen another god with charisma,” Hades interjected. “There wasn’t an opportunity to teach her.”

“So she has charm.” I shrugged. “So do I, so does Zeus. What’s the problem?”

“She doesn’t just have charm.” Poseidon laughed. “That’s all she is. She’s a full deity, but from what I can tell, she came solely from Zeus, and charm is all he gave her. He gave her an obscene amount.” He went silent for a moment. “She wasn’t created here. She rose from the sea near Petra tou Romiou.”

Hades swore. I looked at him in confusion. “What does that mean?”

“It’s where Uranus fell,” Hades explained.

Poseidon nodded, looking grim. “The resting place of a fallen god is always rife with chaotic power. I think he used Uranus’ remains to help create her.”

“What would that do?” I asked.

“She has the potential to become more powerful than us,” Hades replied.

I realized what Hades meant, and my eyes widened. Uranus was Cronus’ father. Cronus and Rhea had created my mother, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Hestia, and Zeus. With gods, every generation is less powerful than the last. If Zeus had imbued her with charm and created her from Uranus’ remains, there was no telling how much chaos she could wreak.

~@~

Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) makes her first appearance in the sequel to Persephone, “Daughter of the Earth and Sky.” Unlike Persephone who really only plays a part in three major myths, Aphrodite has her hand in everything, which meant a ton of research on my part. That research led to a surprising discovery.

There are two Aphrodites! The first Aphrodite predates the Olympians. She was born after Cronus killed Uranus by severing his…. nether bits. The… foam, that rose from said nether bits became flesh and Aphrodite rose from the foam a full grown, beautiful goddess, and the furies rose from the blood in the water.

Isn’t Greek mythology just full of the loveliest imagery?

Anyway, that’s where the famous picture, “The Birth of Venus” comes from. That Aphrodite is the goddess of love of the body and soul.

The other Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She was also pretty, but she was only the goddess of, well… sex.

Not surprisingly, it became very difficult to tell which goddess was being referred to in the myths, and eventually they became the same goddess to the uniformed listener. I had to figure out a way to be true to both versions of the goddess. She had to be Zeus’ daughter for my story to work, but I had him create her from the “remains” of Uranus. To explain why she’s pretty much only the goddess of love when most of the other gods are in charge of something a bit more tangible, I had Zeus give her charm, and charm alone.

In my series, charm is kind of like compulsion from the Vampire Diaries. That resemblance was not intentional. My series was written well before the show aired. BUT as a kid, I devoured that book series, so it probably was at the very least subconsciously inspired by it.

And here I thought I was so original. Meh, it’s not like supernatural beings being able to control the minds of humans is all that new of a concept.

Anyway, children of Zeus possess charm, or charisma. Controlled, it acts as a sort of mind control. Uncontrolled it could start things like the Trojan War. It triggers and amplifies whatever emotion the victim has toward the deity with the charm. Most deities come from two parents, so they have some other power or responsibility to balance out the charm. Aphrodite just has charm, so it’s very powerful, and everyone she sees has a reaction to her until she learns to get it under control.

Goddess of charm, goddess of love and beauty? It works.

Aphrodite has a part in many, many more myths, and I’ll do my best to cover them in future Mythology Mondays, because her role in the series is just starting.

Mythology Monday: Cronus

 

Cronus, Kronos, Chronos, Khronos, Father Time, Saturn, Greek mythology, TitanomachyGaia and Uranus had three sets of children: the giants, the Cyclopes, and the Titans. The titans were the more humanoid of the three, and among their number was the Titan of Time, Cronus (also known as Kronos, or Saturn, sort of also Chronos/Khronos, but that gets complicated).

Uranus was a terrible father. He tried to take the children from Gaia and imprison them. So she plotted with the Titans against Uranus. Gaia gave Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, a flint and a sickle to use against his father. Cronus fought Uranus and castrated him. His nether bits fell into the ocean and from their blood sprang the furies, from the foam came Aphrodite.

This act might have been where the name Titan came from. Kind of like how Trump brands everyone he doesn’t like with a  pejorative, Titans may have come from a source word that meant strained ones, but Hesiod is alone in that interpretation.

In some versions of the myth, it’s not Uranus that Cronus overthrew at all, but a serpent who was trying to devour the world called Ophion.

Whatever Cronus hit with that sickle, the imagery stuck. That sickle became Cronus’s calling card and made it into almost every image of Cronus ever produced. Because of that, he was frequently associated with the harvest and had an entire day dedicated to him around harvest time.

all the myths agree that the period of time when he ruled was called the Golden Age, because for a short time, there were no rules. Everyone just did the right thing because it was the right thing to do. Who “everyone” was is kind of unclear. Man shouldn’t have been around at this time, except in some versions of the myth they were. There were a lot of Titans, but a lot in the sense that it would be a crowded classroom, not a crowded school. It would have been a fairly manageable crowd given that he’d sent anyone who might even consider disagreeing with him, like the Giants and the Cyclopes, into Tartarus and ate any children who may decide to shake things up in the future.

Rhea and Cronus had five children before Rhea got tired of her babies getting devoured. When child number six was born, Rhea tricked Cronus and gave him a stone instead.

That child was Zeus.

Because Cronus ruled the earth and the sky, Zeus had to be suspended from the ground by a rope so he was never fully in either realm. He grew up this way and when the time was right, went against his father to avenge his siblings.

He managed to trick Cronus into drinking a potion that made him vomit up Zeus’s siblings. These children were Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, and Demeter. Zeus also freed the giants and the Cyclopes. Together, they fought Cronus and most of the remaining Titans and won and Zeus became god of Olympus.

Cronus and the Titans were cast into Tartarus, or possible a cave of Nyx, as punishment for their treatment of the Olympians.

Lifetimes later, Zeus released the Titans and made Cronus the king of Elysium. That’s still in the Underworld, so it’s not like he truly released them. Just relocated their prison to a nicer one.  Or if you’re Roman, he became a kind of supreme court judge, settling disputes amongst the gods.

Mythology Monday: The Furies

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The Remorse of Orestes (1862).jpg Public Domain. Greek mythology

The three Furies were horrible. They usually were shaped as crones,with snakes for hair, dog’s heads, coal-black bodies, bat’s wings, and bloodshot eyes. But because theywere older than Zeus, their powers were a mystery. It was also said they could assume beautiful formswhen it suited them. — The Immortal by Christopher Pike

The Furies, also called the Erinyes and for all intents and purposes  the Poinai (Poenae) (Retaliations), Arai (Arae) (Curses), Praxidikai (Praxidicae) (Exacters of Justice) and Maniai (Maniae)(Madnesses) (thank you theoi.com), were the three goddesses of vengeance. Victims of crimes often called down the curse of the Furies on criminals who hurt them.

They were terrifying looking. Depictions feature them as hideous women with wings and covered in poisonous serpents. The carried whips and dressed as either mourners or hunters. The best description I’ve ever read of them came from The Immortal by Christopher Pike.

The furies were born at the same time as Aphrodite. When Cronus castrated Uranus, Aphrodite was born from the “sea foam” that dripped into the sea and the furies were born from the blood. In other versions of the myths they’re daughters of Nyx and Erebus or Hades and Persephone. In other versions they aren’t goddesses at all, but a curse to be cast down on villains.

They were named in some version of the myth. Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone (who was also sometimes Demeter in horse form. Long story).

While they worked part time torturing souls in the Underworld, The Furies took delight in their job making living criminals miserable. Entire nations were brought to their knees for harboring their targets. Their wrath could only be stopped with a specific ritual and the completion of an assigned task. Failing that, and the Furies might haunt your family for generations.

At least until Orestes came along.