God of the harvest
Saturnus fig274.png
AbodeMount Othrys
SymbolSickle, scythe, grain, snake, and harpe
Personal information
ChildrenZeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, Chiron
ParentsUranus and Gaia
Roman equivalentSaturn

In Greek mythology, Cronus, Cronos, or Kronos (s/ or s/, US: s/, from Greek: Κρόνος, Krónos), was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus. According to Plato, however, the deities Phorcys, Cronus, and Rhea were the eldest children of Oceanus and Tethys.[1]

Cronus was usually depicted with a harpe, scythe or a sickle, which was the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of the harvest. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.


In an ancient myth recorded by Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus's mother, Gaia, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-handed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in Tartarus, so that they would not see the light. Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to castrate Uranus.[2]

Giorgio Vasari: The Mutilation of Uranus by Saturn (Cronus)

Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush.[3] When Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked him with the sickle, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea. From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, Erinyes, and Meliae were produced. The testicles produced a white foam from which the goddess Aphrodite emerged. For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons Titenes (Τιτῆνες; according to Hesiod meaning "straining ones," the source of the word "titan", but this etymology is disputed) for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act (in an alternate version of this myth, a more benevolent Cronus overthrew the wicked serpentine Titan Ophion and in doing so he released the world from bondage and for a time ruled it justly).[citation needed]

After dispatching Uranus, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes and set the dragon Campe to guard them. He and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as king and queen. The period in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age, as the people of the time had no need for laws or rules; everyone did the right thing, and immorality was absent.

Painting by Peter Paul Rubens of Cronus devouring one of his children

Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy. When the sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children.

Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, and handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, also known as the Omphalos Stone, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son.

Rhea kept Zeus hidden in a cave on Mount Ida, Crete. According to some versions of the story, he was then raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes, armored male dancers, shouted and clapped their hands to make enough noise to mask the baby's cries from Cronus. Other versions of the myth have Zeus raised by the nymph Adamanthea, who hid Zeus by dangling him by a rope from a tree so that he was suspended between the earth, the sea, and the sky, all of which were ruled by his father, Cronus. Still other versions of the tale say that Zeus was raised by his grandmother, Gaia.

Once he had grown up, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Mount Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, and then his two brothers and three sisters. In other versions of the tale, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the children.[4]

After freeing his siblings, Zeus released the Hecatoncheires, and the Cyclopes who forged for him his thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident and Hades' helmet of darkness. In a vast war called the Titanomachy, Zeus and his brothers and sisters, with the help of the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Afterwards, many of the Titans were confined in Tartarus. However, Oceanus, Helios, Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius were not imprisoned following the Titanomachy. Gaia bore the monster Typhon to claim revenge for the imprisoned Titans.

Accounts of the fate of Cronus after the Titanomachy differ. In Homeric and other texts he is imprisoned with the other Titans in Tartarus. In Orphic poems, he is imprisoned for eternity in the cave of Nyx. Pindar describes his release from Tartarus, where he is made King of Elysium by Zeus. In another version,[citation needed] the Titans released the Cyclopes from Tartarus, and Cronus was awarded the kingship among them, beginning a Golden Age. In Virgil's Aeneid,[5] it is Latium to which Saturn (Cronus) escapes and ascends as king and lawgiver, following his defeat by his son Jupiter (Zeus).

One other account referred by Robert Graves,[6] who claims to be following the account of the Byzantine mythographer Tzetzes, it is said that Cronus was castrated by his son Zeus just like he had done with his father Uranus before. However the subject of a son castrating his own father, or simply castration in general, was so repudiated by the Greek mythographers of that time that they suppressed it from their accounts until the Christian era (when Tzetzes wrote).

Libyan account by Diodorus Siculus

In a Libyan account related by Diodorus Siculus (Book 3), Uranus and Titaea were the parents of Cronus and Rhea and the other Titans. Ammon, a king of Libya, married Rhea (3.18.1). However, Rhea abandoned Ammon and married her brother Cronus. With Rhea's incitement, Cronus and the other Titans made war upon Ammon, who fled to Crete (3.71.1-2). Cronus ruled harshly and Cronus in turn was defeated by Ammon's son Dionysus (3.71.3-3.73) who appointed Cronus' and Rhea's son, Zeus, as king of Egypt (3.73.4). Dionysus and Zeus then joined their forces to defeat the remaining Titans in Crete, and on the death of Dionysus, Zeus inherited all the kingdoms, becoming lord of the world (3.73.7-8).

Sibylline Oracles

Cronus is mentioned in the Sibylline Oracles, particularly in book three, which makes Cronus, 'Titan' and Iapetus, the three sons of Uranus and Gaia, each to receive a third division of the Earth, and Cronus is made king over all. After the death of Uranus, Titan's sons attempt to destroy Cronus's and Rhea's male offspring as soon as they are born, but at Dodona, Rhea secretly bears her sons Zeus, Poseidon and Hades and sends them to Phrygia to be raised in the care of three Cretans. Upon learning this, sixty of Titan's men then imprison Cronus and Rhea, causing the sons of Cronus to declare and fight the first of all wars against them. This account mentions nothing about Cronus either killing his father or attempting to kill any of his children.

Other accounts

Cronus was said to be the father of the wise centaur Chiron by the Oceanid Philyra who was later on, transformed into a linden tree.[7][8][9] The Titan chased the nymph and consorted with her in the shape of a stallion, hence the half-human, half-equine shape of their offspring;[10][11] this was said to have taken place on Mount Pelion.[12]

Two other sons of Cronus and Philyra may have been Dolops[13] and Aphrus, the ancestor and eponym of the Aphroi, i.e. the native Africans.[14]

In some accounts, Cronus was also called the father of the Corybantes.[15]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kronos
አማርኛ: ክሮኖስ
العربية: كرونوس
aragonés: Crono
অসমীয়া: ক্ৰণচ
asturianu: Cronos
azərbaycanca: Kron
বাংলা: ক্রোনোস
беларуская: Кронас
български: Кронос
Boarisch: Kronos
bosanski: Kron (titan)
brezhoneg: Kronos
català: Cronos
čeština: Kronos
Cymraeg: Cronos
dansk: Kronos
Deutsch: Kronos
eesti: Kronos
español: Crono
Esperanto: Krono (dio)
euskara: Kronos
فارسی: کرونوس
français: Cronos
galego: Cronos
한국어: 크로노스
հայերեն: Կռոնոս
हिन्दी: क्रोनोस
hornjoserbsce: Kronos
hrvatski: Kron
Ido: Kronos
Bahasa Indonesia: Kronos
interlingua: Crono
íslenska: Krónos
italiano: Crono
עברית: קרונוס
Basa Jawa: Kronos
ქართული: კრონოსი
қазақша: Кронос
Kiswahili: Kronos
kurdî: Kronos
Latina: Cronus
latviešu: Krons
Lëtzebuergesch: Kronos
lietuvių: Kronas
magyar: Kronosz
македонски: Крон
मराठी: क्रोनस
مازِرونی: کرونوس
монгол: Кронос
Nederlands: Kronos
日本語: クロノス
norsk: Kronos
norsk nynorsk: Kronos
polski: Kronos
português: Cronos
română: Cronos
русский: Кронос
саха тыла: Крон
Scots: Cronus
Simple English: Kronos
slovenčina: Kronos (mytológia)
slovenščina: Kronos
српски / srpski: Хрон (Титан)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kron (Titan)
suomi: Kronos
svenska: Kronos
Tagalog: Cronus
தமிழ்: குரோனசு
Türkçe: Kronos
українська: Кронос
اردو: کرونس
Tiếng Việt: Cronus
Winaray: Cronus
粵語: 克洛諾斯
中文: 克洛诺斯