Cronus was a son of Uranus, the ancient ruler of the gods and the Earth goddess Gaia. Uranus imprisoned the giant children of Gaia, the hundred-handed Hecatoncheires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in the darkness of Tartarus. To avenge her children, Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers Titan and Iapetus to plan the castration of Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to act against his father, so Gaia gave him the sickle. When she later met with Uranus, Cronus attacked him, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea. Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons Titans for daring to commit such an act against his mightiness. Cronus, Titan and Iapetus each received a third division of the Earth. Cronus married his older sister Rhea and they took the throne of the world as king and queen.
Cronus, though, was not a beneficent ruler. He re-imprisoned the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclopes. After learning from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, he devoured his children as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy. When his sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete and handed Cronus the Omphalos stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he devoured, thinking that it was his son, whilst Rhea kept Zeus hidden in a cave. When fully grown, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the Omphalos stone, followed by Zeus’ two brothers and three sisters. Zeus went on to release the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclopes, who in return forged Zeus’ thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident and Hades' helmet of darkness. After a mighty war, Zeus and his older brothers and sisters, the Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the Titans, confining them to Tartarus.
Roman philosopher Cicero in the first century BCE equated Cronus with Chronos, the personification of time, stating he maintains the seasons and periods of time. The Greeks considered Cronus a cruel and destructive force of chaos and disorder, with the Olympian gods bringing an era of peace and order. The Romans, however, took a more positive view, identifying him with the pre-Roman deity Saturn. The Athenians, though, did celebrate Kronia, a harvest feast dedicated to Cronus, which was similar to Saturnalia. However, there is little evidence of Cronus being venerated outside of this harvest feast. Much later, during the Renaissance, the identification of Cronus with Chronos gave rise to the "Father Time" figure, wielding the harvesting scythe.
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