Ouranos Or Uranus  

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Uranus is the Latinized form of Ouranos, Greek name of the sky. In Greek mythology Uranus is personified as the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth. Ouranos and Gaia were ancestors of most of the Greek gods.

Other sources claim a different parentage of Ouranos. Cicero, in his work De Natura Deorum claims that he was the offspring of the ancient gods Aether and Hemera. According to the Orphic Hymns, Ouranos was the son of the personification of night, Nyx.

His equivalent in Roman mythology was Coelus.

In the Olympian creation myth, Uranus came every night to cover the earth and mate with Gaia, but he hated the children she bore him and imprisoned Gaia's youngest children in Tartarus. The one-hundred-armed giants (Hecatonchires) and the one-eyed giants, the Cyclopes, caused pain to Gaia.

She shaped a great flint sickle and asked her sons Cronus and his brothers to castrate Uranus. Only Cronus was willing: he ambushed his father and castrated him, casting that which was severed into the sea. From that which spilled from Uranus onto the Earth came forth the Gigantes, the three avenging Furies - the Erinyes - and Meliae, the ash-nymphs.

From that which was cast into the sea came forth Aphrodite. For this, Uranus called his sons Titanes Theoi, or "Straining Gods" for their fearful deed. After Uranus was deposed, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes in Tartarus.These ancient myths of distant origins were not expressed in cult among the Hellenes.

The function of Uranus is as the vanquished god of an elder time, before real time began. After his castration, the Sky came no more to cover the Earth at night, but held to its place.The detail of the sickle's being flint rather than bronze or even iron was retained by Greek mythographers (though neglected by Roman ones). Knapped flints as cutting edges were set in wooden or bone sickles in the late Neolithic, before the onset of the Bronze Age. Such sickles may have survived latest in ritual contexts where metal was taboo, but the detail, which was retained by classical Greeks, suggests the antiquity of the mytheme.

Robert Graves' and others' identification of the name Ouranos with the Hindu Varuna is widely rejected. The most probably etymology is from Proto-Greek 'vorsanos,' from a PIE root 'vers' -- 'to moisten".

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This entry was posted on 7 October 2010 at Thursday, October 07, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .