In Greek mythology, Cronus (Greek: Κρονος, Kronos, "time") was the leader and youngest of the Titans. He was the Titan of time, particularly in the sense of time as a destructive and all-devouring force. In Roman mythology, Cronus was closely identified with Saturn.


The main myth surrounding Cronus was most vividly told within Hesiod's Theogony. After the birth of the Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes, Uranus imprisoned them within Tartarus because of the way that they looked, causing Gaea great pain. Gaea devised a plan to overthrow her husband and created a flint sickle with which she asked her sons to castrate their father with. Cronus was the only one of her sons brave enough to agree to do as she had asked.

When Uranus descended from the sky to the earth to lay with Gaea, Cronus ambushed his father and castrated him and threw his testicles into the sea, creating the sea foam.

Despite overthrowing his father, Cronus did not release the Hecatoncheires and Cyclopes from Tartarus but rather sent the she-dragon Kampe to guard them. After learning from Gaea and Uranus that one of Cronus' own children was destined to overthrow him, Cronus decided to swallow each of his children whole after they were born.

When the sixth child, Zeus, was born, Rhea sought Gaea to devise a plan to save him and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his children and wife. After giving birth to Zeus in secret, Rhea gave Cronus a stone wrapped in baby clothes to swallow instead.

Zeus was hidden in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete until he grew old enough to overpower his father. After disguising himself as the cupbearer of the Titans, Zeus gave his father a mixture of mustard and wine to drink, causing him to regurgitate his swallowed five children. With them as allies, Zeus and his siblings defeated the Titans and imprisoned them in Tartarus.

According to Pindar and Aeschylus, the Titans were eventually released from their imprisonment. Pindar states that after Cronus was released from Tartarus, he became the King of Elysium in the Underworld. In Orphic poems, Cronus is said to be imprisoned in the cave of Nyx in the Underworld for eternity.


As one of the Titans, Cronus was a son of Uranus and Gaea. He married his sister, Rhea, and fathered six children with her: Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus.

Cronus also fathered Chiron and the Ichthyocentaurs by Philyra, a nymph.

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