Fast Facts on: Kronos

The Greek god of time

Chronos and his child
Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain 

Here is a quick introduction to the Lord of Time, Kronos, who is also called Cronus or Chronos.

Kronos' Appearance: Kronos is depicted as either a vigorous male, tall and powerful, or as an old bearded man.

Symbol or Attributes of Kronos: No distinct symbol; sometimes pictured showing part of the zodiac, the ring of star symbols. In his old man form, he usually has an exceptionally long beard and may carry a walking stick.

Kronos' Strengths: Determined, rebellious, good keeper of time.

Kronos' Weaknesses: Jealous of his own children, violent, not blessed with good family management skills.

Kronos' Parents: Son of Ouranus and Gaia.

Kronos' Spouse: Kronos is married to Rhea, who is also a Titan. She had a temple on the Greek island of Crete at Phaistos, an ancient Minoan site.

Children of Kronos: Hera, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. In addition, Aphrodite was born from his severed member which Zeus threw into the sea. None of his children were particularly close to him - Zeus had the most interaction with him, but even then, that was only to castrate his father as Kronos himself had done to his own father, Uranus.

Some Major Temple Sites of Kronos: Kronos generally does not have temples of his own. Eventually, Zeus forgave his father and allowed Kronus to be king of the Elysian Islands, an area of the Underworld.

Kronos' Basic Story: Kronos was the son of Uranus or Ouranus and Gaia, goddess of the earth. Ouranus was jealous of his own offspring and Kronus eventually had to kill his own father. Unfortunately, Kronos also became afraid that his own children would seize his power and so he consumed each child as soon as Rhea gave birth to them.

Rhea was understandably upset and finally substituted a rock wrapped in a blanket for her latest newborn baby son, Zeus, and took  the real baby to Crete to be raised there in safety by Amaltheia, a cave-dwelling goat nymph. Zeus ultimately defeated and castrated Kronos and forced him to regurgitate Rhea's other children. Fortunately, he had swallowed them whole so they escaped without any lasting injury. It's not noted in the myths whether or not they ended up being a bit claustrophobic after their time in their father's stomach.

Interesting Facts and Cultural Survivals: It's natural that a God of Time should endure, and Kronos still survives in New Year's celebrations as "Father Time" who is replaced by the "New Year's Baby", usually swaddled or in a loose diaper - a form of Zeus that even recalls the "rock" wrapped with cloth. In this form, he is often accompanied with a clock or timepiece of some kind. There is a New Orleans Mardi Gras crew named for Kronos. The word chronometer, another term for a time keeper such as a watch, also derives from the name of Kronos, as does chronograph and similar terms. In modern times, this ancient deity is well represented.

The word "crone", meaning an aged woman, may also derive from the same root as Kronos, though with a change of  sex.

Frequent Misspellings and Alternate Spellings: Chronus, Chronos, Cronus, Kronos, Kronus

Pronunciation of Kronos: Kro·nus (krō′nəs). In Greek letters, it is Κρόνος.

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