Rhea (mythology)

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Rhea (Greek: Ῥέα) is one of the Titans in Greek mythology. She is a daughter of Gaia and Ouranos. She was the sister and wife of Kronos. She was the mother of Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus). She was known as the "Great Mother" (Magna Mater). Rhea was not very important in the Ancient Greek religion. The Roman Rhea is Ops.

Name[change | change source]

Scholars think Rhea’s name comes from the word ῥέω (rheo), which means "flow" or "ease."[1][2]

Story[change | change source]

Birth[change | change source]

Uranus kept all his children in a prison. But the youngest child, Cronus, escaped. Gaia helped him defeat his father. Cronus became king in his place. He freed his brothers and sisters. He married his sister Rhea. Rhea and Cronus fought Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus. Rhea could wrestle. She fought Eurynome herself. Rhea and her husband threw them into the ocean. Rhea and her husband became rulers in their place.[3][4]

Husband and children[change | change source]

Cronus heard that one of his children would defeat him, the way he had defeated his father. When his children were born, he swallowed each one. They did not die. They were alive in his stomach. When Rhea had her sixth, Zeus, she hid him from Cronus. She gave Cronus a stone to swallow instead. She hid Zeus in Crete. When Zeus was grown, he would fight his father and save his brothers and sisters. They became the Olympian gods. Rhea stopped ruling as the queen of the gods. Instead of being a queen, she became a supporting goddess on Mount Olympus. She had some roles and stories in the new Olympian times. She was there when her grandson Apollo was born. She cared for her other grandson, Dionysus. When Hades kidnapped her granddaughter Persephone, Rhea went to stop Persephone's mother Demeter from crying. In the story of Pelops, she was reborn in the unlucky youth after he was killed.[5]

Later stories[change | change source]

Rhea and Aphrodite saved Creusa (the wife of Aphrodite's son Aeneas) from slavery after the fall of Troy. Rhea knew that the bodies of ships had been made from trees cut from her holy mountains, so she made the wood become sea nymphs.[6]

The man Melanion wanted to marry Atalanta, and Aphrodite, goddess of love, helped him do it. But Melanion forget to thank Aphrodite for her help. So Aphrodite made the couple have great passion for each other when they were near a temple of Rhea. The two then went to have sex inside the temple. This made Rhea very angry. Rhea turned them into lions.[7]

References[change | change source]

  1. ῥέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  2. Ῥέα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  3. Apollodorus, 1.1.3.
  4. Hesiod, Theogony 135; Gantz, p. 10.
  5. Hesiod, Theogony 459–467; Caldwell, p. 9; cf. Orphic frr. 200–204 Bernabe; Meisner, p. 36.
  6. Pausanias, 10.26.1.
  7. Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.681–707.