Measures: 7 1/2" x 4" x 8" or 19.05 cm x 10.16 cm x 20.32 cm
Rhea is the Titaness daughter of
the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, in Greek mythology and sister and
wife to Cronus. In early traditions, she is known as "the mother of
gods" and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have
similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian
goddesses and gods, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right. The Romans
identified her with Magna Mater (their form of Cybele), and the Goddess Ops.
Cronus sired six children by Rhea: Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and
Zeus in that order, but swallowed them all as soon as they were born except
Zeus, since Cronus had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be
overcome by his own child as he had overthrown his own father. When Zeus was
about to be born, however, Rhea sought Uranus and Gaia to devise a plan to save
him, so that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus and
his own children. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a stone
wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed.
Then she hid Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete. According to varying versions
of the story:
1.He was then raised by Gaia,
2.He was suckled by his first cousin, a goat named Amalthea, while a company of
Kouretes, soldiers, or smaller gods, shouted and clashed their swords together
to make noise so that Cronus would not hear the baby's cry,
3.He was raised by a nymph named Adamanthea, who fed him goat milk. Since Cronus
ruled over the earth, the heavens, and the sea, Adamanthea hid him by dangling
him on a rope from a tree so he was suspended between earth, sea, and sky and
thus, invisible to his father.
Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge the other children in the reverse order in which
they had been swallowed, the oldest becoming the last, and youngest: first.
Then Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Gigantes, the Hecatonkheires, and
the Cyclopes, who gave him thunder and lightning, which had previously been
hidden by Gaia. Zeus and his siblings, together with the Gigantes,
Hecatonkheires, and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Similarly,
in later myths, Zeus would swallow Metis when she was pregnant with Athena,
because of a prophecy that said she would later give birth to one who would be
more glorious than the father. Athena was born unharmed, bursting out of his
head in full armor.