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"Titaness goddess of female fertility , motherhood and generation
Member of the "Titans
""Rhéa présentant une pierre emmaillotée à Cronos dessin du bas-relief d'un autel romain.jpg
Rhea presenting Cronus the stone wrapped in cloth.
Personal information
Consort "Cronus
Offspring "Poseidon, "Hades, "Demeter, "Hestia, "Hera, "Zeus
Parents "Uranus and "Gaia
Roman equivalent "Ops, "Magna Mater

Rhea ("/ˈrə/; "Greek: Ῥέα "[r̥é.a͜a]) is a character in "Greek mythology, the "Titaness daughter of the earth goddess "Gaia and the sky god "Uranus as well as 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 gods and goddesses, 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.



Rhea or "Cybele, drawing of a marble relief (1888)

Most ancient etymologists derived Rhea (Ῥέα) by "metathesis from ἔρα "ground",[1] although a tradition embodied in "Plato[2] and in "Chrysippus[3] connected the word with ῥέω (rheo), "flow", "discharge",[4] which is what "LSJ supports.[5] Alternatively, the name Rhea may be connected with words for the "pomegranate, ῥόα, later ῥοιά.

The name Rhea may ultimately derive from a "pre-Greek or "Minoan source.[6][7][8]

Genealogy and myth[edit]

According to "Hesiod, "Cronus sired six children by Rhea: "Hestia, "Demeter, "Hera, "Hades, "Poseidon, and "Zeus in that order.[9] Gaia and "Uranus told Cronus that just as he had overthrown his own father, he was destined to be overcome by his own child; so as each of his children was born, Cronus swallowed them. Rhea, Uranus and Gaia devised a plan to save the last of them, Zeus. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in "Crete, and gave Cronus a stone wrapped in "swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed; Rhea hid her infant son Zeus in a cave on "Mount Ida. Her attendants, the warrior-like "Kouretes and "Dactyls, acted as a bodyguard for the infant Zeus, helping to conceal his whereabouts from his father. According to Plato, "Phorcys, Cronus and Rhea were the eldest children of "Oceanus and "Tethys.[10]


Rhea had "no strong local cult or identifiable activity under her control".[11] She was originally worshiped in the island of "Crete, identified in mythology as the site of Zeus's infancy and upbringing. Her cults employed rhythmic, raucous chants and dances, accompanied by the "tympanon (a wide, handheld drum), to provoke a religious ecstasy. Her priests impersonated her mythical attendants, the Curetes and Dactyls, with a clashing of bronze shields and cymbals.[11] The tympanon's use in Rhea's rites may have been the source for its use in "Cybele's – in historical times, the resemblances between the two goddesses were so marked that some Greeks regarded Cybele as their own Rhea, who had deserted her original home on Mount Ida in Crete and fled to Mount Ida in the wilds of Phrygia to escape Cronus.[12] A reverse view was expressed by Virgil,[13] and it is probably true that cultural contacts with the mainland brought Cybele to Crete, where she was transformed into Rhea or identified with an existing local goddess and her rites.


Rhea rides on a lion, Pergamon Altar, "Pergamon Museum, "Berlin

Rhea only appears in Greek art from the fourth century BC, when her iconography draws on that of "Cybele; the two therefore, often are indistinguishable;[14] both can be shown on a throne flanked by "lions, riding a lion, or on a "chariot drawn by two lions. In "Roman religion, her counterpart Cybele was "Magna Mater deorum Idaea, who was brought to Rome and was identified in "Roman mythology as an ancestral Trojan deity. On a functional level, Rhea was thought equivalent to Roman "Ops or Opis.

Depiction in ancient literature[edit]

In "Homer, Rhea is the mother of the gods, although not a universal mother like "Cybele, the "Phrygian "Great Mother, with whom she was later identified.

In the "Argonautica by "Apollonius of Rhodes, the fusion of Rhea and Phrygian Cybele is complete. "Upon the Mother depend the winds, the ocean, the whole earth beneath the snowy seat of Olympus; whenever she leaves the mountains and climbs to the great vault of heaven, Zeus himself, the son of "Cronus, makes way, and all the other immortal gods likewise make way for the dread goddess," the seer "Mopsus tells Jason in "Argonautica; Jason climbed to the sanctuary high on "Mount Dindymon to offer sacrifice and libations to placate the goddess, so that the Argonauts might continue on their way. For her "temenos they wrought an image of the goddess, a "xoanon, from a vine-stump. There "they called upon the mother of Dindymon, mistress of all, the dweller in Phrygia, and with her "Titias and "Kyllenos who alone of the many "Cretan Daktyls of Ida are called 'guiders of destiny' and 'those who sit beside the Idaean Mother'." They leapt and danced in their armour: "For this reason the Phrygians still worship Rhea with tambourines and drums".[15]


Descendants of Cronus and Rhea [16]
Uranus' genitals "Cronus RHEA
"Zeus "Hera "Poseidon "Hades "Demeter "Hestia
    a [17]
     b [18]
"Ares "Hephaestus
"Athena [19]
"Apollo "Artemis
    a [20]      b [21]

Modern namesakes[edit]

The name of the bird species "Rhea is derived from the goddess name Rhea.[22]

The "second largest moon of the planet "Saturn is named after her.


  1. ^ N. Hopkinson. "Rhea in Callimachus' Hymn to Zeus". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 104 (1984:176–177; the evidence was marshalled by O. Gruppe, Griechische Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte, Munich, 1906, vol. II: 1524, col. II.
  2. ^ Plato. Cratylus 402b–c.
  3. ^ Chrysippus, Stoic 2.318
  4. ^ ῥέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  5. ^ Ῥέα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  6. ^ "Rhea - Greek goddess". "Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  7. ^ Nilsson, Martin Persson (1 January 1950). "The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion". Biblo & Tannen Publishers – via Google Books. 
  8. ^ "Rhea was a broad: Pre-Hellenic Greek myths for post-Hellenic children". Children's Literature in Education. 12: 171–176. "doi:10.1007/BF01142761. 
  9. ^ "Hesiod, "Theogony 453 ff..
  10. ^ Plato. Timaeus 40e. Translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1925.
  11. ^ a b Roller, Lynn E., In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, University of California Press, 1999. p. 171.
  12. ^ Roller, Lynn E., In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, University of California Press, 1999. p. 171. See also "Strabo. Geography, 469, 12.
  13. ^ "Virgil. Aeneid, iii.
  14. ^ Roller, Lynn E., In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, University of California Press, 1999. p. 171. "ISBN "9780520210240
  15. ^ (Apollonius of Rhodes), Richard Hunter, tr., 1993. Jason and the Golden Fleece (Oxford: Clarendon Press), Book II, p. 29f.
  16. ^ This chart is based upon "Hesiod's "Theogony, unless otherwise noted.
  17. ^ According to "Homer, "Iliad 1.570–579, 14.338, "Odyssey 8.312, Hephaestus was apparently the son of Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
  18. ^ According to "Hesiod, "Theogony 927–929, Hephaestus was produced by Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
  19. ^ According to "Hesiod, "Theogony 886–890, of Zeus' children by his seven wives, Athena was the first to be conceived, but the last to be born; Zeus impregnated Metis then swallowed her, later Zeus himself gave birth to Athena "from his head", see Gantz, pp. 51–52, 83–84.
  20. ^ According to "Hesiod, "Theogony 183–200, Aphrodite was born from Uranus' severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
  21. ^ According to "Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus ("Iliad 3.374, 20.105; "Odyssey 8.308, 320) and Dione ("Iliad 5.370–71), see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
  22. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Lesser Rhea: Rhea pinnata, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg Archived 2011-10-04 at the "Wayback Machine.


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