Study Guide

The War of the Titans Uranus (Ouranos)

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Uranus (Ouranos)

Recap: Uranus is Gaia's first-born son, and also her husband. Don't ask why. He is usually thought of as representing Heaven, but in some stories he represents the sky instead. He is nearly as powerful as Gaia until Gaia has him castrated for imprisoning his children, after which he mostly drops out of the story. He is the father of the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Hecatonchires.

Character-wise, Uranus gets the short stick in this story. His primary job in the Theogony is to pop out kids and then play the role of the evil parent, fairy tale style.

If Hesiod's Theogony were a bestseller today, we might think it was kind of boring and uncool to give Uranus such a tiny role. But because ancient Greek poetry (the kind that Hesiod dealt with) was intended to be largely historical, we realize that the author was just trying to tell it how it happened. Sure, as a character, Uranus is pretty uninspiring, but we recognize that there's no way to make him more interesting without making stuff up. Maybe that's why modern adaptations of mythology are often only loosely based on the original myth.

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