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I don't care what I must do or who I must kill. As long as my baby boy can survive and grow into his birthright, I will gladly kill them all.
Rhea.

Rhea is the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Ouranos in Greek mythology and sister and wife to Cronus.

Overview

Rhea is the Titan goddess of fertility, motherhood, comfort, and ease. She was the sister-wife of the Titan King Cronus and mother of the six Elder Olympians. She is known as "the mother of gods" and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right.

Rhea was seen as a mother goddess, especially following her identification with the Anatolian mother goddess Cybele; she was often referred to as "the mother of gods". Along with her mother Gaia and her daughter Demeter, she was an earth goddess.

Appearance

Rhea was described to be the most beautiful Titaness of all, with dark curly hair that swept her shoulders, eyes as green as meadows, and a smile that was brighter than the sun. Her beauty and charm were such that her brother Cronus fell hopelessly in love with her and married her despite knowing of the curse that Ouranos had placed on him.

During the battle against her father, she shifted her appearance to more battle readied in case of the worst. In this appearance, Rhea was a beautiful woman with long white hair with curls at the ends, that look like curling clouds. She had red eyes and is usually seen wearing a mature, serene expression, much calmer than that of her brothers. Rhea almost always kept her eyes closed.

In her human appearance, she dressed like a Libyan Queen of old: her gown swirled with red, black, and gold floral designs, and her long dark hair was crowned with a tiara that looked like a curved miniature ladder, two gold rails lined with rungs of silver. Rhea also looked like a benevolent queen, having a mature but stately face, a kind smile, and flashing gold eyes like a feline predator's. Another human appearance has her in tinted glasses that changed from orange to purple, and a silver-and-gold tiara in her braided hair. Her batik dress swirled with images of fern fronds, and her arms and hands were covered in henna tattoos. A macrame belt cinched her waist, and around her neck was a chain on which a brass peace symbol hung.

Personality

It is unknown what is her true personality, cause there is no one other than her children and siblings know of her true nature. According to both her children and good siblings, she is viewed by many as a loving and an ideal mother and sister, she is also a benevolent titan/goddess, just, faithful, loving, sympathetic, and compassionate, that all of her siblings, even her somewhat cruel husband Cronus, reveres and acknowledge her loving, mature, and patient natures.

Rhea is the sweetest and kindest of her all siblings. She is frequently very calm and able to put those who surround her at total ease. So much that even Gaia, her mother, put her in a high regard and respect. She is also more mature, understanding, patient, calm, compassionate, and benevolent than any goddess, more so than Artemis, Aphrodite, and even Hestia. She also among the goddesses to possess no vindictive nature, as she is only seen her loving and impartial natures.

As the Titaness of Motherhood, Rhea naturally adored babies and was shown to love all of her own children dearly. Her love for her children was what made her actually lose her temper for the first time, for witnessing Cronus brutally swallow them was too much for even her calm and gentle disposition to tolerate. As shown in the story, she loves her children very much, so much that she can no longer endure of the lost of her children in the hands of her cruel husband, that she choose to betray her brother/husband Cronus, by tricking him that the rock she place is the baby Zeus, and siding with her children, against Cronus.

During the war against their father and the subsequent beginning Golden Age, Rhea was more cold and somber, quiet and secretive. Entirely loyal to her husband and king, Cronus, Rhea never forgives those who offend the Titan King. Despite her stoic disposition, she loves her husband and always watches over him though her warmer side would soon return not that after their marriage.

As stated by Chiron despite the hundreds and thousand of years passing, Rhea has still retained a strong relationship with all six of her children. With Zeus and Poseidon having stated to occasionally argue about which one of them was most loved by their mother, hinting that they still love her greatly and fight over her affection.

Rhea passed certain aspects of her looks and personality on to her children:

  • Hestia inherited her warm, comforting personality and wise traits. Hestia was described as being most similar to her mother, with the only big difference being that Hestia never ever desired to become a mother herself and chose to remain an eternal virgin.
  • Hera inherited her bright "sunny" smile, gorgeous beauty, and protective maternal instincts.
  • Demeter inherited her love of animals.
  • Hades inherited her long shoulder-length black hair and tendency to hold long grudges (which she held against her husband though even that started to disappear).
  • Poseidon inherited her brilliant green eyes.
  • Zeus inherited her attitude of low tolerance, particularly of injustice.

Powers and Abilities

As an Elder Titan and mother of the six Elder Olympians, Rhea is certainly an extremely powerful force in her own right. However, she admitted that combat wasn't her specialty.

  • Titan Physiology: As A elder Titan, Rhea possess the traits, attributes and abilities of a Transcendent Being, existing in a state of being free from the constraints of the material world, even above the gods themselves. Like all Titans, Rhea has the ability to blast things hundreds of yards away from herself with a yell or a wave of the hand.
    • Divinity Shift: As a Titan (which is a greater god), Rhea has the ability to incinerate any being lesser than a deity, demon and angel only by using her true form.
  • Unlimited intelligence: Like her sons Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Rhea is very intelligent and possesses considerable strategic skills. She managed to trick Kronos (a master strategist) twice, although she had help and he was in a weakened state of mind. She gave useful advice to her children before and during the First Titan War. In The Hidden Oracle, Rhea gave good advice to Apollo regarding how to deal with his enemies.
    • Tongue of the Old Times: Rhea has perfect understanding and fluency in the ancient language that Gaia spoke to the Titan, the Elder Cyclopes, and the Hecatonchires before the birth of the Olympian gods.
  • Goddess of Fertility Physiology: As the Titaness of Fertility and Motherhood, Rhea is an adept at delivering newborn babies and raising children. She personally delivered all of her nieces and nephews. Besides this, an ability that she had presumably derived from this province is:
    • Reproduction Manipulation: She has the ability to freely alter and manipulate the process of reproduction. She gave birth to a more powerful and beautiful race of immortals than the Titans.
  • Serenity Inducement: As the Titaness of Comfort and Ease, Rhea has the ability to induce powerful feelings of tranquility in others, which she channeled through her aura. Her presence is sufficient to put everyone around her at total ease, including her powerful siblings and children. Her daughter Hestia inherited this power.
    • Mental Healing: She possesses the ability to heal mental shifts and illnesses. When her daughter Hera cursed her grandson Dionysus with madness, Rhea healed him without fail or issue.
    • Dream Communication: As shown in The Hidden Oracle, she has the ability to communicate with others through their dreams. Her first encounter with Apollo took place in his dream.
    • Persuasion: She has remarkable skills of persuasion, given how she managed to convince her eldest brother and nearly all the female Titans to either side with her children or stay out of their way during the Titanomachy.
  • Feline Manipulation: Rhea has an affinity for animals, particularly lions, who almost always accompany her. Kronos was wary of her before eating their children for this reason. In The Hidden Oracle, her lions seemed to possess some form of healing saliva, as Apollo's thoughts increasingly cleared as a lion licked his face and hair, though that could be due to their connection to her.

History

Theogony

Early Life

Rhea was the youngest daughter among the twelve Titan children, the eldest of the three races that was born to Gaia and Ouranos. All races were detested by their father, but he detested the younger children, the Elder Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires so much (mainly for their ugliness) that he imprisoned them in the terrifying abyss of Tartarus. Around this time very early in her life, a scared, young Rhea planted the Grove of Dodona, a stand of sacred oaks that could speak and issue prophecies occasionally.

Gaia, displeased with Ouranos imprisoning their children, asked her remaining children to help avenge their brothers and overthrow him. Rhea seemed shocked at the prospect of murdering her own father since she hadn't thought it possible to kill an primordial. Even after the concept was explained to her, she, her sisters and their eldest brother Oceanus, refused to participate.

Only Cronus was brave enough to take the sickle she had forged and attack his father. He supplanted him as king of the universe, and usher in an era of peace and prosperity for the Titans, which would later become known as the "Golden Age." As he had promised, Cronus released the Elder Cyclopes and Hecatonchires brothers from Tartarus. Believing everything was fine now, their mother decided to rest for many thousands of years.

Queen of Othrys

During the Golden Age, Rhea became the Titaness of Motherhood and always helped her sisters deliver and raise all of their children (Eos, Helios, Selene, Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, Leto, Perses, Metis and others). Rhea came to appreciate animals very much, though she favored lions, who pulled her golden chariot. Her kind and easy-going nature earned her the love of her entire family. She would frequently approach her clairvoyant siblings Phoebe and Coeus with questions about the future.

However, Rhea was the most beautiful Titaness of all, which quickly earned her the attention of Cronus himself. Since the Titan King refused to believe in their father's curse that he would be overpowered by one of his own children, he still initially vowed to not get married. However, after all eleven of his brothers and sisters got married and formed families, they no longer visited him. Despite he enjoy his authority and power, he got lonely and depressed. When his siblings claimed to be too busy, Cronus knew that the actual reason was their secret fear of his power and authority due to their playful "teasing" in his youth. As only Atlas and Metis standing by his side, the latter said to finally have a partner for himself. In the end, Cronus proposed to Rhea on Mount Othrys, to which she accepted.

Cronus and Rhea's wedding was held at Mount Orthys. Rhea had one bridesmaid, her sister Tethys. Cronus had one best man, his brother Hyperion who was the best to him in their youth. All the Titans were allowed to come. It was a beautiful day with a clear sky, blossoming flowers, and a waterfall behind them. Rhea's dress was made by the Elder Cyclopes and was a long white and red dress with a diamond sash. Her long, black hair was curled in a cascade of ringlets. She walked down a carpet of flowers. Her two loyal lions accompanied her at the reception, which was served with nectar and ambrosia.

Birth of the Olympians

The newlyweds enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon together. A few months later, Rhea gave birth to their first child: a beautiful little goddess named Hestia and later their second, a handsome little god named Hades. At first, Cronus vowed to be a good father and not to resemble Ouranos. However, the Titan King started to think about the curse and started to fear it would be truth. Unknown to all including Cronus and Rhea, the former was actually being tempted by the world's evils who constantly reminded him about the curse until Cronus had enough and went on to speak to his mother Gaia. While this was happening, Rhea spoiled her children though not far enough to be a problem, unknowing the cruel event that would soon happen.

Cronus return to his home paranoid as his mother informed that the curse was real. While trying to sleep through it, he couldn't take it anymore as he finally began to fear that his twin children would one day overthrow him. Getting up which worked up his wife, he went to his children sleeping and, much to Rhea's horror, gulp Hestia and then Hades right after. Rhea thought many plans to free her children, but she feared that would harm them in the process.

Trying to calm his wife, Cronus would give Rhea many gifts and invite her to magnificent dinners. She would give birth to two even more powerful, beautiful daughters (Demeter and Hera), and another strong, handsome son (Poseidon). As before, Cronus feared that any one of them might one day overpower him and swallowed all of them whole. Rhea pleaded with Cronus to spare their children but with no success, since even Cronus' undying love for Rhea wasn't enough to overpower his now fully paranoid nature.

Realizing she had another son but was unable to bare another loss, Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save him who advised her to give birth to her final child on the island of Crete and that he would save his other siblings. Claiming that Coeus advised her to do so, Rhea successfully departed for Crete. There, in a cave at the base of Mount Ida, Rhea gave birth to her sixth and final child, who she named Zeus. She gave her newborn son to the nine nymphs that attended his birth and returned to Mount Orthys. Using a huge smooth boulder from Gaia, Rhea deceived Cronus by wrapping the boulder up in swaddling clothes and pretending that it was her final child. As his body was struggling with the young gods inside himself (all of them had been growing undigested in Cronus' stomach, being powerful gods), Cronus swallowed the rock without even looking. Rhea would secretly visit Zeus on Crete and helped the nymphs to raise him. While he was growing, he suckled the milk of the magical goat Amaltheia.

Zeus Rescues His Siblings

When Zeus grew to adulthood, Rhea advised her son to turn into a larger version of himself as to fit with the other Titans. She took him to Cronus on Mount Othrys, where she introduced Zeus to him as a young divinity who wished to become his royal cup bearer. Cronus, who was very impressed by Zeus' excellent singing, dancing and joking skills, promptly hired him. Shortly thereafter, Zeus encouraged the Titans to participate in drinking contests, with the exception of most of the females including Metis. As the Titan King, Cronus would always win since he couldn't let his family overcome him in anything, not anymore since their youth. Cronus eventually began trusting Zeus, which is exactly what the latter was waiting for.

One evening when Cronus was dining together with his family, Zeus prepared a special set of drinks for them all. Before than the titaness Metis gave Zeus an idea to how both temporarily stun his father and disgorge his siblings. At her command, Zeus prepared nectar mixed with sleeping potion to Cronus' guests, while he prepared an extremely powerful emetic for Cronus himself. Near the end of the banquet, Zeus encouraged all of the Titans to have another drinking contest and handed out the prepared goblets.

As before, Cronus won the contest, but Zeus' emetic was so powerful, that it forced him to instantly disgorge most of the contents of his stomach, in reverse order of swallowing: first the boulder, then Hera, followed by Poseidon and finally Demeter. However, his two oldest siblings were still stuck within the Titan King. So Zeus picked up one of the weapons of the titans and literally cut Cronus' stomach open so Hades and Hestia could be free.

Zeus quickly introduced himself to his elder siblings and all of them plan to quickly escaped from Mount Othrys before the titans came to their senses. However, one of the titans attacked them after realizing what happened. It was Atlas, general of the Titans' armies, who refused to join in the drinking contest. He picked up his weapon and attack the six gods until he was stopped by Hades and Hestia (both of which got trained by entities that pluck their souls while their bodies remained, Death and Azrael trained Hades while Life trained Hestia) who used their powers to hold Atlas down which allowed them to escape.

In Zeus' Cave, at the base of Mount Ida, Rhea happily reunited with her children, tearfully embracing all of them individually. Shortly thereafter, all of her children accepted Zeus as their leader mainly because he saved them and reached a unanimous consensus on declaring war against their tyrannical father. Since they still had no weapons, Rhea advised them to release their Elder Cyclopes and Hecatonchires uncles, whom were kidnapped by Tartarus in disdain for escaping for the first time and Cronus didn't bother rescuing because of the noise they made and their stench. Her eldest son Hades agreed to lead them there.

Titanomachy

After returning from Tartarus with the freed Elder Cyclopes and Hecatonchires, the former of which gave Zeus thunder and lightning, which had previously been hidden by Gaia. all six of Rhea's children quickly declared war against their father and the other Titans. Shortly before the Titanomachy began, Rhea personally visited all of her nieces and nephews, convincing many of them to remain neutral in the upcoming conflict or help her children, though many refused and stood by their king side (which included Metis herself). Her eldest brother Oceanus remained neutral as well.

The resulting Titanomachy was utterly terrifying and lasted for 10 long years. The Titans initially had the upper hand in their battles with the gods, since they were well armed and much more experienced warriors and their armies. However, the gods quickly became skilled warriors as well, and with the help of their new extremely powerful weapons (Zeus' Master Bolt, Poseidon's Trident, and Hades' Helm of Darkness) and the aid of the Elder Cyclopes and Hecatonchires along with the armies of Hades that chose a new king in Hades (without anyone knowing, including Hades himself), the gods finally prevailed. During the final battle, Zeus and his siblings ascended to Mount Olympus (the tallest mountain in Greece after Mount Othrys), used his Master Bolt to shear off the top of Mount Othrys and hurl Cronus from his throne, which stun the Titan King, invading the ruins of Mount Othrys, and finally defeated the remaining Titans. Zeus proceeded to take his father's sharp Scythe and slice him into a thousand pieces just as the Titan Lord had done to Ouranos. He later punished Atlas by making him hold up the weight of the sky while the other Titans involved in the war were banished down to Tartarus.

Aftermath

After the Titanomachy, Rhea still retained a place of utter prominence in the new order, for she was able to make decisions regarding her children, who had become the new official rulers over certain sections of the cosmos. She planned a great celebration in which all the gods, pacifist Titans, nymphs and satyrs were invited. Rhea would then remain near her children should they ever wish to require her aid or guidance although she did not wish for her abode to be upon Olympus much to her children's disappointment. Regardless, she declared that her children and grandchildren will be under her watchful eyes and would aid them in any way they seek.

However, the defeat of the Titans caused Gaia to stir in her sleep and enraged that her own children had been banished to Tartarus even though she helped the gods for Rhea's sake. Gaia consulted with the lord of the pit and gave birth to a new set of children, the Gigantes.

Centuries latter, the jealous Hera cursed the then demigod Dionysus with madness, Rhea, then based in the land of Phrygia in Anatolia, found and healed her grandson, later instructing him in her religious rites.

Myths and Legends

Quotes

My mother is brilliant. Generous, intelligent, and kindly. I mean, not to brag, of course, but I will make sure she is praised among the gods. Not under house-arrest, because of a nuts shrew’s paranoia.
Hestia
Was that last week or last millennium? I've lost track.
Rhea to Apollo.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Apollo revealed that Rhea had always been something of a mystery among the gods. Even Zeus, who knew her best, didn't often speak of his mother.
  • She would lead the Olympians to becoming the main gods of the Greek people.
  • Rhea, a moon surrounding the planet Saturn (fittingly, as Saturn is the Roman name for Cronus) that was discovered in 1672, is named after her. It is also the ninth-largest moon in the Solar System.
  • Rhea, a species of flightless birds, is named after her.
  • Rhea shares numerous similarities with her daughter Hera:
    • Their names are anagrams of each other's names.
    • They are among the most beautiful deities (Rhea is the most beautiful Elder Titaness, while Hera is the most beautiful Elder Olympian).
    • They are both deities of motherhood.
    • They are both married to their brothers (Rhea married her brother Cronus, while Hera married her brother Zeus).
  • Rhea was identified with the Phrygian mother-goddess Cybele, whose cult shared several characteristics with that of Dionysus and was later moved to Rome in 204 BC.
  • She shares her name with Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus and Remus.
  • Her Roman name Ops translates into "riches, goods, abundance, gifts, munificence, plenty".
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