I was reading the page of Cronus on Theoi.com when I saw this passage, which talks about the fight between Zeus and Cronus:

Broadbeard Kronos fanned the flame of Enyo (War) as he cast icy spears against Kronion (Cronion) [Zeus], shooting his cold watery shafts: sharp pointed arrows of hail were shot from the sky. But Zeus armed himself with more fires than Helios (the Sun) and melted the petrified water with hotter sparks.

Why does Cronus have ice-related powers in this passage?

I never read about him having any relation with ice or water.

  • He's a titan. His powers aren't like fictional wizards in modern fantasy novels. He's a god!
    – cmw
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 1:41
  • My guess is that Nonnus is borrowing heavily from stories of Zeus' battle with Typhon. Some sources have Cronus as Typhon's father, so it stands to reason they shared powers.
    – yannis
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


The titans never really had specified "powers", per se. They were never worshipped as widely as the Olympians, and their role in mythology is mostly to be overthrown by their children. Since they were sealed beneath the earth by Zeus and his siblings, they also weren't really thought to be responsible for phenomena in day-to-day life, like how Zeus could be the cause of a storm or Artemis of a disease.

Now, Hesiod (and others in his tradition) did want to draw parallels between the titans and their children; it's been suggested that he made up some new titans to get their number up to 12. So it seems entirely plausible that some mythographer would have assigned them roles in the cosmos, with one of them being the titan equivalent of Zeus, another of Poseidon, and so on. But as far as I know, nobody ever did (at least not in a way that survives).

As a result, Cronus's powers are shaped by the need to have a dramatic struggle for kingship against his son. That's his main role in the entire mythos. You could perhaps think of him as a god of kingship, the divine representation of one dynasty being overthrown by another. Since Zeus's famous weapon is the thunderbolt, Nonnus decided to give Cronus similarly stormy armaments for the conflict, to emphasize the parallels between them.

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