So Ouranos was castrated by Kronos and Titans.

When that happened, why didn't the sky just collapse?

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    Yeah, according to what I'm seeing on Theoi, Kronos overthrew Ouranos and castrated him, but didn't kill him. theoi.com/Protogenos/Ouranos.html – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Aug 22 '16 at 10:23
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    @Yannis I suppose it would depend what part of Ouranos the sky was balanced on... – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Aug 23 '16 at 11:13
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    @cybermike - Some translations of Hesiod seem to use flint, but it looks like the word "ἀδάμαντος" is used there, which would seem to point to "adamant" being valid. Why isn't it? – femtoRgon Aug 24 '16 at 20:46
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    The argument would be because it is euphemistic (such is the case with several archaic words). Now that you mention it though, I do recall the term in Hesiod you are referring to, so your point is fair. – DukeZhou Aug 24 '16 at 21:10
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    There are other classical references to castration by use of a flint sickle, for instance certain cults of Artemis, but now I'm thinking I should go back and look at what terms specifically are used in those referents, as it's been a while since I've researched this particular topic. – DukeZhou Aug 24 '16 at 21:12

The castration is taken as a metaphor for the transfer of power from the old generation to the new. It is not a voluntary relinquishing of power.

Ouranous actually is the sky, in the same way that Gaia is the literal earth. His name means "sky". You can look for a parallel with the Norse Ymir, where they use his body parts to create the universe.

Castration is generally viewed as a curtailing of power, thus the act is symbolic of transfer of power to the next generation.

Note: Kronos is popularly believed to mean "time", which is interesting because time is, in some sense, a function of distance, which requires matter and space. (i.e. He is the son of the sky and the earth, void and matter.)

However, there is also an argument that Kronos derives from the Indo-European root for "cut".

Regardless of the "true" origin, which must always be obscure, name meanings are very important in Greek Mythology.

  • I may avoid answering mythology questions in the future if people are going to vote me down for explaining things. (I do have a degree in this field.) – DukeZhou Aug 24 '16 at 13:15
  • someone probably downvoted it because they didn't think it was not really an answer. I gave it an upvote, because i thought it was interesting – bleh Aug 24 '16 at 13:33
  • Yeah lol. It was sort of a weird question, but a good one. I noticed a reference (I forget where now) someone made between Ouranos and the Egyptian Nut en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nut_(goddess) re: "She was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth". I didn't have time to review the relationship, so I omitted that part in the formal answer. – DukeZhou Aug 24 '16 at 13:46
  • (I do notice that many people on Stack are extraordinarily literally minded, possibly because they are techs. However, many of the issues raised in the Humanities communities are sort of fuzzy, and often there is not s direct answer. In other words, on subjects such as this, providing context is actually the only legitimate answer.) – DukeZhou Aug 24 '16 at 14:27
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    (This is sort of undercut by the thermodynamic conception of time, but) Thomas Mann explains it better than I ever could: librariesproject.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/… – DukeZhou Aug 24 '16 at 21:20

On a different metaphoric level, the myth also signifies that creation/procreation specifically between Gaia and Ouranos was terminated. Thus there would be no further macro-elements to the universe. Heaven's 'dynamism' thereby curtailed, other micro-elements (like wind, stars, sun, moon, aether, etc.) were free to develop without the direct/paternal/procreative influence of Ouranos. Ouranos was, in a sense, creatively marginalized.


I believe that when Kronos 'castarated' Ouranos, he destroyed his human-like appearance so that he could no longer appear on Earth to assert himself as a king. Kronos just exiled him into the air. He's not dead, per se, he would now be just a dome over the earth.

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