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Crete Mythology

The Birth of Zeus, and Europe’s Bullish Origins

Daedalus and Ikaros mosaic

So this is the basic story, but there’s plenty of food for thought here!

As Cronos (the Roman Saturn), the ruler of the world, had been warned that he would be usurped by his own child, he swallowed every baby his wife Rhea, daughter of the Earth, presented to him.

After this had happened five times, Rhea determined on a different fate for her sixth child, Zeus. When he was born she smuggled him to Crete and gave Cronos a swaddled stone to swallow instead. Mother Earth hid the baby in the Diktean Cave and set Cretan warriors called Kouretes to guard him and dance and drum on their shields to drown out his cries.

As prophesied, Zeus grew up and dethroned his father, and cut open his stomach to free his siblings.

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Sidelights and Myths

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by Daderot, Dosseman, Creative Commons License, Egisto Sani, MTSOfan, saamiblog