The Greek God Uranus (Ouranos): Facts & Symbol

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Flint Johnson

Flint has tutored mathematics through precalculus, science, and English and has taught college history. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow

This lesson discusses the background of the Greek God Uranus, or Ouranos. We'll explain his function in the Greek pantheon, as well as his symbolism as the original male.

The Myth of Uranus and Gaea

In Greek Mythology, Gaea, or the name for Mother Earth, existed at the beginning of time as a carryover of the Great Goddess religion. In that role, she gave birth to Uranus, the sky and her lover. Each night, Uranus would wrap himself around Gaea and mate with her. As a result, Gaea would occasionally give birth to children. First, there were the six boys and six girls who were called the Titans. This was followed by the Hekatonkheires and the Cyclopes. Uranus hated them all, so he imprisoned them in Tartarus, a prison deep in the earth. There they caused their mother great pain. To ease it, Gaea made a blade of flint and begged her sons to castrate Uranus so that he would have no more power over them. Cronus (also spelled Kronos and Cronos), the youngest Titan, finally agreed to do it. Thereafter, Uranus no longer wrapped himself around Gaea at night; he only stayed in the heavens, and Cronus became the leader of the gods. He brought his siblings up from Tartarus and allowed them to rule with him.

Castration wasn't the end of Uranus' life-giving powers, though. When the blood from his genitals dripped onto the earth, it gave birth to the giants, the Erinyes or furies, and the nymphs. His genitals fell into the ocean and created Aphrodite.

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  • 0:02 The Myth of Uranus and Gaea
  • 1:18 Legacy of Uranus
  • 1:55 Uranus as a Symbol
  • 2:20 Lesson Summary
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