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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Rhea

Mythic, worshipped in ancient Greece, dates vary, beginning circa 1600 B.C.E.

Rhea was a Greek earth goddess, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, mother to Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus. Her brother and husband, Cronus, castrated Uranus and he and Rhea became king and queen of the gods. Fearing that his own children would do to him what he had done to his father, Cronus ate all of his offspring except Zeus, who was hidden away by Rhea. When Zeus was grown, he dethroned Cronus and forced him to disgorge all of his children in the reverse order in which he had swallowed them. Rhea’s symbols are the moon, the swan, and two lions.

Francisco de Goya. Saturn (Cronus) Devouring his Son, 1819. Museo del Prado, Madrid

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