Greek Titan

Crius

Crius was a Greek Titan whose name, the “ram,” signaled strength and virility. Little is known about him; he is best remembered for his children and grandchildren, including the goddesses Hecate and Nike and the monstrous creature Scylla.

Top Questions

  • Whom did Crius marry?

    Crius married Eurybia, a goddess associated with the sea.

  • What happened to Crius after the Titanomachy?

    Crius, along with the other Titans, was presumably banished to Tartarus after losing the Titanomachy (the war against the Olympians).

Overview

Crius was one of the first Titans in Greek mythology and the offspring of Gaia and Uranus. An obscure figure, he was best known for fathering the wind god Astraeus as well as the fiery and warlike brothers Pallas and Perses. Crius joined forces with the other Titans in the cataclysmic war against the Olympians known as the Titanomachy. Following their defeat, Crius and his brethren were consigned to the dark realm of Tartarus for all eternity.

Etymology

The name “Crius” is the ancient Greek word for “ram” (krios). Scholars have suggested several possible etymologies for the name, including the Indo-European *kerh-s- (“horn"), the Germanic *kroi-no- (“reindeer”), and certain Balto-Slavic words meaning “curved” (the Lithuanian kredīvas or kraīvas, the Greek skolios, etc.).[1]

Pronunciation

  • English
    Greek
    CriusΚριός (translit. Krios)
  • Phonetic
    IPA
    [KRAHY-uhs]/ˈkraɪ əs/

Attributes

Crius’ association with the ram suggests a figure of masculine strength and virility. However, his relative absence from the Greek texts makes it difficult to confirm these attributes.

Family

Crius was among the first generation of Titans—those born to mother Gaia, the personification of the earth, and father Uranus, the incarnation of the heavens. This primordial union brought forth not only Crius but also  CoeusCronusHyperionIapetusOceanusMnemosynePhoebeTethysTheaThemis, and Rhea. Crius has monstrous siblings as well, including the one-eyed Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, who had one-hundred hands each.

Crius married his half-sister Eurybia, the daughter of Gaia and Pontus (a primordial personification of the seas). Together they had three sons: Astraeus, whose name (“the starry one”) connected him with the heavens; Perses, whose name meant “to ravage” or “to sack;” and Pallas, who was associated with war and strategy.

Terracotta Bell Krater Bowl Nike 5th Century BCE The Met

Terracotta bowl from the 5th century BCE depicting the winged Nike, the goddess of victory and the granddaughter of Crius.

The Metropolitan Museum of ArtPublic Domain

Crius’s sons eventually blessed him with a number of grandchildren. Astraeus, for example, fathered several children with the dawn goddess Eos; Perses fathered Hecate, a goddess associated with boundaries, crossroads, and liminality; and Pallas, together with Styx (an Oceanid known for patrolling the river between the worlds of the living and the dead), had Zelos (“Rivalry”), Nike (“Victory”), Kratos (“Strength”), and Bia (“Force”).

Family Tree

Mythology

Crius was a mysterious figure rarely mentioned in Greek mythology. What few appearances he did have established him as the husband of the sea deity Eurybia and the father of Astraeus, Perses, and Pallas. As Hesiod writes in his Theogony: “And Eurybia, bright goddess, was joined in love to Crius and bare great Astraeus, and Pallas, and Perses who also was eminent among all men in wisdom.”[2]

Pop Culture

Despite his relative obscurity, Crius has made appearances in several modern adaptations of Greek mythology. He can be found in an episode of the television show Xena: Warrior Princess and was featured in Rick Riordan’s The Last Olympian, the final installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series. In the novel, Krios (an alternate name for Crius) defends the Titans’ base as they mount their final assault on Manhattan. Crius was also featured as the protagonist of the 1962 Italian film Arrivano i titani, or The Coming of the Titans.

References

Notes

  1. Robert S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 781.

  2. Hesiod, Theogony 355–57, translated by H. G. Evelyn-White.

Primary Sources

Greek

  • Hesiod: Crius’ genealogy is outlined in the seventh-century BCE epic the Theogony.

  • Aeschylus: A fifth-century BCE tragedy by Aeschylus, Prometheus Unbound, had a chorus of freed Titans which may have included Crius; unfortunately this work has been lost.

Mythological Handbooks (Greek and Roman)

  • Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History: a work of universal history, covering events from the creation of the cosmos to Diodorus’ own time (mid-first century BCE). Contains references to Crius and rationalized accounts of the myth of the Titans.

  • Apollodorus, Library: a mythological handbook from the first century BCE or the first few centuries CE with references to Crius.

  • Hyginus, Fabulae: A Latin mythological handbook (first or second century CE) with references to Crius.

Secondary Sources

Citation

Kapach, Avi. “Crius.” Mythopedia, November 18, 2022. https://mythopedia.com/topics/crius.

Kapach, Avi. “Crius.” Mythopedia, 18 Nov. 2022. https://mythopedia.com/topics/crius. Accessed on 23 Nov. 2022.

Kapach, A. (2022, November 18). Crius. Mythopedia. https://mythopedia.com/topics/crius

Authors

  • Avi Kapach

    Avi Kapach is a writer, scholar, and educator who received his PhD in Classics from Brown University

    Avi Kapach Profile Photo