Rhea (in Ancient Greek: Ῥέα) is the mother of the Greek gods, queen of the Titans, daughter to Gaea and Ouranos. Rhea was the wife to Kronos and mother to Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon, and Zeus. Her Roman form is Ops.
Rhea was a Titaness born to Gaea and Ouranos. Kronos, Rhea's Titan brother and husband, castrated their father, Ouranos. After this, Kronos re-imprisoned the Hekatonkheires, the Gigantes and the Cyclopes, and set the monster Kampê to guard them. He and Rhea took the throne as King and Queen of the Titans. This time was called the Golden Age.Kronos sired six children by Rhea in the exact order: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus but swallowed most of them as soon as they were born, since he had learned from the Oracle that he was destined to be overcome by one of his own children as he had overthrown his own father.
When Zeus was about to be born, however, Rhea sought out Gaea to devise a plan to save him, so that Kronos would get his retribution for his acts against Ouranos and his own children. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Kronos a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed.
Zeus forced his father Kronos to disgorge his siblings in reverse order of swallowing: first the stone, which was set down at Pytho under the glens of Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, then the rest. In some versions, Zeus and Rhea concocted a potion and gave it to Kronos to make him to disgorge the babies or Zeus cut Kronos' stomach open. Then Zeus released the brothers of Kronos: the Gigantes, the Hekatonkheires, and the Cyclopes, who gave him thunder and lightning, which had previously been hidden by Gaea. Zeus and his siblings, together with the Gigantes, Hekatonkheires, and Cyclopes overthrew Kronos and the other Titans.
After the first war it's commonly said that Rhea made some demands to be kept as queen of gods and to have a throne in Mount Olympus. Zeus promtptly refused all of them and outraged she ran, with her hounds, to the woods, close to Mt. Othrys. Beyond that, nothing is known.
Most often Rhea's symbol is a pair of lions, the ones that pulled her celestial chariot, and were seen often, rampant, one on either side of the gateways through the walls to many cities in the ancient world. The one at Mycenae is most characteristic, with the lions placed on either side of a pillar that symbolizes the Titaness.
It is unknown what happened to Rhea after the war, but it can be assumed that like any immortal she is still alive. She seems to have managed to keep out of her husband's Second War.
It would appear that she keeps in touch with her children, and they have a mutual love. Chiron mentions her when talking about Zeus and Poseidon quarreling, one of their usual arguments involves which one of them she liked better.
- A moon of Saturn is named after Rhea. It is the ninth-largest moon in the Solar System.
- Rhea's daughter Hera's name is an anagram of hers.
- Rhea, a species of flightless birds, is named after her.