Kratos is an interesting figure in Greek mythology. It is largely agreed that he is a god of strength and power, but there are conflicting stories about almost everything else about him. There are two competing versions of his parentage, each of which changes his relation to the other gods.
The Son of Titans
In many myths, Kratos is referred to as the son of the Titans Pallas and Styx. This would make Kratos a relative of the Olympian gods, but not one of their direct number. He is often referred to as the brother of several other figures that represent strength and battle – Nike, the goddess of victory, Bia, the goddess of force and violence, and Zelus, the god of zeal.
In this form, Kratos is seen as a companion of Zeus and the guardian of his throne. He is usually one of Zeus’ primary enforcers and is an extension of his will.
The Son of Zeus
In a few other myths, Kratos is seen as one of Zeus‘ many children. Rather than being one of Zeus’ peers, he is a demigod, the son of Zeus and an unnamed mortal woman. This form of his history is relatively uncommon, but it does crop up enough to be important.
Kratos and Prometheus
Regardless of Kratos’ origin, the (demi)god doesn’t show up in many of the Greek myths. Because he is not one of the gods with a major domain, he is usually seen as a servant of another god and called upon in conjunction with one of his siblings. In fact, Kratos’ best known appearance in myth also involves his sister Bia.
After Prometheus steals fire from the gods, he is sentenced to be bound to a rock and tortured for all of eternity. Bia and Kratos use chains that are forged by the smith god Hephaestus to chain the captive Titan, acting as agents of Zeus’ vengeance. While this is his only role in the story, it is perhaps his most important appearance in Greek myth.
Kratos does not appear often in the same way that other gods appeared. Instead, his name is usually called upon by other characters to help them in times of need. Kratos is generally called upon with Bia and Nike in battle, but he was also sometimes called upon with Dike, a god of justice.
Kratos’ role as a god of strength and power wasn’t just limited the battlefield, but he is usually identified with violence. He is one of many Greek gods who seem to exist as more of an idea than as a character in the myths, and it’s not that uncommon to see his name without ever seeing his character appear.
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