Kratos – Embodiment of Divine Strength in Greek Mythologyathena

The name Kratos resounds with the very essence of strength and might. In the pantheon of Greek mythology, his name stands as the personification of Strength itself, a Daemone whose tale is as compelling as it is awe-inspiring.

Kratos Key Facts

ParentsPallas and Styx
SiblingsNike, Bia, Zelus
Other namesNone
Roman namePotestas
The God ofStrength
SymbolsSword, Scales

Name and Etymology

The name “Kratos” is derived from the ancient Greek word “kratos,” which means “strength” or “power.” It’s a name that leaves no room for ambiguity, directly pointing to the deity’s primary attribute. In Roman mythology, he is known as Potestas, a name that similarly signifies power and authority.

Unlike other gods and Daemones, Kratos doesn’t have a plethora of epithets or alternative names. His identity is singular and focused, much like the concept he embodies. The name itself has become synonymous with unyielding force and indomitable will.

In the realm of etymology, Kratos is a straightforward figure. His name serves as a direct reflection of his nature, a linguistic mirror to his essence. Even today, the term “Kratos” is often used to describe something or someone possessing immense strength or power.

Henry Fuseli, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Kratos’ Origins

Born to Pallas and Styx, Kratos is a member of a rather unique family. His siblings—Nike (Victory), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal)—are also personifications of concepts, making them a family bound not just by blood but by the very fabric of existence itself.

There’s no elaborate tale surrounding Kratos’ birth. He emerged as a fully formed concept, a divine embodiment of strength. His existence is less about narrative and more about the essence of raw, untamed power.

As a Daemone, Kratos represents the spirit of strength in Greek mythology. He’s not just a character in stories but a living, breathing concept that influences the world and its events. His role is to serve as the muscle behind divine actions, often acting at the behest of greater gods like Zeus.

Kratos’ Relationships and Offspring

Kratos is a unique figure in that he doesn’t have any famous relationships or love interests. His essence is so focused on the concept of strength that there’s little room for romantic entanglements.

Similarly, he doesn’t have any offspring, either divine or mortal. His nature doesn’t lend itself to the creation of progeny, as his primary function is to embody the concept of strength in its purest form.

Depiction and Characteristics

Kratos is often depicted as a muscular, imposing figure, holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other. These symbols serve to underline his nature as the embodiment of strength and judgment.

His personality is as straightforward as his appearance. Kratos is not known for subtlety or nuance; he is strength incarnate, a being of action rather than words. His deeds in myths often involve enforcing the will of the gods, particularly Zeus, showcasing his role as a divine enforcer.

In terms of powers, Kratos possesses immense strength, befitting his status as its personification. He is often called upon to perform tasks requiring brute force, serving as the muscle in divine endeavors.

The symbols most commonly associated with Kratos are the sword and scales. The sword represents his martial prowess, while the scales signify the balance and judgment that strength must be paired with. These symbols encapsulate the dual nature of strength: as a force of both destruction and equilibrium.

Kratos’ Roles and Responsibilities

Kratos serves as the embodiment of strength, a concept that permeates every aspect of life and mythology. His primary role is to enforce the will of the gods, acting as a divine muscle in their grand designs.

He is often seen accompanying Zeus, the king of the gods, in various myths and stories. His presence serves to underline the authority and power that Zeus wields, acting as a physical manifestation of divine might.

Though not a major deity, Kratos’ role is crucial in the cosmic scheme of things. His existence serves as a constant reminder of the unyielding forces that govern the world, both divine and natural.

Myths about Kratos

While Kratos may not be the central figure in a plethora of myths, his presence is undeniably impactful in the tales where he does appear. One such myth that stands out is his role in the binding of Prometheus, the audacious Titan who stole fire from the gods to give to humanity.

The Binding of Prometheus

In this tale, Kratos is called upon to serve as the enforcer of divine justice. Alongside his sibling Bia, he aids Hephaestus in chaining Prometheus to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains. His role is not one of judgment but of execution, carrying out the will of Zeus with unwavering resolve.

Aeschylus, in his play “Prometheus Bound,” gives voice to Kratos as he says, “Strength is, in a word, obedient to Necessity.” This line encapsulates Kratos’ essence perfectly. He doesn’t question the morality or ethics of the gods’ decisions; his sole purpose is to enact their will with the full force of his strength.

The myth of Prometheus serves not just as a tale of divine retribution but also as a study in the nature of strength itself. Kratos’ role in the story is a physical manifestation of the unyielding, uncompromising force that strength can be, especially when wielded by the gods. His actions serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of defying divine authority, illustrating the inexorable might that backs the edicts of Olympus.

So, while Kratos may not have a starring role in the mythological narratives, his contributions are far from insignificant. He serves as a living embodiment of the concept he represents, making his presence felt in the most decisive of moments.

Kratos in Ancient Greek Religion

Kratos doesn’t have the widespread worship that major gods like Zeus or Athena, the goddess of wisdom enjoy. However, he is often invoked in the context of strength and power, particularly in martial settings.

There are no specific temples dedicated to Kratos, but he is often honored alongside other deities in temples dedicated to Zeus or Ares, the god of war. His essence is invoked in places where strength and might are valued, such as training grounds for warriors.

Nor does he have any festivals dedicated to him. However he is often invoked during times of war or conflict. Soldiers and warriors would pray to him for strength and courage, seeking to embody the very essence that Kratos represents.

Kratos and Bia helping Hephaestus binding Prometheus.
John Flaxman Jr., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mentions in Ancient Texts

Kratos’ presence in ancient texts, while not as extensive as some other gods or heroes, is still noteworthy for the depth it adds to his character and role in mythology. His most prominent appearance is in Aeschylus’ play “Prometheus Bound,” written in the 5th century BC. In this dramatic work, Kratos serves as a character who aids in the binding of Prometheus. Aeschylus gives Kratos lines that encapsulate his essence, such as when he declares, “Strength is, in a word, obedient to Necessity.” This quote serves as a vivid reminder of Kratos’ unwavering commitment to enacting the will of the gods.

Another significant mention of Kratos comes from Hesiod’s “Theogony,” an epic poem written around the 8th century BC that serves as one of the foundational texts of Greek mythology. In this work, Kratos is listed among the children of Pallas and Styx, The Goddess of the Underworld River, alongside his siblings Nike, Bia, and Zelus. While Hesiod doesn’t delve into detailed narratives about Kratos, his inclusion in “Theogony” establishes his divine lineage and sets the stage for his role as a Daemone personifying strength.

Apollodorus’ “Bibliotheca,” a comprehensive compilation of Greek myths and legends, also makes mention of Kratos, albeit briefly. Written in the 1st century BC, this text serves as a valuable resource for understanding the genealogy and roles of various gods and heroes. Kratos is cited as one of the divine forces that assisted in the binding of Prometheus, reinforcing his role as an enforcer of divine will.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does he personify?

Kratos is the personification of Strength in Greek mythology.

Does he have any famous relationships?

No, Kratos is unique in that he doesn’t have any famous relationships or love interests.

What are his symbols?

The sword and scales are the symbols most commonly associated with Kratos.

Is he a major god?

No, Kratos is a Daemone, a personification of a concept, rather than a major god.

Does he have any temples?

Kratos doesn’t have specific temples but is often honored in places dedicated to Zeus or Ares.

What is his Roman name?

In Roman mythology, Kratos is known as Potestas.

Featured Image Credit: George Romney, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Evangelia Hatzitsinidou is the creator and author of which has been merged with She has been writing about Greek Mythology for almost twenty years. A native to Greece, she teaches and lives just outside Athens.