Web Theoi
KRATOS
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Name Translation
Κρατος Kratos, Cratus Potestas Strength, Might,
Power (kratos)

KRATOS (or Cratus) was the god or daimon of strength, might, power and sovereign rule. He and his siblings, Nike (Victory), Bia (Force) and Zelos (Rivalry), were the winged enforcers of Zeus, angel-like beings who stood in attendance of the heavenly throne.

PARENTS
PALLAS & STYX (Hesiod Theogony 383, Apollodorus 1.9, Hyginus Preface)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

CRATOS (Kratos), the personification of strength, is described as a son of Pallas and Styx. (Hes. Theog. 385; Aeschyl. Prom. init.; Apollod. i. 2. § 4.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Hesiod, Theogony 383 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And Styx the daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus) was joined to Pallas and bare Zelos (Zelus, Emulation) and trim-ankled Nike (Victory) in the house. Also she brought forth Kratos (Cratus, Strength) and Bia (Force), wonderful children. These have no house apart from Zeus, nor any dwelling nor path except that wherein God leads them, but they dwell always with Zeus the loud-thunderer. For so did Styx the deathless daughter of Okeanos plan on that day when the Olympian Lightener called all the deathless gods to great Olympos, and said that whosoever of the gods would fight with him against the Titanes, he would not cast him out from his rights, but each should have the office which he had before amongst the deathless gods. And he declared that he who was without office and rights as is just. So deathless Styx came first to Olympos with her children through the wit of her dear father. And Zeus honoured her, and gave her very great gifts, for her he appointed to be the great oath of the gods, and her children to live with him always. And as he promised, so he performed fully unto them all."

Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 244 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[Elektra addresses Orestes as he prepares to avenge their murdered father:] ‘May Kratos (Cratus, Might) and Dike (Justice), with Zeus, supreme over all, in the third place, lend you their aid!’"

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 1 ff :
"[Enter Kratos (Cratus, Power) and Bia (Force), bringing with them Prometheus captive, and Hephaistos.]
Kratos: To earth's remotest limit we come, to the Skythian land, an untrodden solitude. And now, Hephaistos, yours is the charge to observe the mandates laid upon you by the Father [Zeus]--to clamp this miscreant [the Titan Prometheus] upon the high craggy rocks in shackles of binding adamant that cannot be broken. For your own flower, flashing fire, source of all arts, he has purloined and bestowed upon mortal creatures. Such is his offence; for this he is bound to make requital to the gods, so that he may learn to bear with the sovereignty of Zeus and cease his man-loving ways.
Hephaistos: Kratos (Power) and Bia (Force), for you indeed the behest of Zeus is now fulfilled, and nothing remains to stop you. But for me--I do not have the nerve myself to bind with force a kindred god upon this rocky cleft assailed by cruel winter. Yet, come what may, I am constrained to summon courage to this deed; for it is perilous to disregard the commandments of the Father . . .
Kratos: Well, why delay and excite pity in vain? Why do you not detest a god most hateful to the gods, since he has betrayed your prerogative to mortals?
Hephaistos: A strangely potent tie is kinship, and companionship as well.
Kratos: I agree; yet to refuse to obey the commands of the Father; is this possible? Do you not fear that more?
Hephaistos: Yes, you are ever pitiless and steeped in insolence.
Kratos: Yes, for it does not good to bemoan this fellow. Stop wasting your labor at an unprofitable task.
Hephaistos: Oh handicraft that I hate so much!
Kratos: Why hate it? Since in truth your craft is in no way to blame for these present troubles.
Hephaistos: Nevertheless, i wish it had fallen to another's lot!
Kratos: Every job is troublesome except to be the commander of gods; no one is free except Zeus.
Hephaistos: I know it by this task; I cannot deny it.
Kratos: Hurry then to cast the fetters about him, so that the Father does not see you loitering.
Hephaistos: Well, there then! The bands are ready, as you may see.
Kratos: Cast them about his wrists and with might strike with your hammer; rivet him to the rocks.
Hephaistos: There! The work is getting done and not improperly.
Kratos: Strike harder, clamp him tight, leave nothing loose; for he is wondrously clever at finding a way even out of desperate straits.
Hephaistos: This arm, at least, is fixed permanently.
Kratos: Now rivet this one too and securely, so that he may learn, for all his cleverness, that he is a fool compared to Zeus.
Hephaistos: None but he could justly blame my work.
Kratos: Now drive the adamantine wedge's stubborn edge straight through his chest with your full force.
Hephaistos: Alas, Prometheus, I groan for your sufferings.
Kratos: What! Shrinking again and groaning over the enemies of Zeus? Take care, so that the day does not come when you shall grieve for yourself.
Hephaistos: You see a spectacle grievous for eyes to behold.
Kratos: I see this man getting his deserts. Come, cast the girths about his sides.
Hephaistos: I must do this; spare me your needless ordering.
Kratos: Indeed, I'll order you, yes and more--I'll hound you on. Get down below, and ring his legs by force.
Hephaistos: There now! The work's done and without much labor.
Kratos: Now hammer the piercing fetters with your full force; for the appraiser of our work is severe.
Hephaistos: The utterance of your tongue matches your looks.
Kratos: Be softhearted then, but do not attack my stubborn will and my harsh mood.
Hephaistos: Let us be gone, since he has got the fetters on his limbs. [Exit.]
Kratos: There now, indulge your insolence, keep on wresting from the gods their honors to give them to creatures of a day. Are mortals able to lighten your load of sorrow? Falsely the gods call you Prometheus, for you yourself need forethought to free yourself from this handiwork.
[Exeunt Kratos and Bia.]"

Plato, Protagoras 321d (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"Prometheus [wishing to steal fire from heaven for man] could not make so free as to enter the citadel which is the dwelling-place of Zeus, and moreover the guards of Zeus were terrible [i.e. Kratos and Bia]: but he entered unobserved the building shared by Athena and Hephaistos for the pursuit of their arts, and stealing Hephaistos's fiery art and all Athena's also he gave them to man."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 9 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Nike, Kratos (Cratus), Zelos (Zelus), and Bia were born to Pallas and Styx. Zeus instituted and oath to be sworn by the waters of Styx that flowed from a rock in Hades' realm, an honor granted in return for the help she and her children gave him against the Titanes."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Pallas the giant and Styx [were born]: Scylla, Vis [Bia, Force], Invidia [Zelos, Jealousy], Potestas [Kratos, Power], Victoria [Nike, Victory]."


Sources:

  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Plato, Protagoras - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.