Encyclopedia > Titan (mythology)

  Article Content

Titan (mythology)

In Greek mythology, the Titans (Greek Tιταν, plural Tιτανες) were the giant divine beings who preceded the Olympian gods. The genealogy of the gods given in Hesiod's Theogony names twelve Titans as children of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the Earth:
"afterwards she lay with Heaven and bore deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire."

Some of the offspring of the twelve are also counted as Titans, most notably the sons of Iapetus - Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, and Menoetius. The six female offspring (Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys) are also known as Titanesses (Greek Tιτανις, plural Tιτανιδες). They remained neutral during the Titan War, or Titanomachy.

The first children of Uranus and Gaia were the three Hecatonchires, who each had fifty heads and a hundred hands, and the three Cyclopes, who each had a single eye. After these came the twelve Titans. However, Uranus considered his early offspring monstrous, and imprisoned the Hecantochires and the Cyclopes. Furious, Gaia made overtures to the Titans to overthrow Uranus, to which only Cronus (the youngest) would listen. He lay in wait for his father with a sickle, and castrating him, took his place as ruler of the universe. Cronus had the help of the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, since he freed them from their imprisonment in Tartarus. After Uranus was deposed, however, Cronus returned the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes to Tartarus.

From the blood of Uranus, Gaia later brought forth the Gigantes, who were destroyed by the gods with the help of Heracles. His genitals also turned into the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite.

Cronus took over the crown of the world and the heavens and married his sister Rhea

Cronus had the habit of swallowing his own children right after their birth because his mother, Gaia had prophesied that one would eventually depose him as ruler of the universe in the same manner Cronus had taken over, by overthrowing his father. The last child was Zeus, whom Rhea protected by giving Cronus a stone wrapped in a baby's cloth to swallow.

Rhea hid the infant Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete. According to one version of the story, he was then raised by a goat named Amalthea. Koryvandes, a company of soldiers (or smaller gods) danced, shouted and clapped their hands to make noise so that Cronus would not hear the baby's cry. It was sometimes also said that he was nursed by a nymph named Adamanthea. Since Cronus ruled over the earth, the heavens and the sea, she hid him by dangling him on a rope from a tree so he was suspended between earth, sea and sky and thus, invisible to his father.

When he grew up, Zeus revolted against his father's tyranny. He won this war, the Battle of Titans, and set his brothers and sisters free by cutting his father's stomach open. He also rescued the Hecatonchires, Gigantes and Cyclopes from Tartarus; they helped him overthrow the Titans. The Cyclopes fashioned the lightning bolts Zeus was famous for. He shared the world with his elder brothers, Poseidon and Plouton (or Hades) after drawing lots: Zeus got the land, Poseidon the sea and Plouton the world of the shadows (the dead).

Various large things were named after the Titans, for example the RMS Titanic; see also Titan.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Northampton, Suffolk County, New York

... together, 20.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 23.4% are non-families. 20.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.7% have someone ...

This page was created in 34.8 ms