- Pronunciation: TIE-ten
- Origin: Greece
- Number: 12
- Parents: Gaea and Uranus
Who Is Titan?
Titan is a term for a member of a powerful race found in Greek mythology. The Titans ruled the world before the Olympians. They were immortal and possessed incredible strength. They were knowledgeable in old religious rituals and magic. They were also known as the Elder Gods. The Titans lived at Mount Othrys.
There were two generations of Titans, which the first being the one mostly associated with the term “Titans”. The first generation were the children of Gaea and Uranus. There were six males and six females, including Coeus, Cronus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Oceanus, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themis, and Tethys.
The siblings came to power after throwing their father from his throne. While they ruled over Greece, several consorted with each other and gave birth to another generation of Titans.
According to Greek mythology, there was only Chaos and Void throughout the entire universe. But Gaia followed Chaos, along with Eros. Gaia eventually gave birth to Uranus. The gods continued to consort with one another, giving birth to other gods, including Erebus, Nyx, and Okeanos. Eventually, Gaia and Uranus consorted with each other and from them the twelve Titans were born. All famous Greek gods can be traced back to the Titans and the original gods before them.
Legends and Stories
There are virtually countless stories about the Titans and those who were closest to them. Here is the most famous, which tells how they came into power under their father.
In Greek mythology, the Titanomachy is a well-known war that took place between the Titans and the Olympian gods (lead by Zeus). The war lasted for an incredible ten years. The outcome is easy to assume, as the Olympian gods, like Zeus, are some of the most powerful and recognizable gods in all of mythology.
When the Titans reigned over the Earth, Uranus was the ruler. But he was far from kind. He upset is wife by condemning several of their children, the Cyclopes, and the Hecatonchires to Tartarus. Gaea eventually reached her breaking point and constructed a giant sickle. She commanded her children to castrate their father and overthrow him from the throne. Cronus agreed to help and planned the attack with his mother. The plan worked and Uranus’ was castrated. His blood fell to the earth and three sets of children were born from it, including the Meliae, the Erinyes, and the Gigantes. Some of his blood fell into the sea and the goddess Aphrodite formed from it.
Cronus took over the throne but Uranus told him that his own sons would attack him and overthrow him. Cronus turned into a paranoid god, just like his father had been, and threw his brothers back into Tartarus. He also ate his own children to prevent the prophecy from coming true. Cronus’ wife, Rhea, tricks her husband and saves one of their children, Zeus. Zeus is kept safe while he grows. When he is old enough and strong enough, he tricks his father into drinking a concoction that makes him vomit. Zeus’ siblings are vomited out one by one. Zeus gathers them and convinces them that they need to overthrow their father.
This is the start of Titanomachy. The Hectonchires and the Cyclopes joined in the fight. The Hectonchires threw rocks at the Titans while the Cyclopes created thunderbolts for Zeus.
The Olympians won the war. All of the Titans, except for Prometheus and Themis, were jailed in Tartarus. Zeus and his two brothers, Hades and Poseidon, divided the universe between them. Zeus became the king of the sky while Poseidon oversaw the seas. Hades became the ruler of the Underworld. This all symbolizes the beginning of a new era in Greek Mythology.
Here are brief descriptions of some of the most well-known Titans.
Cronus was the leader and youngest of the Titans. He was eventually overthrown by his sons in a similar manner as to how he overthrew his own father from the throne. Some myths say that he was forever imprisoned in Tartarus with his siblings while other myths say that he was sent to rule Elysian Fields after the giant war.
Rhea served as the mother of gods. She is known as the mother of the Olympian branch of gods and goddesses in Greek texts. She was their physical mother but never permanently lived with them.
Themis was known as the embodiment of law, custom, and divine order. She was often described by her followers as a Titan “of good counsel”. Her name translates into “law of nature” and she was always involved in organizing events between gods and humans.
Oceanus was associated with the ocean waters. He was usually shown as a strong muscular man with a long beard and horns. Because of his association with the seas, his bottom half is usually that of a serpent.
Mnemosyne is the personification of memory in Greek mythology. She was the mother of the Nine Muses, who were conceived with Zeus.
Tethys was the aquatic sea goddess and the wife of Oceanus. She is the mother of the chief rivers, the Nile, the Maeaner, and the Alpheus, along with approximately 3,000 daughters, referred to as the Oceanids.
Hyperion was often called the “Sun High-One”. He was mentioned several times in Homer and Hesiod.
This Titaness ruled the sun and can be found in several myths, some of them dating to the Classical antiquity era.
Coeus and Phoebe
Coeus is consistently listed as one of the Titans but he does not actively appear in any myths or aspects of the Greek religion. He was known as the Titan of wisdom and considered to be one of the smartest Titans. He consorted with his sister Phoebe and together they had Leto and Asteria. Leto would become the mother of Artemis and Apollo, Zeus’ twins. Phoebe was often associated with the moon and was an oracle for some time.