Titans in Greek mythology

(ORDO NEWS) — So, today we will talk about the titans in Greek mythology.

Of course, there are many sources when it comes to ancient Greek mythology, but we will use Hesiod’s Theogony, which is sort of the Bible of the ancient Greek world.

So, first, what is titanium? The Titans are the children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). According to Hesiod, there were 12 original titans: the brothers Oceanus, Kosei, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Kronos and the sisters Thea, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys.

Like all Greek mythology, the history of the Titans is quite dramatic, full of violence, revenge and punishment… It all started with mother earth (Gaia), who encouraged her children to rebel against their father after he imprisoned them in the underworld (Tartar ).

The brothers and sisters chose Kronos as their leader and, having got rid of Uranus, he became the ruler.

However, this did not last long. Kronos’ son Zeus rebelled against him, and a 10-year battle began, called the Titanomachy. The Titans lost, and those who sided with Kronos (his brothers and sisters) were thrown back into the underworld, Tartarus.

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Titanomachy in the painting “The Fall of the Titans”, painted by Cornelis van Haarlem in 1588-1590

Perhaps surprisingly, Hesiod portrayed the Titans not as malevolent monsters whom the gods luckily overthrew… but as a happy golden race. This idea was continued by the Romans, who considered Kronos to be Saturn.

Here is a list of the original 12 Titans. You will notice that some of them are much more important than others…

  1. Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory. The word “Mnemosyne” comes from the same source as the word “mnemonics”, that is, from the Greek word mnēmē, which means “remembrance, memory”. Mnemosyne is the mother of the nine muses.
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Depiction of Mnemosyne by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

2. Tethys – sister and wife of the titan-god of the Ocean, mother of Potamoy and Oceanids. Tethys did not play an active role in Greek mythology and had no established cults.

3. Theia – also called Euryphaessa “broadly shining”, her brother/husband is Hyperion, titan and god of the sun, and together they are the parents of Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn).

4. Phoebe – She had two daughters, Leto, who gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, and Asteria, the star goddess, who gave birth to her only daughter, Hekate. Given the significance of her name and connection to the Delphic Oracle, Phoebe may have been seen as a Titanic goddess of prophecy and oracular intelligence.

5. Rhea – She is known as the “mother of the gods” and is therefore strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks considered her the mother of the Olympian gods and goddesses, but not as an independent Olympian goddess.

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Rhea statue

6. Themis – She is described as the “[Mistress] of good counsel” and is the personification of divine order, justice, law, natural law and custom. Its symbol is the scales of justice, tools used to maintain balance and pragmatism.

7. Oceanus – the ancient Greeks and Romans considered him the divine personification of the sea, he is a huge river encircling the whole world.

8. Hyperion – together with his sister, the Titanide Theia, Hyperion became the father of Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn).

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Three children depicting different times of the day

9. Koes – did not play an active role in the Greek religion and appears only in the lists of titans. Koes was important above all for his descendants.

10. Kronos – He was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of titans. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus.

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Kronos castrates his father Ouranos

11. Crius – as the least individualized among the titans, was overthrown during the titanomachy.

12. Iapetus – He was the father (from an oceanid named Clymene or Asia) of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menetius. Iapetus is sometimes considered the progenitor of mankind, like Japheth (יֶפֶת), the son of Noah, based on the similarity of their names and tradition.

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