In Greek mythology, the Titans (Greek: Τιτάν - Ti-tan; plural:
Τιτᾶνες - Ti-tânes) were a race of powerful deities,
descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the
legendary Golden Age.
In the first generation of twelve Titans the males were
Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Cronus, Crius and Iapetus and the
females were Mnemosyne, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, Rhea and
Themis. The second generation of Titans consisted of
Hyperion's children Eos, Helios, and Selene; Coeus's daughters
Leto and Asteria; Iapetus's sons Atlas, Prometheus,
Epimetheus, and Menoetius; and Crius's sons Astraeus, Pallas,
1. This name commonly appears in the plural Τιτᾶνες, from
Τιτανίδες, as the name of the sons and daughters of Uranus
and Ge, whence they are also called Οὐρανίωνες or Οὐρανίδαι.
(Hom. Il. 5.898; Apollon. 2.1232.) These Titans are Oceanus,
Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Cronus, Theia, Rheia,
Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys, to whom Apollodorus
(1.1.3) adds Dione. (Hes. Theog. 133, &c.) Some writers also
add Phorcys and Demeter. (Heyne, ad Apollod. 1.1.1; Clemens,
Homil. 6.2.) Stephanus of Byzantium (s. v. Ἄσανα) has the
following as the names of the children of Uranus and Ge :
Adanus, Ostasus, Andes, Cronus, Rhea, Iapetus, Olymbrus; and
Pausanias (8.37.3) mentions a Titan Anytus, who was believed
to have brought up the Arcadian Despoena. Uranus, the first
ruler of the world, threw his sons, the Hecatoncheires,
Briareus, Cottys, Gyes (Hes. Theog. 617), and the Cyclopes,
Arges, Steropes, and Brontes, into Tartarus. Gaea, indignant
at this, persuaded the Titans to rise against their father,
and gave to Cronus an adamantine sickle (ἅρπη). They did as
their mother bade them, with the exception of Oceanus.
Cronus, with his sickle, unmanned his father, and threw the
part into the sea, and out of the drops of his blood there
arose the Erinnyes, Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera. The
Titans then deposed Uranus, liberated their brothers who had
been cast into Tartarus, and raised Cronus to the throne.
But he again threw the Cyclopes into Tartarus, and married
his sister Rhea (Ovid, Ov. Met. 9.497, calls her Ops). As,
however, he had been foretold by Gaea and Uranus, that he
should be dethroned by one of his own children, he, after
their birth, swallowed successively his children Hestia,
Demeter, Hera, Pluto and Poseidon. Rhea therefore, when she
was pregnant with Zeus. went to Crete, gave birth to the
child in the Dictaean Cave, and entrusted him to be brought
up to the Curetes, and the daughters of Melissus, the nymphs
Adrasteia and Ida. The armed Curetes guarded the infant in
the cave, and struck their shields with their spears, that
Cronus might not hear the voice of the child. Rhea,
moreover, deceived Cronus by giving him a stone wrapped up
in cloth, which he swallowed, believing it to be his newly-
born son. (Apollod. 1. §§ 1-5; Ov. Fast. 4.179, &c.) When
Zeus had grown up he availed himself of the assistance of
Thetis, the daughter of Oceanus who gave to Cronus a potion
which caused him to bring up the stone and the children he
had swallowed. United with his brothers and sisters, Zeus
now began the contest against Cronus and the ruling Titans.
This contest (usually called the Titanomachia), which was
carried on in Thessaly, the Titans occupying Mount Othrys,
and the sons of Cronus Mount Olympus, lasted for ten years,
when at length Gaea promised victory to Zeus, if he would
deliver the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires from Tartarus. Zeus
accordingly slew Campe, who guarded the Cyclopes, and the
latter furnished him with thunder and lightning, Pluto wave
him a helmet, and Poseidon a trident. The Titans then were
overcome, and hurled down into a cavity below Tartarus (Hom.
Il. 14.279; Hes. Theog. 697, 851 ; Hom. Hymn. in Apoll. 335
; Paus. 8.37.3), and the Hecatoncheires were set to guard
them. (Hom. Il. 8.479; Hes. Theog. 617, &c.; Apollod.
1.2.1.) It must be observed that the fight of the Titans is
sometimes confounded by ancient writers with the fight of
the Gigantes. 2. The name Titans is also given to those
divine or semi-divine beings who were descended from the
Titans, such as Prometheus, Hecate (Hes. Theog. 424 ; Serv.
ad Aen. 4.511), Latona (Ov. Met. 6.346), Pyrrha (1.395), and
especially Helios and Selene (Mene), as the children of
Hyperion and Theia, and even the descendants of Helios, such
as Circe. (Serv. ad Aen. 4.119, 6.725 ; Schol. ad Apollon.
Rhod. 4.54; Ov. Fast. 1.617, 4.943, Met. 3.173, 14.382; Tib.
4.1. 50.) 3. The name Titans, lastly, is given to certain
tribes of men from whom all mankind is descended. Thus the
ancient city of Cnosos in Crete is said to have originally
been inhabited by Titans, who were hostile to Zeus, but were
driven away by Pan with the fearful sounds of his shell-
trumpet. (Hom. Hymn. in Apoll. 336 ; Diod. 3.57, 5.66 ;
Orph. Hymn. 36. 2 ; comp. Höck, Creta, p. 171, &c.; Lobeck,
Aglaoph. p. 763; Völcker, Mythol. des Iapet. Geschl. p. 280,
[L.S] - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and
mythology, William Smith, Ed.