In Greek mythology, the Titans were a group of powerful, primordial deities who ruled the cosmos before the Olympian gods came to power. The Titans were the twelve children of the sky god Uranus and the earth goddess Gaia. They were part of the second generation of divine beings, succeeding the primordial deities and preceding the gods of Olympus.
The twelve Titans were:
- Oceanus: The Titan of the ocean.
- Tethys: The Titaness of freshwater and the wife of Oceanus.
- Hyperion: The Titan of light, father of the sun god Helios, the moon goddess Selene, and the dawn goddess Eos.
- Theia: The Titaness of sight and the shining light of the clear blue sky. She was the wife of Hyperion and mother to Helios, Selene, and Eos.
- Crius: The least individualized among the Titans, associated with the constellation Aries.
- Iapetus: Associated with the mortal lifespan, father of Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius.
- Coeus: Titan of intellect and the axis of heaven.
- Phoebe: Titaness of the “bright” intellect and prophecy, and consort of Coeus.
- Cronus: The leader of the Titans, who overthrew his father Uranus and was later overthrown by his own son, Zeus.
- Rhea: The Titaness of motherhood and fertility, wife to Cronus and mother of the first generation of Olympians.
- Themis: Titaness of divine law and order.
- Mnemosyne: Titaness of memory and remembrance.
The Titans played a key role in the creation myths of the Ancient Greeks. Cronus, having overthrown his father Uranus, became the ruler of the cosmos. However, after learning of a prophecy that he would be overthrown by one of his children, Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea, his wife, managed to save the youngest, Zeus, and had Cronus swallow a stone instead. Zeus grew up in secret, and eventually forced Cronus to disgorge his siblings, leading to a great war between the Titans and the Olympians. The Olympians emerged victorious, and the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus, the deepest part of the underworld.