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The Titans

The Two Types of Titans in Greek Mythology

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Themis carved by Chairestratos of Rhamnous - Dedicated to Themis by Megakles c. 300 B.C.

Themis at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece. Carved of Pentelic marble, by Chairestratos of Rhamnous - Dedicated to Themis by Megakles c. 300 B.C.

CC Flickr User Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Fall of the Titans, by Peter Paul Rubens (1637/8)

Fall of the Titans, by Peter Paul Rubens (1637/8)

Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikimedia.
Prometheus, Atlas, and Typhoeus (as pillar)

Prometheus, Atlas, and Typhoeus (as pillar). Laconic bowl c. 550 B.C.

CC Flickr User quapan

Titans As Giant Gods and Goddesses

Often counted among the gods and goddesses, there are two main groups of titans in Greek mythology. They come from different generations. The second generation is probably the one you're familiar with. They are depicted as humanoid, even if giant. The earlier ones are even bigger -- as large as is visible to the naked eye -- so it's no wonder titanic signifies exceptional size. This page introduces both, provides mates, and spheres of influence.

First Generation Titans of Greek Mythology

The titans in the first generation are the aunts, uncles, and parents of Zeus and company -- the well-known Olympian gods and goddesses). [See Genealogy of the First Gods.] These titans are the 12 children of the primordial personifications of the earth (Gaia) and the sky (Uranus). (Now do you see why I said the titans were really big?) Female titans may sometimes be distinguished from their brothers as titanides. This isn't perfect, though, since there is a Greek ending on this term that should be reserved for "the children of" the titans rather than "female version" of the same.

Here are the names and areas of first generation titans:

  1. Oceanus [Okeanos] - the ocean
    (father of nymphs)

     

  2. Coeus [Koios and Polos] - questioning
    (father of Leto & Asteria)

     

  3. Crius [Krios, probably Megamedes 'the great lord' [source: Theoi]]
    (father of Pallas, Astraeus, and Perses)

     

  4. Hyperion - light
    (father of sun-god, moon, dawn)

     

  5. Iapetus [Iapetos]
    (father of Prometheus, Atlas, and Epimetheus)

     

  6. Cronus [Kronos] (aka Saturn)

     

  7. Thea [Theia] - sight
    (Hyperion's mate)

     

  8. Rhea [Rheia]
    (Cronus and Rhea were the parents of the Olympian gods and goddesses)

     

  9. Themis - justice and order
    (Zeus' second consort, mother of the Hours, Fates)

     

  10. Mnemosyne - memory
    (mated with Zeus to produce the Muses)

     

  11. Phoebe - oracle, intellect [source: Theoi
    (Coeus' mate)

     

  12. Tethys
    (Ocean's mate)

The titans Cronus (#6 above) and Rhea (#8) are the parents of Zeus and the other Olympian gods and goddesses.

Besides the Olympian gods and goddesses, the titans produced other offspring, mating with either other titans or other creatures. These offspring are also called titans, but they're the titans of the second generation.

Second Generation Titans of Greek Mythology

Some of the children of the first generation titans are also referred to as titans. The major second generation titans are:

As for most aspects of mythology, Carlos Parada has an excellent page on the titans.

 

Also Known As: Ouraniônes, Ouranidai

Examples:

Dione, Phorcys, Anytus, and Demeter are sometimes added to the list of 12 titans: Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Cronus, Thea, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys.

You'll find titans in the following stories:

  • The castration of Ouranos,
  • The creation of man,
  • The fight with the gods, known as the Titanomachy, but often mixed up with the story of the gods' battle with the giants, and
  • The imprisonment of the titans in Tartarus.

 

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