Greek Gods

Greek Titans

The Titans were the first children of the primordial Greek deities Uranus and Gaia. Two of these Titans, Cronus and Rhea, became the parents of the original generation of Olympians, who overthrew the Titans, just as the Titans had overthrown Uranus before them.

Greek Titans Hero

Top Questions

  • Where did the Titans come from?

    The original twelve Titans were children of Gaia, the primordial goddess of the earth, and her consort Uranus, the primordial god of the sky. After Cronus, the youngest child, castrated and overthrew Uranus, the Titans briefly ruled the cosmos before being overthrown in turn by the Olympians. Some of the children of the original twelve Titans are occasionally also called “Titans.”

  • Were the Titans giants?

    Though the etymology of the Greek title “Titan” is uncertain, it did not originally describe the Titans’ size. It was only much later, in English and other modern languages, that “titan” came to mean “giant.” The Greek Titans were, however, much more powerful than ordinary mortals.

  • Did the Olympians kill the Titans?

    The Olympians defeated and overthrew the Titans in a decade-long war known as the Titanomachy. But because the Titans were immortal, the Olympians could not kill them. Instead, they cast those who had fought against them into Tartarus, the deepest and darkest part of the Underworld.

Overview

The Titans were immortal deities who ruled the cosmos before the Olympians. The original twelve Titans—the children of the primordial gods Gaia (earth) and Uranus (heaven)—assumed power by overthrowing their tyrannical father, only to become tyrants themselves.

Cronus, the youngest Titan, became king after usurping Uranus. Fearing a similar fate, he attempted to prevent any revolts against his own power by swallowing his children as soon as they were born. But Zeus, Cronus’ youngest son, managed to escape, and he eventually freed his siblings. Together, they waged a ten-year war against Cronus and the other Titans known as the Titanomachy. In the end, the Titans were defeated; most of them were imprisoned in Tartarus by the new gods, the Olympians—so called because they dwelled atop Mount Olympus.

The Titans included not only the original twelve children of Gaia and Uranus but also some of their descendants, such as Prometheus, Atlas, Metis, and Leto. Though they were sometimes represented as cruel in Greek mythology, the period during which the Titans ruled was nonetheless regarded as a Golden Age. Unlike the Olympians, however, the Titans were almost never worshiped in ancient Greece (an exception is Rhea, the mother of Zeus and the Olympians, who was sometimes worshiped as “Mother of the Gods” or “Great Mother”).

Explore the Titans of ancient Hellenic civilization below, including Cronus, Rhea, Prometheus, and more.

List of Greek Titans

  • Atlas

    Immensely strong Greek Titan known for carrying the world on his shoulders

    Atlas was a Greek Titan famed for his prodigious strength and endurance, condemned to shoulder the heavens for eternity. He once passed the burden of holding up the world to the hero Hercules, but was tricked into taking it back.

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    Atlas, Greek Titan (3x2)
  • Prometheus

    Wily Greek Titan who angered the gods by giving fire to mankind

    Prometheus, the son of Iapetus, was a quick-witted Greek Titan who sided with the Olympians in their war against his Titan brethren. For gifting fire to humanity, he was sentenced to eternal torment by Zeus, but was eventually saved by the hero Heracles.

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    Prometheus Bound
  • Cronus

    Titan who overthrew his father to rule the cosmos

    Cronus was the youngest of the Greek Titans, best remembered for dethroning his father Uranus. He became a tyrant, however, devouring his own children until he was finally usurped by his youngest son, Zeus.

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    Cronus, Greek Titan (3x2)
  • Coeus

    Inquisitive Greek Titan and grandfather to the Olympians Apollo and Artemis

    Coeus, a Greek Titan whose name meant “inquiry,” was grandfather to the Olympians Apollo and Artemis. After he and the other Titans were banished to Tartarus, Coeus led an escape attempt, but he was ultimately driven back by Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld.

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  • Crius

    The “ram”—an obscure Greek Titan who fathered numerous gods

    Crius was a Greek Titan whose name, the “ram,” signaled strength and virility. Little is known about him; he is best remembered for his children and grandchildren, including the goddesses Hecate and Nike and the monstrous creature Scylla.

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  • Hyperion

    The “high one”—Greek Titan who fathered the gods of the sun, moon, and dawn

    Hyperion was a Greek Titan who, along with most of his siblings, fought for the right to rule the cosmos but lost to the Olympians. Rarely mentioned in myths, he is best known for fathering the gods of the sun, moon, and dawn.

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  • Iapetus

    Powerful Greek Titan who fathered Atlas and Prometheus

    Iapetus was one of the original Greek Titans who fought (unsuccessfully) against the Olympians in the Titanomachy. He fathered several well-known mythological figures, including Atlas, Prometheus, and Epimetheus.

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  • Oceanus

    Greek Titan who embodied all the waters of the world

    The Greek Titan Oceanus personified the enormous expanses of water that spanned the world. As patron of all things within the sea, he was generally viewed as a benevolent deity, a fatherly figure, and a giver of life.

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  • Rhea

    Mother of the Olympians who helped dethrone her husband Cronus

    Rhea was a Greek Titan and mother of the Olympian gods. After her husband Cronus consumed their first five children, she saved her sixth baby, Zeus, by giving Cronus a stone to swallow instead.

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  • Mnemosyne

    Inspirational Greek Titan known as the divine source of all memory

    Mnemosyne was a Greek Titan associated with memory and divine inspiration. She and her daughters, the Muses, were often called upon to elevate speeches, poems, and memorials.

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  • Phoebe

    Greek Titan and grandmother to Apollo and Artemis

    Phoebe was a Greek Titan better known for her descendants than for her own exploits. Her daughter Leto went on to have an affair with Zeus and gave birth to the powerful Olympians Apollo and Artemis.

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  • Tethys

    Greek Titan known for her maternal nature, with over three thousand children

    Tethys was a Greek Titan associated with water and motherhood. She had thousands of children with her husband Oceanus, some of whom went on to marry or give birth to gods themselves.

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  • Theia

    Greek Titan who gave birth to the gods of the sun, moon, and dawn

    Theia was one of the Greek Titans who fought against the Olympians in their celestial war, the Titanomachy. She married her brother Hyperion and eventually gave birth to the gods of the sun, the moon, and the dawn.

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  • Themis

    “Lady Justice”—Greek Titan who embodied the concepts of justice and fairness

    Themis was a Greek Titan most famous for embodying the concept of justice. Unlike the other Titans, she sided with the Olympians in their celestial war with her brethren. Today, her image survives as “Lady Justice,” wearing a chiton (a kind of tunic) and holding a set of balanced scales.

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