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.
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
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.View
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.View
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.View
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.View
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.View
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.View
“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.View