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.”
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.
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 best known for carrying the world on his shoulders
Inquisitive Greek Titan and grandfather to the Olympians Apollo and Artemis
The “ram”—an obscure Greek Titan who fathered numerous gods
Youngest of the first Greek Titans, who overthrew his father to rule the cosmos
The “high one”—Greek Titan who fathered the gods of the sun, moon, and dawn
Powerful Greek Titan who fathered Atlas and Prometheus
Inspirational Greek Titan known as the divine source of all memory
Greek Titan who embodied all the waters of the world
Greek Titan and grandmother to Apollo and Artemis
Wily Greek Titan who first gave fire to mankind, angering the gods
Mother of the Olympians who helped dethrone her husband Cronus
Greek Titan known for her maternal nature, with over three thousand children
Greek Titan who gave birth to the gods of the sun, moon, and dawn
“Lady Justice”—Greek Titan who embodied the concepts of justice and fairness