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Who are the Titans in Greek Mythology?

Janelle Barowski, Mary Deering
  • Author
    Janelle Barowski

    Janelle is a tutor for Nursing and Health Administration. She has an Associate's degree in Nursing from Middlesex College. She also has a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Nursing Administration and Leadership from Western Governors University. She currently is a practicing pediatric and geriatric nurse.

  • Instructor
    Mary Deering

    Mary has a Master's Degree in History with 18 advanced hours in Government. She has taught college History and Government courses.

Who are the Titans in Greek mythology? How many Titans were there and how were they created? See a description of the mythical Titans and their relation to Olympians. Updated: 08/21/2021

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Origin of the Titans

At the dawn of creation, there was nothing. Khaos was the first primordial god to be brought into existence. Khaos was the chasm of space between heaven and earth. She began the creation of the universe, and not long after, the other primordial gods began to come into existence.

The three gods who followed were:

  • Gaea, the goddess of Earth
  • Tartarus, the god of the deepest pit in the Underworld
  • and Eros, the god of love and procreation.

Not long after Gaea was created, she gave birth by herself to Uranus, the god of the sky. Together, these primordial gods birthed the Titans and were the leaders of the cosmos before the Olympians.

Who are the Greek Titans in mythology? The Titans were the pre-Olympian gods who ruled the cosmos in ancient Greek mythology before the Titanomachy War. They were giant, immortal deities and considered the first generational gods born from the primordial gods, Uranus and Gaea. They ruled from Mount Orthys, and each god had its realm to rule over. The Titans were the first generation of divine gods.

There were twelve major Greek Titans in mythology:

  • Oceanus
  • Coeus
  • Crius
  • Hyperion
  • Iapetus
  • Cronus
  • Thea
  • Rhea
  • Themis
  • Mnemosyne
  • Phoebe
  • and Tethys.

Tethys and Oceanus were two Titans who ruled over the water.

Tethys

The Titans

Where are the mythical Titans from and how were the Titans created? How many Titans were there? Are the mythical Titans gods? This lesson will cover all this in detail.

Because there are twelve ancient Titans, salient Gods born to Gaea and Uranus soon after creation, it is best to list them and their attributes.

  • Oceanus was an ocean god who ruled over the salt waters with his wife Tethys, as well as the Oceanus River, a mythical river encircling the world.
  • Coeus was the god of intelligence and the father of Leto, a fertility goddess. He ruled over the North axis of the Earth, where the constellations would revolve around.
  • Crius was the god who ruled over the constellations in Heaven, including Aries. He was also associated with the length of time in a year, which was signified with a change in the constellations.
  • Hyperion was the Titan who ruled over light. He was associated with the sun, dawn, and the moon. He is also associated with the time measured by the change in light.
  • Iapetus was the Titan who was linked to the lifespan of mortals, and mortality. He was the father of Prometheus and Epimetheus, the creators of all animals and men on Earth. Prometheus would give fire to man in secrecy, angering Zeus.
  • Cronus was the ruling Titan after he overthrew his father, Uranus. He was then overthrown by his son, Zeus, and the Olympians. He was considered the god of time.
  • Thea was the Titan goddess of light and sight. She is credited with aiding humans with their vision.
  • Rhea was the wife of Cronus and the queen of the cosmos when they overthrew Uranus and Gaea. She was the goddess of fertility and women. She was the mother of Zeus and the other Titans.
  • Themis was the Titan associated with justice, tradition, and order. She was also associated with two important oracles- Dodona and Delphi.
  • Mnemosyne was the divine goddess of memory and language. She was a prophet as well.
  • Phoebe was another prophetic goddess, and the grandmother of Apollo. She was associated with the oracle of Delphi.
  • Tethys was the goddess of fresh water and wife to Oceanus. She was the mother to all creatures of the water and was known for her nurturing instincts.

The Titans were ruled by Gaea and Uranus for many years, though Uranus was a cruel father and ruler. He imprisoned his other children, the cyclops and the Hecatoncheires because he considered them to be loathsome behemoths.

Gaea, distraught that her children were imprisoned in Tartarus, the deepest pit in Hades, enlisted the help of Cronus and the other Titans to overthrow Uranus.

Finally, Cronos agreed and snuck into where Uranus was sleeping one night. The other Titans held Uranus down while Cronos castrated his father with a sickle that was provided by Gaea.

Uranus, immortal, was wounded and transferred his rein to Cronos and his wife, Rhea. Before he left, Uranus prophesied that Cronos would be overthrown by his children, perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Cronos and Rhea would go on to give birth to Zeus, and the other eleven Olympian gods. These powerful gods would rule after the Titans were overthrown during the Titanomachy War.

The Titans versus the Olympians

Cronos, the god of time, and Rhea, the goddess of fertility, ruled over the cosmos and the other Greek Titans. They gave birth to twelve divine gods of their own, who would come to be known as the Olympians.

Zeus was the leader of the Olympian gods and ruler of the cosmos.

Zeus

The twelve Olympian gods were:

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a god and a Titan?

A Titan is a type of god, but a group of gods that ruled before the more well-known Olympian gods.

Is Zeus a Titan?

Zeus is not a Titan. Zeus is an Olympian god, which was the generation of gods who ruled after the Titans.

What is the difference between a Titan and a God?

A Titan is a type of god, but a group of gods that ruled before the more well-known Olympian gods.

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