by Anya Leonard
The Genealogy of
Titans of Greek Mythology
Okay, today we are talking about
the Titans of Greek mythology.
Now, of course there are a lot of sources when it comes to
discussing ancient Greek 'mythology,' but we are going to use
Theogony, which is sort of like
the 'Bible' of the ancient Greek world.
So first, what is a Titan?
Titans are the
children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth).
According to Hesiod,
there were 12 original Titans:
As all Greek mythology
goes, the Titans have a pretty dramatic tale, filled with violence,
revenge and punishment… and it all started with mother earth (Gaia)
who encouraged her children to rebel against their father after he
had shut them up in the underworld (Tartarus).
The brothers and sisters
chose Cronus as their leader and once he had disposed Uranus, he
became ruler. This, however, did not last long.
Cronus, son Zeus,
rebelled against him and a 10 year battled ensued called the
The Titans lost and those
who sided with Cronus (his siblings) were thrown back into the
The Titanomachia as painted in
Fall of the Titans
Cornelis van Haarlem in 1588–1590
Perhaps surprisingly, the Titans are not pictured by Hesiod as evil
monsters who the gods fortunately overthrew… but a happy golden
race. This idea is continued by the Romans who saw Cronus as
Here is a breakdown of the original 12 Titans.
You'll notice some are
much more important than others…
She is the goddess of
derived from the same source as the word mnemonic, that
being the Greek word mnēmē, which means "remembrance,
Mnemosyne is the
mother of the nine Muses.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti's depiction of
Sister and wife of
Titan-god Oceanus, mother of the Potamoi and the Oceanids.
Tethys had no active role in Greek mythology and no established
Euryphaessa "wide-shining", her brother/consort is Hyperion, a
Titan and god of the sun, and together they are the parents of
Helios (the Sun), Selene (the Moon), and Eos (the Dawn).
She had two
daughters, Leto, who bore Apollo and Artemis, and Asteria, a
star-goddess who bore an only daughter, Hecate.
Given the meaning of
her name and her association with the Delphic oracle, Phoebe was
perhaps seen as the Titan goddess of prophecy and oracular
She is known as "the
mother of gods" and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia
and Cybele, who have similar functions.
The classical Greeks
saw her as the mother of the Olympian gods and goddesses, but
not as an Olympian goddess in her own right.
Statue of Rhea
She is described as
"[the Lady] of good counsel", and is the personification of
divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom.
Her symbols are the
Scales of Justice, tools used to remain balanced and pragmatic.
Believed by the
ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of
the sea, he is an enormous river encircling the world.
With his sister, the
Titaness Theia, Hyperion fathered Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon)
and Eos (Dawn).
depicting different times of day.
He played no active
part in Greek religion and appears only in lists of Titans.
Coeus was primarily important for his descendants.
He was the leader and
youngest of the first generation of Titans.
He overthrew his
father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he
was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus.
castrating his father Uranus
As the least
individualized among the Titans, he was overthrown in the
He was the father (by
an Oceanid named Clymene or Asia) of Atlas, Prometheus,
Epimetheus and Menoetius.
Iapetus is sometimes
thought as the progenitor of mankind, similar to Japheth (יֶפֶת),
the son of Noah, based on the similarity of their names and the