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Greek Mythology Titans, Cyclopes and Giants

The Greek Mythology Titans appeared after Gaia, Mother Earth, lay with her son Uranus and through the union, 18 children were born:

  • 3 Giants - Cottus, Briareus and Gyges. Each of them had 50 head and 100 arms. They will become the mightiest of Gaia's children where even the Titans and Olympians fear them.
  • 3 Cyclopes - Brontes, Sterops and Arges. Each had only one eye, but their enormous size and strong limbs more than made up for it.
  • 12 Titans - There were 6 sons and 6 daughters. The daughters are:
    • Theia , the early goddess of light
    • Rhea , an earth goddess who would become the mother of the Olympian gods
    • Themis , another earth goddess
    • Mnemosyne , personification of memory
    • Phoebe , an early moon goddess
    • Tethys , personification of the fertile ocean

    The sons were named:

    • Oceanus , the eldest of the Titans and god of the primordial river and river itself
    • Coeus , who would become the father of Leto.
    • Crius , who would become the fater Astraeus
    • Hyperion , an early god of the sun
    • Iapetus , who would become the father of Prometheus
    • Cronus , the youngest and most daring of the twelve Titans, who would revolt against Uranus.
After the birth of his chidren, Uranus became fearful of their strength and power. He did not want to give up his power. So, as soon as Gaia had given birth to one of these chidren, Uranus would throw the baby back into Gaia's womb. Gaia was very uncomfortable with all her already-born children still stuck in her womb. When she couldn't endure it anymore, she hatched a plan to end the passions of Uranus so that no more children could be produced.

Castrating Uranus

Gaia needed the help of one of her children, but only one responded, it was Cronus, her youngest child Titan. She gave Cronus a sharp adamantine sickle. Cronus hid and waited for his father to arrive. When Uranus came at night to lay with Gaia, Cronus struck by surprise. Seizing his fahter's genitals in his left hand, he sliced it off with the sickle on this right hand. He then tossed the organ into the sea.

The organ covered with blood splattered over Gaia. From the blood, more children were born:

  • Enrinyes (Furies) - Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megara. The avengers of wrong, who avenge perjury and crimes against one's own family
  • Giants - Born in full armour and with spears in their arms. Also known as Gigantes (monstrous giants).
  • Meliae - The "Ash Tree Nymphs" who would inhabit the forest of Greece.

According to Hesiod, the organs bobbing in the sea gave rise to white foam. From the foam, Aphrodite (means "out of white foam"), the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture arise. Naked and riding on a scallop shell, the sea carried her to Cythera island or Cyprus.

Naturally, Uranus was furious at Cronus and all his children. He cursed them with the name "Titans" which means "Overreachers".

Cronus Reign

After the Titans were freed, they made Cronus the their king and also freed the Cyclopes and Giants brothers from Tartarus. However, Cronus wasn't as kind a ruler either, before long he once again threw the Cyclopes and Giants back to dungeons in Tartarus.

The 12 Titans were still free and eight of them married and had children:

  • Theia and Hyperion - Gave birth to the sun (Helius) and two daughters Selene (the moon) and Eos (the dawn)
  • Phoebe and Coeus - Had two daughers - Leto and Asteria
  • Oceanus and Tethys - Associated with the seas. Their offspring include 3,000 rivers and 3,000 female Ocenanids
  • Cronus and Rhea - The father and mother of the gods produced six children. Three daughers - Hestia, Demeter, and Hera and three sons - Hades, Poseidon and Zeus, who would soon be gods on Mount Olumpus.

As Cronus ruled the immortals, he was even more a tyrant than Uranus. He feared that the Gaia and Uranus' prophecy that he would one day be overthrown by his own son. To prevent this, he swallowed all his newborn whole as soon as they were born, so that they could do no harm.

Rhea, grieving for the lost of her children, pleaded with her parents Gaia and Uranus when she conceived her sixth child, Zeus. They sent Rhea to Lyktos in Crete and when she gave birth to Zeus, she gave him to Gaia who hid him in a cave in Mount Dicte and nourished him. Meanwhile, Rhea returned to Cronus giving him a large stone wrapped in swaddling clothes. Cronus thinking that it was the newborn, swalloned the stone.

Zeus Battle Against the Titans

When Zeus grew up into a young man, he travelled to the oceans and sought the help of Metis, a wise Oceanid. Metis gave him an emetic potion. Zeus returned and disguised as Cronus' cupbearer he gave Cronus the drink. After Crounus drank the potion, he threw up all his children, including the stone he swallowed.

Once Zeus was in control, he battled the nearly invincible Titans with the help of his siblings. The combat continued for 10 years but a stalemate resulted.

Gaia foretold that Zeus can only win if they had the help of their uncles, the Cyclopes and Giants still imprisoned in Tartarus, the Underworld. Zeus raced down to Tartarus, killed the jailer (Campe) and freed his six uncles. The Cyclopes showed their gratitude by forging new weapons for their rescuers:

  • For Zeus, thunder and lightning
  • For Hades, the helmet of darkness , which made its' wearer invisible
  • For Poseidon, a trident , which would become the emblem for the future god of the sea

The Titans are now led by a new Titan Atlas who was hand-picked by the fellow Titans to replace Cronus. However, they were could not overcome Zeus with the new weapons and the help of the Giants and Cyclopes. Zeus finally overthrew the Titans and locked them deep in the depths of Tartarus, with the three Giants keeping watch.

Only one of the Titans, who had opposed Zeus avoided eternal imprisonment. For the Titan Atlas, Zeus ordered him to lift up the sky and bear the weight of the heavens forever on his head and shoulders.

As for his supporters, unlike his father and grandfather, Zeus rewarded them handsomely. This ensured his reign as lord of the gods would last forever.

 



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