Before the Olympian gods came into being
and power, all was ruled by the Titans. Among other things
during their rule, they established the cycles of the
Heavens and were responsible for all that had to do
The Titans were the offspring of Uranus
and the Earth mother Gaea and were considered
"The First Race" even though they were siblings of the
Hecatonchires and the one-eyed Cyclopes.
Originally, there were twelve elder Titans consisting
of six males; Coeus, Crius, Cronus, Hyperion, Iapetus, and
Oceanus, and six females; Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Tethys,
Theia, and Themis.
Because Uranus, their father, was both horrified and
jealous of his children, he shut the male Titans, the
Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes away deep inside their
mother, the Earth. The imprisonment of her children caused
Gaea great pain, both mentally and physically. As a result, she
encouraged her Titan sons, led by Cronus, to
overthrow their father and free themselves and their
brothers from captivity.
According to plan, the male Titans managed to ambush
and overpower their father Uranus and Cronus became the "High
God of the World." However, while they did release
their brothers, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes,
from the belly of the Earth, the Titans later imprisoned
them again in the underworld pit of Tartarus.
For not keeping their word to Gaea, it was foretold
that a son of Cronus would one day overthrow the
Titans much in the same manner as they had done to
Uranus. Fearful, Cronus swallowed each of his offspring as
soon as they were born and presented to him. However, when
Zeus, his youngest, was about to
be born, Rhea, Zeus' mother, sought Gaea's help in
devising a plan to save him. This way, Cronus would
get his retribution for the acts committed against his
father, his brothers, and his own children.
Upon the birth of Zeus, Rhea hid him. Then,
instead of handing Cronus the newborn baby, she
handed him a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes. As he had done
with all the other children, Cronus promptly swallowed
Upon reaching manhood, Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge first
the stone, then his siblings in reverse order of
swallowing them. After, Zeus released Cronus'
brothers the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, from their
dungeon in Tartarus.
Together, Zeus, his brothers, his
sisters, the Hecatonchires, and the Cyclopes
overthrew Cronus and the other Titans, in an eleven
year battle called the Titanomachy. The defeated Titans
were then cast into the shadowy underworld of
As many of the younger Titan gods had allied themselves
with Zeus they retained their divine rights under the new
Olympian regime. However, subsequently, some of these
Titan allies became rebellious and were sentenced to
very harsh punishment by Zeus.
The female Titans, (a.k.a. Titanides) remained neutral
during the War of the Titans, and thus retained their positions
as prophetic goddesses. Several of these goddesses became wives
and consorts of Zeus and received a place on Mount Olympus as
mothers of the gods.