In "Greek mythology, the Titans ("Greek: Τιτάν, Titán, "plural: Τiτᾶνες, Titânes) and Titanesses (or Titanides; Greek: Τιτανίς, Titanís, plural: Τιτανίδες, Titanídes) were members of the second generation of divine beings, descending from the "primordial deities and preceding the "Olympian deities. Based on "Mount Othrys, the Titans most famously included the first twelve children of the primordial "Gaia (Mother Earth) and "Uranus (Father Sky). They were giant "deities of incredible strength, who ruled during the legendary "Golden Age, and also comprised the first "pantheon of Greek deities.
A second set of Titans consisted of Hyperion's children "Helios, "Selene, and "Eos; Coeus' children "Lelantos, "Leto, and "Asteria; Iapetus' sons "Atlas, "Prometheus, "Epimetheus, and "Menoetius; Oceanus' daughter "Metis; and Crius' sons "Astraeus, "Pallas, and "Perses.
Like Cronus overthrowing his father Uranus, the Titans were overthrown by Cronus's children (Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Hera and Demeter), in the "Titanomachy (or "War of the Titans"). The Greeks may have borrowed this "mytheme from the "Ancient Near East.
Greeks of the classical age knew several "poems about the war between the Olympians and Titans. The dominant one, and the only one that has survived, was in the "Theogony attributed to "Hesiod. A lost epic, "Titanomachia (attributed to the legendary blind Thracian bard "Thamyris) was mentioned in passing in an essay On Music that was once attributed to "Plutarch. The Titans also played a prominent role in the poems attributed to "Orpheus. Although only scraps of the "Orphic narratives survive, they show interesting differences with the Hesiodic tradition.
The classical Greek myths of the Titanomachy fall into a class of similar myths throughout "Europe and the Near East concerning a war in heaven, where one generation or group of gods largely opposes the dominant one. Sometimes the elders are supplanted, and sometimes the rebels lose and are either cast out of power entirely or incorporated into the "pantheon. Other examples might include the "wars of the "Æsir with the "Vanir in "Scandinavian mythology, the "Babylonian epic "Enuma Elish, the "Hittite "Kingship in Heaven" narrative, the obscure generational conflict in "Ugaritic fragments, "Virabhadra's conquest of the early Vedic Gods, and the rebellion of "Lucifer in "Christianity. The Titanomachy lasted for ten years. The Titans were imprisoned in "Tartarus after the war had ended. Tartarus is said to be the deepest part of the "Underworld and the place where the evilest beings are tortured for all eternity.
|Titan Family Tree |
Hesiod does not have the last word on the Titans. Surviving fragments of poetry ascribed to "Orpheus preserve some variations on the myth. In such text, "Zeus does not simply set upon his father violently. Instead, Rhea spreads out a banquet for Cronus so that he becomes drunk upon "fermented honey. Rather than being consigned to "Tartarus, Cronus is dragged – still drunk – to the cave of "Nyx (Night), where he continues to dream throughout eternity.
Another myth concerning the Titans that is not in Hesiod revolves around "Dionysus. At some point in his reign, Zeus decides to give up the throne in favor of the infant Dionysus, who like the infant Zeus, is guarded by the "Kouretes. The Titans decide to slay the child and claim the throne for themselves; they paint their faces white with gypsum, distract Dionysus with toys, then dismember him and boil and roast his limbs. Zeus, enraged, slays the Titans with his thunderbolt; "Athena preserves the heart in a gypsum doll, out of which a new Dionysus is made. This story is told by the poets "Callimachus and "Nonnus, who call this Dionysus ""Zagreus", and in a number of Orphic texts, which do not.
One iteration of this story, of the "Late Antique "Neoplatonist philosopher "Olympiodorus, recounted in his commentary of Plato's "Phaedrus, affirms that humanity sprang up out of the fatty smoke of the burning Titan corpses. "Pindar, "Plato, and "Oppian refer offhandedly to the "Titanic nature" of humans. According to them, the body is the titanic part, while "soul is the divine part of humans. Other early writers imply that humanity was born out of the malevolent blood shed by the Titans in their war against Zeus. Some scholars consider that Olympiodorus' report, the only surviving explicit expression of this mythic connection, embodied a tradition that dated to the Bronze Age, while Radcliffe Edmonds has suggested an element of innovative "allegorized improvisation to suit Olympiodorus' purpose.
Some 19th- and 20th-century scholars, including "Jane Ellen Harrison, have argued that an initiatory or "shamanic ritual underlies the myth of the dismemberment and cannibalism of "Dionysus by the Titans. She also asserts that the word "Titan" comes from the Greek τίτανος, signifying white "earth, clay, or gypsum," and that the Titans were "white clay men", or men covered by white clay or gypsum dust in their rituals. "Martin Litchfield West also asserts this in relation to shamanistic initiatory rites of early Greek religious practices.
"Beekes connects the word with τιτώ (a now-obscure word for "day"). Other scholars connect the word to the Greek verb τείνω ("teino", to stretch), through an epic variation τιταίνω and τίσις (titaino and tisis, "retribution" and "vengeance"). Hesiod appears to share that view when he narrates:
But their father, great Ouranos, called them Titans by surname, rebuking his sons, whom he had begotten himself; for he said they had "strained" (τιταίνοντας, titainontas) in their wickedness to perform a mighty deed, and at some later time there would be "vengeance" (τίσιν, tisin) for this.— Hesiod, "Theogony, 207–210.
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