In Greek mythology, the original gods and goddesses were giant creatures, as the word “Titan” suggests, often with correspondingly great and vague powers. The next, inbred generation produced more gods and goddesses, but some of these were not considered Titans any longer, and even among the Titan-offspring, more recognizably human forms emerged. It’s a bit tricky to determine which group you’re dealing with, but there are relatively fewer myths involving the original Titans and other primordial powers than there are of those involving the humanoid Titans and the creatures we think of as the gods and goddesses, especially, those deities of Mt. Olympus.
The original essences were Earth and Sky, Gaia and Uranus (Ouranos). Their offspring couldn’t help but be immense. Gaia mated with some of her offspring, as well as with Uranus.
Here are the names and spheres of first generation titans:
- Oceanus [Okeanos] – the ocean; (father of nymphs)
- Coeus [Koios and Polos] – questioning; (father of Leto & Asteria)
- Crius [Krios, probably Megamedes ‘the great lord’
(father of Pallas, Astraeus, and Perses) Hyperion – light;(father of sun-god, moon ,dawn ) Iapetus [Iapetos] -(father of Prometheus, Atlas, and Epimetheus) Cronus [Kronos] (aka Saturn) Thea [Theia] – sight; (Hyperion’s mate) Rhea [Rheia] – (Cronus and Rhea were the parents of the Olympian gods and goddesses) Themis – justice and order; (Zeus’ second consort, mother of the Hours, Fates) Mnemosyne – memory; (mated with Zeus to produce the Muses ) Phoebe – oracle, intellect; (Coeus’ mate)
- Tethys – Ocean’s mate
Some of the children of the first generation titans are also referred to as Titans. Here are the main ones:
- Astraea (Dike)
- Eos (Dawn)
- Eosphorus (or Hesperus)
- Epimetheus (Prometheus’ brother)
The Titans and the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus both wanted control of the universe. To decide who would be in charge, there was a great war known as the Titanomachy. Various Greek tragedies and myths also feature Titans.