Who was Iapetus?
Iapetus was the Titan god of mortal life and one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The Titans were the descendents of the first gods or divinities, called the primordial or primeval gods, who were born out of Chaos. The first 12 Titans, that included Iapetus were a race of powerful, giant gods from the union of the primordial deities Gaia and Uranus. Iapetus married Clymene, one of the Oceanides (daughters of Tethys and Oceanus). The names of their children were Atlas, Epimetheus and Prometheus. The legend and myth about Iapetus, the god of mortal life, and the Titans has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role in the history of the Ancient World of Greece and the study of the Greek classics.
Facts about Iapetus
Iapetus features in the Creation myth of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but were of gigantic proportions and possessed great magical and mystic powers.
Role & Function: The function of Iapetus is described as being the god of mortal life
Status: A principle god in the first dynasty of Titans
Name of Wife / Consort: Clymene, one of Oceanides
Name of Father: Uranus
Name of Mother: Gaia
Names of Brothers (Titans): Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Cronus, Crius and Iapetus
Names of Sisters (Titanides): Mnemosyne, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, Rhea and Themis
Names of Children: Atlas, Epimetheus, Prometheus and Menoetius
The Children of Iapetus & Clymene
The children of Iapetus and Clymene were Atlas, Epimetheus and Prometheus. Atlas was the god of endurance and punished by Zeus for his part in the War of the Titans and condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders. Prometheus was the Titan god of forethought who stole fire from Olympus and gave it to mankind. Zeus punished him by chaining him to a rock where an eagle gnawed at his liver until Hercules rescued him. Epimetheus was was the Titan god of afterthought and despite Prometheus's warning against gifts from Zeus he accepted Pandora as his wife and she unleashed all the troubles of the world. Menoetius was the Titan god of violent anger and rash action, who was wounded by Zeus with a flash of lightning in the War of the Titans. Menoetius was subsequently banished to Tartarus. Iapetus was the grandfather of Hermes, Aphrodite and Calypso.
Facts about Iapetus in Greek Mythology
Discover interesting information and facts about Iapetus, the Titan god of mortal life.
Iapetus took the side of the Olympians in the War of the Titans
He was the Titan god of Mortal Life, whilst his son, Prometheus, was the creator of mankind and his son Epimetheus was the creator of other earthly creatures.
Iapetus and his brothers Crius, Coeus and Hyperion were posted at the four corners of the world where they seized hold of their father, Uranus the Sky god, and held him fast, while Cronus, hidden in the centre, castrated him with a sickle
The four brothers represented the points of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. Iapetus was the pillar of the west.
He was also known as the god of craftmanship
A moon was named after the god which is the third-largest natural satellite of Saturn
Iapetus (named "the Piercer") is the one Titan mentioned by Homer in the Iliad (8.478–81) as being in Tartarus with Cronus
According to Silius Italicus that he is interred under the island of Inarime
The name of Iapetus means 'piercer', and is an apt name as he was regarded as the god who also brought forth violent deaths to mortals
The Imprisonment of Iapetus and the Titans
According to the ancient Greek Creation myth Uranus, the father of Iapetus and the other Titans, was terrified of the massive size and strength of his gigantic children and to prevent them rebelling against him, Uranus seized them immediately after their birth and hurled them down into a dark abyss called Tartarus, where he kept his Titan children in chains. Their mother, Gaia, helped them to escape and, led by Cronus, they overthrew their father and took power as the Titan gods. Cronus was no better than his father which led to the War of the Titans.
The Titanomachy in Greek Mythology
The Battle of the Titans, called the Titanomachy, was a 10 year war and power struggle that was fought between the Titans and the gods and goddesses who would become known as the Olympians. In ancient Greek mythology Mount Othrys was the base of the Titans during the Battle of the Titans and Mount Olympus was the base of the Olympian gods and goddesses led by Zeus. Mnemosyne, Themis, Crius, and Hyperion choose to join the Olympians. The male Titans were eventually all deposed by Zeus and cast into the pit of Tartarus.