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The Battle of the Titans

Tales beyond belief

The Battle of the Titans (The Titanomachy)
Discover the legends and myths, religious beliefs and story surrounding the Battle of the Titans. The Titans were a race of powerful, giant gods, the descendents of the primeval deities who were born out of Chaos. The Battle of the Titans (called the Titanomachy) was  a war that was fought between the first primeval deities of Ancient Greece (the Titans) and the gods and goddesses who would become known as the Olympians.

The Cause of the Battle of the Titans - Power Struggle
The Battle of the Titans features in the ancient Greek Creation Myth. The Greek Creation Myth tells of the ancient gods of Greece who fall into three major groups and generations:

  • The Primeval Gods (including Gaia and Uranus)

  • The Titans

  • The Olympian Gods

The cause of the war between the gods, which became known as the Battle of the Titans, was a power struggle between the elder gods and the younger generations. The elder gods were reluctant to give up their supreme powers to the young 'whipper-snappers' and the younger gods were treated cruelly by their fathers. The goddess Gaia created Uranus and together they overthrew the Primeval gods and produced twelve gigantic children who became collectively known as the Titans in Greek Mythology. Their names were Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Cronus, Crius, Iapetus, Mnemosyne, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, Rhea and Themis

The Battle of the Titans - Uranus and his children
Uranus and his wife Gaia. Uranus was terrified of the massive size and strength of his gigantic children and to prevent their ever making use of their strength against him, Uranus seized them immediately after their birth and hurled them down into a dark abyss, below the Underground, called Tartarus, where he kept his first giant children (the Titans) in chains.  Uranus and Gaia produced another 3 giant sons, the Cyclopes and three more sons called the Centimani (Hundred-Handed Ones) who were giants of incredible strength and ferocity.

The Cause of the Battle of the Titans - The Prophecy
The youngest son of Uranus, Cronus, aided by his mother Gaia, vanquished his father, bound him in chains in Tartarus and released his brothers and sisters. Uranus cursed his son, and made the prophecy that a day would come when Cronus would also be supplanted by his children...

The Battle of the Titans - The Rise of the Titans
The rise of Titans, led by Cronus, enjoyed their supreme power. The trouble began when the wife of Cronus, Rhea, produced children. The names of the children were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Cronus remembered the prophecy of his father and to prevent the prophecy from coming true Cronus swallowed each of his children as soon as they were born.  As the children were immortal, Cronus could not kill them, they remained trapped inside the body of Cronus. Rhea gave birth to her sixth child, Zeus and she tricked Cronus by substituting the baby Zeus with a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes and Cronus swallowed the swaddled rock believing he had disposed of Zeus.

The Battle of the Titans begins
Zeus, guided by Rhea, eventually fought his father Cronus. Zeus was victorious over Cronus and released his brothers and sisters, who were still living in the stomach of Cronus. Zeus gave his siblings a fair share of his new kingdom. The wisest amongst the older Titans, Mnemosyne, Themis, Oceanus, and Hyperion, submitted to the new king of the gods without murmur, but the other older gods refused to give Zeus their allegiance. Their refusal led the deadly conflict of the Battle of the Titans (the Titanomachy).

The Titanomachy, the Battle of the Titans - Mount Othrys and Mount Olympus
The Titanomachy, meaning the Battle of the Titans, was a fierce ten year war between the 12 young Olympians against their older predecessors. In Greek mythology Mount Othrys was the base of the older Titans during the Battle of the Titans and Mount Olympus was the base of the younger generation, led by Zeus.

The Main Combatants in the Battle of the Titans - The Titanomachy
The family of supreme beings and Immortals took sides. According to the description of the Titanomachy by Hesiod  in “The Theogony” the main combatants for the Battle of the Titans were:

  • The Othrysians including Cronus, Coeus, Crius, Iapetus, Menoetius and Atlas

Who were opposed by:

  • The Olympians including Hyperion, Oceanus, Themis, Helios, Eos, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Prometheus and Epimetheus

The Battle of the Titans - The Titanomachy
The Battle of the Titans (the Titanomachy) lasted for ten years with the elder Titans based on Mount Othrys and the younger Titans who were based on Mount Olympus. All of the family of Titans were gods and therefore immortal so no permanent casualties were possible in the Battle of the Titans - the victors would have to capture and imprison the losers or the losers would have to surrender.

The Battle of the Titans - The Cyclopes and the Centimani
At the beginning of the Battle of the Titans the Olympians were defeated in the first conflicts by the experienced and powerful Othrysians. Zeus realised that he would need  reinforcements. He therefore released the three Cyclopes and the three Centimani (Hundred-Handed Ones) from Tartarus, where they had languished so long, stipulating that in exchange for their freedom they should supply him with thunderbolts, powerful weapons which only they knew how to forge. The Olympian gods used of the powerful thunderbolts and the help of the Cyclopes and the 'Hundred-handers', who had kept the gods on Mount Othrys under attack from a constant barrage of massive rocks.

The Battle of the Titans - Victory for the Olympians
The defeated Titans who had fought against the Olympians were imprisoned in Tartarus and the 'Hundred-Hander' giants became their jailors. Cronus, the leader and instigator of the revolt, weary of bloodshed and strife, withdrew to found a new kingdom where he reigned in peace. The Titans who did not fight against the Olympians joined them on Mount Olympus.

The Battle of the Titans - The Typhon
The peace enjoyed by the Olympian gods was short-lived. The goddess Gaia (the mother of Cronus and the older Titans) was furious with Zeus and wanted to punish him for depriving her children of their birthright.  Gaia therefore created a terrible monster, called Typhoeus, or Typhon, which she sent to attack Zeus. This Typhon was a giant, from whose trunk one hundred dragon heads arose, flames shot from his eyes, nostrils, and mouths; while he incessantly uttered such blood-curdling screams, that the gods, in terror, fled from Mount Olympus. In mortal fear lest this terror-inspiring monster would pursue them, the gods there transformed themselves into different animals. Zeus quickly became ashamed of his cowardly flight, and resolved to return to Mount Olympus to slay  the Typhon with his terrible thunderbolts. A long and fierce struggle ensued and Zeus emerged victorious.

The Battle of the Titans - The Enceladus
Once again Rhea was furious and released Enceladus, another giant to avenge Typhoeus. He too was defeated, and bound with chains in a burning cave under Mount Etna where people heard his cries and groans and sometimes breathed fire and flames. Over time his anger lessened but according to Greek Mythology he occasionally changes position, which, owing to his huge size, causes the earth to tremble, producing what is called an earthquake.

The Battle of the Giants - The Gigantomachy
Gaia continued to meddle and encouraged the Gigantes (Giants) to revolt against Zeus and the Olympians. The Gigantes were angry with Zeus because he had established laws that they refused to obey. Gaia encouraged the Gigantes to rebel against the Olympians and at the instigation of Gaia they made war on the gods of Mount Olympus. In Greek mythology and legend the war would be referred to as the Battle of the Giants or the Gigantomachy, or following the final victory of the Titans, some call the conflict the Revenge of the Titans.

Gods and Deities
Titans Mythology

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