The Titans were the Greek gods that ruled the world before the Olympians. The first twelve Titans were the children of the original gods Uranus (Father Sky) and Gaia (Mother Earth).
The Original Twelve Titans
Cronus - The leader of the Titans and the god of time.
Rhea - Cronus' wife and queen of the Titans. She ruled over motherhood and fertility.
Oceanus - He represented the sea and was the eldest of the Titans.
Tethys - A sea goddess who was married to Oceanus.
Hyperion - The Titan of light and the father of the sun god Helios.
Theia - Goddess of brightness and shining. She was married to Hyperion.
Coeus - Titan of intelligence and the stars.
Phoebe - Goddess of brightness and intelligence. She was the mother of Leto.
Mnemosyne - She represented memory in Greek Mythology. She was the mother of the Muses (Zeus was the father).
Themis - She ruled over law and order. She was mother to the Fates and the Hours (Zeus was the father).
Crius - The Titan of heavenly constellations.
Lapetus - The god of mortality. He fathered some of the most powerful of the Titan children including Atlas and Prometheus.
Famous Titan Children
Some of the children of the Titans were also famous gods in Greek mythology. Here are a few of them:
Atlas - After losing the war against Zeus, Atlas was punished by having to hold up the heavens on his shoulders. He is often shown holding the Earth.
Helios - Helios was the god of the sun. He drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day.
Prometheus - Prometheus is known in Greek mythology as the creator of mankind. He also gave mankind the gift of fire from Mount Olympus.
Leto - Leto is famous for being the mother of the twin Olympian gods Apollo and Artemis.
Zeus and the Olympians
The leader of the Titans, Cronus, was told in a prophecy that his sons would one day overthrow him. In order to protect himself, each time his wife Rhea had a child he would swallow it. He swallowed several children including Hestia, Hades, Hera, Poseidon, and Demeter. However, when Zeus was born, Rhea hid Zeus in a cave and gave Cronus a stone to swallow instead. Once Zeus was born he forced his father to spit up his siblings.
Once Zeus had freed his siblings, they went to war against the Titans. They gained some valuable allies including the one-eyed Cyclopes and some huge hundred-headed monsters called the Hecatoncheires. The two sides waged war for ten years. Eventually, Zeus and his siblings won the war. They imprisoned the Titans in a deep chasm in the Underworld called Tartarus.
Interesting Facts About the Titans
The female Titans remained neutral during the war and were not sent to Tartarus. Some of them even had children with Zeus.
The element "titanium" is named after the Titans of Greek mythology.
Some of the younger Titans allied with Zeus during the war.
The word "titan" has come to mean something that is large or strong.
The largest moon of the planet Saturn is named Titan.
After winning the war, Zeus and his brothers (Hades and Poseidon) divided up the world: Zeus took the sky, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the Underworld. The Earth was a shared domain of all three.