In Greek mythology, the Titans were the 12 divine children of Uranus (Sky) and Gaea (Earth). One of the Titans, Cronus, castrated his father Uranus and seized the over-lordship of the universe. To escape a similar fate Cronus then swallowed his own children, but the last of them, Zeus, eluded him and in his turn established supreme mastery on Mount Olympus. In a tremendous struggle, called the Titanomachy, the Titans attempted to dislodge Zeus and his fellow-Olympians, but were defeated and cast down into Tartarus far below the earth.

In another myth the Titans were incited by Hera to attack Zagreus, Zeus's child, who had been placed by his father on the throne of heaven. Whitening their faces, they stole into Olympus, dismembered the child, and prepared to eat him. But they were smitten to ashes by Zeus' thunderbolts.

The basically similar structure of both myths, the engulfment of the young by the old, indicates the probable origin of these stories in initiation ceremonies. The Titans are mythic counterparts of the older men of the tribe, who often mask or whiten themselves to impersonate death spirits and in this guise lead the boys through the death-and-rebirth rituals of initiation.

More by this Author

  • Viking History

    The Vikings were seafaring raiders from Scandinavia during the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries, the period known as the Viking Age. They are also called Northmen or Norsemen.

  • 2nd Century Rome

    While it lasted, the era of peace and prosperity under the good emperors brought to the world blessings that have never been wholly lost or forgotten. There was no serious threat or invasion from without or of...

  • The Rise of Ancient Greece

    The earliest inhabitants of Greece were probably Mousterian hunter-gatherers who roamed the region during the Middle Palaeolithic period. By 4000 BC Neolithic villages were established in most fertile lowland regions....


No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article