Mythology

How the Olympians Defeated the Titans

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Many of us think that the main gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece are those who lived on Mount Olympus. While this is true, Greek mythology also has a set of primordial gods and goddesses that came before the ones we know well. There were two generations of gods and goddesses who came before the Olympians. One of them was referred to as the Titans, and as the story goes, the Titans and Olympians struggled for power and the Olympians eventually won. Here’s more information about that:

Chaos and the Five Divinities

The Ancient Greeks believed that before anything else there was Chaos- complete emptiness and confusion. There was no order at all. After Chaos, five divinities came into being and began to create order. These divinities were Gaia (Mother Earth), Tartarus (the underworld), Erebus (the darkness that covers the underworld), Night (darkness that covers Earth), and Eros (Love).

Gaia and Uranus

Gaia (Mother Earth) eventually married Uranus (Father Sky). They had many children together. The first 3 were monsters with 100 hands and 50 heads each called the Hekatoncheires. The next 3 were giants with one eye in the middle of their foreheads called the Cyclopes. Uranus kept all of these children imprisoned.

Titan Gods and Goddesses

The next batch of children of note was a group of 12- 6 sons and 6 daughters. These were the first gods and goddesses and were called the Titans. Uranus wasn’t very fond of these children either and treated them very poorly. Gaia didn’t approve of this behavior so she asked the Titans to destroy their father. The Titan Cronus took on the responsibility and destroyed his father but not before his father cursed him by saying, “One day your son shall take the power from you the way you took it from me.”

Cronus and Rhea

Later, Cronus went on to marry his sister, the Titan Rhea. To avoid any altercation with his children, anytime Rhea gave birth to a baby, Cronus would swallow it whole, which angered Rhea. Rhea asked Gaia for help. Mother Earth suggested that she hid the next baby away from Cronus in a cave on the island of Crete. Instead of presenting Cronus with a baby, she presented him with a rock, which he swallowed whole and didn’t give it another thought.

Zeus Spared From Cronus

Rhea named this next son Zeus and he grew up strong and healthy while hiding in the cave. He was taken care of by Nymphs (nature goddesses) and they gave him milk from a magical goat named Amalthea. When Zeus grew up and found out the truth about his father he set out to defeat him. He poured a magic potion into Cronus’ drink and once he took a sip, he threw up his five other children, all fully grown.

Olympians Vs. The Titans

Zeus along with his brothers and sisters (making up the Olympians); Hera (Goddess of marriage), Poseidon (God of the sea), Hades (God of the underworld), Hestia (Goddess of the hearth), and Demeter (Goddess of crops and the harvest) declared war on the Titans. After long years of bloody battle with no victor, Mother Earth told Zeus about her other children that could help him, the Hekatoncheires and the Cyclopes. They also wanted revenge on Cronus for keeping them imprisoned.

The Cyclops built weapons for each of the Olympians. For Zeus, thunder and lightning. For Poseidon, a trident that made the Earth shake when it hit the ground or sea; for Hades, a cap of invisibility. Along with the 100 arms and 50 heads of each of the Hecatoncheire, they were easily able to win the war.

Cronus and all of the other Titans were banished to the Underworld. It was guarded by The Hecatoncheires, fierce creatures, so it was impossible to escape. This is how the Olympians came to rule!

 

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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