Monkey

Quiz Monkey
What do you want to know?

You are here:

Mythology
The Primordial Greek Gods

On this page:

The Titans
The Gigantes
Astronomical Section

If you like my website, and/or if you've found it useful, please consider making a small donation to my Just Giving page, which I've set up just for this purpose. To begin with I'm collecting for a charity whose work I have benefitted from myself (and continue to do so): the British Heart Foundation. It would be great to raise £100 in the first month.

If you have already donated ... Thank You!

The Primordial Greek Gods

The first thing that existed, out of which came the first gods and goddesses (according to Hesiod) Click to show or hide the answer

Out of Chaos came:

Personification of the Earth: mother of Uranus (the Sky), and of all the Titans Click to show or hide the answer
The deep abyss that was used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans Click to show or hide the answer
The personification of darkness Click to show or hide the answer
The personification of night Click to show or hide the answer

Some myths say that Eros also came out of Chaos; others say that he was the son of Aphrodite.

Son and husband of Gaia, and father of the Titans: the personification of the sky Click to show or hide the answer

The Titans

The Titans were giant deities of incredible strength. They comprised the first pantheon of Greek deities, ruling during the legendary Golden Age – when peace and harmony prevailed, and the earth provided food in abundance, meaning that people didn't have to work to feed themselves.

They were overthrown by Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Hera and Demeter – the children of Cronus.

The first twelve Titans were the sons and daughters of Gaia and Uranus.

Leader of the Titans; father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon; ate his own babies to prevent them from overthrowing him; freed the children of Uranus and Gaia by castrating Uranus; known to the Romans as Saturn. Not to be confused with Chronos, the personification of time Click to show or hide the answer
Wife of Cronus, mother of Zeus; name also given to the second largest satellite of Saturn, and the American ostrich Click to show or hide the answer

The unending stream of water that encircles the world, producing (along with his wife – see below) the rivers and the three thousand water nymphs Click to show or hide the answer
Wife of Oceanus Click to show or hide the answer
The Titan of light – an early sun god Click to show or hide the answer
Wife of Hyperion; mother of Helios, Selene and Eos Click to show or hide the answer
Personification of memory Click to show or hide the answer
Titan of justice and order; mother of the Fates and the Seasons Click to show or hide the answer
Father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius and Atlas Click to show or hide the answer
Titan of intelligence, father of Leto Click to show or hide the answer
Father of Pallas, the playmate of Athena whom she accidentally killed Click to show or hide the answer
Titan of the moon, mother of Leto Click to show or hide the answer

Selected Second–Generation Titans

Sons of Iapetus and Clymene (a water–nymph – see Oceanus):

The wisest Titan; name means "forethought"; gave mankind a number of gifts, including fire; tricked Zeus into allowing man to keep the best parts of the animals sacrificed to the gods; punished by being chained to a rock with an eagle tearing at his liver; rescued by Heracles Click to show or hide the answer
Prometheus's stupid brother; name means "afterthought" Click to show or hide the answer
Led the Titans in battle against the Olympians, made to hold up the heavens on his back as a punishment Click to show or hide the answer

Others:

Titaness of wisdom and knowledge, Zeus's first wife; turned into a fly and eaten by Zeus (when pregnant by him with Athena) to avoid a prophecy that her second child would replace Zeus; said to be the source of Zeus's wisdom Click to show or hide the answer

The Gigantes

The Gigantes were a race of great strength and aggression, though not necessarily of great size, known for their battle with the Olympian gods. According to Hesiod, the Giants were the offspring of Gaia (Earth), born from the blood that fell when Uranus (Sky) was castrated by his Titan son Cronus.

The word Gigantes (from which we get the English word 'giant') simply means 'earth–born'.

Two of the Gigantes are of interest because William Herschel chose to give their names to the two satellites of Saturn that he discovered. (For more details about the moons of Saturn, see below.)

Fought with Athena, who used her 'Gorgon shield' (her aegis) against him (according to Euripides); crushed by Athena under the island of Sicily (according to Apollodorus); according to Virgil, he was struck by Zeus's lightning bolt and buried under Mount Etna; named along with the Titans in Keats's Hyperion Click to show or hide the answer
Killed by Hephaestus (according to Apollodorus); burnt to ashes by Zeus, with his thunderbolt (according to Euripides); others say he was killed by Ares; but several depictions in Greek art show Aphrodite as his opponent Click to show or hide the answer

Astronomical Section

The planet Uranus is named after the father of the Titans, and Saturn is named after the Roman equivalent of Cronus who was the leader of the Titans. It's Saturn whose satellites are named after Titans – including Titan itself, Iapetus, Rhea, Tethys, Hyperion, and Phoebe.

There is one moon of Saturn that's named after a Titan whom we haven't yet mentioned:

Primarily known from Homer's Iliad, where she tends to the wounds suffered by her daughter Aphrodite; one source describes her as an ancient wife of Zeus Click to show or hide the answer

One other Titan with an astronomical connection:

Accidentally killed by Athene, who took on his name as an epithet – a name subsequently given to an asteroid, hence an element (atomic number 46), hence (for obscure reasons) a theatre Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017