Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Forgotten Greek Gods

Mention Greek gods and people immediately think of Zeus and the like. Before these well-known gods came on the scene, however, there were another group of Gods.
There were many figures featured in the Greek mythological world, from gods and goddesses to mythical fantasy creatures. While the gods and goddesses themselves often got the most attention, it was the mythical characters that really made the stories work. Without the interaction of the god figures, mortals and these creatures, the stories told would not have been fully fleshed. One of these groups of characters was the Titans, and their story is an interesting one.
The Titans were a race of gods and goddesses that ruled Greece during the Golden Age. There were originally twelve Titans, with a thirteenth Titan coming into play after a literary appearance in the Bibliotheke. The mother and father of the Titans were Uranus and Gaia, and Uranus was overthrown by his son Cronus, who was the youngest of the group. Additionally, the Titans gave birth to more Titans, including Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas and Menoetius; these were the sons of Iapetus.
The Titans preceded the twelve gods of Mount Olympus, who were headed by Zeus and battled them in the Titanomachy (War of the Titans). The Titans lost this war, and were imprisoned by the Olympic gods in Tartarus, the lowest points of the underworld. The twelve Titans were grouped in pairs, or couples; they included Oceanus and Tethys, Hyperion and Theia, Coeus and Phoebe, Cronus and Rhea and four separate gods: Mnemosyne, Themis, Crius and Iapetus. The thirteenth Titan was Dione, who was a double of Theia.
It is said that Chronos was the most monstrous and cunning of the twelve, and when he was born to his mother Gaia, he formed an intense hatred of his father. Uranus sensed this, and imprisoned his son in the bowels of the Earth. Once there, Chronos enlisted the help of the Cyclopses and other creatures and escaped; then he castrated his father Uranus and took the beautiful Rhea for his bride. From this union, the new generation of gods was born, including Zeus.
The Titans played an important role in the creation myth of the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, and while they themselves did not mean much in the religious arena past the Classical Age of Greece, the fact that they birthed the Mount Olympus deities made them an important part of Greek culture.
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