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First Generation Titans
Cronus / Kronos / Saturnus
The previous king of the gods, he was the leader of the Titans, the generation of gods prior to the Olympians. Typically associated with time (mostly due to the similarity of his name with the Greek word for "time"), he was actually a god associated with agriculture and fertility. In fact, his modern view as a God of Evil is debatable; he ate his offspring sans Zeus, true, but he was sometimes also stated to have brought a golden age to Man, which ended once Zeus was in domain. Unfortunately, here we again see the effects of Continuity Snarl: sometimes, mankind didn't even exist until after the Olympians took over.His Roman counterpart was Saturnus, although frankly because Romans mixed their own mythology with the Greek one, it's unclear if they should truly be considered the same entity. Most likely Saturn was an entirely separate Roman god before being assimilated into Cronus.Often confused with Khronos / Chronos, the protogenos of Time, especially as time was regarded as destructive and all-devouring.
- Abusive Parents: Swallowing your newborn children doesn't win you the "Parent of the Year" award.
- Archnemesis Dad: To Zeus and his siblings
- Authority Equals Asskicking: As the previous king of the gods
- Big Bad: If you root for Zeus and his siblings, that is.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: He killed his father who had imprisoned his siblings which made his mother upset. However, he not only turned his back on them, but he even began to eat his own children to retain his status; becoming as cruel if not more than his father
- Calling the Old Man Out: Castrated and overthrew his dad Ouranos for imprisoning the cyclopes in Tartaros. Shame he didn't turn out to be much better.
- Child Eater / Eats Babies: Each kid he had with Rhea was eaten, except Zeus.
- Failed a Spot Check: He mistook a stone for the newborn Zeus. (Some versions of the story say that the stone was wrapped in blankets like a baby.)
- For the Evulz: After freeing the Cyclopses and Hecatonceries long enough to build a palace on Othrys, then he threw them back into Tartarus with extra security just to be a dick
- Good Powers, Bad People: An interpretation of his moral alignment, as he was an agricultural god who may have brought a golden age to mankind, and yet ate his offspring and probably raped his wife (how else would she have made more babies to be eaten?), and disrespected Gaia's wish to free his imprisoned siblings.
- Green Thumb: As the god of agriculture
- I'm a Humanitarian: Eat his newborn children one by one in order to preserve his rule, but unlike most examples, it's less permanent as Zeus manages to have them vomit them all out
- Jerk Ass: Patricidal, power hungry, paranoid, doesn't keep his word, and eats his own sons and daughters. There's a reason so many Titans bailed on him once war broke out.
- Mr. Seahorse: Somehow his children emerged fully grown once Zeus opened his belly many years after they had been swallowed. Most likely because Cronus is extremely huge and his belly is habitable. Or because Greek myth is weird like that.
- He's probably Bigger on the Inside.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His nickname was "The Crooked One" or "Crooked Cronus."
- Physical God
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Because of the similar sound of Cronus and Chronus (or Kronos and Khronos), he's become associated with Time. The character of Father Time is based on this overlap — Father Time has a scythe (as would fit a harvest god) and has the idea of being succeeded by a child (the New Years baby / Zeus).
- Sinister Scythe: His token item, and a very rare example of it being tied more to agriculture than death.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: A possible interpretation is that he devoured his children not only out of fear of being overthrown, but to keep the Golden Age going. The Golden Age ended with his reign.
- Youngest Child Wins: He is always mentioned last in the lists of Titans by birth order. Even if one source mentioned male Titans first then female Titans, and other mentioned female Titans first then male Titans, and still other a combination of them, Cronus is always the last. Fittingly, he is also the most famous of them.
Of all the Titans, this is probably the most mysterious, since practically nothing about him comes on Greek texts, though it is known he fought against the gods in the Titanomachy, and probably might had helped Cronus kill his father Ouranos, not to mention that he is father of Helios, the god of the Sun. The Lord of light and of the East, the first making him not very unique since there's several other deities in Greek Mythology aligned with light, but should he appear as an enemy of the Olympians in modern media he would be quite the nice contrast to the usual demonic legions (and, in fact, he did appear once).
Iapetos / Iapetus
Another mysterious titan. The god of the mortal lifespan and Lord of the West. One of the titans who helped subdue Ouranos so Cronus could castrate him.
Koios / Coeus / Polus
Titan god of heavenly oracles, and Lord of the North. Another accomplice of Cronus. His alternate name was Polos (Of the North Pole). One of the few titans with a Roman name, Polus. Occasionally celebrated as the grandfather of Apollon via Leto, as the Olympian's role in divination is said to come due to his role as the heavenly axis.
Krios / Crius
The Titan lord of the South, who helped Cronus to depose Ouranos. Associated with the constellation Aries (The Ram).
No, not that Mnemosyne. The Titan goddess of memory, and the daughter of Gaia and Uranus. She and Zeus had sex for nine consecutive nights, and each copulation led to the birth of one of the nine Muses. It was said that kings and poets receive their great oratorical ability from Mnemosyne and her daughters, the Muses.
Oceanus was the oldest of the Titans and son of Oranos and Gaia. He ruled over the sea much like Pontus of the Protogenoi and Poseidon/Neptune of the Olympians. Oceanus was also the god who regulated the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies which were believed to emerge and descend into his watery realm at the ends of the earth.
- Happily Married: He and his wife had around 6,000 children (3,000 sons, 3,000 daughters) together. They were a busy couple.
- Heroic Neutral: Oceanus never involved himself in things like the overthrowing of Uranus or the Titanomachy.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: A rare heroic example. He and Tethys together had 6,000 children, some of whom became famous in their own right.
- Making a Splash: But take note that, despite his appearance, he isn't the sea itself (having been expelled there by Cronus).
- Physical God
- Snake People: He has the lower body of a serpent.
One of the original Titans (children of Gaia and Uranus), she is traditionally seen as a moon goddess, possibly the one that predates Selene. her husband was Coeus, with whom she had Leto and Asteria. She later received control of the oracle of Delphi from Themis before in turn giving it to her grandson, Apollo.
- Flat Character: Not much is know about Phoebe besides who she birthed and her having the Oracle of Delphi, which she later gave to Apollo, anyway.
- Lunacy: The original moon goddess. Funnily enough, she isn't seen as the moon itself; that's Selene's job.
- Seers: Once had the power, later gave it to Apollo.
Titan goddess and "Mother of the Gods", Rhea was the wife of Cronus, identified in Rome with the goddess Ops. She would give birth to all the original Olympic gods. However, Cronos learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by one of his children. Thus, Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, with the exception of Zeus, because Rhea gave him a rock to eat instead. She hid Zeus in a cave where someone else raised him.
Wife of Oceanus and a sea goddess, she was the mother of the chief rivers of the world (know to the Greeks at the time) such as the Nile. She is also probably most well known for a having a lot of children. In fact, other than being everybody's mother, she really plays no other major role in Greek literary tradition, other than raising Hera as her step child during the war with the Titans. Is supposedly the reason Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are circumpolar (at Hera's request).
Theia was a Titan goddess and wife of Hyperion. Her name simply means goddess, which should tell you that there is not very much to her character. She, however, may have been a Titan glory. Some sources do stress that she gave eyesight to mankind and that she was the mother of Helios, however.
- Extra-ore-dinary: Appearently associated with gold and shiny metals, as per Pindar's Fifth Isthmian.
- Flat Character: Even compared to other members of her generation, there is not much special about her.
- I Have Many Names: Also according to the aforementioned Fifth Isthmian, Theia is "the goddess of many names".
- Light 'em Up: As with most of her family.
- Physical God
Zeus's second wife (after Metis and before Hera) and daughter of Uranus and Gaia, Themis was the goddess of divine law, order, and custom. Themis in many ways represented tradition, mores, customs, and such, especially those said to have been handed down by the gods. A prophetess, with the ability to see into the future, and thus received the Oracle at Delphi, which she passed on to Phoebe. It is sometimes said that she became a goddess of divine justice, but this role is also taken up by Nemesis. She was so respected, even Hera, her successor as Zeus's wife, referred to her as "Lady Themis". With Zeus she gave birth to Astraea, the Moirai (possibly), and both generations of the Hours.
Second Generation Titans
The titan goddess of nocturnal oracles and falling stars, she was the daughter of the titans Phoebe and Coeus, the sister of Leto, and the mother of Hekate. She flung herself into the Aegean Sea to escape the womanizing Zeus (while transformed as a quail) and thus became the "quail island", Ortygia, which became later identified with island of Delos. It was the only piece of Earth that would give refuge to Leto when she was pursued by the always vengeful Hera while pregnant with Zeus's children.
The Titan god of the dusk, and son of Crius and Eurybia (however, Hyginas identifies him as a Gigantes and son of Tartarus and Gaia). Was the husband of Eos (goddess of the dawn), and together, they were daybreak and nightfall. They are the parents of the Anemoi and Astra Planeta (Wandering Planets).
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the dusk.
- Continuity Snarl
- Flat Character: He didn't really have any myth associated with him; all that was described was that he wed Eos and they had the Anemoi as children. Said Eos and the Anemoi, meanwhile, got their own individual stories.
- Opposites Attract: Literally. He is the god of dusk. His wife, Eos, is the goddess of dawn. It's a rare thing, since most gods usually abide by the Birds of a Feather rule.
Asia is interesting: she is the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, making her a second generation Titan (and Oceanid), but is the wife of Iapetus, a first generation and her uncle. Together, she and her husband had Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus and Menoetius. It is from her that we get Asia, as in the continent.
- Flat Character: Didn't figure much, other than being one of Oceanus and Tethys' 3,000 daughters and siring four sons with Iapetus. However, we did get the name of a continent after her.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She has 5,999 siblings (3,000 male and 2,999 female), all of whom represent rivers and bodies of water around the world.
Probably one of the more well known Titans, his task, as punishment for fighting against Zeus during his war against the Titans, is to hold up Uranus (the sky) away from Gaia (the Earth) to prevent the two from "embracing". Generally considered the son of Iapetus and Asia. Later Hercules came to Atlas to ask him to retrieve the Golden Apples for him, one of his Twelve Labors. When Atlas returned, he attempted to trick Hercules into holding up Uranus permanently, as anyone who wants to take Atlas away from his task had to do it voluntarily. Hercules, however, tricked Atlas into retaking his load. Depending on the myth, Hercules either ran away with the apples, or built the two Pillars of Hercules to hold up the sky, thus freeing Atlas from his task forever and liberating him, much like how Hercules also liberated Prometheus.
Eos / Aurora
The Titan goddess of the dawn, known as Aurora in the Roman pantheon. She either opens the gates for her brother Helios to ride out, or harnesses his horses to the chariot.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of the dawn.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Often carried off handsome young men to be her boy toys and they would eventually accept their roles.
- Fiery Redhead: Often depicted with red hair.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Attempted to avert this by asking Zeus to grant Tithonos immortality, but forgot to ask for eternal youth.
- Opposites Attract: Despite her lust, she did have a proper divine husband/spouse. He just happens to be the god of dusk: Astraeus.
- Physical God
- Pietà Plagiarism: Sort of. She had a son called Memnon who was killed in The Trojan War, and in some paintings was depicted as holding him across her knees.
- Really Gets Around: After sleeping with Ares, she was cursed by Aphrodite to have an unquenchable lust.
- Serial Rapist: What the curse did to her.
- Winged Humanoid: Also depicted as having wings.
Brother to Prometheus and Atlas, and son of Iapetus. Epimetheus was the direct brother to Prometheus, and together, they "acted as representatives to mankind". While Prometheus was smart and crafty, Epimetheus was foolish and unwise. Epimetheus was initially tasked with giving positive traits to every animal, but when he got to man, he found he had nothing left to give, lacking his brother's foresight. His brother then decided to give man fire and civilization. Later married Pandora (yes, the one who opened the box).
- Didn't Think This Through:
- "Oh boy, oh boy! Humans, I'm going to put so much cool stuff on you! Like claws and a tail and night vision and an awesome sense of balance—oh, wait. Just gave the last of those to cats. Well, how 'bout wings and beautiful plumage and awesome vision and voices that carry for—Birds. Darn. I know! I've got a slime trail that'll let you climb things and some nice thick shells...which look great on those snails over there. Prometheus! Little help?"
- "What's that, Prometheus? Zeus holds a massive grudge against the two of us, and by extension the humans we love so much? Well, I'm still accepting this gift from him. And her box."
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: It's right in their names. Although it takes quite an amount of foolishness to make Prometheus look responsible by comparision.
- Meaningful Name: It means "hindsight" or "afterthought".
- Physical God
Helios / Helius / Sol
The Titan god of the sun, known as Sol in the Roman pantheon. Sometimes equated with Apollo, he is usually the one driving a chariot of fiery steeds across the sky.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Same as Selene. Helios is literally the Sun itself.
- I Gave My Word: When his son Phaethon asks for evidence of his paternity, Helios swears on the River Styx to do anything he can to prove it. When Phathon demands to drive the chariot of the sun Helios desperately tries to talk him out of it, telling him at length about how difficult and dangerous the task is, to the point that Zeus himself wouldn't be able to do it - it would be impossible for anyone other than Helios himself. But Phaethon insists, and Helios can't go back on his word, so he very reluctantly lets him do it. With predictable, borderline apocalyptic results.
- Light 'em Up
- Light is Not Good: Not himself (unless pissed off), but his daughters were often witches who had a power called "evil eye", derived from himself; Circe is the most famous one.
- Physical God
- Shipper on Deck: Agrees that Hades is the perfect husband for Persephone. Demeter is not amused.
- The Power of the Sun: He is the Sun. An aversion; because the Greeks were unaware of the Sun's real potential, he was often depicted as weak and incapable of fighting for himself (for instance, when his sacred cattle were slain he had to blackmail Zeus in either killing said people, or having Helios running away to the Underworld). This becomes especially odd when you consider that Helios does demonstrate some violent strength a few times, like when Hera sent him to pursue Leto, when Apollo sent him to rot Python, and the orphic hymns depicting him as a bane to "evildoers". What a schizophrenic portrayal.
- Then there's Medea's prayer to him:'O sire, give me the right to guide thy fire-bearing steeds with the flaming reins; then let Corinth . . . be consumed by flames and bring the two seas together.'
- Too Dumb to Live: His son, Phaeton, asks to drive the chariot of the sun as proof that he is actually Helios' son. No version of the story ends well.
Leto / Latona
The Titan daughter of Coeus and Phoebe, and sister to Asteria, Leto is quite honestly famous for only one thing: Giving birth to Apollo and Artemis, the children of Zeus. When she got pregnant, she was forced to run for her life from the jealous Queen Hera, who made all the lands of the world shun her. Once her twins are born, she goes back to Olympus and recedes from being prominent. She did have one more myth associated with her; see below. Her Roman equivalent is Latona.
- Berserk Button: Please don't brag your children as being more exceptional than her own. Just ask Niobe.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Though not as disproportionate as in other cases since there was a justification, but it didn't make it any less jerkass. She ordered Apollo and Artemis to kill Niobe's fourteen children because Niobe bragged them more than Leto's own children. While this might count as Values Dissonance, the ancient Greeks did regard hubris as one of the most heinous crimes you could ever commit, especially against the mother of one of their most favorite gods, Apollo.
- Mama Bear: Insult her children, prepare to see your own children get offed.
- Physical God
- Revenge by Proxy: Ordered the killing of Niobe's fourteen children because the latter had insulted her own. Not killed, insulted.
A daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, making her a Oceanid. Was actually Zeus's first spouse, and was a goddess of Wisdom and deep thought, though her name actually implies a combination of wisdom and cunning. It was Metis who gave Zeus the poison that forced Cronos to vomit out his children. However, Zeus feared Metis, because she was was prophesied to have extremely powerful children, the second of which would be more powerful than Zeus himself. Zeus promptly tricked Metis into turning herself into a fly, after which he promptly swallowed her. Metis, however, was already pregnant with a powerful child (Athena), and went to work building armor for her inside Zeus, causing him great pain. Eventually, one way or another, Zeus got his head cracked open, and out popped Athena. What became of Metis after that is unknown.
- And I Must Scream: After Zeus swallowed her, she spent the rest of her life inside of him. She's a titan, which makes her immortal. You do the math.
- Dropped a Bridge on Her: She didn't die, but she still suffered a pretty undignified fate.
- Irony: Two sets of it. Firstly, Metis was swallowed by Zeus the same way that Zeus's siblings (whom she helped rescue) were swallowed by Cronos. Secondly, she is technically a goddess of wisdom, but Zeus didn't have to work to hard to trick into turning into a fly.
Brother to Prometheus and Atlas, and son of Iapetus. His one claim to fame is that Zeus kicked his butt during the war with the Titans and banished him down to Tartarus.
Eldest son of Pontus and Gaia, Nereus, (called the "Old Man of the Sea") is the father of the sea nymphs, the Nereids, with his lover Doris and a Titan god of the sea. He is a shapeshifter, with the power of prophecy, and is very similar to the god, Proteus. Well known for being truthful and virtuous, he commonly helped heroes like Hercules on their quests.
- Hermit Guru
- Physical God
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: While never depicted as ugly (and as a shapeshifter he can look however he wants) his daughters and especially his son Nerites are considered beautiful.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Famous for his honesty and willingness to give heroes straightforward answers unlike the oracles.
A Titan god associated with war, possibly making him Ares' predecessor. He was the son of Crius and Eurybia, the brother of Astraeus and Perses, and the husband of Styx. Was actually killed by Athena in the war of the Gigantes. Became conflated with Athena in later years, to the point that in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, a bust of Athena is identified as "Pallas".
Son of the Titans Kreios and Eurybia, and the titan god of destruction. Was wed to Asteria and had the their child Hecate together.
- Flat Character: His daughter has entire books on herself and even his wife is more notable in mythology. His one claim to fame is having Hecate.
One of the original Titans who was neutral during the war between the Titans and Olympians (or, depending on which source you look at, sided with Zeus simply because he foresaw he'd win). Instead, his sympathies were with man. One day he stole fire from the gods with Athena's assistance and gave it to man — for this and duping Zeus into promising to take the more noxious parts of animals as sacrifices, he was Chained to a Rock and tortured for centuries...until he was freed by the demigod Herakles.
- And I Must Scream: Probably the Ur-Example; his punishment was not only being Chained to a Rock; he had an eagle eating out his liver every day and, every night, his liver would regenerate and the process would repeat. Although he got out eventually thanks to Herakles.
- Chained by Fashion: Some stories say that even after Herakles freed him, Zeus declared that his sentence was permanent, thus Prometheus would always wear a wreath and a ring of his chain. Men in turn began to wear rings and wreaths in tribute to him.
- Chained to a Rock: Of course.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: He's chained to the Caucasus, and every day, a bird eats his liver. Bonus points for recognizing the liver's regeneration capability.
- Crucified Hero Shot
- Heroic Sacrifice: Prometheus willingly gave man fire and enabled civilization to start developing, knowing full well the consequences he would suffer once Zeus got his hands on him.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Several ancient authors included this in his torment.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The only god who would unfailingly put humanity before himself.
- Meaningful Name: His name means "Forethought".
- Messianic Archetype: Gave humanity an invaluable blessing at great personal cost. his fate even resembles crucifixion. Unfortunately he couldn't die.
- Physical God
- Redemption Equals Life: Some sources claim that Prometheus prophesied that Zeus would make a critical mistake that would cause him to fall the way Cronus fell, and that only Prometheus could prevent. This is said to be one reason why Zeus eventually relented and allowed Herakles to free Prometheus. Prometheus would eventually make good on his word by warning Zeus not to woo the sea-nymph Thetis, since any son she bore would be stronger than his father. This probably saved Zeus's throne.
- Satan Is Good: Obviously pre-dates the idea of Satan's fall, but the positive interpretation of Satan comes from him - a rebel against a Selfish God/gods who brings knowledge to humanity. Ironically, his motives and the fate he suffers for it draw plenty of parallels to Christ as well.
Selene / Luna
The Titan goddess of the moon, known as Luna in the Roman pantheon. Specifically, she is the goddess who drives the chariot of the moon across the sky. Sister of Helios and Eos (all offspring of Hyperion) and the most well-known of the three, if only because her name makes for an elegant allusion and looks very French (the "e" at the end is not silent).
- Action Girl: According to Nonnus' Dionysiaca, she fought against the freaking Typhon, which is why the Moon has craters. Badass indeed.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Unlike Artemis, Selene is literally the Moon itself. This is reflected in her names: Selene and Luna are the Greek and Latin words for "moon".
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: She had fifty daughters with Endymion after he was put into an eternal slumber.
- Lunacy: She is the Moon.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Attempted to avert this with Endymion.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Often depicted as such.
- Physical God
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Compare Selene's obsession with a single man to Eos' many husbands and young men. Bonus points for actually being Night and Day.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Apart from Endymion, she doesn't seem to have many other lovers.
- Winged Humanoid: Sometimes depicted with wings.
No, not the river in the Underworld; the Titan goddess, mother of Zelus, Nike, Kratos (not that Kratos), and Bia, husband of Pallas, and daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. During the Titanomachy, she sided with and came to Zeus's aide, being one of the first to do so. For this, her name became a binding oath for the gods.
The 3,000 daughters of Oceanus and Tethys. While their brothers, the Potamoi, personified only rivers, the Oceanid were the patronesses of more varied bodies of water, including seas, lakes, springs, and clouds. Also, while the Potamoi have inhuman appearances, the Oceanid were shown as beautiful women; they are nymphs after all, in addition to being goddesses. This characteristic is apparently noticed by the gods and Titans too, since not few of them decided to choose some of the Oceanid as their spouses, and they in turn sired gods or other nymphs, some of them very important.
- Flat Character: Though better than the Potamoi, since some of the Oceanid actually became the ancestors of some very important gods by virtue of their association with equally important gods/Titans (the Oceanid Pleione gave birth to Maia, who gave birth to the Olympian Hermes).
- Making a Splash
- Massive Numbered Siblings: 3,000 in total. And all of them are very beautiful.
- Nature Spirit
The 3,000 sons of Oceanus and Tethys, and the fathers of Naiads, these groups of gods were the river gods of Greek Mythology, depicted in three forms: a man-headed bull, a bull-headed man with the body of a serpent-like fish from the waist down, and an arm resting on an amphora jug pouring water.
- Flat Character: Inevitable given that there are thousands of them. A good hundred of them, though, are named in a list and even fewer get their own myths.
- Making a Splash
- Massive Numbered Siblings: There are 3,000 of them! And this is not counting the fact that they also have 3,000 sisters, the Oceanid, which mean that all of them number 6,000. Oceanus and Tethys must have loved each other very much for that to happen.
- Nature Spirit