Definitions

Titanomachy

Titanomachy

Titanomachy: see Titan.

In Greek mythology, the Titanomachy, or War of the Titans (Τιτανομαχία), was the ten-year series of battles fought between the two races of deities long before the existence of mankind: the Titans, fighting from Mount Othrys,or Mount Etna and the Olympians, who would come to reign on Mount Olympus. This Titanomachia is also known as the Battle of the Titans, Battle of Gods, or just the Titan War.

Greeks of the Classical age knew of several poems about the war between the gods and many of the Titans. The dominant one, and the only one that has survived, was the Theogony attributed to Hesiod. A lost epic, Titanomachia, attributed to the blind Thracian bard Thamyris, himself a legendary figure, was mentioned in passing in an essay On Music that was once attributed to Plutarch. The Titans also played a prominent role in the poems attributed to Orpheus. Although only scraps of the Orphic narratives survive, they show interesting differences from the Hesiodic tradition.

These Greek myths of the Titanomachy fall into a class of similar myths throughout Europe and the Near East, where one generation or group of gods by and large opposes the dominant one. Sometimes the Elder Gods are supplanted. Sometimes the rebels lose, and are either cast out of power entirely or incorporated into the pantheon. Other examples might include the wars of the Æsir with the Vanir and Jotuns in Scandinavian mythology, the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish, the Hittite "Kingship in Heaven" Kumarbi narrative, the obscure generational conflict in Ugaritic fragments, and the Judeo-Christian tradition of the Fallen angel.

Prior events

The stage for this important battle was set after the youngest Titan, Cronus, overthrew his own father, Uranus (the Heaven itself and ruler of the cosmos), with the help of his mother, Gaia (the earth).

Uranus drew the enmity of Gaia when he imprisoned her children the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes in Tartarus. Gaia created a great sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to kill Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush.

When Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked Uranus with the sickle and cut off his genitals, and cast the severed member into the sea. From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, Erinyes, and Meliae were produced. From the spume from his cut genitalia, Aphrodite rose from the sea.

Cronus took his father's throne after dispatching Uranus. He then secured his power by re-imprisoning his siblings the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes, and his (newly-created) siblings the Gigantes, in Tartarus.

Gaia, angry at Cronus for keeping his brothers in the same pit Uranus locked them in, made a prophecy that Cronus' own children would rebel against his rule just as he had done to his own father. For fear of his unborn children rising against him, Cronus now turned into the terrible king his father Uranus had been, swallowing each of his children whole as they were born from his sister-wife Rhea. Rhea, however, managed to hide her child Zeus, by tricking Cronus into swallowing a rock wrapped in a blanket instead.

Rhea brought Zeus to a cave in Crete, where he was raised to adulthood. Later, Metis gave Zeus a potion for Cronus which would cause him to vomit up his swallowed children. Zeus then led his released brothers and sisters in rebellion against the Titans.

See also

References

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