Titan, in Greek religion and mythology, one of 12 primeval deities. The female Titan is also called Titaness. The Titans—six sons and six daughters—were the children of Uranus and Gaea. They were Kronos, Iapetus, Hyperion, Oceanus, Coeus, Creus, Theia, Rhea, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys, and Themis. The name Titan was sometimes applied also to their descendants, such as Prometheus, Atlas, Hecate, Selene, and Helios. The Titans, led by Kronos, deposed their father and ruled the universe. They were in turn overthrown by the Olympians, led by Zeus, in the battle called the Titanomachy. Zeus freed from Tartarus the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed giants, the Hecatoncheires, to aid him in the war. The Cyclopes forged Hades' helmet of darkness, Poseidon's trident, and Zeus' thunderbolts. With these weapons Zeus and his brothers were able to defeat the Titans. After the struggle Zeus sent Kronos to rule the Isle of the Blessed and condemned Atlas to bear the sky on his shoulders. Prometheus (and, in some myths, Oceanus and Themis), because he sided with Zeus, was allowed to remain on Olympus, but all the other Titans were condemned to Tartarus.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.