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The Titans and Kronos/Chronos

Atlas and Prometheus, Titans

Atlas and Prometheus, Laconian Black Figure Amphoriskos c. 6th century BC. Two of the 12 Titans: Atlas, left, bearing the heavens on his shoulders, is harassed by the Hesperian* Drakon. Drakons were a race of gigantic toothed serpents, some with many heads, others winged; from this Drakon we get the constellation Draco. On the right is Prometheus, chained to Mt. Kaukasos, his heart pecked out by an Eagle.

*from Hesperides: a garden at the western end of the world in which golden apples grow and guarded by this dragon.



The Titans were the first race of gods and precursors to the Olympians. In the Greek poet Hesiod's Theogony, Gaia gave birth to the Titans (which translates as "overreachers") by mating with her son, Ouranos. The Titans were Gaia and Ouranos (Uranus) and their children Kronos (Saturn), Rhea (Kronos’ wife), Oceanus, Tethys (Oceanus’ wife, mother to the 3000 ocean nymphs), Hyperion (Light, an early Sun god), Thea (mated with Hyperion, bore Helios, Eos, and Selene), Mnemosyne (memory, mother of the Muses), Themis (Justice and Order, mother of the Fates and the Seasons by Zeus), Iapetus (father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Menoetius and Atlas), Coeus (intelligence), Phoebe (the Moon, Coeus’ wife, mother of Leto), Leto (mother of Apollo and Artemis by Zeus), Crius (father of Pallas, Perses and Astraios), Prometheus (Forethought, the wisest; molded the human race out of clay), Epimetheus (Afterthought), Atlas, and Metis (Mercury). After Kronos took the throne from Uranus, the Golden age of Man, a time of harmony and prosperity, ensued. According to Greek legend, during this period man lived in a paradise like the garden of Eden, without greed, violence, toil, or the need for laws.

This unfortunately did not last forever. When Kronos was about to slay his own father Uranus, it was prophesied that his son would in turn someday depose him. To keep this from being fulfilled, Kronos swallowed his children as they were born. The rest of the story is told in the Jupiter section, but at the end of the Age of Heroes Zeus released the Titans, making Kronos king of the Elysian Isles to rule over the shades of the Heroes.

When Kronos castrated and overthrew his father, Uranus (see "Gaia" and the first gods), the Titans retrieved their brothers from Tartarus and gave the power to Kronos, who once again bound and imprisoned the Cyclopes there. Much later at the end of the 10-year war between the Olympians led by Jupiter-Zeus and the Titans under Saturn-Kronos, Gaia prophesied a victory for Zeus were he to free the Cyclopes as his allies. When he did so, the Cyclopes -- the first smiths -- in return gave Zeus thunder, lightning, and a thunderbolt, Pluto a helmet, and Poseidon a trident. Armed with these gifts the three gods overpowered the Titans, cast them into Tartarus, and placed the Hecatonchires in guard over them.

This Titans and Kronos-Chronos Greek Mythology page and much of this 600-page resource website are taken from You and the Universe, a personalized fine art book on astrology, mythology and astronomy through which the recipient's complete astrological reading is woven.

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