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date: 06 December 2022



  • Ken Dowden


Titan, name inherited by *Hesiod for gods of the generation preceding the Olympians (see olympian gods). There is no plausible etymology unless once it meant ‘king’ (Hesychius interprets a word titēnai as ‘queens’). Apart from *Cronus, there is practically no cult. Hesiod seems to have padded them out into a set of twelve (West, Hesiod36): *Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, *Hyperion, *Iapetus, Theia, Rhea, *Themis, Mnemosyne, *Phoebe, *Tethys, *Cronus. (For other Titan names, see RE 6a 1506–8.)Mythologically, it is no less important to have former gods (Titans) than to have former people (*Pelasgians) so that the current order may be defined (Dowden, 135–6), hence the battle between the two sides, the ‘Titanomachy’. Hittite mythology too had its ‘former gods’, usually in a set of twelve, and the imprisonment of the Titans in *Tartarus by *Zeus has its parallel (at least) in Marduk's treatment of the children of Tiamat in the Babylonian creation-epic, Enūma Eliš (cf.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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