Day Twenty of the A-to-Z Challenge in April 2017. Let’s do this.
This year there’s no linky list or form to fill out to sign up. It might be too late to join at this point (unless you were double posting), but you can always cheer/comment on participants (and find awesome bloggers) at the A-to-Z’s official blog.
Now I should warn, that I didn’t stick to the common sense rule of writing short, pithy posts. Mine are long and bloated, but I’m having fun with it. And if you wanna skim, that’s absolutely cool with me!
Leave a comment down below with your blog so I can visit I’m thrilled to be making new friends. 🙂
As part of my Greek mythic figures, places, and things theme, my “T” post details the Titanomachy, or the Titan War.
There isn’t much detail on the Titan War, other than that it may have lasted ten years, and the two opposing sides were the titans (of course!) and the Olympians.
It started with Uranus, the primordial grandfather of Zeus who wasn’t a really great father. Uranus was ousted by Cronus, his son. But Cronus was a tyrant too. He ruled with an iron fist, I suppose. But the most evil of his deeds was surely swallowing his own children, for fear of an oracle’s reading that told him that a son of his would end his tyranny (just as Cronus had ended his father’s). It’s the cycle of “love” that keeps giving, this family…
So Cronus kept up his craziness until his wife, Rhea, decided that she had enough of giving birth to children, and then still remaining childless. She finally used her brain and hid the son she just had – but Cronus was expecting another child to devour, so Rhea passed him a stone she wrapped up.
Cronus ate the stone, thinking he got away with it again.
Rhea raised her son, Zeus, up from the eyes of his monstrous father, and when he was old enough, Zeus stood up to Daddy Dearest.
I know I keep mentioning Maury, but I swear this stuff is straight-up scandalous drama.
I wonder if Cronus was like “Oh shoot” or if he was like “Rhea, did you cheat on me – cause I KNOW I swallowed my babies?! Mhmm-hmm.”
However it went down, Cronus and Zeus did not have a happy father-son reunion. They decided to take their beef to the trenches…
It’s War Time:
Before that, Zeus would need an army. He remembered his swallowed siblings. Zeus was the sixth child, and the youngest of those unfortunate, innocent souls before him. So he had either Gaia, his grandmother (Uranus’s wife) or Metis, goddess of wisdom and later the mother of Athena by Zeus, help him concoct a potion for Cronus to imbibe.
When Cronus did, he regurgitated his swallowed children. Out popped Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Hades and Poseidon, the original five Olympian gods – not including Hades, he doesn’t count.
Apollo, Artemis, Dionysus, Hermes, Athena, Hephaestus, and Ares being the products of the original Olympians, but Olympians in their own right. Hestia steps down for Dionysus, and Aphrodite, also an Olympian, sprung from Uranus’s blood (more on that here, in my “U” post for Uranus).
Back to the story of Cronus and the Titanomachy:
So, Cronus spat out his children, and Zeus now had his army. Not all Titans went to war, and those that remained (neutral) were later not punished by Zeus. Some Titans joined the Olympian cause, like Styx (as in the river Styx). She was the first of the second-generation Titans, a daughter of Oceanus, who joined Zeus and brought her sons and daughters to fight on his side as well.
Both opposing factions had their mountain tops to rule from: Zeus and the Olympians on Mt. Olympus, and Cronus and his Titan-goons from Mt. Othrys.
They were evenly matched though, and it was Gaia who arrived to inform Zeus that he had hope of winning if he could go down into the Underworld and free the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes.
How the War Came to an End:
The Hecatonchires were weakened, so Zeus had them revived with ambrosia, the drink of the gods, and nectar, the fruit of the gods, and once recharged, these hundred-handed giants could throw mountains as missiles.
Mountains?! Is it too early to call this one, because I think the war is won.
Now the Cyclopes played a major role too. Indebted to having been freed from Tartarus, the bad/wrong side of the Underworld, the Cyclopes used their master artisan skills to craft Olympian weapons for the three Olympian brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades (at this time Hades had no rule over the Underworld yet).
So Zeus got his lightning bolts…
And Poseidon was gifted his trident…
Hades received a helmet/helm of invisibility.
The war ended eventually. As foretold, Zeus and the Olympians won. Zeus imprisoned the male Titans in Tartarus by new, supposedly sturdy bronze gates built by the Cyclopes. In some versions, the female Titans are free – for they didn’t battle.
Funny enough, the female Olympians, Hera, Hestia and Demeter didn’t fight as well. Guess Zeus, Hades and Poseidon didn’t like the idea of seeing their sisters battle…who knows?
In some cases, though, all Titans, male and female, were imprisoned eternally, except for Themis and Prometheus. They battled for Zeus, like Styx.
Prometheus would later earn Zeus’s ire for stealing fire for the humans. For years he’d suffer from being chained and having an eagle (or vulture) peck out his liver, bit by bit, for the day, only to return with the light of dawn to find Prometheus’s liver re-grown. Hercules would free him on his quest of Labors.
Zeus’s allies were rewarded as well. “Styx, was made a power river goddess whose name was invoked for unbreakable oaths, whilst her children would be given privileged positions upon Mount Olympus. Metis would become the first wife of Zeus.” (source)
Then, as the new rulers of the universe, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades divided its rule among themselves. Zeus taking the skies and Earth, Poseidon the seas, and Hades keeping the Underworld in tip-top shape (of course, he wasn’t counted among the 12 Olympian gods, and he held no seat in Mt. Olympus – oh well, all that space to himself).
MORAL: Try to be a kind ruler…and if you can’t lead, do good to follow, or teach future leaders. And if you’re placing bets, make sure it doesn’t bite you in the arse later.
Sources that helped me with this post:
Check them out when you can!