Right, we had a quick look at the Titans, so now let’s find out why their kids, the Olympians, booted them out of Heaven and took over the rule of the universe.
Once the Titan family was established, Gaia and Uranos next bore the Cyclopes – Brontes, Steropes and Arges. Our pal Hesiod credits these three with giving Zeus thunder and the lightning bolt (although later poets such as Ovid credit this to Vulcan – pfft, what do they know?).
Then the mother and son freak factory really went to town, giving birth to their next three, Cottus, Briareos and Gyes, known as the Hecatonchires.
Now, at this point Hesiod seems to have been on an all mushroom diet, because he describes these guys as having one hundred arms sprouting from their shoulders and fifty heads each.
I don’t know if he counted all these himself, or why he thought it necessary to include the tip ‘not to be approached’ when talking about these three, but regardless, these latest boys of Gaia were despised by their father from the get go. Can’t imagine why.
Uranos couldn’t stand the sight of these six giant weirdos, so as soon as each was born he hid them away in some secret place in the Earth. We don’t know where – it’s a secret.
Gaia was really cheesed off at this, and had now had enough of Uranos. She caused grey flint to form within her, then fashioned a great sickle and gathered her other kids together to ask them to punish their dad for this unforgivable act of giantist behavior.
Cronus is the only one willing to step up, although later sources add in a few of his brothers who hold Uranos down for him.
With his fancy new weapon Cronus marches off to teach dad a lesson. Evil begets evil, and for the first ever act of evil Uruanos suffers having his cock cut off by his son. Harsh.
Whilst the blood splatters of Uranos are causing all kinds of giants and creatures and nymnphs etc to sprout out of the earth, Cronus throws the sliced sausage into the sea, and from it Aphrodite forms. Everyone thinks she’s really hot, so she gets a place in Heaven and gets to preside over the hearts of gods and men.
With Uranos now a falsetto, Cronus becomes the leader of the Titans and, despite a reap what you sow prophecy from dear old dad, he hooks up with his sister Rhea and gets her in the club.
Born of Titans, but not Titans (I never said this would make sense), we now have the Olympians Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon and, last but certainly not least, Zeus.
They didn’t get to build sand castles or play on the monkey bars because as soon as they are born Cronus gobbles them up in a bid to thwart the prophecy.
All except Zeus who, with the help of Gaia, Rhea manages to save. The ladies switch Zeus for a stone, which Cronus finds extra crunchy, but still tasty.
Zeus grows up in Crete (the original Cretin) and after however many God-years that takes he returns to give his dad a good kicking, which appears to have been a rite of passage back then.
The sources differ here on the subject of how the Olympians were freed from their father’s stomach. Some accounts say Zeus was given a special potion from Metis, the goddess of wisdom, which he administered to Cronus and caused him to puke up the kids, but Hesiod says Gaia used her womanly ways to beguile Cronus into disgorging the tiny godlings, so we’ll go with that, eh?
However it happened it worked for Zeus, because now with his brothers and sisters at his side he declares war on all the Titans, which by most accounts went on for ten years, without either side gaining the advantage.
With the stalemate getting boring, and nothing good on TV, Gaia steps in to spice things up with another prophecy, telling Zeus that if he releases the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires they’ll help him win the war.
So Zeus sets them free and gets his trademark lightning bolts from the Cyclopes, and while he’s zapping everyone in sight and setting shit on fire left right and centre, the Hecatonchires are chucking massive boulders at the Titans with their hundred arms and it’s all pretty exciting.
This tips the balance and gives the Olympians a decisive victory. Zeus casts the Titans down into Tartarus, the underworld, to fester for all time, although some are charged with important tasks, such as Atlas who is forced to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders.
With the Olympians now in power Zeus is made their king, and sets about carving up the spoils. He takes Heaven for himself, gives the ocean to Poseidon, and leaves Hades with the underworld.
Then Zeus takes his sister Hera as a wife and the pair set about spawning a whole bunch of other gods. And so ends the Titanomachy. More to follow.
Love and lasagne.