Guest Author - Heather Dodd
The Birth and Ascent to Power of the Greek Gods – The Olympians
Two of the original twelve sibling Titans, Cronus and Rhea, married and had six children. Cronus, afraid of being overthrown, swallowed whole five of the children – Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Rhea grew increasingly angry at seeing her children consumed by Cronus, and conspired with their mother, Gaia on how to conceal her sixth child due to be born – Zeus. When Zeus was born, Gaia took him to Crete to be raised. Rhea presented Cronus with a large boulder wrapped in swaddling clothes. Cronus assumed it was the child and swallowed it whole.
When Zeus grew to an adult, he secretly returned to his mother. He acted as a servant to Cronus, and presented him with a tasty elixir in which Rhea had mixed a potion to induce vomiting (some version credit Zeus’s first wife, Metis, with preparing the drink). Cronus took a long drink, vomited the boulder he had swallowed in place of Zeus, and then vomited Zeus’s siblings. Zeus’s brothers and sisters all emerged as full grown adults. They quickly pledged their allegiance to Zeus and followed him into war against Cronus and some of the other Titans.
The war between the invincible Titans and Olympians lasted for 10 years, with neither side making clear gains. Finally Zeus consulted with his grandmother Gaia who said that he would triumph if would free the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed Giants that Cronus had imprisoned in Tartarus. He freed them and gave them nectar and ambrosia, earning their loyalty in his fight. The Cyclopes gave Zeus a lightning bolt, Hades a helmet of darkness, and Poseidon a trident. With their new found allies and weapons, they finally defeated a weary Cronus, and imprisoned him and his allies in the depths of Tartarus. One of the Titans was not sent to Tartarus, the Titan, Atlas, who led the other Titans in battle. For his punishment, he was sent to the end of the Earth and was forced to hold the weight of the sky and heaven on his shoulders for all time. The Titans who had not opposed the Olympians, were allowed to stay in their positions. By treating his allies well, and not eating his children, Zeus hoped to reign forever. Zeus had one more trial to face before peace reigned for many ages. The Hundred –Handed Giants rebelled. The Gods had grown very strong now, and with the help of Hercules, a half-mortal son of Zeus, they easily defeated the Giants and threw them in Tartarus with the Titans.
Osborne, Kevin and Burgess, Dana. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Mythology." New York. Penguin Group, 2004. Print
Hamilton, Edith. “Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes.” New York. Grand Central Publishing, 1942. Print