“Buried beneath the rubble of Mount Othrys, the Titans met their Waterloo.”
Buried beneath the rubble of Mount Othrys, the Titans met their Waterloo. After ten years of warfare the Olympians had victory; a victory made possible thanks to superior weaponry and a determined leader. But as Zeus hauled his foe from the rubble, he had a problem: what to do with an immortal enemy.
First he found Atlas stumbling around dazed and confused, a large bump on his head after cracking a few too many rocks on his head. Thanks to his pivotal role in the war, Atlas was given a special punishment of holding up the sky on his shoulders. There was little chance of escape or rest (just try sitting in a squat for a minute); if he moved, everyone would know about it. Zeus sent the rest of the Titans who fought against him to Tartarus and appointed the Hecatonchires (his hundred armed uncles who had bombarded the Titans with rocks to earn victory for the Olympians) to guard them. You could argue that being appointed as prison guards for eternity is not much of a reward for providing the turning point to the war, but then who am I to question the sky God.
It’s worth pointing out that not all Titans fought against the Olympians. Prometheus and Epimetheus both took back seats and watched the war unfold from a distance along with their mother Themis. Styx (Goddess of the river Styx…not the band) joined forces with Zeus and brought along her four children – Nike (the Goddess of victory), Zelus, Bia and Cratus. Nike proved to be a crucial ally and she was responsible for majestically guiding Zeus’ horses and chariot through the battlefields. Zeus rewarded Nike and her siblings by making them the guardians of his throne on Mount Olympus. Nike would later prove critical in Zeus’ battle against Typhon, but that’s a story for another day. Oceanus (Styx’s father) also refused to side with Cronus and became something of an outlaw God.
Punishments dished out, Zeus then had to establish a new world order, and what better way to do that than…draw straws (or potentially rock, paper, scissors). Hades went first and pulled out the short straw and thus was given dominion over the underworld. He stormed off in a sulk (would you want to fight for ten years and then be rewarded with control over Zombieland?) and only appeared occasionally to cause mischief. Poseidon went next and was given the sea after drawing the middle straw. That left Zeus with the sky; you could say his little game worked out well for him.
You might wonder why the world was not split between the female Olympians as well (Hera, Hestia and Demeter). What can I say? The Greek Gods lived in a highly patriarchal society. Pretty much every tale is deeply misogynistic and we will hear more about them in later instalments.
Enemy defeated. Tick. New world order established. Tick. Put feet up? Not just yet. Zeus needed a wife, and Hera was playing hard to get. But Zeus had a plan. A cunning plan…