“O Mighty Titans, who from heav’n [Ouranos] and earth [Gaia]
derive your noble and illustrious birth,
Our fathers fires, in Tartarus profound
who dwell, deep merg’d beneath the solid ground:
Fountains and principles, from whom began
th’ afflicted, miserable, race of man:
Who not alone in earth’s retreats abide,
but in the ocean and the air reside;
Since ev’ry species from your nature flows,
which all prolific, nothing barren knows:
Avert your rage, if from th’ infernal seats
one of your tribe should visit our retreats.”
The Titans included Prometheus, Helios, Selene, Atlas, Rhea, Hyperion, Chronos and numerous others. These are the “fountains and principles” that humanity sprung from “since every species” flows from their natures. In many ways they foreshadow the reign of the Olympians, and in some cases their reign overlaps the reign of the Gods — to the point that they might accurately be called ‘Elder Gods’.
It is interesting that they are portrayed as noble and illustrious at the same time as they are being asked to avert their rage if they should visit. This implies that there is something that they are collectively raging against and that the rage is directed NOT at the Gods but at mankind. What is interesting to me is what is NOT here. The Titans are not being asked on a collective level to bring health, wealth or peace to mankind. Yes, on an individual level some of them are (See my posts on Chronos and Rhea) but it is the collective that is being addressed here. And it is this collective that is what was supplanted by the Olympians after the end of the Golden Age of Man (when Chronos reigned).
Let us then give the Titans their due once more, so that when we honor the Gods we honor ALL of them.