TITANIG, TITANS

The adjective titanic is a synonym for huge, gigantic, and colossal. It is a particularly useful word to express great size; for example, the sculptures by John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (1867-1941) at Mount Rush- more, South Dakota, of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are titanic. Titanic was the name of the White Star liner, the largest ship afloat (45,000 tons) at the time it was launched. On its maiden voyage, on April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in less than two hours, with a loss of 1,513 lives; 711 passengers were saved.
The Titans, according to Greek mythology, were a race of gods begot by Uranus (sky) and Gaea (earth). The Greeks thought of them as gigantic beings who had ruled the world in a primitive age. There were twelve Titans, six male and six female. The most famous was Cronus, the father of Zeus. Cronus and Zeus engaged in a struggle for supremacy of the world in which the gods (under Zeus) and the Titans (under Cronus) were pitted against one another. The Titans lost, and the Olympian gods took control. Zeus was the ruler, and he quickly arranged to punish his enemies by dispatching them — the Titans — to Tartarus, the nethermost depths of the underworld.
The Titans were characterized by brute strength, large size, and low intelligence. M. H. Klaproth, a German scientist, who discovered titanium in 1795, so named the new element as an allusion to the natural strength of metal.