They were children of the Titans Uranus and Gaea; they were three, Briareus or Aegaeon (the vigorous or the sea goat), Cottus (the striker or the furious) and Gyges (the big-limbed). The natural forces that were represented by the Hecatoncheires were the earthquakes and the huge sea waves.
Uranus, their father, threw them into Gaea's womb, which infuriated her; thus, this started her plotting towards the overthrow of her husband. She helped her son Cronus defeat his father, but when he came into power, he also imprisoned them in Tartarus.
During the Titanomachy, the War between the Titans and the Olympians, Gaea sided with Zeus and told him to free the Cyclopes as they would be worthy allies; thanks to their help, the Titans were overthrown and Zeus made them the guards of Tartarus.
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