Hundred-Handed (Hecatoncheires)
Cyclops
Giants (Gigantes)
Gegenees
Laestrygonians
 
Otus and Ephialtes
Orion      
Tityus (see Leto)
Antaeüs
Cacus
 
Chrysaor
Talus



Genealogy: Giants and Monsters

Fact and Figures: Astronomy

Related Pages:
    Mythical Creatures








Ἑκατόγχειρες
Hundred-Handed (Hecatoncheires)
 

Hecatoncheires (Ἑκατόγχειρες) or the Hundred-Handed were offspring of Uranus and Gaea. The three brothers were named Briareus (Obriareús), Cottus and Gyges. Though, sometimes, Aegaeon was used instead of Briareus.

The Hundred-Handed had hundred hands and fifty heads. Their gigantic size and their ugliness frightened their father, Uranus, who was ruler of the universe. Uranus threw his sons into Tartarus, the deepest region of the Underworld. This caused great pain to Gaea.

When Gaea gave birth to another set of ugly, giant sons, the Cyclops were met with similar fates as their elder brothers. The Cyclopes were also imprisoned in Tartarus. Only the Titans, who were fairer in looks, escaped the fates of imprisonment.

When Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, overthrown his father and became supreme ruler of the universe. Gaea had hoped that Cronus would release her sons who were imprisoned in Tartarus. Cronus refused to release them, so Gaea foretold that he would meet a similar fate as his father.

War broke out between the Titans and the sons of Cronus, known as the Olympians. The Olympians were the younger gods, led by the younger brother Zeus. The Cyclops made weapons for the Olympians. The Titans and Olympians were evenly matched, until Zeus released the Hecatoncheires from Tartarus. With the help of the Hecatoncheires, Zeus and his brothers were able to throw Cronus and the other male Titans into prison.

Zeus set the Hecatoncheires to watch and guard the Titans, who were imprisoned in Tartarus.

See the Creation for more details about their involvement in the war between the Titans and the Olympians.


According to the geographer Pausanias, Briareus acted as judge as the gods Poseidon and Helius contended to be patron god of Corinth. Poseidon had lost Athens and Argos to Athena and Hera, respectively. Briareus wisely gave Isthmus to Poseidon, while Helius received the Acrocorinth. Both gods were honoured in Corinth.

Briareus was also the son-in-law of Poseidon, when he married the sea god's daughter, Cymopoleia.

 
Related Information
Name
Hecatoncheires, Ἑκατόγχειρες – "Hundred-Handed".

Briareus, Briareos, Obriareus, Βριάρεως; Aegaeon.
Cottus, Κοττος.
Gyges, Γύγης.

Related Articles
Gaea, Uranus, Cronus, Zeus.

Creation, Titans, Cyclops.

Genealogy: Giants and Monsters.



Κύκλωπες
Cyclops
 

The Cyclops was a giant, who had a single large eye on their forehead. Some were friendly to gods and men, while others were hostile.

The original Cyclopes were the sons of Uranus and Gaea. Originally there were only three Cyclops, named Arges, Brontes and Steropes.

Because of their ugliness and their giant size, Uranus imprisoned the Cyclops in Tartarus along with his other sons, called Hecatoncheires or the Hundred-Handed.

They were renowned for their skills in building and working with metal. They made magnificent weapons for the Olympians, the younger gods who warred upon the Titans. They made the thunderbolts for Zeus, a trident for Poseidon and the Cap of Invisibility for Hades.

The Cyclops earned their freedom to the Olympians, and normally worked with Hephaestus, the god of fire and metalworking, some say under the mountain on the island of Lemnos.

See the Creation for more details about the war between the Titans and the Olympians.




Polyphemus

There were many younger generation of Cyclops, who was less civilised and more hostile to the mankind. They mainly lived in Sicily, and were mostly shepherds, not metal-smith like the three original Cyclops.

The most famous of these younger Cyclops was named Polyphemus (Πολύφημος). Polyphemus also lived in Sicily and was mainly a shepherd. Polyphemus was the son of Poseidon, the great sea god. His mother was the nymph Thoosa, daughter of the sea god Phorcys.

Polyphemus was more friendly and kinder when he was younger. Actually he was in love with a Nereid, named Galatea. Galatea was a minor sea goddess and the sister of Thetis.

Polyphemus tried in vain to win Galatea's love by singing songs and love-poems to the beautiful goddess. Galatea's other sisters made fun of her about her "one-eyed lover". Though, Galatea did not love Polyphemus, she does pity him.

Galatea was in love with Acis, son of Faunus and the mountain-nymph Symaethis. When Polyphemus found Galatea was sleeping with Acis, he crushed the young man to death. Galatea fled in horror from the scene. Her pity turned into hatred for the hideous giant.

After this incident, Polyphemus became hostile to all gods and men. There was a seer, named Telemus, who foretold that he would one day lose his eye to a hero. Polyphemus would kill and devour any man who set foot on the island.

In the epic poem titled the Odyssey, when the hero Odysseus met the giant, Polyphemus killed and ate six of Odysseus' warriors. Odysseus escaped from Polyphemus' clutches, by blinding his only eye with a large stake. Though Odysseus escaped with his six surviving men to the sea, his boast allowed the Cyclops to hear his name. Polyphemus cursed Odysseus and prayed to Poseidon to punish the hero. After that day, Odysseus became Poseidon's mortal enemy.

Polyphemus reappeared in the Roman epic called the Aeneid. The Trojan hero Aeneas landed his ships near Polyphemus' home. Here Aeneas discovered an Ithacan warrior, named Achaemenides, who was somehow left behind by Odysseus. Fortunately Aeneas heeded the Achaemenides' timely warning and was able to escape to open sea, before Polyphemus' brethren attack them.

 
Related Information
Name
Cyclops, Cyclopes, Κύκλωπες – "Wheel-eyed" or "Orb-eyed".

Arges, ´´Αργης – "Vivid One"
Brontes, Βροντης – "Thunderer"
Steropes, Στερόπης – "Lightener"

Contents
Cyclops
Polyphemus

Related Articles
Gaea, Uranus, Cronus, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hephaestus, Odysseus, Aeneas.

Creation, Hundred-Handed, Titans, Olympians, Odyssey, Argonauts.

Genealogy: Giants and Monsters.



Γίγαντες
Giants (Gigantes)
 

The Giants or Gigantes were offspring of Uranus and Gaea. When Cronus severed his father genitals and threw into the sea, some of the blood landed on earth, the giants sprang out of the earth.

The Gigantes were more than just giants. These giants had tails of the serpents.

The giants were said to have lived in Phlegra, most likely in Thrace, while other say Phlegra was located in Sicily.

The gods learnt that they could only defeat the giants if a mortal aided them. The gods had to wait for centuries before they had a suitable hero to aid them in the war against the giants. This hero was Heracles.

To prevent the giants from attacking them before Heracles was born; they caused the sun not to shine in Phlegra.

Eurymedon was their leader, while Alcyoneus and Porphyrion were the strongest among the giants.

All of them were killed or confined in the war against the gods. The story about the Giants were told briefly in the War in Heaven and on Earth in the Creation, and more fully in the article called War of the Giants, found in the Heracles' page.

 
Related Information
Name
Giants, Gigantes, Γίγαντες – "Giants".

Related Articles
Gaea, Uranus, Cronus, Zeus, Heracles.

Creation, War of the Giants.

Genealogy: Gigantes.



Gegenees
 

The Gegenees were a tribe of earthborn giants with six arms. The Gegenees lived in Bear Mountain, in Mysia.

Jason and the Argonauts landed near Bear Mountain, seeking supplies. The Gegenees thought it was ideal condition to raid the Argo, with only a few warriors guarding the ship. What they did realised was that Heracles was one of those who remained behind. Heracles killed many of the giants with his bow and club, holding the rest at bay, until the Argonauts returned. The rest of the Gegenees were either killed or fled back where they come from.

 
Related Information
Name
Gegenees, Earthborn Monsters.

Related Articles
Heracles, Jason.

Argonauts.



Λαιστρυγόνες
Laestrygonians
 

In the Odyssey, the Laestrygonians were giants living in the city of Telepylus. The city had an excellent harbour, with cliffs surrounding the harbour and only a narrow channel for a ship or two to sail passed through.

Their leader was Antiphates, king of the Laestrygonians. Antiphates and his wife were of giant size, but their daughter wasn't so tall, that the men of Odysseus didn't suspect anything unusual until they met the girl's parents.

When eleven of Odysseus' ships entered the harbour of Telepylus, the Laestrygonians attacked them, destroying the ships, by hurling large rocks. They used great long spears like fishes, before devouring them.

 
Related Information
Name
Laestrygonians, Laestrygones, Λαιστρυγόνες.

Related Articles
Odysseus.

Odyssey.



Ὠτος & Ἐφιάλτης
Otus and Ephialtes
 

Otus and Ephialtes were twin giants. They were the sons of Poseidon and Iphimedeia, who was wife of Alöeus. Though the twins' father was Poseidon, they were often called the Aloadae, after Alöeus, who was also the son of Poseidon and Canace.

By the time they were nine, the giants had reach a towering height of fifty feet tall. They were the first to worship the Muses.

With their rapid growth, they became so arrogant and hostile to the gods. They wanted to replace the gods in Olympus, so they began piling Mount Pelion on Mount Ossa, hoping to the reach the home of Olympians.

They even managed to capture Ares, binding the war god and stuffing him a bronze jar. Ares would have died of starvation and thirst after been confine in the jar for thirteen months. Luckily, the twins' stepmother told Hermes where they hidden Ares. Hermes released the half-dead Ares out of the bronze jar.

Zeus would have destroyed Otus and Ephialtes, had Poseidon not promised to distract his hostile sons.

This however, did not end their plots against the gods. Otus wanted to marry the virgin goddess Artemis, while Ephialtes wanted to take Hera as his wife. The twins set about capturing Artemis. Artemis led the twin giants on a merry chase to the island of Naxos. Artemis distracted them by changing herself into a beautiful white deer.

So the twins began to chase the deer instead. In the forest, both of them thought they had trapped the deer. Both hurled their spears at the deer, which vanished out of thin air. Each spear killed the other brother.

 
Related Information
Name
Aloadae.

Otus, Ὠτος.

Ephialtes, Ἐφιάλτης.

Sources
The Iliad and Odyssey were written by Homer.

Fabulae was written by Hyginus.

Library was written by Apollodorus.

Description of Greece was written by Pausanias.

Related Articles
Poseidon, Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Artemis, Hera, Muses.



Ὠρίωνα
Orion
 

Orion was the great hunter. Orion was the son of Poseidon and Euryale, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. Orion was a giant who could wade through the sea, with his head sticking out of the water.

Another version says that Hyreius, the king of Thrace had hospitably entertained Zeus, Poseidon and Hermes, and was given a boon. Hyreius want to have children. The gods took the hide from a sacrificed bull, and urinated on the bull hide. Months later a child was born.

Orion went to the island of Chios to woo King Oenopion's daughter, named Merope; according to Parthenius, her name was Aero. Oenopion blinded the drunken Orion, driving him off his island. Orion went to Lemnos, where Hephaestus gave one of his servants, Cedalion as a guide.

Orion found out that his sight would be restored if he travelled east until the sun rises. While Cedalion sat on his shoulder, he guided Orion east. Upon reaching the home of Helius, the sun god restored his sight.

Orion returned to Chios to take revenge upon Oenopion, but the Chian king had hidden himself in a subterranean cave. After his futile search, Orion went to Crete.


Orion was said to lust after the Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas. Zeus taking pity on the Pleiades place them in the sky as a constellation.

Orion became a favourite of Artemis, goddess of hunting. Together they chased animal through the forest of Crete. There are several accounts of Orion's death.

One was that Artemis killed him when he challenged her, other say that Apollo, Artemis' brother, killed Orion, probably because the virgin goddess was seriously thinking of marrying Orion.

The most popular was that Apollo did not want his sister to marry the giant hunter, tricked Artemis into killing Orion. Orion was walking in the deep sea with on the top of his head sticking out of the water. Apollo seeing Orion's head, he challenged his sister if she could hit the target. Artemis arrow flew true, piercing Orion's head. Artemis was horrified to see Orion's dead body floating on the water.

She was upset had killed her favourite hunter. To honour Orion, Artemis placed Orion in the stars. Here the constellation of Orion resumed his chase for the Pleiades. With him, was possibly his famous hound that was transformed into the constellation Canis Major; there was also the constellation of the hare, known as Lepus.


According to the Astronomy, a work attributed to Hesiod, Orion had a different fate. Orion was a companion of Artemis and her mother Leto, hunting on the island of Crete. Orion had boasted that he could kill all the wild animals on earth. Gaea (Earth) fearing for the mass-slaughter of all wild creature, the goddess sent a giant scorpion against Orion. The scorpion killed Orion.

Leto and Artemis asked Zeus to immortalise their favourite hunter as a constellation. The scorpion was also placed among the stars. As Orion chased after the Pleiades, the hunter was pursued by the scorpion in the night sky.

 
Related Information
Name
Orion, Urion, Ὠρίωνα.

Sources
Astronomy was possibly written by Hesiod.

The Odyssey was written by Homer.

Fabulae and the Poetica Astronomica were written by Hyginus.

Library was written by Apollodorus.

Library of History was written by Diodorus Siculus.

Love Stories (or Erotica Pathemata) was written by Parthenius.

Related Articles
Poseidon, Zeus, Hermes, Hephaestus, Artemis, Apollo, Leto, Helius, Pleiades, Atlas.

Facts and Figures: Astronomy, see the constellation of Orion.


Cedallion Guided the Blind Orion to the East
Nicholas Poussin
Oil on canvas, 1658
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York



Antaeüs
 

Antaeüs (Antaeus) was a giant wrestler. Antaeüs was the son of Gaea and Poseidon. Antaeüs was a wicked wrestler in Libya, who enjoyed challenging travellers into a wrestling match.

Antaeüs often allowed his opponent throw him to the ground. Antaeüs would always spring up to his feet, stronger than before he was thrown. He would then kill his opponent. Provided that Antaeüs has contact with the ground, Gaea (Earth) would renew his strength. Antaeüs was virtually unbeatable.

As Heracles travelled through Libya, towards the Garden of Hesperides, Antaeüs challenged him to a wrestling match.

Three times Heracles had thrown Antaeüs upon the ground; three times Antaeüs leaped to his feet, stronger than ever. Heracles realised that Antaeüs' mother was renewing his strength whenever his opponent make contact with earth.

Heracles killed Antaeüs by lifting the giant off the ground, until his opponent was seriously weakened. Then Heracles just crushed Antaeüs, while holding his opponent off the ground.

 
Related Information
Name
Antaeüs, Antaeus, Ἀνταἳος.

Related Articles
Gaea, Poseidon, Heracles, Garden of Hesperides.


Heracles wrestling with Antaeus
Statue, 1460-1528
Pier Antico.



Cacus
 

According to the Roman myth, Cacus was the son of Vulcan (Hephaestus). Cacus was a fire-breathing giant.

During the tenth labour, Heracles was driving the cattle of Geryon through Italy, when the hero encountered Cacus.

As Heracles passed through the site that would be Rome, Cacus stole some of the cattle, pulling them by the tails into a cave. A giant boulder blocked the cave entrance. Heracles had trouble finding the missing cattle, until he heard one of the cows in the cave. This did not deterred Heracles, who broke his way into cave, before slaying the giant with his club.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Heracles, Geryon.



Chrysaor
 

Chrysaor was an offspring of Poseidon and the Gorgon Medusa. When Perseus decapitated Medusa, some blood fell on the earth and sea. Pegasus sprang out of the sea, while Chrysaor was born where the blood fell on land. Chrysaor was fully armed when he was born.

It's not certain if Chrysaor was a human or a monster. The writers were never clear, but he could be a giant. Chrysaor married Callirrhoe, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. Chrysaor was the father of Geryon.

 
Related Information
Name
Chrysaor, Χρυάωρ – "Golden Sword".

Related Articles
Poseidon, Gorgon Medusa, Perseus, Pegasus.



Τάλως
Talus
 

Talus was the last Bronze Age man, who appeared in the Apollonius of Rhodes' Arognautica. Talus (Τάλως) lived and defended the island of Crete.

Talus was also a giant, made out of bronze. Instead of blood, Talus had ichor, the life-blood of an immortal. His only weakness was his behind his ankle, where a thin skin covered his vein.

When Jason and the Argonauts tried to land their ship on Crete, as guardian of the island, Talus began hurling huge boulders at the ship. Medea cast a spell upon Talus, causing the giant to drop one boulder on his leg. It landed on his skin behind the ankle, cutting his vein. Talus bled to death.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Jason, Medea.

Argonauts.


Talus
Greek kratera, 400-390 BC
Jatta Collection, Ruvo










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