Greek mythological figures: giants

Other “giants”:

1.0 ALÔADÊS, ALÔADAI (the) (Greek: Ἀλῳάδαι) (Latin: Aload, Aloadae) (Translation: Crushers (aloaô) Sons of Aloeus) twin giants who attempted to climb to Olympus by piling mountains on top of each other. 

THE ALOADAI1) (Aloadae) were two giants who attempted to storm the home of the gods by piling three mountains–Olympos, Ossa and Pelion–one on top of the other. Ares tried to stop them but was defeated and imprisoned for thirteen months in a bronze urn.Artemis later raced between them in the guise of a deer.

They both cast their spears but missed and instead struck each other dead. Curiously the pair were also attributed with introducing the cult of the Mousai (Muses) to Mount Helikon in Boiotia. The Aloadai giants were depicted in ancient art as a pair of youthful hunters with caps and hunting spears. They were sometimes confounded with or included in lists of the Gigantes who waged war on the gods. The name Aloadai, was derived from the Greek verb aloaô meaning “to crush” or “thresh.” Individually they were named “nightmare” (Greek ephialtês) and “doom” (from oitos) or “horned-owl” (Greek ôtos). 

ΑΛΩΕΙΔΑΙ2) Or Aloiadae or Aloadae (Alôïaoai or Alôadai), are patronymic forms from Aloeus, but are used to designate the two sons of his wife Iphimedeia by Poseidon: viz. Otus and Ephialtes. The Aloeidae are renowned in the earliest stories of Greece for their extraordinary strength and daring spirit. When they were nine years old, each of their bodies measured nine cubits in breadth and twenty-seven in height. At this early age, they threatened the Olympian gods with war, and attempted to pile mount Ossa upon Olympus, and Pelion upon Ossa. They would have accomplished their object, says Homer, had they been allowed to grow up to the age of manhood; but Apollo destroyed them before their beards began to appear. (Od. xi. 305, &c.) In the Iliad (v. 385, &c.; comp. Philostr. de Vit. Soph. ii. 1. § 1) the poet relates another feat of their early age.

They put the god Ares in chains, and kept him imprisoned for thirteen months; so that he would have perished, had not Hermes been informed of it by Eriboea, and secretly liberated the prisoner. The same stories are related by Apollodorus (i. 7. § 4), who however does not make them perish in the attempt upon Olympus. According to him, they actually piled the mountains upon one another, and threatened to change land into sea and sea into land.

They are further said to have grown every year one cubit in breadth and three in height. As another proof of their daring, it is related, that Ephialtes sued for the hand of Hera, and Otus for that of Artemis. But this led to their destruction in the island of Naxos. (Comp. Pind. Pyth. iv. 156, &c.) Here Artemis appeared to them in the form of a stag, and ran between the two brothers, who, both aiming at the animal at the same time, shot each other dead. Hyginus (Fab.28) relates their death in a similar manner, but makes Apollo send the fatal stag. (Comp. Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 264; Apollon. Rhod. i. 484, with the Schol.)

As a punishment for their presumption, they were, in Hades, tied to a pillar with serpents, with their faces turned away from each other, and were perpetually tormented by the shrieks of an owl. (Munck, ad Hygin. l. c.; Virg. Aen. vi. 582.) Diodorus (v. 50, &c.), who does not mention the Homeric stories, contrives to give to his account an appearance of history. According to him, the Aloeidae are Thessalian heroes who were sent out by their father Aloeus to fetch back their mother Iphimedeia and her daughter Pancratis, who had been carried off by Thracians. After having overtaken and defeated the Thracians in the island of Strongyle (Naxos), they settled there as rulers over the Thracians.

But soon after, they killed each other in a dispute which had arisen between them, and the Naxians worshipped them as heroes. The foundation of the town of Aloïum in Thessaly was ascribed to them. (Steph. Byz. s. v.) In all these traditions the Aloeidae are represented as only remarkable for their gigantic physical strength; but there is another story which places them in a different light. Pausanias (ix. 29. § 1) relates, that they were believed to have been the first of all men who worshipped the Muses on mount Helicon, and to have consecrated this mountain to them; but they worshipped only three Muses —Melete, Mneme, and Aoide, and founded the town of Ascra in Boeotia. Sepulchral monuments of the Aloeidae were seen in the time of Pausanias (ix. 22. § 5) near the Boeotian town of Anthedon. Later times fabled of their bones being seen in Thessaly. (Philostr. i. 3.)

1.1 ÔTOS (Greek: Ότος) (Latin: Otus) (Translation: Horned owl (ôtos), Doom [oitos]) OTUS3) (Otos) One of the twin giants named Aloadae.

1.2 EPHIALTÊS (Greek: Εφιάλτης) (Latin: Ephialtes) (Translation: Nightmare [ephialtes]) ΕΦΙΑΛΤΗΣ4) One of the giants, who in the war against the gods was deprived of his left eye by Apollo, and of the right by Heracles. (Apollod. i. 6. § 2.) Respecting another personage of this name see ALOEIDAE.

2.0 ANAX (Greek: Αναξ) (Latin: Anax) (Translation: Ruler (anax)) was a giant of the island of Lade near Miletos in Lydia, Anatolia. ANAX5) and ASTERIOS (Asterius) were father and son giants of the island of Lade near Miletos in Lydia, Anatolia. They stood about 15 feet tall. The pair were probably connected with the other giants of Lydian myth–Damasen, Atlas, and Hyllos.

3.0 ASTERIOS ANTAEUS (Greek: Ἀνταῖος) (Latin: Asterius) (Translation: Starry (asterios)) a Libyan giant who wrestled all visitors to the death until he was slain by Heracles. ASTERIOS6) (Asterius) and ANAX were father and son giants of the island of Lade near Miletos in Lydia, Anatolia. They stood about 15 feet tall. The pair were probably connected with the other giants of Lydian myth–Damasen, Atlas, and Hyllos.

4.0 ANTIPHATES (Greek: Ἀντιφάτης) (Latin: xxxx) (Translation: xxxx ) the king of the man-eating giants known as Laestrygones which were encountered by Odysseus on his travels. ΑΝΤΙΦΑΤΗΣ7) 1.0 A king of the Laestrygones in Sicily. When on the seventh day after leaving the island of AeolusOdysseus landed on the coast of the Laestrygones, and sent out three of his men to explore their country, one of them was immediately seized and devoured by Antiphates, for the Laestrygones were more like giants than men. They now made an attack upon the ships of Odysseus, who escaped with only one vessel. (Hom. Od. x. 80-132.) 2.0 Two other mythical heroes of this name occur in Od. xv. 242, &c.; Virg. Aen. ix. 696.

4.1 LAISTRYGÔN8) (Greek: Λαιστρυγων) (Latin: Laestrygon) and LAISTRYGONES (Greek: Λαιστρυγονες) (Latin: Laestrygones) (Translation: Skin-Reapers, Raw-Hide Gatherers)

5.0 ARGOS PANOPTÊS (Greek: Ἄργος Πανόπτης) (Latin: Argus Panoptes) (Translation: Argive All-Eyes) ARGOS PANOPTES9) A hundred-eyed giant who was set by Hera to guard the maiden Io but was slain by Hermes. ARGOS PANOPTES10) was a hundred-eyed giant of Argolis in the Peloponnese. Once when Zeus was consorting with the Argive Nymphe Io, his jealous wife Hera appeared on the scene. The god quickly transformed her into a white heifer but the goddess was not deceived and demanded the animal as a gift. She then appointed Argos Panoptes as its guard. Zeus sent Hermes to surreptitiously rescue his lover. The god lulled the giant to sleep with his music and slew him with his sword. From this conquest he earned the title Argeiphontes “Slayer of Argos”. Hera rewarded Argos for his service by placing his hundred eyes on the tail of her sacred bird, the peacock.

6.0 ASTERIUS (Greek: Αστεριος) (Latin: xxxx) (Translation: “Bright One” or “Glitterer”) a Lydian giant. ASTERIUS11) (“Bright One” or “Glitterer”): A Giant, also called Aster, killed by Athena, whose death, according to some accounts, was celebrated by the Panathenaea. Probably the same as the Giant Astarias named on the late sixth century Siphnian Treasury. Probably also the same as Asterus, mentioned in the epic poem Meropis, as an invulnerable warrior killed by Athena. In the poem,Heracles, fighting the Meropes, a race of Giants, on the Island of Kos, would have been killed but for Athena’s intervention. Athena kills and flays Asterus and uses his impenetrable skin for her aegis. Other accounts name others whose hyde provided Athena’s aegis: Apollodrus has Athena flay the Giant Pallas, while Euripides’ Ion has Gorgon, here considered to be a Giant, as Athena’s victim.

7.0 KAKOS (Greek: Κακος) (Latin: Cacus) (Translation: Evil, Bad (kakos)) a fire-breathing Latin giant slain by Heracles. KAKOS12) (Cacus) was a monstrous, fire-breathing giant who dwelt in a cave on the Aventine Hill in Latium–later the site of Rome. He was slain by Herakles as the hero was on his way back to Greece after fetching the cattle of Geryon from Erytheia (Spain).

8.0 Cyclops (Three Elder) (Greek: Κύκλωψ, Kuklōps) (Latin: Cyclops) [plural] – Cyclopes (Greek: Κύκλωπες, Kuklōpes) (Latin: Cyclopes) (Translation: x”round-eyed” “circle-eyed” ) Hesiod described three one-eyed giants who forged the lightning-bolts of Zeus, Trident of Poseidon and Helmet of Hades

8.1 ARGES (Greek: Ἄργης) (Latin: Arges) (Translation: “bright” and represents the brightness from lightning) son of Uranus and Gaia

8.2 BRONTÊS (Greek: Βρόντης) (Latin: Brontes) (Translation: Thunder [brontê]) son of Uranus and Gaia

8.3 STEROPÊS (Greek: Στερόπης) (Latin: Steropes) (Translation: Lightning-Bolt [steropê]) son of Uranus and Gaia ΣΤΕΡΟΠΗΣ13) A son of Uranus and Gaea, was one of the Cyclopes. (Hes. Theog. 140 ; Apollod. i. 1. § 2.)

N.B. below: Argilipos, Pyrakmon and Akmonides are alternate names for the three above.

(i) AKMÔNIDÊS (Greek: Ακμωνιδης) (Latin: Acmonides) (Translation: Son of the Anvil [akmôn])

(ii) PYRAKMÔN (Greek: Πυρακμων) (Latin: Pyracmon) (Translation: Fiery Anvil [pyra, akmôn])

(iii) ARGILIPOS (Greek: Αργιλιπος) (Latin: Argilipus) (Translation: Flashing Radiance [argês, lipaô])

9.0 Cyclops (Four Younger) (Greek: Κύκλωψ, Kuklōps) (Latin: Cyclops) [plural] – Cyclopes (Greek: Κύκλωπες, Kuklōpes) (Latin: Cyclopes) (Translation: x”round-eyed” “circle-eyed” ) Hesiod described three one-eyed giants who forged the lightning-bolts of Zeus, Trident of Poseidon and Helmet of Hades

9.1 ELATREUS (Greek: Ελατρευς) (Latin: Elatreus) (Translation: Forged Iron [elatreus])

9.2 EURYALOS (Greek: Ευρυαλος) (Latin: Euryalus) (Translation: Wide-Stepping, Sea-Roaming*)

9.3 HALIMÊDÊS (Greek: Ἁλιμηδης) (Latin: Halimedes) (Translation: Sea-Ruling [hals, medô])

9.4 TRAKHIOS (Greek: Τραχιος) (Latin: Trachius) (Translation: Rugged ]trakhus[, Fast-Moving [trekhô])

N.B. below: Acmonides & Gasterocheires are alternate names for the three above.

(i) AKMÔNIDES (Greek: Ακμωνιδες) (Latin: Acmonides) (Translation: Sons of the Anvil [akmôn])

(ii) GASTEROKHEIROI (Greek: Γαστεροχειροι) (Latin: Gasterocheires) (Translation: Belly Hands [gastêr, kheir])

10.0 Cyclops (other) (Greek: Κύκλωψ, Kuklōps) (Latin: Cyclops) [plural] – Cyclopes (Greek: Κύκλωπες, Kuklōpes) (Latin: Cyclopes) (Translation: x”round-eyed” “circle-eyed” ) Hesiod described three one-eyed giants who forged the lightning-bolts of Zeus, Trident of Poseidon and Helmet of Hades

10.1 POLYPHĒMOS (Greek: Πολύφημος) (Latin: Polyphemus) (Translation: “abounding in songs and legends”) a cyclops who briefly captured Odysseus and his men, only to be overcome and blinded by the hero. POLYPHEMUS14) (/ˌpɒlˈfməs/; Greek: Πολύφημος Polyphēmos) is the giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes described in the Odyssey. His name means “abounding in songs and legends”. Polyphemus first appears as a savage man-eating giant in the ninth book of Homer’s Odyssey. Some later Classical writers link his name with the nymph Galatea and present him in a different light.

11.0 Gêgenês, Gêgeneês (the) (Greek: Γηγενης Γηγενεης) (Latin: Gegenes, Gegenees) (Translation: Earth-Born (gêgenês)) THE GEGENEES15) a tribe of six-armed giants fought by the Argonauts on Bear Mountain in Mysia.

12.0 GÊRYÔN, GÊRYONÊS (Greek: Γηρυων) (Latin: Geryon, Geryones) (Translation: Earth-? [gê]) a three-bodied giant who dwelt on the sunset isle at the ends of the earth. He was slain by Heracles when the hero arrived to fetch the giant’s cattle as one of his twelve labours. GERYON16) was a three-bodied, four-winged giant who lived on the island of Erytheia in the westernmost reach of the earth-encircling river Okeanos (Oceanus). He possessed a fabulous herd of cattle whose coats were stained red by the light of the sunset. Herakles was sent to fetch these as one of his twelve labours. The hero reached the island by sailing across the Okeanos in a golden cup-boat borrowed from the sun-god Helios. There he encountered and slew the cattle-herder Eurytion, the two-headed guard dog Orthros (Orthus), and finally three-bodied Geryon himself. With this task complete the hero herded the cattle into his boat and led them back to the Greek Peloponnese. Geryon may have originally been associated with the constellation Orion, his two-headed dog Orthos with the adjacent canines Canis Major and Minor, and his cattle with Taurus the bull. His father’s name Khrysaor (“Golden Sword”) was an appellation of the constellation Orion and most of Herakles other labours are connected with star groups. The meaning of his name is unclear. It may be connected with the ancient Greek word gê (earth) or gêryô (singing).

Poetic Titles & Epithets

(i) GÊRYONEUS (Greek: Γηρυονευς) (Latin: Geryon) (Translation: Singing? [gêryô])

(ii) TETRAPTILON (Greek: Τετραπτιλον) (Latin: Tetraptilon) (Translation: Four-Winged [tetra-, ptilon])

(iii) TRIKEPHALOS (Greek: Τρικεφαλος) (Latin: Tricephalus) (Translation: Three-Headed [tri-, kephalê])

13.0 Hekatonkheires / Hekatonkheir (the) (Greek: Ἑκατονχειρες) (Latin: Hecatoncheires) & (Greek: Ἑκατονχειρ) (Latin: Hecatoncheir) (Translation: Hundred-Handed [hekaton, kheir]) the Hundred-Handed Ones, giant gods of violent storms and hurricanes. Three sons of Uranus and Gaia, each with their own distinct characters. HECATONCHEIRES17) The Hecatoncheires were giant creatures in Greek mythology. Their name means “hundred – handed ones”, and apart from a hundred hands of unfathomable strength, they also had fifty heads. 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. Hecatoncheires Is also called Centimani, Hekatonkheires, Hundred-Handers, Hecatonchires.

Names of the Hecatoncheires18)

13.1 BRIAREÔS (Greek: Βριάρεως) (Latin: Briareus) (Translation: xxxx ) or (Greek: Αἰγαίων) (Latin: Aigaion) (Translation: The Vigorous)

13.2 KOTTOS (Greek: Κόττος) (Latin: Cottus) (Translation: Grudge, Rancour [kotos, koteô]) The Furious

13.3 GYÊS (Greek: Γυης) (Latin: Gyges Gyes) (Translation: Of the Earth [guês]) The Big-Limbed

13.4 OBRIAREÔS (Greek: Οβριαρεως) (Latin: Obriareus) (Translation: Strong, Stout (briaros))

13.5 AIGAIÔN (Greek: Αιγαιων) (Latin: Aegaeon) (Translation: Goatish, Stormy (aigis))

Names of the Tritopatores19) ΤΡΙΤΟΠΑΤΟΡΕΣ20) Three elder gods worshipped at Athens named Amaclides, Protocles and Protocleon. Alternative names were sometimes given including Eubuleus.

13.4 AMALKEIDÊS (Greek: Αμαλκειδης) (Latin: Amalcides) (Translation: Bound to That Place (ama-, kleiô))

13.5 PRÔTOKLÊS (Greek: Πρωτοκλης) (Latin: Protocles) (Translation: First Locked Away (prôtos, kleiô))

13.6 PRÔTOKLEÔN (Greek: Πρωτοκλεων) (Latin: Protocleon) (Translation: First Confined (prôtos, kleiô))

(i) TRITOPATÊR (Greek: Τριτιοπατηρ) (Latin: Tritopater) (Translation: Three-Fathers (tritos, patêr))

(ii) TRITOPATORES (Greek: Τριτοπατορες) (Latin: Tritopatores)

(iii) TRITOPATREIS (Greek: Τριτοπατρεις) (Latin: Tritopatreis)

14.0 Laestrygonians (the) Laistrygones (Greek: Λαιστρυγονες) (Latin: Laestrygones) and Laistrygôn (Greek: Λαιστρυγόνες) (Latin: Laestrygon) (Translation: Skin-Reapers, Raw-Hide Gatherers) a tribe of man-eating giants encountered by Odysseus on his travels. THE LAISTRYGONES21) (Laestrygones) were a tribe of man-eating giants encountered by Odysseus on his travels. Homer appears to place them somewhere in the far north, a land where the sun rose shortly after it set. Their name was derived from the Greek words laisêion, “raw hide” or “skin” and trygaô, “to gather.”

15.0 ÔRIÔN (Greek: Ὠρίων) (Latin: Orion) (Translation: Urine, mountain) a giant huntsman whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion. ORION22) was a handsome giant granted the ability to walk on water by his father Poseidon. He served King Oinopion (Oenopion) of Khios (Chios) as huntsman for a time, but was blinded and exiled from the island after raping the king’s daughter Merope. Orion then travelled across the sea to Lemnos to petition the god Hephaistos (Hephaestus) for help in recovering his sight. Lending him his assistant Kedalion (Cedalion), the god directed the giant to the rising place of the sun where Helios restored his vision. Upon returning to Greece, Orion sought out Oinopion to exact his revenge but the king hid himself away in an underground, bronze chamber. The giant then retired to the island of Delos or Krete (Crete) where he became a hunting companion of the goddess Artemis. After his death he was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Orion. There were various accounts of his death. In one version he desired to marry Artemis but her brother Apollon tricked the goddess into shooting him with an arrow as he was swimming far out at sea. In another version, Artemis slew him after he raped her handmaiden Oupis. The most common story, however, was that Orion bragged he would hunt down and kill all the beasts of the earth, so Gaia (Mother Earth) sent a Scorpion to destroy him. Orion and the Scorpion were afterwards placed amongst the stars as opposing constellations–one rises as the other sets. The Boiotians also had their own stories about the stellar hunter. According to their version of his myth Orion was born when three gods–Zeus, Poseidon and Hermes–urinated on a bull-hide and buried it in the earth to provide King Hyrieus with a son and heir. Orion’s name is derived from the ancient Greek word oros “mountain” or from ourios “urine”. The stories surrounding Orion resemble those of several other mythical hunters of the Boiotian region. The hunter Kephalos (Cephalus), for example, was also said to have been seduced by the goddess Eos. Another, Aktaion (Actaeon), was similarly killed by Artemis while out hunting. And finally, the earth-born Boiotian giant Tityos attempted to violate the goddess Leto–just as Orion assaulted Oupis–and was destroyed by Apollon and Artemis with their arrows.

16.0 TALÔS (Greek: Τάλως) (Latin: Talos) (Translation: Cut down, the sun (talôs)) a giant forged from bronze by Hephaestus, and given by Zeus to his lover Europa as her personal protector. TALOS23) was a giant, bronze automoton–a living statue forged by the divine smith Hephaistos (Hephaestus). According to others he was instead the last of the ancient bronze race of man. Zeus gave Talos to his lover Europa after delivering her to the island of Krete (Crete). The giant was given the task of patrolling the island and circled it three times a day, driving off pirates with volleys of rocks. He was eventually destroyed by Poeas or the Dioskouroi (Dioscuri) twins with the aid of the magic of the witch Medea as he tried to prevent the Argonauts from the landing on the island. In the genealogy of the ancient epic poet Cinaethon, Talos was the Kretan (Cretan) god of the sun, a son of Kres (i.e. the island of Krete), and the father of the fire-god Hephaistos. He was probably also the brother of Kretan moon-goddess Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos. The word talôs means “sun” in the Kretan dialect, but “cut down” or “hewn” in the mainland Greek dialects. In classical art Talos was depicted as a handsome young man carved of bronze.

17.0 TITYOS (Greek: Τιτυος) (Latin: Tityus) (Translation: xxxx ) a giant slain by Apollo and Artemis when he attempted to violate their mother Leto. TITYOS24) (Tityus) was an Euboian or Phokian giant who assaulted the goddess Leto as she travelling to the shrine of Delphoi (Delphi). Her son Apollon quickly intervened and slew the giant with a volley of arrows and the blade of his golden sword. As further punishment for his crime, Tityos was staked to the ground in the underworld where two vultures were set to feed on his ever-regenerating liver. Tityos’ name is probably derived from the Greek word tisis meaning “he who suffers retribution.” Alternatively he might be connected with theTityroi, the flute-playing satyrs of Boiotian lore.

18.0 TYPHÔEUS (Greek: Τυφωευς) (Latin: Typhoeus) (Translation: Cyclone, Hurricane (typhô)) a monstrous immortal storm-giant who attempted to launch an attack on Mt. Olympus but was defeated by the Olympians and imprisoned in the pits of Tartarus. TYPHOEUS25) (Typhon) was a monstrous storm-giant who laid siege to heaven but was defeated by Zeus and imprisoned in the pit of Tartaros. He was the source of devastating storms which issued forth from that dark nether-realm. Later poets describe him as a volcano-giant, trapped beneath the weight of Mount Aitna (Etna) in Sicily. In this guise he was identified with the giant Enkelados (Enceladus). Typhoeus was a winged giant, said to be so huge that his head brushed the stars. He was man-shaped from the waist up with two coiled serpents in place of legs. He had a hundred serpent-heads for fingers, a filthy, matted beard, pointed ears, and eyes flashing fire. According to some he had two hundred hands consisting of fifty serpent-headed fingers on each hands and a hundred heads proper–one was human, the other ninety-nine bestial (of bulls, boars, serpents, lions and leopards). As a volcano-demon Typhoeus hurled red-hot rocks at heaven and fire boiled forth from his mouth.


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