1. Education
Gigantomachy. Hermes and Ares in a chariot, Athena next to them, and trampled Giant.

Gigantomachy. Hermes and Ares in a chariot, Athena next to them, and trampled Giant. Attic black-figure amphora, c. 530 B.C. From Vulci.

PD Courtesy of Bibi Saint-Pol

Duplication abounds in Greek mythology. The story of the Gigantomachy, a sequel to the similar Titanomachy, is an excellent example.

After the Titanomachy, where Zeus defeats the Titans and places them in Tartarus, an angry Gaia brings forth the giants (gigantes) to restore the rule of the Titans. These giants are not simply big, but have multiple hands and snake legs. Pindar mentions the theft of the cattle of the sun god Helios, as initiating combat. Another version makes the precipitating factor the rape of Hera by a giant named Eurymedon (or Porphyrion). The gods, led by Zeus -- now more powerful than in the Titanomachy because he has thunderbolts, fight against immortal giants, led by Alcyoneus the cattle-thief and Porphyrion. The result is inevitable: Zeus wins, but only with help from Hercules / Heracles, Alcyoneus's killer. Alcyoneus is only immortal as long as he is in his place of birth, so Hercules removes him from Phlegra. Hercules does this elsewhere in Greek mythology when he lifts the Libyan giant Antaeus to remove him from the source of his strength, his mother, Gaia.

Another duplication in the Gigantomachy is the prophesied need for 2 demigods to defeat the giants. The second son of Zeus is Dionysus, who, accompanied by satyrs and silenoi, kills Ephialtes with his thyrsos. After the rest of the giants are killed by the gods, Hercules shoots them with his bow -- just to make sure they really are finished.

After their defeat, and in contrast with the version of them being killed, the giants are placed beneath the Earth where they continue to make mischief by causing volcanoes and earthquakes.

Carlos Parada, Timothy Gantz, and The Titans and Early Greek Mythology

Ancient Sources on the Giants include: Apollodorus, Apollonius of Rhodes, Bacchylides, Diodorus Siculus, Euripides, Hesiod, Homer, Ibycus, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Sophocles, and Strabo.

See #5 on Thursday's -cide words to learn.

Also Known As:

Battle of the Giants.

Phlegraean fight:
The Phlegraean fields are either in Italy (Campania, Strabo and possibly Pindar) or the Thracian Isthmus of Pallene(Oskar Seyffert (1894) A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities).

Eumenes II Soter (197-160/59) commissioned a giant frieze of the chaotic events of the Gigantomachy. The relief was 7' high and more than 400' long in Pergamum on the altar of Zeus and Athena. It shows more than 1200 divinities and other mythological figures.

Source: Michael Grant From Alexander to Cleopatra.

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | wxyz

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.