Gaia and the Gigantes
Who were the Gigantes? Definition of Gigantes: The Gigantes were a tribe of 100 giants who were the offspring of Gaia, the primordial goddess of Earth. The Gigantes, or giants, were born of the blood that spilled onto Gaia when Cronus castrated his father Uranus. Gaia was the Greek version of "Mother Nature" or the Earth Mother and she was also the mother of the Titans. The mythological Titans were the predecessors of the Olympian gods. Gaia was indignant at the fate of the Titans and their defeat at the hands of the Olympians and their leader, Zeus. The Gigantes (Giants) were angry with Zeus because he had established laws that they refused to obey. The Gigantes (Giants) treated humans with contempt and because of their superior size and strength had enslaved many mortals. Gaia encouraged the Gigantes to rebel against the Olympians and at the instigation of Gaia they made war on the gods of Mount Olympus. In Greek mythology and legend the war would be referred to as the Battle of the Giants or the Gigantomachy, some call the battle the Revenge of the Titans.
What did the Gigantes (Giants) look like?
The Gigantes (Giants) were monstrous giants, mythical beings of human form but superhuman size and strength. The Gigantes (Giants) were terrifying in appearance, with long hair that swept down from their heads with long unkempt beards. As the myths and legends of this race of giants were re-told their descriptions were embellished to become more monstrous and there were tales that they had serpent-scales covering their lower limbs. In ancient sculptures and mosaics they are therefore often portrayed with the tails of serpents instead of legs.
The Gigantes - The Battle of the Giants (The Gigantomachy)
There were 100 giants in the tribe of Gigantes and, according to Greek Mythology, twenty-four Gigantes rose in rebellion against the Greek gods of Olympia. The leaders of the Gigantes (Giants) were called Alcyoneus and Porphyrion. They developed a plan to attack the Olympians on Mount Olympus. They did not have the power of flight but their superhuman strength would allow them to stack the mountain ranges of Thessaly, Pelion, and Ossa on top of each other to reach the home of the Olympian gods. The Olympians were warned in the prophecy of Hera that the that Olympian gods would only be victorious if the son of a mortal mother participated in the battle. Taking heed of the prophecy Zeus called upon his favorite son, the demigod Heracles (Hercules) (Hercules) to join the gods in the battle. Heracles (Hercules) (Hercules) agreed and during the battle killed Alcyoneus. The Battle of the Giants was said to have taken place on the Plain of Phlegra. The Olympian gods won a great victory over the monstrous Gigantes (Giants). The legends and myths surrounding the Gigantes concludes with a story of their burial. The Gigantes were buried by the Olympian gods beneath the earth, where their writhing was said to cause volcanic activity and earthquakes.
The Names of the Gigantes who fought in the Gigantomachy
The names of the Gigantes (Giants) that fought in the Gigantomachy and their relationships to the gods and goddesses who fought in the Battle of the Giants or Gigantes are detailed in the list.
Alcyoneus was one of the leaders and strongest of the Gigantes who was killed by his grandnephew, Heracles (Hercules).
Agasthenes was one of the 24 Gigantes who fought against the Olypians
Agrios was clubbed to death by his three nieces, the Fates, with clubs made of of bronze.
Clytius was killed by his niece Hecate with flaming torches.
Damysos was the swiftest of the giants legend tells that the skin from his foot was placed on the heel of Achilles
Enceladus was crushed by his grandniece, Athena, and buried beneath Mount Etna
Ephialtes of the Aloadae was killed with the arrows of his grandnephews Apollo and Heracles (Hercules)
Eurytus was killed by grandnephew Dionysus with his pine-cone tipped long staff called a thyrsos.
Gration was killed by his grandniece, the goddess Artemis with her arrows.
Leon was the lion headed Gigantes (giant) killed by Heracles (Hercules)
Mimas was killed by grandnephew Hephaestus with a torrent of molten iron
Otus of the Aloadae was Shot by grandnephews Apollo and Heracles (Hercules) with arrows
Killed by grandniece Athena who made a shield with his gooat skin cloak
Pelorus was a mighty Gigantes who was killed by the god Ares
Polybotes was crushed by his nephew the god Poseidon beneath a rock on the island of Kos.
One of the leaders of the Gigantes who attempted to rape the goddess Hera. His nephew Zeus struck him with lightning bolts and he was finally slain with an arrow by his grandnephew Heracles (Hercules).