Gigantas

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Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerino, Sicily

 

This is part 1 of 2. Part 2 is here.

Γῆ δὲ περὶ Τιτάνων ἀγανακτοῦσα γεννᾷ Γίγαντας ἐξ Οὐρανοῦ, μεγέθει μὲν σωμάτων ἀνυπερβλήτους, δυνάμει δὲ ἀκαταγωνίστους, οἳ φοβεροὶ μὲν ταῖς ὄψεσι κατεφαίνοντο, καθειμένοι βαθεῖαν κόμην ἐκ κεφαλῆς καὶ γενείων, εἶχον δὲ τὰς βάσεις φολίδας δρακόντων. ἐγένοντο δέ, ὡς μέν τινες λέγουσιν, ἐν Φλέγραις, ὡς δὲ ἄλλοι, ἐν Παλλήνῃ. ἠκόντιζον δὲ εἰς οὐρανὸν πέτρας καὶ δρῦς ἡμμένας. διέφερον δὲ πάντων Πορφυρίων τε καὶ Ἀλκυονεύς, ὃς δὴ καὶ ἀθάνατος ἦν ἐν ᾗπερ ἐγεννήθη γῇ μαχόμενος. οὗτος δὲ καὶ τὰς Ἡλίου βόας ἐξ Ἐρυθείας ἤλασε. τοῖς δὲ θεοῖς λόγιον ἦν ὑπὸ θεῶν μὲν μηδένα τῶν Γιγάντων ἀπολέσθαι δύνασθαι, συμμαχοῦντος δὲ θνητοῦ τινος τελευτήσειν. αἰσθομένη δὲ Γῆ τοῦτο ἐζήτει φάρμακον, ἵνα μηδ’ ὑπὸ θνητοῦ δυνηθῶσιν ἀπολέσθαι. Ζεὺς δ’ ἀπειπὼν φαίνειν Ἠοῖ τε καὶ Σελήνῃ καὶ Ἡλίῳ τὸ μὲν φάρμακον αὐτὸς ἔτεμε φθάσας, Ἡρακλέα δὲ σύμμαχον δι’ Ἀθηνᾶς ἐπεκαλέσατο. κἀκεῖνος πρῶτον μὲν ἐτόξευσεν Ἀλκυονέα· πίπτων δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς μᾶλλον ἀνεθάλπετο· Ἀθηνᾶς δὲ ὑποθεμένης ἔξω τῆς Παλλήνης εἵλκυσεν αὐτόν. κἀκεῖνος μὲν οὕτως ἐτελεύτα, Πορφυρίων δὲ Ἡρακλεῖ κατὰ τὴν μάχην ἐφώρμησε καὶ Ἥρᾳ. Ζεὺς δὲ αὐτῷ πόθον Ἥρας ἐνέβαλεν, ἥτις καὶ καταρρηγνύντος αὐτοῦ τοὺς πέπλους καὶ βιάζεσθαι θέλοντος βοηθοὺς ἐπεκαλεῖτο· καὶ Διὸς κεραυνώσαντος αὐτὸν Ἡρακλῆς τοξεύσας ἀπέκτεινε. τῶν δὲ λοιπῶν Ἀπόλλων μὲν Ἐφιάλτου τὸν ἀριστερὸν ἐτόξευσεν ὀφθαλμόν, Ἡρακλῆς δὲ τὸν δεξιόν· Εὔρυτον δὲ θύρσῳ Διόνυσος ἔκτεινε, Κλυτίον δὲ δαισὶν Ἑκάτη, Μίμαντα δὲ Ἥφαιστος βαλὼν μύδροις. Ἀθηνᾶ δὲ Ἐγκελάδῳ φεύγοντι Σικελίαν ἐπέρριψε τὴν νῆσον, Πάλλαντος δὲ τὴν δορὰν ἐκτεμοῦσα ταύτῃ κατὰ τὴν μάχην τὸ ἴδιον ἐπέσκεπε σῶμα. Πολυβώτης δὲ διὰ τῆς θαλάσσης διωχθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος ἧκεν εἰς Κῶ· Ποσειδῶν δὲ τῆς νήσου μέρος ἀπορρήξας ἐπέρριψεν αὐτῷ, τὸ λεγόμενον Νίσυρον. Ἑρμῆς δὲ τὴν Ἄϊδος κυνῆν ἔχων κατὰ τὴν μάχην Ἱππόλυτον ἀπέκτεινεν, Ἄρτεμις δὲ †Γρατίωνα†, μοῖραι δ’ Ἄγριον καὶ Θόωνα χαλκέοις ῥοπάλοις μαχόμεναι τοὺς δὲ ἄλλους κεραυνοῖς Ζεὺς βαλὼν διέφθειρε· πάντας δὲ Ἡρακλῆς ἀπολλυμένους ἐτόξευσεν.
(Apollodorus, Bibl. 1.6.1-2)

Angry because of the Titans, Earth bore the Giants to Sky. They had enormous bodies, were invincible in their power and of fearful appearance. Thick hair hung from their heads and chins, and their feet had scales like snakes. Some say they were born in Phlegrae, but others in Pallene. They hurled rocks and burning oak trees into the sky. Porphyrion and Alcyoneus were the most powerful of them all, and the latter was even immortal whenever he fought in the land where he was born. He stole from Erythia the cattle of the Sun. There was an oracle which said that it was impossible for the gods to kill any of the Giants, although they could be killed with the aid of a mortal. When Earth learned this, she sought a drug which would protect the Giants, even from a mortal. But Zeus, forbidding the Dawn, Moon, and Sun to appear, got possession of the drug first and, through Athena, summoned Heracles as an ally. Heracles first shot Alcyoneus with an arrow, but he revived as he fell upon the ground. At Athena’s suggestion he dragged him outside Pallene and so he died. Porphyrion attacked Heracles and Hera. Zeus then filled him with desire for Hera, but when he tore off her robe and tried to rape her she cried out for help. Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt and Heracles shot him with an arrow, and he was killed. Of the Giants remaining, Apollo blinded Ephialtes in his left eye, Heracles in the right; Dionysus killed Eurytus with his wand; Hecate killed Clytius with torches. Hephaestus threw red-hot iron from the forge at Mimas, and Athena hurled Sicily at Enceladus. She then skinned Pallas and covered her own body with his skin for protection in battle. Poseidon chased Polybotes across the sea to Cos and there broke off that part of the island called Nisyrum and threw it at him. Hermes, wearing Hades’ helmet in the battle, killed Hippolytus, and Artemis killed Gration. The Fates attacked Agrius and Thoas with bronze clubs and killed them. Zeus destroyed the other Giants with thunderbolts, and Heracles shot them all with arrows as they lay dying. (tr. Michael Simpson)

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