Giants

Discussion in 'General Mythology' started by Artemis, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Artemis

    Artemis Member

    Were the gods of old bigger than ordinary people? I've never heard about their physical measurements, only their appearances. Are they as big as the giants that tower over the people, like Goliath in the Bible?
  2. LegendofJoe

    LegendofJoe Active Member

    Sometimes gods can be depicted as giant-like as an indication of their power.
    However, giants are often perceived of as a separate class of beings who preceded the gods.
    In Norse mythology the giants came before the gods, and they are eternal enemies.
    In Greek mythology, the Titans are an older race of gods compared to the later Olympians. They are usually thought of
    as massive.
  3. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    Hello Artemis,
    i only know greak myths. i think the gods are different sizes at different times. i remember in the illiad that ares god of war gets hurt by diomedes and falls down, and that his body covers a huge area. its given in the text how much area but i don't remember. but then there are lotsof times that gods turn up and speak to people in disguise as humans. so they must be able to be our own size if they want to. also athena rode in the chariot with diomedes in the iliad.
    finally i think that the size of the doors of greek temples is an indication. they were suposed to be the gods houses, so would have wanted the right size doors. i've also heard that there are seats carved out of the living rock on lots of mountains in turkey and maybe greece too. i neveer saw one but they might show by their size too, if they were meant to be for the gods.
    by the way, whats the flower picture you use ? is there a story there? cheers, FD
  4. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    The surface area that Ares' body covered when he was felled in the Iliad is seven plethra. One square plethron at that time would have been roughly
    900 square metres, so times 7 of that gives us about 6.3 square kilometres (= almost 4 square smiles). And just for emphasis, in case that doesn't make Ares big enough, the Iliad's writer tells us that as he was being knocked down, the war-god's roar sounded like the shout of nine or ten thousand warriors.

    When the goddess Aphrodite was in love with the mortal prince Anchises, by whom she became the mother of Aeneas, she appeared to him in the form of a nymph (who we are to understand was about the same size as an ordinary human) but at the end of their liaison she revealed herself as one of the great goddesses, in which form she was so tall she could hardly stand up straight inside his house on the hill.
    It would seem that Goliath was pretty small in comparison to the giants of most mythologies. The description we have of him in the Bible puts him somewhere between nine and thirteen feet tall. Even in the Book of Enoch, the Nephilim whom we first encounter in Genesis 6, and whom Enoch calls the sons of fallen angels called the Watchers, sired upon human women, are three thousand ells [or cubits] in height. This would make them each just over half a kilometre tall! Some believe that these antediluvian giants, if they did exist (and if so, if they were anywhere near this tall), are the origin of the Greek myths about the Titans or the Gigantes, the Norse stories of the Frost-Giants, as well as the Hindu references to monstrous gigantic creatures like the Daityas and the Danavas, who were actually the siblings and cousins of the gods.
  5. dtango

    dtango Member

    Yet, Neanderthals were built as Arnold Schwarzenegger naturally. If I was bitten by a Neanderthal I would be in such a bad state that I would have to tell my friends that this particular Neanderthal was 2.5 meters tall. My friends, transmitting the story, would keep increasing his height and might.

    Giants (or Titans), gods, and men were all of the same size because they all had sexual relations between them.
    According to Homer, seeing a beautiful woman or a handsome man walking in the street one would not know whether this person was goddess/god or woman/man.
  6. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    i couldn't post the picture i wanted to - please make an image search for elephant skulls then read this. thanks

    i think skulls like this would have been found in greece - along with really large leg bones ribs etc. all of elephants or mammoths. dosn't it look like a cyclopse skull? i saw a documentary with this being the idea presented - and generally that there's a lot in mythology that reflects finds of bones and fossils of creatures no longer around. i found it really convincing. i believe that the guy said that in some american indian mythologies they have taken account of the strata - the stories are set in time matching which were laid down first.
  7. dtango

    dtango Member

    I believe that anyone who will bother to read what the ancients wrote or said about giants will come to the conclusion that only we, moderns, regard the giants as huge creatures.
    There is a very nice and informative myth of the American Indians entitled “The Stone Giantess,” in the book “the Myths of the North American Indians” by Lewis Spence. It is a bit large to type it here but anyone interested he can find it in a presentation of the book in webpage:

    http://books.google.gr/books?id=l7UQSzLOu2YC&printsec=frontcover&hl=el#v=onepage&q&f=false

    in pages 254-257 of the book.
  8. fibi ducks

    fibi ducks Active Member

    what about in the oddysey? when Odysseus makes the big spike to blind the cyclops? I could have sworn the cyclopse is huge. I'll have alook when i can though.
  9. dtango

    dtango Member

    If you read the Stone Giantess myth above you may have noticed that the giantess put into her apron pocket the peasant along with the horses and his plowing equipment. That is an exaggeration to be expected; it is in the human nature.
    The last time that a completely normal human tribe was presented as a race of giants was with the case of the people of Patagonia.
    You can find information in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patagon
  10. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    What if she's a magical being in addition to being really huge? Her apron sounds a bit like Mary Poppins' bag ;)
    Another Odyssey reference: S
    imilarly to the Iliad's description of Ares, in describing the punishment of the dead giant Tityos, Odysseus says that as the punished victim lay stretched out on the ground in Tartaros, his bulk covered the length of nine plethra, making the ghost of Tityos about 270 metres or 900 feet tall! Pausanias tells of how Panopeus in Phokis was famous for being the burial place of Tityos, and that the mound of the giant's tomb was about 200 feet in circumference. Could be that Odysseus exaggerated the ghost's height, or Tityos might have been buried in a foetal or contorted position (he did die a violent death at the hands of his half-siblings Apollon and Artemis). Allowing for the possibility of embellishment on the part of the Greeks, what about the Norse tradition that Ymir's corpse was big enough to be used as the raw materials to construct the cosmos in which both gods and humankind dwelt (the inside of his skull being so large it formed the sky above us)? And, so we are made to understand, it is from him that the different varieties of Jötunn (Giant) in the mythology inherit their stature, since he was their ancestor. One of these Jötnar (Giants), named Hræsvelgr, was so colossal that when he transformed into an eagle and took flight, the beating of his wings resulted in the winds which blew over the Earth! Logically, a bird which could do that has surely got to be, in anyone's imagination, at the very least [without any exaggeration and while even grievously understating the case] hundreds of times the size of any normal eagle! Non?
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
    Nadai and Myrddin like this.
  11. dtango

    dtango Member

    An event will produce a story.
    With time the story will become legend.
    With time the legend will become myth.
    With time the myth will become fairy tale.

    You seem to be interested only in the fairy tale stage of the events.
    If you read Diodorus’ accounts of the giants you’ll find out that they resemble those of the Egyptians, the Jews, the American Indians and the Japanese where the giants are described as normal human beings.


    In any case I am not interested in a conversation with time gaps of more than one year between posts.
  12. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    Sincerest apologies for the delay...
  13. Myrddin

    Myrddin Well-Known Member

    I'm still interested. :)

    E. M.
    Nadai likes this.
  14. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    Cheers, dude :cool:
    Nadai likes this.
  15. Nadai

    Nadai Active Member

    I... kind of... agree. I believe that every myth or, I guess fairytale, comes from some true event that occurred. People saw the significance of that event and thought something could be learned from it and so they made it into a story or song or poem hoping that people would retell or re-sing the story and continue to learn from it. But of course, just like in a game of Telephone, the original story will change as people's perceptions affect the telling of the story. Hopefully the original message will remain the same but the details will change. It's interesting to read myth because we can see how people thought and lived in ancient times and how they used their beliefs and ideas to explain their place in the world. I think it's a mistake to focus solely on the myth, but I also think it's a mistake to focus solely on the facts of legends when it's possible that the facts of those legends have changed over time.
    ..But that's just my take on myths...legends...fairytales....
    Alejandro likes this.
  16. Nadai

    Nadai Active Member

    To each his own.... I do like going back after a long period of time and looking at old posts. Sometimes people create new threads that discuss something that was discussed a long time ago and can be added to the initial post... Just saying. Maybe if you tried it you'd have an appreciation for it. Adding new knowledge to an old post is a way to enhance your experience on the forum... I think.
    Alejandro likes this.

Share This Page