30.11.10

Giant Myths and Legends

Article


Ancient and modern cultures, from all around the world, possess legends of Giants. These legends portray Giants in many forms; good or evil, intelligent or mentally challenged, monster-like or human-like. However, there is one thing that is common about the Giants in every legend, from every culture; they are always, very, very tall.

Giants were primarily considered in early mythology to be associated with chaos and wild nature. According to Greek and Norse mythology, they were typically depicted as huge in statue, having superhuman strength, a long lifespan, and were sometimes in conflict with the gods. They were also described as being wise, although perhaps a little low in morals.

The image of Giants altered over time from the original version, which became evident in fairytales such as, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. The new perception of them was as being somewhat stupid and reputedly dangerous to humans, in that they ate humans and in particular, children. Other tales portrayed them also as being particularly perverse and cruel.

Ancient Giants

Ancient Giants appeared in the Bible (Genesis) as the Nephilim, or Fallen Ones, and also in the story of David and Goliath, where Goliath was said to be over three metres tall.

In Greek Mythology, the most famous examples of Giants were the Gigants, which were the offspring of Uranus and Gaia (Heaven and Earth).

The ‘One-Eyed Monsters’, such as the Cyclops and the Titans, were believed to lie buried under the Earth and cause earthquakes with their movements.

In Iceland mythology, the Giants often oppose the gods, and are given classifications such as Frost Giant, Fire Giant, and Mountain Giant.

In Arthurian legend and British lore, Giants are depicted in the tales of ‘Gog and Magog’, and feature in ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, and ‘Gulliver’s Travels’.

Giantesses

Giantesses are not discussed as much as their male counterparts in literature, but in Viking society, where women were more prominent, they greatly influenced Norse mythology.

Grid was a Giantess who discovered that Loki planned to have Thor killed by the Giant Geirrod. She saved Thor’s life by providing him with a girdle of might, iron gloves and a magic wand.

Another Giantess named Gerd, who was described as beautiful, married Freyr to prevent his sword being used to cover the Earth with ice.

Giantesses also appear in Eastern mythology, such as the demoness Putana, who attempted to kill the baby Krishna with poisoned milk from her breasts.

Giant Evidence

Excavations around the world have uncovered remains of skeletons and weapons which provide evidence that very tall people once existed. In addition, there exist in today’s times, many people who are extremely tall in comparison to what is considered, normal height.

Some of these excavations and evidence of Giants include:

  • The remains of mummified men and women found in the canyon, Barranc de Cobre in Mexico, (1930’s), where all were blond, and seven to eight feet tall.
  • A burial mound containing a skeleton nearly ten feet in length, found in Indiana (1879).
  • Human remains seven feet tall, which included horns protruding from the head, found in Pennsylvania (1880’s).
  • The finding of a complete arsenal of hunting weapons, (Agadir in Morocco), twenty times heavier than those used by a normal sized man, and which would require the hands of a Giant thirteen feet tall to use effectively.
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