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Gigantomachy

Gigantomachy

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In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Gigantomachy (from , from gigas Giant and makhÄ“ battle) was the symbolic struggle between the cosmic order of the Olympians
Twelve Olympians
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon , in Greek mythology, were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings. Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis were children of Zeus...

 led by Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and the nether forces of Chaos
Chaos (mythology)
Chaos refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, more specifically the initial "gap" created by the original separation of heaven and earth....

 led by the giant Alcyoneus
Alcyoneus
Alcyoneus or Alkyoneus is a name that refers to several distinct figures in Greek mythology.-The Giant:Alcyoneus was the eldest of the Thracian Gigantes of Greek mythology. He was born in full armor with a spear in his hand...

. Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 fought on the side of Olympians, who defeated the Giants in accordance with Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

's prophecy that the gods' victory would not be accomplished without the participation of the son of a mortal mother. Pallene
Pallene, Chalcidice
Pallene is the ancient name of the westernmost of the three headlands of Chalcidice, which run out into the Aegean Sea. Its modern name is Kassandra Peninsula . It is said to have anciently borne the name of Phlegra and to have witnessed the conflict between the gods and the earthborn Gigantes...

 was regarded as the Giants' home ground during the Gigantomachy; their leader Alcyoneus could not be defeated in his homeland, so Heracles picked him up and carried him over the border out of Pallene, and slaughtered him there. The attempt of the Giants Otus and Ephialtes to storm Olympus by piling Mount Ossa upon Mount Pelion is linked with the Gigantomachy in some sources, and treated as a separate, adolescent attack upon the power of Zeus in others.

After the Titanomachy
Titanomachy
In Greek mythology, the Titanomachy or War of the Titans , was the ten-year series of battles fought in Thessaly between the two camps of deities long before the existence of mankind: the Titans, based on Mount Othrys, and the Olympians, who would come to reign on Mount Olympus...

, the goddess Gaia
Gaia (mythology)
Gaia was the primordial Earth-goddess in ancient Greek religion. Gaia was the great mother of all: the heavenly gods and Titans were descended from her union with Uranus , the sea-gods from her union with Pontus , the Giants from her mating with Tartarus and mortal creatures were sprung or born...

, seeking revenge, brought forth the Giants, including Enceladus and Porphyrion, telling them to "take arms against the great gods". Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

 describes them as "glittering in their armour, with long spears in their hands." They could only be defeated by a god and a hero working together.

The Gigantomachy became a popular theme from the early 7th century BC (including the so-called Gigantomachy pediment on the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

). A temple at Phanagoreia commemorated Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

's victory over some Giants. She drove them into a cave, where Heracles slaughtered them. After the Greco-Persian Wars
Greco-Persian Wars
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus...

 the representation of Gigantomachy symbolized the hostility between the Greeks and the Persians, with the Greeks figuring as the Olympians, and the Persians as Giants.

Following the fashions, originally developed in Hellenistic Alexandria, for rationalized glosses on the archaic myths and for allegorical interpretations
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

, the fifth-century court poet of Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

, Claudian
Claudian
Claudian was a Roman poet, who worked for Emperor Honorius and the latter's general Stilicho.A Greek-speaking citizen of Alexandria and probably not a Christian convert, Claudian arrived in Rome before 395. He made his mark with a eulogy of his two young patrons, Probinus and Olybrius, thereby...

, composed a Gigantomachia, that viewed Gigantomachy as a metaphor for catastrophic geomorphic change: "The puissant company of the giants confounds all differences between things; islands abandon the deep; mountains lie hidden in the sea. Many a river is left dry or has altered its ancient course....robbed of her mountains Earth sank into level plains, parted among her own sons."
In the Inferno
Inferno (Dante)
Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

this is referenced when Dante sees chained Giants before he reaches the Ninth and last Circle of Hell, which is for Traitors. This is probably meant to be compared to Lucifer's rebellion, as later on in the Circle Dante witnesses Satan.