Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, 2 September 2013

Giants: Cyclops, Book of Enoch, Blavatsky and Hinduism

Greek mythology

In Greek mythology the gigantes were (according to the poet Hesiod) the children of Uranus (Ουρανός) and Gaea (spirits of the sky and the earth). They were involved in a conflict with the Olympian gods called the Gigantomachy, which was eventually settled when the hero Heracles decided to help the Olympians. The Greeks believed some of them, like Enceladus, to lay buried from that time under the earth and that their tormented quivers resulted in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

 Gigante from a mosaic depicting the death of the giants in their war against the gods. The serpent-footed monster is pierced by an arrow. ca 320 AD

 Gigante fighting against Artemis, Relief at Vatican

 Gigantomachy frieze of the Pergamon Altar

 Giulio Romano, The Fall of the Gigants

 Guido Reni, caduta dei giganti

In the Homeric poems the Cyclopes are a gigantic, insolent, and lawless race of shepherds, who lived in the south-western part of Sicily, and devoured human beings. They neglected agriculture, and the fruits of the field were reaped by them without labor. They had no laws or political institutions, and each lived with his wives and children in a cave of a mountain, and ruled over them with arbitrary power. (Hom. Od. vi. 5, ix. 106, &c., 190, &c., 240, &c., x. 200.) Homer does not distinctly state that all of the Cyclopes were one-eyed, but Polyphemus, the principal among them, is described as having only one eye on his forehead. (Od. i. 69, ix. 383, &c.) The Homeric Cyclopes are no longer the servants of Zeus, but they disregard him. (Od. ix. 275; comp. Virg. Aen. vi. 636 ; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 53.)

 Villa Romana del Casale

Annibale Carracci, The Cyclops Polyphemus

Johann Tischbein, Polyphemus

Polyphemus, Julio Romano

 Sebastian Münster, Illustrations of monstrous humans from Cosmographia (1544).An engraving showing (from left to right) a monopod or sciapod, a female cyclops, conjoined twins, a blemmye and a werewolf.

 Jacob Jordaens, Odysseus in the Cave of Polyphemus

 Villa Aldrobandini - Polyphemus

      Fountain Luxembourg

Gustave Moreau-Galatea and Polyphemus


ORION was a handsome giant gifted with the ability to walk on water by his father Poseidon.  He served King Oinopion of Khios (Chios) as huntsman for a time, but was blinded and exiled from the island after raping the king's daughter Merope. Orion then travelled across the sea to Lemnos and petitioned the god  Hepaistos (Vulcan) for help in recovering his sight. Lending him his assistant Cedalion, the god directed the giant travel to the rising place of the sun, where the sun-god would restore his vision. Upon returning to Greece, Orion sought out Oinopion, but the king hid himself in an underground bronze chamber to avoid retribution.

Homer, Iliad 22. 26 ff :
"That star [Sirius the dog-star] which comes on in the autumn and whose conspicuous brightness far outshines the stars that are numbered in the night's darkening, the star they give the name of Orion's Dog (kynos Orionos), which is brightest among the stars, and yet is wrought as a sign of evil and brings on the great fever for unfortunate mortals.

 Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with Orion or Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun.

Daniel Seiter, Diana next to the corpse of Orion, Louvre
  A print of the copperplate engraving for  Johann Bayer's Uranometria (1661) showing the constellation  Orion.
Norse mythology

The first living being formed in the primeval chaos known as Ginnungagap was a giant of monumental size, called Ymir. When the icy mists of Niflheimr met with the heat of Muspellsheimr Ymir was born out of the joining of these two extreme forces from either world in the great void. Contained within  Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning, Ymir's creation is recounted:

Just as from Niflheim there arose coldness and all things grim, so what was facing close to Muspell was hot and bright, but Ginnungagap was as mild as a windless sky. And when the rime and the blowing of the warmth met so that it thawed and dripped, there was a quickening from these flowing drops due to the power of the source of the heat, and it became the form of a man, and he was given the name Ymir

When he slept a jötunn son and a jötunn daughter grew from his armpits, and his two feet procreated and gave birth to a son, a monster with six heads. These three beings gave rise to the race of hrímþursar (rime thurs, frost giants), who populated Niflheim. The gods instead claim their origin from a certain Búri. When the giant Ymir subsequently was slain by Odin, Vili, and  Ve (the grandsons of Búri), his blood (i.e. water) deluged Niflheim and killed all of the jötnar, apart from one known as Bergelmir and his spouse, who then repopulated their kind. It is mentioned in Vafþrúðnismál From Ymir's flesh the earth was formed, and the rocks from out of his bones; the sky from the skull of the ice-cold giant, and the sea from his blood

The creation myth according to Germanic mythology: Ymir, the first giant, suckles at the udder of Auðumbla, who licks Búri, the father of the gods, from the ice. Painting (1790) by Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard

 Arthur Rackham, The giants seize Freya

Genesis 6:4

King James Version (KJV)
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Goliath known also as Goliath of  Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines) is a figure in the Hebrew Bible Described as a giant Phlilstine warrior, he is famous for his combat with the young David, the future king of  Israel.
 Caravaggio, David and Goliath

Guido Reni, David with the Head of Goliath

Osmar Schindler  David and Goliath, 1888

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

Book of Enoch From-The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament R.H. Charles Oxford: The Clarendon Press

[Chapter 7]
1 And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms 2 and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. And they 3 became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed 4 all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against 5 them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and 6 fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.

Definition of ELL

: a former English unit of length (as for cloth) equal to 45 inches (about 1.14 meters); also : any of various units of length used similarly
3000 ells x 1.14 = 3420
Robert Henry Charles (1855–1931) was an English biblical scholar and theologian. He is known particularly for English translations of apocryphal and pseudepigraphal  works, and editions including  Jubilees (1895), the Book of Enoch (1906), and the  Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (1908) which have been widely used.
The Book of Enoch 
Translated from Ethiopic by Richard Laurence, London, 1883. 
Enoch 7:10 Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees.
Enoch 7:11 And the women conceiving brought forth giants, )
(7) The Greek texts vary considerably from the Ethiopic text here. One Greek manuscript adds to this section, "And they [the women] bore to them [the Watchers] three races–first, the great giants. The giants brought forth [some say "slew"] the Naphelim, and the Naphelim brought forth [or "slew"] the Elioud. And they existed, increasing in power according to their greatness." See the account in the Book of Jubilees.

Enoch 7:12 Whose stature was each three hundred cubits. These devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them;

1 cubit = 45.72 centimeters x 300=13 716 cm 137.16 m

Madame Blavatsky has her own version of history and giants.

The “Doctrine” explains the secret. These names, which belong by right only to the four   preceding races and the earliest beginning of the Fifth, allude very clearly to the first two Phantom (astral) races; to the fallen one — the Third; and to the race of the Atlantean Giants — the Fourth, after which “men began to decrease in stature.”
The Secret Doctrine, Vol II,  p.279

She has  further explained:
As to the ancient pagan writers — we have the evidence of Philostratus, who speaks of a giant skeleton twenty-two cubits long, as well as of another of twelve cubits, seen by himself at Sigeus. This skeleton may perhaps not have belonged, as believed by Protesilaus, to the giant killed by Apollo at the siege of Troy; nevertheless, it was that of a giant, as well as that other one discovered by Messecrates of Stire, at Lemnos — “horrible to behold,” according to Philostratus (Heroica, p. 35). Is it possible that prejudice would carry Science so far as to class all these men as either fools or liars?
The Secret Doctrine,  Vol II p. 278
Flavius Philostratus, On Heroes wrote:

]Indeed, if I were versed in legendary lore, I would describe the seven-cubit-long corpse of Orestes, which the Lacedaemonians found in Tegea,[208] as well as that corpse inside the bronze Lydian horse, which had been buried in Lydia before the time of Gyges.[209] When the earth was split by an earthquake, the marvel was observed by Lydian shepherds with whom Gyges then served. The corpse, appearing larger than human, had been laid in a hollow horse that had openings on either side. [§8.4]Even if such things can be doubted because of their antiquity, I do not know anything from our own time that you will deny. [§8.5]Not long ago, a bank of the river Orontes, when it was divided, revealed Aryadês—whom some called an Ethiopian, others an Indian—a thirty-cubit-long corpse lying in the land of Assyria.[210] [§8.6]Moreover, not more than fifty years ago, Sigeion—right over here—revealed the body of a giant on an outcropping of its promontory. Apollo himself asserts that he killed him while fighting on behalf of Troy. When sailing into Sigeion, my guest, I saw the very condition of the earth and how big the giant was. Many Hellespontians and Ionians and all the islanders and Aeolians sailed there as well. For two months the giant lay on the great promontory, giving rise to one tale after another since the oracle had not yet revealed the true story.Phoen.: [§8.7]Would you speak further, vinedresser, about his size, the structure of his bones, and the serpents, which are said to have grown together with the giants, and which the painters sketch below the torso of Enkelados and his companions?

 If those monstrous beings existed, my guest, and if they were joined with snakes, I do not know. But the one in Sigeion was twenty-two cubits long, and it was lying in a rocky cleft with its head toward the mainland and its feet even with the promontory. But we did not see any sign of serpents around it, nor is there anything different about its bones from those of a human being. [§8.9]Furthermore, Hymnaios of Peparêthos, who is on friendly terms with me, sent one of his sons here some four years ago to consult Protesilaos through me about a similar marvel. When Hymnaios happened to dig up vines on the island of Ikos (he alone owned the island), the earth sounded somewhat hollow to those who were digging. When they opened it up, they found a twelve-cubit corpse lying there with a serpent inhabiting its skull. [§8.10]The young man then came to ask us what should be done in his honor, and Protesilaos said, “Let us cover the stranger completely,” without doubt urging those who were willing to rebury the corpse and not to leave it exposed. He also said that the giant was one of those who were hurled down by the gods. [§8.11]But the corpse that came to light on Lemnos, which Menekratês of Steiria found, was very big, and I saw it a year ago when I sailed from Imbros, only a short distance from Lemnos, however, no longer appear in their proper order: the vertebrae lie separated from each other, tossed about by earthquakes, I suppose, and the ribs are wrenched out of the vertebrae. But if one imagines the bones together as a whole, the size seems to make one shudder and is not easily described. Certainly when we poured two Cretan amphoras[211] of wine into the skull, it was not filled. [§8.12]Now, there is a headland on Imbros” facing the south, under which a spring is found that turns male animals into eunuchs, and makes females so drunk that they fall asleep. At this spot, when a piece of land was severed from the mainland, the body of a very large giant was pulled out. If you disbelieve me, let us set sail. The corpse still lies exposed, and the sea journey to Naulokhos is short.

Phoen.: [§8.13]I would gladly go beyond Okeanos, vinedresser, if I could find such a marvel. My business, however, does not allow me to stray so far. Rather, I must be bound to my ship, just like Odysseus.[212] Otherwise, as they say, the things in the bow and the things in the stern will perish.Vinedr.: [§8.14]But do not yet regard as credible what I have said, my guest, until you sail to the island of Cos, where the bones of earthborn men lie, the first descendants of Merops, they say, and until you see the bones of Hyllos, son of Herakles, in Phrygia[213] and, by Zeus, those of the Alôadai in Thessaly, since they are really nine fathoms long and exactly as they are celebrated in song.[214] [§8.15]The Neapolitans living in Italy consider the bones of Alkyoneus a marvel. They say that many giants were thrown down there, and Mount Vesuvius smolders over them. [§8.16]Indeed in Pallênê, which the poets call “Phlegra,” the earth holds many such bodies of giants encamped there, and rainstorms and earthquakes uncover many others. Not even a shepherd ventures at midday to that place of clattering phantoms[215] which rage there. [§8.17]Disbelief in such things probably existed even at the time of Herakles. Hence, after he killed Geryon in Erytheia and was alleged to have encountered the most enormous creature, Herakles dedicated its bones at Olympia so that his contest would not be disbelieved

So, how tall were those giants?

The cubit is a traditional  unit of lenght, based on the length of the foream: from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times.The Egyptian hieroglyph for the cubit shows the symbol of a longer than normal forearm. According to the Ancient Egyptian units of measurment, the Egyptian Royal cubit was subdivided into 7 palms of 4 fingers/digits each; surviving cubit rods are between 52.3 and 52.9 cm (20.6 to 20.8 inches) in length.

52.3 multiply by 30( a thirty-cubit-long corpse) = 1569 ! 
'52.3 x 22 cubit = 1150,
652.3 x 12 cubit = 627.6!  

Philostratus or Lucius Flavius Philostratus  (ca. 170/172-247/250), called "the Athenian", was a Greek sophist of the Roman imperial period. His father was a minor sophist of the same name. He was born probably around 172, and is said by the Suda to have been living in the reign of emperor  Philip the Arab (244-249). His death possibly occurred in Tyre ca. 250 AD.

So, Philostratus saw it...and Blavatsky argues that," Is it possible that prejudice would carry Science so far as to class all these men as either fools or liars?"

It was not that long when he died. So, where are the skeletons?

Blavatsky provides a convenient explanation:
The Giants of old are all buried under the Oceans, and hundreds of thousands of years of constant friction by water would reduce to dust and pulverize a brazen, far more a human skeleton.
 The Secret Doctrine, vol II p. 277

 Blavatsky further elaborates about giants:
Pliny speaks of a giant in whom he thought he recognised Orion, the son of Ephialtes (Nat. Hist., vol. VII., ch. xvi.). Plutarch declares that Sertorius saw the tomb of Antaeus, the giant; and Pausanias vouches for the actual existence of the tombs of Asterius and of Geryon, or Hillus, son of Hercules — all giants,
The Secret Doctrine, vol.II 278
Let's look at Plini.
Chap. XVI. 
In like manner, of births: and infants in the mothers womb.
In Crete, it chaunched that an hill clave asunder in an earthquake, and in the chinke thereof was found a bodie standing, 46 cubits high: some say it was the bodie of Orion: others, of Otus. We find in chronicles and records of good credit, that the bodie of Orestes being taken up, by direction from the Oracles, was seven cubits long. And verily that great and famous poët Homer, who lived almost a thousand yeeres agoe, complained and gave not over, That mens bodies were lesse of stature even then, than in old time. The Annales set not downe the stature and bignesse of Nævius Pollio; but that he was a mightie gyant, appeareth by this that is written of him, namely, That it was taken for a wonderfull straunge thing, that in a great rout and prease of people that came running togither upon him, he had like to have been killed. The tallest man that hath been seene in our age, was one named Gabbara, who in the daies of prince Claudiuslate Emperour, was brought out of Arabia; nine foot high was he, and as many inchesThere were in the time of Augustus Cæsar 2 others, named Pusio and Secu[n]dilla, higher than Gabbaraby halfe a foot, whose bodies were preserved and kept for a wonder in a charnell house or sepulchre within the gardens of the Salustians.
Blavatsky further argues that "Plutarch declares that Sertorius saw the tomb of Antaeus, the giant;"
Vol II p 278

In this city the Libyans say that Antaeus is buried; and Sertorius had his tomb dug open, the great size of which made him disbelieve the Barbarians. But when he came upon the body and found it to be sixty cubits long, as they tell us, he was dumbfounded, and after performing a sacrifice filled up the tomb again, and joined in magnifying its traditions and honours. 4 Now, the people of Tingis have a myth that after the death of Antaeus, his wife, Tinga, consorted with Heracles, and that Sophax was the fruit of this union, who became king of the country and named a city which he founded after his mother; also that Sophax had a son, Diodorus, to whom many of the Libyan peoples became subject, since he had a Greek army composed of the Olbians and Mycenaeans who were settled in those parts by Heracles. 5 But this tale must be ascribed to a desire to gratify Juba, of all kings the most devoted to historical enquiry; for his ancestors are said to have been descendants of Sophax and Diodorus.

Plutarch, The Parallel Lives The Life of Sertorius*.html

In Hinduism the giants are called Daityas. The Daityas (दैत्‍य) were the children of Diti and the sage Kashyapa who fought against the gods or Devas because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. Since Daityas were a power-seeking race, they sometimes allied with other races having similar ideology namely Danavas and Asuras . Daityas along with Danavas and Asuras are sometimes called Rakshasa, the generic term for a demon in Hindu mythology. Some known Daityas include Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. The main antagonist of the Hindu epic RamayanaRavana, was a Brahmin from his father's side and a Daitya from his mother's side. His younger brother Kumbhakarna was said to be as tall as a mountain and was quite good natured.

Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu on his lap, as Prahlada watches at the left.

The boar avatar Varaha, the third incarnation of Viṣṇu, stands in front of the decapitated body of the demon Hiranyaksha

 RAVANA, indian god – Demon-King of Lanka (Sri Lanka)

The demons try to rouse Ravanas' brother, the giant Kumbhakarna, by hitting him with weapons and clubs and shouting in his ear

Tales of combat with giants were a common feature in the folklore of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland  Celtic giants also figure in  Breton and Arthurian romances perhaps as a reflection of the Nordic and Slavic mythology that arrived on the boats, and from this source they spread into the heroic tales of Torquato TassoLudovico Ariosto, and their follower Edmund Spenser.

 Walter Crane, King Arthur faces a giant in this engraving