Giant

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Giant

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 12:37 am

Giant

by Micha F. Lindemans
The giants in mythology are primordial creatures of enormous size, the personifications of the forces of nature. They usually are the enemies of humans and often battle the gods (such as the Greek Titans, the Irish Fomorians and the Norse giants of Jotunheim).
Giants frequently play a significant part in the Creation Myths. They existed long before the gods and humans came. With the appearance of gods there followed a struggle between the two, in which the giants got the worst of it. When a giant was slain by a mighty god, the god would create heaven and earth from the giants body (see: Ymir and Tiamat). Even in the bible there are references to giants. In Genesis it is said that "in those days there were giants in the earth" and of course there is the story of David and Goliath, although the latter can hardly be considered a giant, being only 3 meters (9,8 ft), when compared to the giants in mythology and folklore.
There are many fairy tales in which giants appear. Those giants are usually very stupid, greedy and fond of human flesh. Often a resourceful young man (named Jack) is able to kill or defeat the giant (Jack and the Bean Stalk, Jack the Giant Killer). However, not all the giants are evil; in some tales they are kind beings, who befriend little children.

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Re: Giant

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 12:38 am

Giant (mythology)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.





For other meanings of the word "giant", see Giant (disambiguation)

The mythology and legendary of many different cultures include mythological creatures of human appearance but prodigious size and strength. "Giant" is the English word commonly used for such beings, derived from one of the most famed example: the gigantes of Greek mythology. In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic peoples are featured as primeval races associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods, be they Olympian or Norse. There are also historical stories featuring giants in the Old Testament, perhaps most famously David and Goliath. They are attributed superhuman strength and physical proportions, a long lifespan, and thus a great deal of knowledge as well. Yet, they are weak in both morals and imagination. Fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk has formed our modern perception of giants as stupid and violent monsters, frequently said to eat humans, and especially children. However, in some more recent portrayals, like those of Oscar Wilde, the giants are both intelligent and friendly.
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Giants of mythology and folklore


The Bible mentions an ancient race called the nephilim ("the Fallen"), who are often interpreted or translated as giants. Genesis states that:

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 bore children to them, the same became mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Gen. 6:4 KJV)
Post-biblical tradition holds that King Nimrod was a member of this race. The Bible also records the famous strife between David and the giant Goliath, ending with the defeat of the former. Goliath was not one of the nephilim, nor was he ever described as anything more than a "champion." His stature of more than three meters has earned him this title in later traditions, though.
In Greek mythology the gigantes were (according to the poet Hesiod) the children of Uranos and Gaea (The Heaven 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 many of them to lay buried from that time under the earth, and that their tormented quivers resulted in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Greek mythology also features the cyclopes—well remembered for their encounter with Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey—giants (though not gigantes) with only one eye. The titans were as well often imagined to be of great size and strength, whence the word titanic.
Germanic mythologies, of whom Icelandic sources for Norse mythology is the only one well recorded, the giants (called jotnar in Old Norse, closely related to ettin and ent) are often opposed to the gods. They come in different classes, such as frost giants (hrímþursar) fire giants (eldjotnar) and mountain giants (bergrisi). The giants are the origin of most of the monsters in Norse mythology (e.g. the Fenrisulfr), and in the eventual, apocalyptic battle of Ragnarök the giants will storm Asgard, the home of the gods in Heaven, and defeat them in war, thus bringing about the end of the world. Even so, the gods are themselves related to the giants by many marriages, and there are giants such as Ægir, Mimir and Skaði, who bear little difference in status to them. Norse mythology also holds that the entire world of men was once created from the flesh of Ymir—a giant of cosmic proportions, considered cognate with Yama of Hindu mythology.
In folklore from all over Europe, giants were believed to have built the remains of previous civilizations. Saxo Grammaticus, for example, argues that giants had to exist, because nothing else would explain the large walls, stone monuments, and statues that we know were the remains of Roman construction. Similarly, the Old English poem Seafarer speaks of the high stone walls that were the work of giants. Giants provided the least complicated explanation for such artifacts.
In Basque mythology, giants appear as jentilak and mairuak (Moors), and were said to have raised the dolmens and menhirs. After Christianization, they were driven away, and the only remaining one is Olentzero, a coalmaker that brings gifts on Christmas Eve.
Tales of combat with giants were a common feature in the folklore of Wales and Ireland. From here, giants got into Breton and Arthurian romances, and from this source they spread into the heroic tales of Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, and their follower Edmund Spenser. The giant Despair appears in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
Giants figure in a great many fairy tales and folklore stories, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Paul Bunyan. Ogres and trolls are humanoid creatures, sometimes of gigantic stature, that occur in various sorts of European folklore.[edit]


Other examples of giants


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See also



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Re: Giant

Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 12:38 am

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