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Polyphemus

Description (Appearance and Origin)Edit

The Cyclops in ancient Greek mythology was part of a large group of giants. Each of these Cyclopes had a single giant eye in the middle of his forehead. The name Cyclopes is known to mean ‘circle- eyed’. Eventually they became symbols for strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive brickwork. The sons of Gaia and Uranus were blood-related to the Titan and Olympian gods and goddesses. According to Hesiod, they were strong and stubborn. Often they were pictured at their furnace. The most famous Cyclopes is Polyphemus, this Cyclops was blinded by Odysseus.


LiteraturesEdit

Many ancient Greek and Roman authors wrote about Cyclopes in their myths. In The Odyssey Homer mentions the Cyclops Polyphemus. This is the Cyclops blinded by Odysseus.

In Theogony by Hesiod, he mentions only three Cyclopes in his works of literature. The three Cyclopes were Arges who invented Zeus’ thunderbolt, Steropes who invented Zeus’ lightning, and Brontes who invented thunder, these Cyclopes were considered storm gods. According to Hesiod, the Cyclopes were believed to be the sons of Gaia, the goddesses of the Earth and Uranus, the god of the sky. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. They were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans. As a reward for their release the Cyclopes gave Zeus his weapons of lighting and thunder. They continued as his workers at Mount Olympus forging his thunderbolts. Unfortunately, Arges was killed by Hermes while he guarded for Hera. Apollo killed one of these Cyclopes in retaliation for Zeus killing his son Aesculapius.


According to Callimachus, in the Peloponnese the noises proceeding from the heart of volcanoes were attributed by Cyclopes operations.


According to Euripides, Apollo killed the Cyclopes, in retaliation for Asclepius's murder. For this crime, Apollo was then forced into the servitude of Admetus for one year.


According to Virgil a crew landed on the island of the cyclops after escaping from Troy.


In the Indian war of Dionysus, Rhea the mother of Zeus asked a large group of gods to join and assist Dionysus's army. King Deriades was the leader of the nation of India and the cyclopes crushed most of his troops. In Nonnus Dionysica, it is said  that the cyclopes killed many people in war. Although Hesiod tells of them being stubborn and tough, Nonnus Dionysiaca is also the only story that tells of how the Cyclopes fight.

Origin and FamilyEdit

Cyclopes were insignificant power gods of the second generation and they were children of Uranus and Gaea according to Hesiod, or Greek god, Poseidon and the Sea Nymph, Thoosa, according to Greek author Homer. According to Hesiod, Gaea and Uranus only had three sons, Arges, Steropes and Brontes, all cyclopes. These Cyclopes could also be sons of Poseidon, according to Homer. These Cyclopes had one eye in the middle of forehead. In Odyssey, they were probably living in the island Sicily, in Western Mediterranean. Wild, without any element of culture and social organization, they exterminated and ate those, who approached in their region.

Powers


Cyclopes were the first smiths. They made Zeus’ lightning, thunder and his lightning bolt. They also made Hades' helmet of invisibility and Poseidon's trident. These Cyclops were also very strong. According to Nonnus Dionysiaca, the Cyclops crushed many people while in war with their strength. However Cyclopes did have a weakness. They only had one eye and because of this they were easily blinded.


Interesting FactsEdit

1.      Some early myths of the Cyclopes didn’t choose to focus on their single eye; instead, it focused on its huge size and skill that is considered remarkable.


2.      According to Theocritus, Polyphemus was in love with a sea nymph named Galatea. Galatea wound up marrying a mortal named Acis as her husband. Polyphemus was jealous and killed Acis with a boulder.


3.      There is a fable that says the Cyclops made a deal with Hades, Cyclops would trade an eye for the ability to see the future.


4.      Cyclops were metal smiths. Volcanos were believed to be the aftermath of Cyclops underground work.

Citations:

1. "Cyclops." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Nov. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.

2. "Cyclops in Greek Mythology." About.com Ancient / Classical History. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.

3."Cyclopes." Cyclopes. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. <http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Cyclopes/cyclopes.html>.   

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