FACTOID # 10: The total number of state executions in 2005 was 60: 19 in Texas and 41 elsewhere. The racial split was 19 Black and 41 White.
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
People who viewed "Giants" also viewed:


FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:



(* = Graphable)



Encyclopedia > Giants

Giants are humanoid creatures of prodigious size and strength, a type of legendary monster that appear in the tales of many different races and cultures. They are often stupid or violent and are frequently said to eat humans, especially children; others, however, like Oscar Wilde's giants, are intelligent and friendly.

The Cyclopes of Homer's Odyssey were giants, as was Goliath who strove with King David in the Bible. The Bible also records a race of giants called "Nephilim". 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); here "giants" is a translation of the Hebrew "Nephilim". Post-biblical tradition holds that Nimrod was a member of this race.

In Germanic mythologies (see Norse mythology), giants (Jotuns) are often opposed to the gods. In particular, the Wodin/Odin-derived mythologies of Northern Europe feature frost giants, who are eternally opposed to the Aesir. The Aesir themselves emerged from the race of giants, and in the eventual, apocalyptic battle of Ragnarok the frost giants will storm Asgard, home of the gods, and defeat the gods in war, bringing about the end of the world. In the mature form of this mythology recorded in the Edda poetry and prose, giants inter-marry with the gods and are the origin of most of the monsters in Nordic mythology (e.g., the Fenris Wolf), so relations between the Aesir and the giants are sometimes cordial and sometimes adversarial.

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. Norse and Anglo-Saxon mythology are also rich in tales of giants, which seem there to be a separate race akin to the gods, and strove often with Thor. Ogres and trolls are giant-like humanoid creatures that occur in various sorts of European folklore.

In Basque mythology, giants appear as jentilak (Gentiles) and mairuak (Moors). They are who made dolmens and menhirs. After Christianization, the giants were driven away. The only remaining one is Olentzero, a coalmaker that brings gifts on Christmas Eve.

Giants figure in a great many fairy tales and folklore stories, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Paul Bunyan.


Examples of giants

Origin of the belief in giants

It is possible that tales of giants derive from 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 Anglo-Saxon "Seafarer" speaks of the high stone walls that were the work of giants. Giants provided the least complicated explanation for such artifacts. Cyclopes may be originated in antique elephant skulls found in Sicily. If one does not know what an elephant looks like, the place where the trunk is placed on the skull can be mistaken for a giant eyesocket.

"Giant" is also colloquially used for a human who is unusually tall, or afflicted with one of the several forms of gigantism.

Gigantes y cabezudos ("Giants and big-heads") are figures from street processions at Spanish fiestas.

See also


  • Giants - Steve Quayle (http://www.stevequayle.com/index.html)

  Results from FactBites:
GIANT Magazine (403 words)
NBA Swingman Jersey Giveaway from GIANT and Adidas
Your risk-free issue of GIANT Magazine is on its way!
GIANT magazine is published 6 times a year.
Giant Pandas at the National Zoo - National Zoo| FONZ (700 words)
Watching giant pandas: The panda cams provide a window into the world of the Zoo's giant pandas—23-month-old cub, Tai Shan, his mother, Mei Xiang, and his father, Tian Tian.
Giant pandas are fl and white bears that live in temperate-zone bamboo forests in central China.
Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are at the National Zoo on a ten-year loan from the China Wildlife Conservation Association.
  More results at FactBites »



Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m