San Francisco is whooping it up for the Giants, with a boisterous victory parade. The World Series win is impressive, but stop for a second; the mythic creatures who inspired the very word “giant” had a contest of their own that might embarrass the baseball champions.
Before we journey into “Clash of the Titans” territory, here’s how the San Francisco Giants were named. Originally based in New York, the team was called the Gothams. (Learn why New York is called “Gotham” and “The Big Apple,” here.) Apparently, after a great victory, the team manager came into the locker room and said “”My big fellows! My giants!”
For the Greek gods of Olympus, “giant” was nothing to celebrate. The word derives from the Greek gigantos, which simultaneously refers to large size as well as a race of creatures that make the monsters of “World of Warcraft,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “Harry Potter” seem like pug puppies in comparison.
The gigantes were supposedly the children of Gaia, the personification of earth and mother of all the gods, fertilized by the spilled blood of Uranus, who was essentially the sky and Zeus‘ grandpa. The sordid details of this primordial “boy meets girl” tale deserve their own post; let’s address the gigantes, who are also pretty gruesome.
Most of these huge beings were born with armor on their backs and weapons in their hands. Some of them looked like big humans, but others had extra grotesque features such as snake tails, multiple limbs, or only one eye.
Like the San Francisco Giants, the gigantes had a competition of their own. Unfortunately for the mythological entities, however, their opponents were the Olympian gods and the price of losing was death. The battle is called the Gigantomachy, and was started by a pair of giants who stacked mountains on top of each other until they could reach Mount Olympus. Basically, the Olympians trounced the gigantes. Couldn’t they have settled for a pennant?