A race of one-eyed Giants.

The Elder Cyclopes

They were three, one-eyed, immortal giants, called Arges, Brontes and Steropes, who forged the lightning-bolts of Zeus. As soon as they were born, their father Uranus locked them away inside the belly of Earth, along with their stormy brothers, the hundred-handed Hecatoncheires. When the Titans overthrew Uranus, they drove the giants into the pit of TartarusZeus and his brothers later released them and in return worked in the forge of Hephaestus and they provided the god with his thunderbolts, Poseidon with his storm-raising trident, and Hades with a helm of invisibility.

Parents: Uranus and Gaia

Image result for cyclops pompeii
Hephaestus and the Cyclopes at the forge. Roman fresco from Pompeii, 1st c. AD. Naples National Archaeological Museum. (c)

The Younger Cyclopes

They were a tribe of primitive, one-eyed giants who dwelt in caves and herded flocks of sheep on the island of Sicily. The first of these giants, in both strength and stature, was Polyphemus. Unlike the rest of the tribe he was a son of the god Poseidon.

Parents: Gaia


He was a man-eating cyclops. Odysseus encountered him on his return from Troy and became trapped in the giant’s cave. To escape the hero plied him with wine and as he slept plunged a burning stake into his eye. The blinded giant tried to prevent Odysseus’ flight by tossing boulders at his ship but, failing that, prayed to his father Poseidon to exact revenge.

Polyphemus also loved the Nereid Galateia and wooed her with music and song. She spurned him for the love of the shepherd Acis, but when the cyclopst spied the pair together he crushed the boy beneath a stone.

Parents: Poseidon and Thoosa

Amphora painting of Odysseus and his men blinding Polyphemus, Eleusis. (c) Napoleon Vier

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