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The map location that can be drawn from this episode and the surrounding episodes in the Odyssey is variously described and discussed divergently by scholars. Euripides also makes a significant variation from Homer to the setting: Detail of a Proto-Attic amphora , circa 650 BC. Eleusis , Archaeological Museum, Inv. In the Odyssey the episodes that are placed on the Black Sea , which would include the cyclops story, appear to incorporate parts of the Gilgamesh tradition, as well as the Caucasian myths of a one-eyed monster.
It is thought that the Caucasian myths probably came to the Greeks through the epic Anatolian song tradition. It is pointed out that in the Odyssey when the actual blinding occurs there is a reference to plural brows and lids. It is also noted that the first artistic or graphic depiction of the blinding episode appears on an amphora that was created by the Polyphemos Painter c.
As such, they were blood-related to the Titan and Olympian gods and goddesses. According to Hesiod , they were strong and stubborn. Collectively they eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry or blacksmithery. They were often pictured at their forge. Uranus, fearing their strength, locked them in Tartarus. Cronus , another son of Uranus and Gaia, later freed the cyclopes, along with the Hecatoncheires , after he had overthrown Uranus.
Cronus then placed them back in Tartarus, where they remained, guarded by the female monster Campe , until freed by Zeus. They fashioned thunderbolts for Zeus to use as weapons, and helped him overthrow Cronus and the other Titans. The cyclopes were said to have built the "cyclopean" fortifications at Tiryns and Mycenae in the Peloponnese. The noises proceeding from the heart of volcanoes were attributed to their operations. It is the only complete satyr play of ancient Greece that has survived.
It takes place on the island of Sicily near the volcano Mount Etna , and the cyclops is portrayed as a cave-dwelling , violent, cannibalistic , oafish character. For this crime, Apollo was then forced into the servitude of Admetus for one year.
Other stories after Euripides tell that Zeus later revived Asclepius and the cyclopes. Zeus pardoned the cyclopes and Asclepius from the underworld , despite them being dead, even though Hades is lord of the dead and they are his prisoners.
Hades as well does not ever allow any of his souls to leave the Underworld. Zeus could not bear the loss of the cyclopes, for they were the biggest reason the Olympians assumed power. Also, Zeus resurrected Asclepius at the request of Apollo so that their feud would end. Some versions of this myth have it that after Apollo killed the cyclopes, their ghosts dwelt in the caverns of the volcano Aetna.
Virgil[ edit ] Virgil , the Roman epic poet, wrote, in book three of The Aeneid , of how Aeneas and his crew landed on the island of the cyclops after escaping from Troy at the end of the Trojan War. The cyclopes played a big part. King Deriades was the leader of the nation of India and the cyclopes were said to crush most of his troops.
It is explained in Nonnus Dionysiaca that the cyclopes killed many men in the war, which is also the only story that tells how they fight. Origins[ edit ] Walter Burkert suggests that the archaic groups or societies of lesser gods mirror real cult associations: Another possible origin for the cyclops legend, advanced by the paleontologist Othenio Abel in 1914,  is the prehistoric dwarf elephant skulls — about twice the size of a human skull — that may have been found by the Greeks on Cyprus , Crete , Malta and Sicily.
Abel suggested that the large, central nasal cavity for the trunk in the skull might have been interpreted as a large single eye-socket. Adrienne Mayor disagrees with the theory that prehistoric dwarf elephant skulls were supposedly discovered by the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles. According to some sources, Empedocles mistook the skulls for cyclops bones, and this was apparently later reported by the Italian Renaissance author Boccaccio.
The story is not accepted as factual, in part because Empedocles in his surviving writings never mentions skulls, or cyclops, or even elephants, which were unknown to Greeks at the time; and because Boccaccio never mentions Empedocles in this regard. The Boccaccio reference was added to the story in 1940 by the speculations of another author. Students of teratology have raised the possibility of a link between this developmental deformity in Ancient Greek infants and the myth for which it was named.
However, a study of deformed humans born with a single eye all have a nose above the single eye, not below.