The Laestrygonians are a tribe of giant
The mythology and legends of many different cultures include monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength. "Giant" is the English word commonly used for such beings, derived from one of the most famed examples: the gigantes of Greek mythology.In various Indo-European mythologies,...
cannibals from ancient Greek mythology. Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....
, the main character of Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...
, visited them during his journey back home to Ithaca
Ithaca or Ithaka is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and...
. The giants ate many of Odysseus' men and destroyed eleven of his twelve ships by launching rocks from high cliffs. Odysseus' ship was not destroyed as it was hidden in a cove near shore. Everyone on Odysseus' ship survived.
In the Odyssey
- His company, with a dozen ships, arrives at "the rocky stronghold of Lamos: Telepylus, the city of the Laestrygonians.
Lamos is not mentioned again, perhaps being understood as the founder of the city or the name of the Island on which the city is situated. In this land, a man who could do without sleep could earn double wages; once as a herdsman of cattle and another as a shepherd, as they worked by night as they did by day. The ships entered a harbor surrounded by steep cliffs, with a single entrance between two headlands. The captains took their ships inside and made them fast close to one another, where it was dead calm.
Odysseus kept his own ship outside the harbor, moored to a rock. He climbed a high rock to reconnoiter, but could see nothing but some smoke rising from the ground. He sent two of his company and an attendant to investigate the inhabitants. The men followed a road and eventually met a young woman on her way to the Fountain of Artakia to fetch some water, who said she was a daughter of Antiphates
In Greek mythology, Antíphatês or Antiphátês is the name of five characters.# Antíphatês, King of the Laestrygones, a mythological tribe of gigantic cannibals. He was married and had a daughter...
, the king, and directed them to his house. However when they got there they found a gigantic woman, the wife of Antiphates who promptly called her husband, who immediately left the assembly of the people and upon arrival snatched up one of the men and killed him on the spot, presumably then drinking his blood (as it states in the Odyssey that he only met with the men with the intention of drinking their blood). The other two men, Eurylochus and Polites
In Greek mythology, Polites referred to two different people, both of whom feature as minor characters in the epics by Homer.*Polites was a member of Odysseus's crew...
, ran away, but Antiphates raised an outcry, so that they were pursued by thousands of Laestrygonians, who are either giants or very large men and women. They threw vast rocks from the cliffs, smashing the ships, and speared the men like fish. Odysseus made his escape with his single ship due to the fact that it was not trapped in the harbor; the rest of his company was lost. The surviving crew went next to the island of Circe
In Greek mythology, Circe is a minor goddess of magic , described in Homer's Odyssey as "The loveliest of all immortals", living on the island of Aeaea, famous for her part in the adventures of Odysseus.By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid...