Skulls of humanoids. From left to right: Gigantopithecus, Gorilla, and human.

Giant is the English word (coined 1297) commonly used for the monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength common in the mythology and legends of many different cultures. The word giant was derived from the gigantes (Greek: γίγαντες) of Greek mythology.

In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic peoples are featured as primeval creatures associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods, be they Olympian, Celtic, Hindu or Norse. Giants also often play similar roles in the mythologies and folklore of other, non Indo-European peoples, such as in the Nartian traditions.

There are also accounts of giants in the Old Testament, most famously Goliath, Og King of Bashan, the Nephilim, the Anakim, and the giants of Egypt mentioned in 1 Chronicles 11:23. Attributed to them are extraordinary strength and physical proportions.

Indian mythology

In India, the giants are called Daityas. The Daityas (दैत्‍य) were the children of Diti and the sage Kashyapa who fought against the gods or Devas because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. Since Daityas were a power-seeking race, they sometimes allied with other races having similar ideology namely Danavas and Asuras. Daityas along with Danavas and Asuras are sometimes called Rakshasas, the generic term for a demon in Hindu mythology. Some known Daityas include Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. The main antagonist of the Hindu epic Ramayana, Ravana, was a Brahmin from his father's side and a Daitya from his mother's side. His younger brother Kumbhakarna was said to be as tall as a mountain and was quite good natured.

Norse mythology

In Norse mythology, the Jotun (jötnar in Old Norse, a cognate with ettin) are often opposed to the gods. While often translated as "giants", most are described as being roughly human sized. Some are portrayed as huge, such as frost giants (hrímþursar), fire giants (eldjötnar), and mountain giants (bergrisar).

Norse mythology also holds that the entire world of men was created from the flesh of Ymir, a giant of cosmic proportions, which name is considered to share a root with the name Yama of Indian/Iranian mythology.

Some of the Giants of British lore originated from the Norse myths, which were transferred to the British Iles during the Anglo-Saxon invasion. An example of this transfer is the Grendel, which is the root of all British giant myths.

Greek mythology

In Greek mythology the gigantes (γίγαντες) were the children of Uranus (mythology) (Ουρανός) and Gaea (Γαία) (spirits of the sky and the earth). They were involved in a conflict with the Olympian gods called the Gigantomachy (Γιγαντομαχία), which was eventually settled when the hero Heracles decided to help the Olympians.


Giant of Castelnau

Main article: Giant of Castelnau

In the winter of 1890, French anthropologist Georges Vacher de Lapouge found large bones at the Bronze Age cemetery of Castelnau-le-Lez. With the bones, he estimated the giant at 11 feet, 6 inches tall

Giant of Montpellier

Main article: Giant of Montpellier

1894 press accounts mentioned a discovery of bones of human giants unearthed at a prehistoric cemetery at Montpellier, France. Skulls "28, 31, and 32 inches in circumference" were reported alongside other bones of gigantic proportions which indicated they belonged to a race of men "between 10 and 15 feet in height." The bones were reportedly sent to the Paris Academy for further study.


Main article: Si-Teh-Cas

The Si-Teh-Cas, sometimes Saiduka or Sai'i, are a fabled race of belligerent red-haired giants from Pauite Indian legends. They were said to be the mortal enemies of the Indians in the area, and the Indians had joined forces to drive the giants out of their territory.

According to Paiute oral history, the Si-Te-Cah or Sai'i are a legendary tribe of red-haired cannibalistic giants, the remains of which were allegedly found in 1911 by guano miners in Nevada's Lovelock Cave.

Yeti Hand

Main article: Pangboche Hand

The hand and head of the creature.

The Pangboche Hand is an artifact from a Buddhist monastery in Pangboche, Nepal. The hand is believed to be from a Yeti, a cryptid purported to live in the Himalayan mountains

London University primatologist William Charles Osman Hill conducted a physical examination of the pieces that Byrne supplied. His first findings were that it was hominid, and later in 1960 he decided that the Pangboche fragments were a closer match with a Neanderthal.

On 27 December 2011 it was announced that a finger belonging to the hand contained human DNA, following tests carried out in Edinburgh. This proves the humanoid origin of the creature, and supports the humanoid yeti theory.

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