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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.

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. 

Giants []

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 this is 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 Isles 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[]

Geant de castelnau

Three bone fragments of the alleged "Giant of Castelnau" compared to a regular size humerus (centre), after Georges Vacher de Lapouge.

The expression "Giant of Castelnau" refers to three bone fragments (a humerus, tibia, and femoral mid-shaft) discovered by Georges Vacher de Lapouge in 1890 in the sediment used to cover a Bronze Age burial tumulus, and possibly dating back to the Neolithic Age. According to de Lapouge, the fossil bones may belong to one of the largest humans known to have existed. He estimated from the bone size that the human may have been about 3.5 m tall. No modern peer-reviewed study has been published about the alleged giant bone fragments.

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 that 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.


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.

In 1911, miners began excavating the rich guano deposits in Lovelock Cave, just twenty-two miles southwest of Lovelock, Nevada. After removing several carloads of bat dung, they had come upon some supposed Native American relics, and soon after, a six-and-a-half foot tall mummy with red hair.

John T. Reid of the Lovelock area thought the mummy was authentic, so he spent his life trying to prove it. In his files of the giants were descriptions of long hair robes worn by a few Pauites; the hair was human, and it was reddish-brown. Even though years had passed and no evidence had been found, the legend still persisted on. Then, people found several legbones. By judging the size of them people deduced that they were six to ten feet tall. However, scientists thought that they could only be 5' 11". Today, you can still see some bones, a skull, and artifacts at the Humboldt Museum in Winnemucca, Nevada. Unlike many cryptids today, these were about as close as you could get to Sasquatch, but also humans. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody will be able to see a Si-Teh-Ca because it seems they are extinct.

The Lovelock Giants wouldn't be considered very large in the modern age, but would be back when they lived. They're thought to be early cases of gigantism.

Indo-European Mythologies[]

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.

The Pangboche Hand[]

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.


The Nephilim were the offspring of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" before the Deluge, according to Genesis 6:1-4. They are biblical creatures that are believed to have been giants. A similar or identical biblical Hebrew term, read as "Nephilim" by some scholars, or as the word "fallen" by others, appears in Ezekiel 32:27. The word is loosely translated as giants in some Bibles and left untranslated in others. The "sons of God" have been interpreted as fallen angels in some traditional Jewish explanations. According to Numbers 13:33, they later inhabited Canaan at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan. One of the most popular theories about the Nephilim is that they are relatives of (or are) Giants, or possibly Bigfoot. Most of the contemporary English translations of Genesis 6:1-4 and Numbers 13:33 render the Heb. Nephilim as "giants". This tendency in turn stems from the fact that one of the earliest translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, composed in III/II century BCE, renders the said word as gigantes. The choice made by the Greek translators has been later adopted into the Latin translation, the Vulgate, compiled in IV/V century CE, which uses the transcription of the Greek term rather than the literal translation of the Hebrew "nefilim". From there, the tradition of the giant progeny of the sons of God and the daughters of men spread to later medieval translations of the Bible.

Others believe that the Nephilim were born when angelic beings and humans had children. All early sources refer to the "sons of heaven" as angels. From the third century BCE onwards, references are found in the Enochic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Genesis Apocryphon, the Damascus Document, 4Q180), Jubilees, the Testament of Reuben, 2 Baruch, Josephus, and the book of Jude (compare with 2 Peter 2). For example: 1 Enoch 7:2 "And when the angels, (3) the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamoured of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children." Some Christian apologists, such as Tertullian and especially Lactantius, shared this opinion. The earliest statement in a secondary commentary explicitly interpreting this to mean that angelic beings mated with humans can be traced to the rabbinical Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and it has since become especially commonplace in modern Christian commentaries. This line of interpretation finds additional support in the text of Genesis 6:4, which juxtaposes the sons of God (male gender, divine nature) with the daughters of men (female gender, human nature). From this parallelism it could be inferred that the sons of God are understood as some superhuman beings.

Others take inspiration from this theory and say that the angelic beings are, actually, alien beings that were thought to be connected to God by ancient humans and, by extension, the Nephilim are children (or victims of experimentation) of the alien beings with humans.

Some suggest that Giants and Nephilim are one and the same, which they likely are. Like Giants, Nephilim stories most likely originated from cases of gigantism and stories of Mammoths.


The hand and scalp of a yeti.


Giants are thought to have originated from cases of gigantism, gigantopithecus skeleton findings, or even mammoth skeletons.