Pallas (Giant)

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Not to be confused with Pallas (Titan), the son of the Titans Crius and Eurybia, the brother of Astraeus and Perses, and the husband of Styx.

In Greek mythology, Pallas (Πάλλας) was one of the Gigantes (Giants), the offspring of Gaia, born from the blood of the castrated Uranus.[1] According to the mythographer Apollodorus, during the Gigantomachy, the cosmic battle of the Giants with the Olympian gods, he was flayed by Athena who used his skin as a shield.[2]

The story related by Apollodorus is one of a number of stories in which Athena kills and flays an opponent, with its hide becoming her Aegis.[3] For example Euripides tells that during "the battle the giants fought against the gods in Phlegra" that it was the Gorgon (possibly considered here to be one of the Giants) that Athena killed and flayed.[4] Another of these flayed adversaries, also named Pallas, was said to be the father of Athena, who had tried to rape her.[5]

The origin of Athena's epithet "Pallas" is obscure,[6] but according to one account (Epicharmus fr. 135) Athena took her name from the Giant Pallas.[7]

Pallas was also the name of a Titan, with whom the Giant is sometimes confused or identified.


  1. ^ For the birth of the Gigantes see Hesiod, Theogony 185. Hyginus, Fabulae Preface gives Tartarus as the father of the Giants.
  2. ^ Apollodorus, 1.6.2.
  3. ^ Robertson p. 42.
  4. ^ Euripides, Ion 987–997.
  5. ^ Robertson p. 42; Wilk, p. 82; Burkert, p. 140; Cicero, De natura deorum 3.59; Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 2.28.2.
  6. ^ Burkert, p. 139.
  7. ^ Guillén, p. 83. See also Suidas s.v. Παλλάς (Pallas), which says her epithet derived "from brandishing (pallein) the spear, or from having killed Pallas, one of the Giants". Other accounts give other derivations for her name, see for example Pallas the daughter of Triton.


  • Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Burkert, Walter (1991). Greek Religion. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631156246. 
  • Cicero, De natura deorum, translated by H. Rackham, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, London William Heinemann LTD, 1933.
  • Euripides, Ion, translated by Robert Potter in The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O'Neill, Jr. Volume 1. New York. Random House. 1938.
  • Guillén, Lucía Rodríguez-Noriega, "Epicharmus' literary and philosophical background" in Theater Outside Athens: Drama in Greek Sicily and South Italy, edited by Kathryn Bosher, Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780521761789.
  • Hesiod, Theogony, in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Hyginus, Gaius Julius, The Myths of Hyginus. Edited and translated by Mary A. Grant, Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1960.
  • Robertson, Noel, "Chapter Two: Athena as Weather-Goddess: the Aigis in Myth and Ritual" in Athena in the Classical World, edited by Susan Deacy, Alexandra Villing, Brill Academic Pub, 2001, ISBN 9789004121423.
  • Wilk, Stephen R., Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon, Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 9780199887736.