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For the Roman-era writer, see Pomponius Porphyrion.
"Porphyrion" is also a section of the genus Saxifraga.
Zeus (center left) against Porphyrion (center right), detail from the Pergamon Altar Gigantomachy frieze, Pergamon Museum Berlin.

In Greek mythology, Porphyrion (Greek: Πορφυρίων) was one of the Gigantes (Giants), who according to Hesiod, were the offspring of Gaia, born from the blood that fell when Uranus (Sky) was castrated by their son Cronus.[1] According to the mythographer Apollodorus, Porphyrion was (along with Alcyoneus), the greatest of the Giants, and during the Gigantomachy, the epic battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods, Porphyrion attacked Heracles and Hera, but Zeus caused Porphyrion to become enamoured of Hera, whom Porphyrion then tried to rape, but Zeus struck Porphyrion with his thunderbolt and Heracles killed him with an arrow.[2] According to Pindar, who calls him "king of the Giants", he was slain by an arrow from the bow of Apollo.[3]

The fifth century AD poet Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, has Gaia set the Giants against Dionysus, promising Porphyrion Hebe as his wife if the Giants would subdue Dionysus.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For the birth of the Gigantes see Hesiod, Theogony 185. Hyginus, Fabulae Preface gives Tartarus as the father of the Giants.
  2. ^ Apollodorus, 1.6.1–2. Compare with Aristophanes, The Birds 1249 ff.: "a single Porphyrion gave him [Zeus] enough to do."
  3. ^ Pindar, Pythian 8.12–18.
  4. ^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca, 48.6–22 (pp. 424–427).