The Hecatoncheires (in English, stress on the fourth syllable; singular: Hecatoncheir //; Greek: Ἑκατόγχειρες, translit. Hekatoncheires, lit. 'Hundred-Handed Ones'), also called the Centimanes (//; Latin: Centimani) or Hundred-Handers, were figures in the archaic, pre-Olympian era within Greek mythology, three giants of incredible strength and ferocity that surpassed all of the Titans, whom they helped overthrow. Their name derives from the Greek ἑκατόν (hekaton, "hundred") and χείρ (cheir, "hand"), "each of them having a hundred hands and fifty heads". The Hundred-Handed-Ones are "giants" of great storms and hurricanes.
- Briareos (Βριάρεως), "strong", also called Aegaeon (Αἰγαίων), spelled in Latin as Briareus
- Kottos (Κόττος), "strike, punch"
- Gyges (Γύγης) or Gyes (Γύης), possibly "limb" or "curved"
During the War of the Titans the Hecatoncheires fought against the Titans—the first twelve of whom, like the Hecatoncheires, were the offspring of Gaia and Uranus—throwing rocks as big as mountains, one hundred at a time, and overwhelming them. After this, the Hecatoncheires became the guards of Tartarus. Briareos became the son-in-law of Poseidon, who gave him "Kymopoliea his daughter to wed".
In Virgil's Aeneid (10.566–67), in which Aeneas is likened to one of them (Briareos, known here as Aegaeon), they fought on the side of the Titans rather than the Olympians; in this, Virgil was following the lost Corinthian epic Titanomachy rather than the more familiar account in Hesiod.
In a Corinthian myth related in the second century AD to Pausanias, Briareos was the arbitrator in a dispute between Poseidon and Helios, between sea and sun: he adjudged the Isthmus of Corinth to belong to Poseidon and the acropolis of Corinth (Acrocorinth) sacred to Helios.
Scholia (manuscript notes) on Apollonius of Rhodes represent Aegaeon as a son of Gaea and Pontos, the Sea, ruling the fabulous Aegaea in Euboea, an enemy of Poseidon and the inventor of warships. In Ovid's Metamorphoses and in Philostratus' Life of Apollonius of Tyana he is a marine deity.
- In the first book of Homer's Iliad (c. 700 BC), Achilles asks his mother to appeal to Zeus on account of a previous interaction with Briareus, or Aegaeon.
- Briareus is mentioned twice in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy (completed 1320); he is first found as a giant inhabiting the ninth circle of Hell and then again as an example of pride, carved into the pavement of the first terrace of Purgatory.
- In Rabelais' five-part novel Gargantua and Pantagruel (finished 1564) it is mentioned that a waiter needs as many hands as "Briareus".
- Briareus is also mentioned in Cervantes' Don Quixote (1615), in the famous episode of the windmills.
- Briareus is mentioned in Book I of John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) alongside Typhon as an analog to the fallen Satan.
- Briareus is mentioned in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), by Henry Fielding, in a conversation between Tom Jones and Mr. Partridge (Book 8, Chapter IX).
- Briareus, styled as Briares, is a supporting character in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians novel The Battle of the Labyrinth (2008).
- Kottos, styled as Cottus, is mentioned in John Keats' fragment Hyperion (1819) as a brooding deity in the aftermath of the Titanomachy.
- In Canto VI of his satiric poem Don Juan (completed in 1824), Byron makes a slightly crude joke, musing whether "enviable Briareus […] with thy hands and heads […] hadn't all things multiplied in proportion" (this thought arising from Byron's assertion of his love of all womankind in the previous canto).
- Depending on the method of transliteration, the Ancient Greek ἑκατόν (hekaton) may be latinised as hecaton and χείρ (cheir) may be transliterated as kheir, chir or even khir.
- Howatson, M.C. (2013). "Hecatoncheiʹres". The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 277.
- Bulfinch, Thomas (1902). "Hec-atonchiʹres". The Classic Myths in English Literature. Ginn & Co. p. 508.
- George Grote, History of Greece, Volume 12, Harper, 1875, p. 519.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 1.1.1
- Hesiod calls them the "Ouranids" (Theogony 502).
- A scholia on Apollonius Rhodius 1.1165c notes "Eumelos in the Titanomachy says that Aegaeon was the son of Earth and Sea, lived in the sea, and fought on the side of the Titans"; noted in M.L. West "'Eumelos': A Corinthian Epic Cycle?" The Journal of Hellenic Studies 122 (2002, pp. 109–133) p 111.
- Kerenyi 1951:19
- Liddell, Scott & Jones, A Greek–English Lexicon, sv.Βριάρεως & βριαρός
- Graves, Robert (1960). The Greek Myths. Harmondsworth, London, England: Penguin Books. pp. s.v. The Olympian Creation Myth. ISBN 978-0143106715.
- See Virgil, Aeneid 6.287: "et centumgeminus Briareus ac belua Lernae"
- Liddell, Scott & Jones, A Greek–English Lexicon, sv. κόσσος
- Ovid, Fasti 4.593
- Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Ancient Greek, sv.γύης
- Hesiod, Theogony 817.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.1.6 and 2.4.7
- Apollonius, Argonautica 1,1165
- Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.10; Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 4.6
- Callimachus. Hymn to Delos, 141
- Dante, Inferno XXXI.99.
- Dante, Purgatorio XII.28.
- Rabelais, Francois (1955). "5". Gargantua and Pantagruel. Great Britain: Penguin Classics. p. 50. ISBN 014044047X.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Briareus.|
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- Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica translated by Robert Cooper Seaton (1853-1915), R. C. Loeb Classical Library Volume 001. London, William Heinemann Ltd, 1912. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica. George W. Mooney. London. Longmans, Green. 1912. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Callimachus, Callimachus and Lycophron with an English translation by A. W. Mair; Aratus, with an English translation by G. R. Mair, London: W. Heinemann, New York: G. P. Putnam 1921. Internet Archive
- Callimachus, Works. A.W. Mair. London: William Heinemann; New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1921. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Hesiod, Theogony from 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. Greek text available from the same website.
- Horace Carminae II.17.14, III.4.69
- Karl Kerenyi, Gods of the Greeks, London, Thames and Hudson, 1951.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
- Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio. 3 vols. Leipzig, Teubner. 1903. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Pseudo-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. Greek text available from the same website.
- Publius Ovidius Naso, Fasti translated by James G. Frazer. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Publius Ovidius Naso, Fasti. Sir James George Frazer. London; Cambridge, MA. William Heinemann Ltd.; Harvard University Press. 1933. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Publius Vergilius Maro, Aeneid. Theodore C. Williams. trans. Boston. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1910. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Publius Vergilius Maro, Bucolics, Aeneid, and Georgics. J. B. Greenough. Boston. Ginn & Co. 1900. Latin text available at the Perseus Digital Library.