GIANTS

Photo by Kyle Johnston on Unsplash

Let’s talk about giants….

Many a book has been written on the topic over the years, so there is a great deal of commentary that is able to be found.

What I am going to try to do is utlilise my historical background and some rabbit holes I have ventured down to present you with a look into the possibilities that the Earth, at some time in the past, may well have been inhabited by giants.

This means all those photos you see online of giant skeletons being dug up or unearthed under the ocean we will be ignoring. I am no photo forensics expert, and many have been attributed to competitions and/or straight up fakes.

We start in Ancient Egypt.

Looking through the innumerable hieroglyphic reliefs from Ancient Egypt shows a clear disparity between the depiction of the Pharaohs and those they rule and won battle over. This could be argued to be artistic licence. To show the immutable power of the rulers, but if we unchain our mind for a moment and just look the images are stunning. Akhenaten towering over others praying to Aten, Nakht hunting birds, King Menes and many, many other examples.

I submit, that this is possibly, probably, artistic depictions with the intent to show the Pharoah and other central figures in a god-like light. However, these depictions are the earliest that we have of ‘humans’ in gigantic stature.

Akhenaten praying to Aten British Museum
King Menes hunting from British museum
Nakht hunting birds

Yes, there are prehistoric cave paintings that depict figures generally out of context to others with no indicative scale from Australia and abroad. However, for comparative depictions these (Egyptian) are the earliest.

We will jump to Sumeria next just for some contextual examples from a similar time period (2500BCE) where we have depictions of Gilgamesh fighting lions. This is a common depiction, again to show power, divinity and strength. The interesting thing is the scale. It is estimated that comparatively to the lions Gilgamesh would have been some 14 feet tall.

Onward to Rome

Much of the Roman and Greek talk of giants comes from mythology and theology — I do not intend to open that Pandora’s box. I will stick to historic reference.

We will start with Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus “Thrax” (“the Thracian”; c. 173–238) who was emperor of Rome from 235 to 238AD.

Short reign large man!

Herodian 7.1.2 says of Maximus, “…he enlisted in a local auxiliary cohort because of his huge size and great strength…”[1] This is supported in the Historia Augustus where it is said Maximus was, “…strikingly big of body…” and that he was, “”…of such size … that men said he was eight-foot, one finger [2.4 metres/7.9 feet] in height”.[2]

In addition to this scattered throughout the historical record are mentions of men of unusual height. Herodotus, Pliny and Plutarch make mention of the remains of heroes of the past being of extraordinary size. Herodotus telling us of Lichas who upon digging a well found a 12-foot coffin and a body inside matching the size. It was thought this was the body of Orestes.”[3]

This matter, we look at Herodotus for our knowledge on Egyptian embalming, Plutarch for our comparative Greek and Roman bios and Pliny for his natural history knowledge, yet they mention a large human and we dismiss it so readily. While it would be reductionist to simply say all writing is accurate due to accuracy in one section it is dismissive to argue the opposite.

Finally, in this section I want to mention a passage from Solinus (around 200AD)

He writes:

“Before there were any humans on Pallene, the story goes that a battle was fought between the gods and the giants. Traces of the giants’ demise continue to be seen to this day, whenever torrents swell with rain and excessive water breaks their banks and floods the fields. They say that even now in gullies and ravines the people discover bones of immeasurable enormity, like men’s carcasses but far bigger.” [4]

This is of note due to its normalcy. He brushes over the epic battles of Gods and giants and focuses on the meta-facts of bones still being washed up and unearthed. I believe this is a telling representation and one we see throughout history, particularly in North America and the mound excavation.

Let’s get Biblical

No conversation about giants could exclude the Bible and biblical notations.

Nephilim (nefilim) is a common catch phrase to proponents of giants. It comes from the Hebrew and is sometimes directly translated as “giants” other time (usually based on context) is taken to mean “the fallen ones” — what this means is that the source and meaning of the term in biblical texts is debated.

I think looking at the terminology within the greater passage helps with some clarity. In Numbers 13:32–33 as the Israelites prepared to enter the land of Canaan:

So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”[5]

In context it is clear there is a size identifier connected to the Nephilim.

Talking of Nephilim, there are other races mentioned in the Bible with larger characteristics. Deuteronomy 9:2 and Deuteronomy 1:28 make mention of the size and power of the Anakites. 1:28 saying, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky.’[6]

Deuteronomy 2:20–21 refers to the Rephaites and the Zamzummites. Noting they were, ‘… a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites.’[7]

This leads us away from specific mentions of people and to general mentions of giants — not within the traditional Bible, but the Book of Enoch.

Book of Enoch[8]

I know that the Book of Enoch is debated widely and ferociously as to its validity as a scriptural book, some believing it to be part of Cannon others a 2000 year old book of mythology. I will just lay out the mentions here of giants:

Book 1 Watchers Chapter 7 states:

‘And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind’

Just a quick note that an ell as best we can garner is a measurement from elbow to tip of finger — so the sizing here is clearly huge (and not all that historically accurate).

Chapter 9:

‘And the women have borne giants, and the whole earth has thereby been filled with blood and unrighteousness’

Chapter 15:

‘And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon’

Epistle of Enoch chapter 106: passages 13–15

‘some of the angels of heaven transgressed the word of the Lord. And behold they commit sin and transgress the law and have united themselves with women and commit sin with them, and have married some of them, and have begot children by them. And they shall produce on the earth giants not according to the spirit, but according to the flesh’[9]

The Quaran

The Quaran does not mention giants. However, in the sahih al bukhari hadith No 246 it is said:

The Prophet said, “Allah created Adam in His picture, sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height.[10]

Make of this what you will but the Quaran is the literal work of Allah, so this can be considered to theologians as compelling.

Beowulf

Before we move into more recent times I want to mention Beowulf. Written between 700 and 750AD, I know it is not considered an historic text perse, but I love the following passage from Beowulf XXIV:

‘where was etched the rise

of that far-off fight when the floods o’erwhelmed,

raging waves, the race of giants

(fearful their fate!), a folk estranged

from God Eternal’[11]

Race of giants, connection to God, it is just too reminiscent of the Genesis (Genesis 6:4) writings that the Nephilim were an angelic human creation.[12]

Magellan

Jumping forward to the early 1500’s to the voyage of Magellan.

Antonio Pigafetta was the official chronicler of the Magellan voyage (1519–1522) wrote everything down, he was a meticulous note taker and considered an invaluable historical source for the journey. So what did he witness when writing about a giant?

“One day we suddenly saw a naked man of giant stature on the shore of the port, dancing, singing, and throwing dust on his head. He was so tall that we reached only to his waist, and he was well proportioned.”[13]

Again, it is too dismissive to simply write this off as a flight of fancy, when the remainder of his chronicling is taken to be historic and accurate.

The New World.

Due to the sheer volume of clippings and associated copyright issues it is impossible to recount them all in this article. Do yourself a favour have a look here http://www.sydhav.no/giants/newspapers.htm

For a good collection or just google around.

There are innumerable historic articles detailing finds of bones, full skeletons in mounds, caves, riverbanks, mines across the USA since settlement and throughout history.

In fact, one of the most compelling pieces of evidence and the one that started me on this rabbit hole comes from ‘honest’ Abraham Lincoln.

Fragments of Abraham Lincoln speech about Niagara Falls are held in the Library of Congress and are readily available on the internet. I present the following:

‘When Columbus first sought this continent — when Christ suffered on the Cross — when Moses led Israel through the Red Sea — nay even when Adam first came from the hand of his Maker, — then as now, Niagara was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants whose bones fill the Mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara as ours do now. Cotemporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man Niagara is strong and fresh today as ten thousand years ago.’[14]

I was blown away when I read this, there is no real other interpretation than what is written there. It can be seen as a primary source and my presentation is word-for-word. What did he know that we do not?

Summary

There is no real ambiguity among scientists that the fossil record is incomplete. Of the small proportion of organisms preserved as fossils, only a tiny fraction have been recovered and studied by palaeontologists.[15]

Some estimations say that this tiny faction, some 250,000 fossil species, is only around 2% of all species that ever lived on the planet.

So, I posit to you why not giants?

Size relative to gravity and space is not an issue we accept dinosaur proportions readily.

So, why not giants?

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodian-s-roman-history/herodian-7.1/

[2] https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Historia_Augusta/home.html

[3] https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D68

[4] https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/mythic-creatures/land/greek-giants

[5] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2013%3A32-33&version=NIV

[6] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%201%3A28&version=NIV

[7] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+2&version=NIV

[8] http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/ethiopian/enoch/1watchers/wcenter.htm retrieved 9/10/21

[9] http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/ethiopian/enoch/epistle/epistle.htm

[10] https://sunnah.com/bukhari:6227

[11] http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/scandinavian/geatish/beowulf.html

[12] https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=nephilim&version=NIV

[13] https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/2017752

[14] https://www.loc.gov/resource/mal.4167500/?st=text

[15] https://www.britannica.com/science/evolution-scientific-theory/The-fossil-record

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store