Otus and Ephialtes – The Aloadae

The giants Otus and Ephialtes, also known as the “Aloadae,” were the twin sons of Iphimedia and Poseidon, god of the seas.

It all happened when Iphimedia fell in love with Poseidon, The Olympian God of The Sea, so day after day she would go down to the seashore where she could scoop water from the waves with her hands and pour it into her womb until she became pregnant.

Gustave Doré, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Otus and Ephialtes were extraordinary giants. Each year they grew about 18 inches wider and six feet taller. Yet they didn’t look scary at all. Instead, they were beautiful and gentle creatures.

When they were only nine years old, the two brothers began to challenge the gods on various occasions.

The Three Challenges of Otus and Ephialtes

The brothers’ first challenge was to kidnap Ares, the god of war, and hold him captive. They succeeded in this for 13 months until the gods reluctantly sent Hermes, God of All Trades, to free him.

Their next challenge was to place one mountain on top of another and threaten to use those mountains to ascend to the heavens. When Zeus, the king of the gods, learned of this, he wanted to strike both giants dead with his thunderbolt – but Poseidon, their loving father, convinced Zeus to show mercy for his children.

The fatal third challenge

The two Aloadae brothers’ third challenge was to capture Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. When Artemis saw the twins approaching, she quickly transformed into a stag and leapt between them.

Greedily, the two brothers threw spears to hit the animal, but the spears went back and killed them both.

Featured Image Credit: Foto H.-P.Haack, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Evangelia Hatzitsinidou is the creator and author of www.greek-gods.info which has been merged with Olympioi.com. She has been writing about Greek Mythology for almost twenty years. A native to Greece, she teaches and lives just outside Athens.