HecatoncheiresFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
were three gargantuan figures of Greek mythology. They were known as Briareus the Vigorous, Cottus the Furious, and Gyges (or Gyes) the Big-Limbed. Their name derives from Greek and means "Hundred-Handed", "each of them having a hundred hands and fifty heads".
They were giants of incredible strength and ferocity, even superior to that of the Titans and the Cyclopes. They were children of Gaia and Uranus, simply the issue of Earth and Sky. In Latin poetry, the Hecatonchires were known as the Centimani, which also means "Hundred-Handed Ones."
Soon after they were born, their father, Uranus, threw them into the depths of Tartarus because he saw them as hideous monsters. In some versions of this myth, Uranus saw how ugly the Hecatonchires were at their birth and pushed them back into Gaia's womb, upsetting Gaia greatly, causing her great pain, and setting into motion the overthrow of Uranus by Cronus. In this version of the myth, they were only later imprisoned in Tartarus by Cronus. Another version of the legend seems to say that Gaia wanted Cronus to free the Hecatonchires, but that he didn't, which possibly made them bitter at the Titans.
The Hecatonchires remained there, guarded by the dragon Campe, until Zeus rescued them, hoping they would serve as good allies against Cronus. During the War of the Titans, the Hecatonchires threw rocks as big as mountains, one hundred at a time, at the Titans.
Afterwards, the Hecatonchires became the guards of the gates of Tartarus. In the Iliad, there is a story, found nowhere else in mythology, that at one time the Olympian gods were trying to overthrow Zeus but were stopped when the sea nymph Thetis brought one of the Hecatonchires to his aid. Homer also referred to Briareus as aegaeon ("goatish"), and said he was a marine deity and son of Poseidon.
In Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneas is likened in a simile to "Aegaeon," which is the Latin name of Briareus, though in Virgil's account Aegaeon fought on the side of the Titans rather than the Olympians.