A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890


1. A son of Poseidon and Ge, a mighty giant and wrestler in Libya, whose strength was invincible so long as he remained in contact with his mother earth. The strangers who came to his country were compelled to wrestle with him; the conquered were slain, and out of their skulls he built a house to Poseidon. Heracles discovered the source of his strength, lifted him up from the earth, and crushed him in the air. (Apollod. 2.5.11; Hyg. Fab. 31 ; Diod. 4.17; Pind. Isthm. 4.87, &c.; Lucan, Pharsal. 4.590, &c.; Juv. 3.89; Ov. Ib. 397.) The tomb of Antaeus (Antaei collis), which formed a moderate hill in the shape of a man stretched out at full length, was shewn near the town of Tingis in Mauretania down to a late period (Strab. xvii. p.829; P. Mela, iii 10.35, &c.), and it was believed that whenever a portion of the earth covering it was taken away, it rained until the hole was filled up again. Sertorius is said to have opened the grave, but when he found the skeleton of sixty cubits in length, he was struck with horror and had it covered again immediately. (Strab. l.c.; Plut. Sert. 9.)