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The giants of Tiryns

Immense boulders in memory of a mythological past

<p>West gate of Tiryns (Zde, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)</p>

Once upon a time, there was a powerful warrior named Abante, who, upon his death, left his great kingdom to his twin sons, Preto and Acrisio. There was no good blood between the two; it is said that already in the womb of their mother, Aglaia, the two were already quarrelling.

So it was that the two grown men soon went to war with each other. Preto took refuge in Lycia to escape his brother’s vengeful lusts. After a warm welcome in the new lands, he was granted a Lycian army to reconquer the lands he rightfully claimed. It is said, however, that Preto, in addition to numerous soldiers, was followed by giants from the lands of Lycia, notoriously skilful builders of immense strength.

Lycia location (by Caliniuc, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

When Preto reached the lands occupied by his twin Acrisius, a bloody battle followed, dividing the kingdom in two.  Acrisius was awarded Argos and its environs, while Preto took over Tiryns and Mycenae.

It is said that after settling here, Preto initiated mammoth fortification works thanks to the seven giants called Gasterochiri. They could lift boulders that not even two mules could push aside. 

Cyclopean masonry of Tiryins (Nick Stenning, CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Common)

Today, these mammoth stones can still be seen in Tiryns and Mycenae. Among the miraculous archaeological remains that have survived more than three thousand years, one wonders at the immensity, perhaps mythological, of these works.

Ptolemy Team
Last updated on
January 11, 2023

Ptolemy Team

All our content is conceived and written by our editorial team, consisting of students and recent graduates in Cultural Heritage, Ancient and Medieval History, and Arts.