According to Greek and Roman mythology Cyclops (referred to as Cyclopes in plural) was a member of an ancient race of giants with a single eye on the forehead. This monster was depicted as a stubborn, strong and of abrupt emotions by Greek poets. Greek mythology claimed that there were two generations of these creatures.
The first generation consisted of 3 brothers known as Brontes, Steropes and Arges who were born when Gaia (earth) and Uranus (sky) united. The 2nd generation descended from Poseidon while the most famous among them was Polyphemus.
Steropes, Brontes and Arges were highly skilled blacksmiths of the Olympian gods. These skilled metal workers created Poseidon’s trident, Zeus thunderbolt and Hades’ Helmet of Darkness; this was later used by Perseus on a quest to destroy Medusa. The brothers spent most of their early days in prison since Uranus their father hated all his offspring and preferred to keep them confined with Gaia the earth.
Uranus was eventually defeated by his son Cronus who freed the three brothers but only for a short time since he was a paranoid ruler. Cronus feared the power of these monsters so he committed them to Tartarus, a place of punishment in the underworld. They remained there until Zeus, son of Cronus and an Olympian set them free in order to get their help in the battle of Titans.
Assisted by the Cyclopes and their thunderbolts he overthrew the Titans and became the ruler of the cosmos. He was grateful for their help and allowed them to live in Olympus as assistants to his smith god Hephaestus.
Steropes, Brontes and Arges are also mentioned in most of the myths to convey strength in heroes as well as fine weapons. These three are also depicted as meeting their deaths at the hands of Apollos. According to the myth Zeus struck down Apollos’s son Ascepius with a thunderbolt for raising a person from the dead. Apollos was so angry that he killed the giants who had made the thunderbolt, his rage was misplaced but by punishing the brothers he was punishing Zeus indirectly. Brontes, Arges and Steropes are said to live on as ghosts on the smoky Mt. Aetna which is an active volcano that is said to smoke as result of their burning forges.
The 2nd generation of Cyclopes was a group of lawless shepherds who lived in Sicily and had no skills in metallurgy. The sea nymph Thoosa and Polyphemus son of Poseidon were the most prominent individuals of this generation. The two characters feature prominently in Homer’s Odyssey where Odysseus and his crew landed at Sicily. Unfortunately Odysseus and some of his finest men were trapped in Polyphemus’s cave as the giant rolled a huge stone at the mouth of the cave to corral his sheep. The giant relished human flesh and devoured several men for his dinner. The following night Odysseus who had told the giant that his name was ″Nobody″ tricked Polyphemus into drinking wine until he passed out.
When Polyphemus was sleeping Odysseus blinded him with a red hot poker. The giant cried out for help but could not identify the villain who was causing him harm since he shouted that ″Nobody″ was trying to kill him. As a result his fellow giants did not come to help him and next morning as he rolled the stone away for his sheep to graze Odysseus and his men clung to the underside of the sheep so as to avoid detection.
The ploy worked as Odysseus and the rest of his men managed to escape from the giant as the sheep went out to the fields.
The story about Cyclops is part of the many myths told in most traditional communities around the globe. Scholars define myths as stories about things that are not necessarily true. Most myths serve an important purpose in a community since they assist human beings to explain what they do not understand. Some people say that myths were created by traditional communities to refer to occurrences in their environment which are beyond human knowledge. Since the myth about these mythical giants were not only found in Greek literature but also in other parts of the world it is possible that the myths were coined as human beings sought for super beings who exacted power over people.
Scholars have always hypothesized about the origin of the monster’s single eye. One of the most credible theories argues that iron smiths in ancient times possibly wore an eye patch over one eye to guard against being blinded in both eyes from fiery sparks. This might offer the explanation why these giants were associated with blacksmiths. The proposition is also supported by other myths about one-eyed creatures were also closely linked to smiths. Blacksmiths usually tattooed themselves with concentric circles probably in honor of the sun as the provider of the fire for their furnaces. These rings were part of the pattern for making bowls, masks, helmets as well as other metallic objects.
Little evidence exists to show that these giants actually existed. The only credible evidence is contained in Greek literature written by Odysseus demonstrating that these monsters existed. The events are so well documented that they seem almost real during the trip to Troy. Apart from this literature there is not much evidence that can be relied upon to show that a Cyclops really existed in any part of the world.
The evolution theory might be helpful to prove that these monsters actually existed .This is due to scientific researches that have demonstrated that certain things which were initially thought of as myths are actually true. Myths that claimed Dinosaurs had the ability to fly were supported by emerging evidence using modern technology that has shown that these ancient creatures are predecessors of modern birds. There is a possibility that creatures such as the one-eyed giants could have existed but environmental changes made them extinct. Scholars have also argued that mutations in the genetic make up could have been responsible for the emergence of a giant with a single eye.