Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Giants >> Gigantes >> Enceladus (Enkelados)


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Sound the Charge

Athena and the giant Enceladus | Athenian red-figure kylix C5th B.C. | Antikensammlung Berlin
Athena and the giant Enceladus, Athenian red-figure kylix C5th B.C., Antikensammlung Berlin

ENKELADOS (Enceladus) was a Gigante who battled Athene in the War of the Giants. When he fled the battlefield, Athene pursued and crushed him beneath the Sicilian Mount Aitna (Etna). According to others, it was the giant Typhoeus who was buried beneath the volcano.

Enkelados's name is derived from the Greek verb enkeleuô, meaning "to urge on" or "to sound the charge."



[1.1] Blood of OURANOS & GAIA (Apollodorus 1.34)
[1.2] TARTAROS & GAIA (Hyginus Pref)


ENCE′LADUS (Enkelados), a son of Tartarus and Ge, and one of the hundred-armed giants who made war upon the gods. (Hygin Fab. Praef. p. 1; Virg Aen. iv. 179; Ov. Ep. ex Pont. ii. 2. 12, Amor. iii. 12. 27.) He was killed, according to some, by Zeus, by a flash of lightning, and buried under mount Aetna (Virg. Aen. iii. 578); and, according to others, he was killed by the chariot of Athena (Paus. viii. 47. § 1), or by the spear of Seilenus. (Eurip, Cyclops, 7.) In his flight Athena threw upon him the island of Sicily. (Apollod. i. 6. § 2.) There are two other fabulous beings of this name. (Apollod. ii. 1. § 5; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 918.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Athena and the giant Enceladus | Athenian black-figure neck amphora C6th B.C. | Tampa Museum of Art
Athena and the giant Enceladus, Athenian black-figure neck amphora C6th B.C., Tampa Museum of Art

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 38 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[In the War of the Gigantes (Giants) :] As [the Gigante] Enkelados (Enceladus) was fleeing, Athene threw the island of Sikilia (Sicily) in his direction."

Callimachus, Hymn 4 to Delos 140 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"The mount of Aitna (Etna) smoulders with fire and all its secret depths are shaken as the Gigantos (Giant) under the earth."

Callimachus, Hymn 5 The Bath of Pallas 5 ff :
"Never did Athanaia (Athena) wash her mighty arms before she drave the dust from the flanks of her horses--not even when, her armour all defiled with filth, she returned from the battle of the lawless Gigantes (Giants); but far first she loosed from the car her horses' necks, and in the springs of Okeanos (Oceanus) washed the flecks of sweat and from their mouths that champed the bit cleansed the clotted foam."

Callimachus, Frag 382 (from Choerobus) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Pindar says that Aitna (Etna) lies upon Typhon [Typhoeus], Kallimakhos (Callimachus) says upon Enkelados (Enceladus) : ‘The three-forked island [of Sicily] that lies upon deadly Enkelados.’"

Callimachus, Hymns Fragment 11 :
"The three-forked island [Sicily] that lies upon deadly Enkelados (Enceladus)."

Callimachus, Aetia Frag 1 :
"It weighs upon me like the three-cornered isle [Sicily] upon deadly Enkelados (Enceladus)."

Lycophron, Alexandra 688 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"The island [Sicily] that crushed the back of the Gigantes (Giants) and the fierce form of Typhon . . . an island boiling with flame."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 5. 640 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"That giant form, as when Enkelados (Enceladus) by Zeus' levin was consumed beneath Thrinakia (Thrinacia) [Sicily], when from all the isle smoke of his burning rose."

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 14. 581 ff :
"In the old time Pallas [Athena] heaved on high Sikelia (Sicily), and on huge Enkelados (Enceladus) dashed down the isle, which burns with the burning yet of that immortal giant, as he breathes fire underground."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 47. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[Athene] had the surname of Hippia (Horse). According to their account, when the battle of the gods and Gigantes (Giants) took place the goddess drove the chariot and horses against Enkelados (Enceladus)."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 17 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting a volcanic island :] The neighbouring island, my boy, we may consider a marvel; for fire smoulders under the whole of it, having worked its way into underground passages and cavities of the island, through which as though ducts the flames break forth and produce terrific torrents from which pour mighty rivers of fire that run in billows to the sea . . . The painting, following the accounts given by the poets, goes farther and ascribes a myth to the island. A Gigante (Giant), namely, was once struck down there, and upon his as he struggled in the death agony the island was placed as a bond to hold him down, and he doest not yet yield but from beneath the earth renews the fight and breathes forth this fire as he utters threats. Yonder figure, they say, would represent Typhon [Typhoeus] in Sikelia (Sicily) [i.e. beneath Mount Etna] or Enkelados (Enceladus) here in Italia (Italy) [i.e. buried beneath Mount Vesuvius], Gigantes that both continents and island are pressing down, not yet dead indeed but always dying. And you, yourself, my boy, will imagine that you have not been left out of the contest, when you look at the peak of the mountain; for what you see there are thunderbolts which Zeus is hurling at the Gigante, and the giant is already giving up the struggle but still trusts in the earth, but the earth () has grown weary because Poseidon does not permit her to remain in place. Poseidon ahs spread a mist over the contest, so that it resembles what has taken place in the past rather than what is taking place now."

Athena and the giant Enceladus | Greek marble relief from Pergamon | Pergamonmuseum, Berlin
Athena and the giant Enceladus, Greek marble relief from Pergamon C2nd B.C., Pergamonmuseum

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 5. 16 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to 2nd A.D.) :
"Poetical myths are given by the vulgar of Aitna (Etna) . . . belonging to the class of dramatic stories which fill the mouths of our poets. For they sway that a certain Typho or Enkelados (Enceladus) lies bound under the mountain [of Etna], and in his death agony breathes out this fire that we see."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Terra (Earth) [Gaia] and Tartarus [were born] : Gigantes Enceladus, Coeus [and varous others listed]."

Virgil, Aeneid 4. 179 (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Fama (Rumour), the swiftest traveller of all the ills on earth . . . The legend is that enraged with the gods, Terra (Earth) [Gaia] produced this creature her last child, as a sister to Enceladus and Coeus."

Statius, Thebaid 3. 594 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"When Enceladus tries to shift his side: above, the fiery mountain [Etna] thunders from its caves, its peaks o'erflows and Pelorus’ flood is narrowed, and the sundered land hopes to return once more."

Oppian, Cynegetica 1. 273 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd A.D.) :
"The three-peaked hill [Sicily] that covers Enkelados (Enceladus), as the thunderbolt belches forth in beams reaching to the sky, discharges the eternal fire of Sicilian Aitna (Etna)."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 25. 85 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Bakkhos (Bacchus) [Dionysos] repaid the stubble of snakehaired Gigantes (Giants), a conquering hero with a tiny manbreaking wand, when he cast the battling ivy against Porphyrion, when he buffetted Enkelados (Enceladus) and drove Alkyoneus with a volley of leaves: then the wands flew in showers, and brought the Gegenees (Earthborn) down in defence of Olympos."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 6 ff :
"[Gaia the Earth] goaded her own sons to battle : ‘My sons, make your attack with hightowering rocks . . . [and I will] bestow Hebe on [the Gigante] Porphyrion as a wife, and give Kythereia (Cytherea) [Aphrodite] to [the Gigante] Khthonios (Chthonius), when I sing Brighteyes [Athene] the bedfellow of Enkelados (Enceladus), and Artemis of Alkyoneus (Alyconeus).’ . . . With these words she excited all the host of the Gigantes."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 6 ff :
"Bakkhos (Bacchus) [Dionysos] raised himself and lifted his fighting torch over the heads of his adversaries, and roasted the Gigantes' (Giants') bodies with a great conflagration, an image on earth of the thunderbolt cast by Zeus. The torches blazed: fire was rolling all over the head of Enkelados (Enceladus) and making the air hot, but it did not vanquish him--Enkelados bent not his knee in the steam of the earthly fire, since he was reserved for the thunderbolt."

Thumbnail Athena & Giant Enceladus

K8.22 Athena & Giant Enceladus

Athenian Red Figure Vase Painting C5th B.C.

Thumbnail Athena & Giant Enceladus

K8.21 Athena & Giant Enceladus

Athenian Black Figure Vase Painting C6th B.C.

Thumbnail Athena, Gaea, Giant Enceladus

R43.2 Athena, Gaea, Giant Enceladus

Greek Pergamon Marble Relief C2nd B.C.





Other references not currently quoted here: Euripides Cyclops 7, Virgil Aeneid 3.578, Ovid Ep. ex Pon. 2.2.12, Ovid Amores 3.12.27, Eustathius on Homer 918.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.