Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Giants >> Hyperboreades


Greek Name

Βορεαδες Ὑπερβορειοι


Boreades Hyperboreioi

Latin Spelling

Boreades Hyperboreii


Sons of Boreas

THE "HYPERBOREADES" were three giant sons of Boreas the north-wind and Khione (Chione) the goddess of snow. They were the immortal priests of the virtuous Hyperborean tribe who dwelt in a realm of eternal spring beyond the North Wind.


BOREAS & KHIONE (Aelian On Animals 11.1)


Aelian, On Animals 11. 1 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.) :
"The race of the Hyperboreoi (Hyperboreans) and the honours there paid to Apollon are sung of by poets and are celebrated by historians, among whom is Hekataios (Hecataeus), not of Miletos but of Abdera [Greek historian C4th B.C.] . . . This god [Apollon] has as priests the sons of Boreas (the North Wind) and Khione (Chione, Snow), three in number, brothers by birth, and six cubits in height. So when at the customary time they perform the established ritual of the aforesaid god there swoop down from what are called the Rhipaion (Rhipaean) mountains Swans in clouds, past numbering, and after they have circled round the temple as though they were purifying it by their flight, they descend into the precinct of the temple, an area of immense size and of surpassing beauty. Now whenever the singers sing their hymns to the god and the harpers accompany the chorus with their harmonious music, thereupon the Swans also with one accord join in the chant and never once do they sing a discordant note or out of tune, but as though they had been given the key by the conductor they chant in unison with the natives who are skilled in the sacred melodies. Then when the hymn is finished the aforesaid winged choristers, so to call them, after their customary service in honour of the god and after singing and celebrating his praises all through the day, depart."
[N.B. A cubit is about 45cm or 1 1/2 feet, so the giants were about 2 1/2 meters or 9 feet tall.]




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