Aloadae (children of the threshing floor) In Greek mythology, sons of Poseidon by Iphimedia, the wife of Aloeus. Aloeus was the son of Canace and Poseidon. The Aloadae’s names were Ephialtes and Otus, and they grew every year an ell in breadth and a fathom in length. In nine years time they were 36 feet high. Their strength was such that they chained up the god Ares and kept him in a brazen cask for 13 months, until their stepmother, Erioboea, told Hermes, who came and freed his brother. The Aloadae threatened to storm heaven by piling Mount Ossa on Olympus and Mount Pelion on Ossa. Homer’s Odyssey (book 11) says they would have accomplished this feat if Apollo had not slain them with his arrows before their beards had grown, symbols of their strength. A later myth tells of Ephialtes’ love for Hera, the wife of Zeus, and Otus’s love for Artemis. Still another variation says they were slain by Artemis on the island of Naxos when she appeared as a hind, which they attempted to kill. Instead their spears killed one another by mistake. According to another myth they were bound with snakes to a pillar, back to back, while tormented by the screeching of an owl in the underworld. The two were worshipped as heroes on Naxos and in the Boeotian Ascra, where they were regarded as founders of the city. Both Homer’s Iliad (book 5) and Odyssey (book 11) and Vergil’s Aeneid (book 6) allude to them.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

ALOEIDS (ALOADAE) In Greek mythology, giant sons of Iphimedia by POSEIDON. Their names were Ephialtes and Otus; they were called the Aloeids after ALOEUS, the husband of Iphimedia. The brothers grew at an enormous rate. By the time they were nine years old they were 36 feet tall. These giants declared war on OLYMPUS, the home of the gods. Ephialtes determined to capture HERA, wife of the great god ZEUS; Otus swore he would capture ARTEMIS, goddess of the hunt. But first they seized ARES, god of war, and confined him in a bronze vessel, where he remained for 13 months until he was rescued by HERMES. Then their siege of Olympus began: The giants piled Mount PELION atop Mount OSSA (in THESSALY) to create a ladder to the heavens. They were not afraid of the gods, for it had been prophesied that neither gods nor men would kill them. Artemis tricked them by turning herself into a white doe and prancing before them. The brothers threw their spears at the doe, who skillfully darted away, and they accidentally killed each other with their spears. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled, for neither gods nor humans had killed them; they had killed each other. The souls of the Aloeids went down to TARTARUS, where they were tied back to back on either side of a pillar, with cords that were living vipers. The story of the Aloeids symbolizes the revolt of the GIANTS against the gods. The imprisonment of Ares may symbolize a 13-month truce between two warring tribes of ancient Greece, when warlike tokens of both nations were sealed into a bronze jar to ensure peace. In another version of the myth, in HOMER’s ODYSSEY, it is said that the twins would have successfully stormed Olympus if the god APOLLO had not slain them with his arrows.

The Aloeids were worshiped on the island of NAXOS (where Artemis had appeared to them as a doe) and in the city of Ascra, in BOEOTIA, where they were regarded as founders of the city. Myths of the Aloeids also appear in Homer’s Odyssey and in VIRGIL’s AENEID.

Taken from : Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z, Revised Edition – Written by Kathleen N. Daly and Revised by Marian Rengel- Copyright © 2004, 1992 by Kathleen N. Daly