Antaeus (besought with prayers, rival) In Greek mythology, a Libyan giant son of Poseidon and Gaea (the earth); brother of Charybdis and Ogyges. Antaeus grew stronger every time he touched his mother, the earth. He forced all strangers who ventured into his country to wrestle with him, and being powerfully strong, he killed them. Heracles, on his journey to fetch the apples of the Hesperides, was challenged to wrestle with Antaeus. Heracles lifted him off the ground and held him aloft—away from his mother— until he died. Antaeus’s tomb was near Tingis in Mauretania. One of the most striking representations of Heracles wrestling Antaeus is the statue by Pollaiuolo, Hercules and Antaeus, an Italian Renaissance work. There is also a painting by Hans Baldung Grien (1484/85–1545) titled Hercules and Antaeus. Antaeus is also the name given to a friend of Turnus killed by Aeneas in Vergil’s Aeneid (book 10).
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante