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Old 06-26-16   #1
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Default Hekate, Theomachy and the Pergamon Altar

Hekate, Theomachy and the Pergamon Altar

If one researches the heritage of Hekate most instances point to her being a Titan who sided with the Olympians against her fellow titans. Upon conclusion of said battle Zeus reward Hekate by allowing her to retain her influence or control over the spheres of Ocean, Heaven and Earth. A blood lineage or familial connection for Hekate appearing to be of lesser importance in the story of the Hellene Olympian mythological or social and cultural influence being recorded. Recognition and acknowledgement of Hekate favoring the Olympians and Zeus during the battle with the Titans a prime fact of Importance in her development and inclusion within the Olympian Pantheon. The idea of Theomachy or battle between the gods / goddesses a frequent concept within the Hellene universe and the Olympian Pantheon in particular.

Yet evidence wise through archaeology or literature we have little material of what she actually did in siding with the Olympians. Yes she sided with them and was rewarded by Zeus but not much more than that. Participation and influences in the Titanomachy (War of the Titans) more of a footnote in Hekateís history for us than historical fact. Yet historically and mythology wise there is another chapter to her aiding of the Olympianís and placement in Hellene culture. That being the battle that mythology wise is known as the Gigantomachy (Gigantomachia). A battle recorded in mythology as the conflict between the offspring of Gaia, the Giants and the Olympians. A second battle if you will that is old divinity against new divinity.

It is important to understand that the Gigantes or Giants came after the Titans. This separation is important in understanding the later role of Hekate in Hellene mythology. Mythology wise the basic story is that the Gigantes were created when the blood of Uranus was spilt upon the ground after being castrated by Kronus (Cronus) when Uranus attempted to lay with Gaia. As to why Gaia gave the sickle to Kronus (Cronus) varies from story to story though a core element is revenge for what was done to her offspring the Titans.

Development of the mythology of the Gigantomachy is sparse in early literature. There are hints or implied suggestions of the battle but it is really the mythographer Apollodorus in his works Library Book 1 who provides the most detail about the battle.

Just as Hekate sided with the Olympianís in their battle against the Titanís so too did she side with the Olympianís in their battle with the Gigantes during the Gigantomachy. One of the best archeological items depicting the battle recorded upon the Pergamon Altar.

ďEast frieze[edit]
As mentioned above, visitors first saw the eastern side as they entered the altar area. Here was where almost all of the important Olympian gods were assembled. On the left the presentation begins with the three-faceted goddess Hecate. She fights in her three incarnations with a torch, a sword and a lance against the Giant Clytius. Next to her is Artemis, the goddess of the hunt; in keeping with her function she fights with a bow and arrow against a Giant who is perhaps Otos. Her hunting dog kills another Giant with a bite to the neck. Artemisí mother Leto fights at her side using a torch against an animal-like Giant; at her other side her son and Artemisí twin, Apollo, fights. Like his sister, he is armed with bow and arrow and has just shot the Giant Udaios, who lies at his feetĒ note 31 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pergamon_Altar (note 31) This Giant had previously been identified as Ephialtes, see Queyrel, pp. 55Ė56

The Pergamon altar was created in the city of Pergamon in Asia Minor sometime in the 2nd century b.c.. The altar consists of a number of panels, 50 in total, though some are heavily damaged. For my interest the East Frieze, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pergam...ltar_02-03.jpg is the most important as it contains the depiction of both Hekate and Artemis engaged in battle with various named Giants.

Mythology wise it seems the Titanomachy and the Gigantomachy have become conflated with one another as well as other battles between the Olympianís and other Godís / Goddesses in various pieces of literature. Earlier pieces of literature and pottery clearly separate the two battles while later pieces tend to merge them or omit the Gigantomachy to minor references. References or clues which seem to suggest that the listening or viewing audience would already know of it, so no in-depth recounting was needed in the retelling of the story.

One thing does seem certain, to me anyway, that being the story of the Titanomachy was important in placing Hekate within the Olympian Pantheon. Yet the inclusion of the story of the Gigantomachy and the Hekateís presence upon the Pergamon Altar perhaps suggests the story could have more to do with her battling on the side of the Olympianís against the Giantís than the ten year battle against the Titans.

Today the altar resided in the Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities.

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