Cyclops

One-eyed gianthominid of Southern Europe.

Etymology: Greek, "round eye."

Variant names: Arimaspean (Scythian/Indo-European), Kyklops, Monopthalmos ("one-eyed person"), Polyphemus, Triamates.

Physical description: Giant. One eye in the center of the forehead.

Behavior: Eats humans.

Distribution: Sicily; Crete; India; Africa.

Present status: While investigating the ancient voyage of Odysseus, Tim Severin discovered that there was a modern tradition of giants that once lived on Crete.

Possible explanation: Inspired by observations of fossil elephant skulls in the Mediterranean, where the nasal opening is mistaken for an eye socket.

Sources: Homer, Odyssey, i. 69; Hesiod, Theogony 139-146, 501-506; Euripides, The Cyclops; Herodotus, The Histories, ed. John Marincola (New York: Penguin, 1996), pp. 198, 221-222, 225 (iii. 116, iv 13-15, 27); Othenio Abel, Der Tiere der Vorwelt (Berlin: Teubner, 1914); Othenio Abel, Das Reich der Tiere: Tiere der Vorzeit in ihrem Lebensraum (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag, 1939); Willy Ley, The Lungfish, the Dodo, and the Unicorn (New York: Viking, 1948), pp. 47-51; William Elgin Swinton, Giants Past and Present (London:

118 curupira

Robert Hale, 1966), pp. 21-22; Justin Glenn, "The Polyphemus Myth: Its Origin and Interpretation," Greece and Rome 25 (1978): 141-155; Tim Severin, The Ulysses Voyage: Sea Search for the Odyssey (London: Hutchinson, 1987), pp. 88-98; Erich Thenius and Norbert

Vavra, Fossilien im Volksglauben und im Alltag: Bedeutung und Verwendung vorzeitlicher Tierund Pflanzenreste von der Steinzeit bis heute (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Kramer, 1996), pp. 19-21.

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