In Greek mythology, Antaeus was a giant who lived in Libya and forced anyone who traveled through the country to wrestle with him. He was the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and of Gaia, goddess of the earth. Because Gaia was his mother, Antaeus became
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stronger each time he touched the earth. As a result, he defeated and killed all who wrestled him, and he used their skulls to make a roof for a temple to Poseidon.
One of the labors of the Greek hero Hercules* took him through Libya. Antaeus challenged Hercules to wrestle. At first, Hercules, despite his great strength, could not defeat Antaeus. Then realizing that Antaeus got his strength from the ground, Hercules lifted him off his feet so that he could not touch the earth. Slowly, Antaeus's strength drained away, and Hercules eventually squeezed him to death.