In Greek mythology, the Cyclopes were a group of giants who possessed only one eye set in the middle of their forehead. They were said to be skilled workers, and the Greeks credited them with building the walls of several ancient cities. The Romans believed that the Cyclopes worked at Mount Etna with Vulcan, the god of fire and metalworking.

The Greek poet Hesiod wrote about three of the Cyclopes: Brontes (thunder), Steropes (lightning), and Arges (brightness). The sons of Uranus (sky) and Gaia (earth), these Cyclopes gave Zeus* the gifts of thunder and lightning with which he defeated the Titans* and became ruler of the universe. Later authors related that Zeus killed Apollo's* son Asclepius, causing Apollo to kill the Cyclopes in revenge.

In the Odyssey * , Homer* described how Odysseus* was captured by the cruel and barbaric Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon*. Polyphemus ate six of Odysseus's crew members. However, Odysseus and the rest of his crew managed to escape by blinding the single eye of Polyphemus.

See also Asclepius ; Odysseus ; Vulcan .

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