A gigantomachia or primordial battle between the gods has been retaled in myth, cult, art and theory for thousands of years, from the Egyptians to Heidegger. This site will present the history of the theme. But it will do so in an attempt to raise the question of the contemporary relevance of it. Does the gigantomachia take place today? Where? When? In what relation to you and me?
The Greeks were especially fascinated by this ontological struggle. Not only does it appear in Homer, the tragedies and particularly in Hesiod, but it is depicted on some of the most important sites of Greek cult: the Parthenon, several temples at Delphi, the Pergamum altar to Zeus, the temple at Sounion, and so on. What is the relation between this fascination and the Greek miracle?
It will be seen that the gigantomachia at least as early as Plato is described as involving three, not two, warring parties and that the third party (in addition to the gods and giants) is a child 'holding to both'. The very object of the battle, according to Plato, concerns the place of plurality at origin: what the battle portrays (the agon of plurality at origin) is also what it contests (the right of plurality at origin).
Plato's child 'holding to both' designates an ontology which is originally complex: the child will have 'both' of what the other powers fight to render singular. This is true also in Christianity where the divine child is both God and man and in icons of the eastern church it is nearly always characterized as 'o on', that is, 'reality' or 'being'.
What is the relation between the gigantomachia and the genesis of Christianity? How has the gigantomachia played itself out in the history of Christianity from Nicea to Unitarianism?
At the beginning (Inferno, Canto 2) of Dante's way (Commedia, cammino) through the different realms of being, he speaks of "la guerra sì del cammino", the war of the way. How does the gigantomachia belong together with a consideration of the way(s) of human being?
Throughout history, the gigantomachia has appeared in multiple forms: for example, as the three warring philosophies in China or as the Laocoon in western art and sculpture. In modern philosophy, the gigantomachia appears as a kind of heartbeat in the three Kantian structures of experience, the three Hegelian forms of absolute spirit and the three types of Weltanschauung described by Dilthey. Everywhere it will be necessary to see that it is not epistemology which is at stake here, the ways in which we might think about the real, but ontology: a contest or argument or struggle which belongs to, and comprises, being itself.
The 20th century witnessed all too real 'world war' and 'nuclear war' (which are, in a sense, what the gigantomachia is); but it also saw renewed consideration of the gigantomachia. Dilthey, Joyce, Heidegger, Sorokin, McLuhan, Dumezil, Beckett, Gadamer and Solzhenitsyn will be examined here, both as giving contemporary descriptions of the gigantomachia, but also as a collective warning about the effects of overlooking its perennial power. Perhaps we ignore the gigantomachia in cult and art and theory only at the terrible price of having to live it out on our own? Indeed, if the gigantomachia is what is most real, being itself, how could it fail to express itself among human beings in one way or another?