One-Eyed Giants Fachan Were As Dangerous As Polyphemus And The Cyclops

Ellen Lloyd - - Legends about giants can be found all over the world. Some of these enormous beings were said to resemble humans, but there were also giants who had an unusual appearance, like for example those with one eye in the middle of the forehead. The most well-known one-eyed giants were the Greek Cyclops who were described as builders, blacksmiths, and craftsmen.

One-Eyed Giants Fachan Were As Dangerous As Polyphemus And The Cyclops

Cyclops were one-eyed giants in Greek mythology. Credit: Steven Lek - CC BY-SA 4.0

This first race of Cyclops – Brontes (thunderer), Sterops (lightener), and Arges (thunderbolt) - were the first generation of Greek giants. They were monstrous children of Gaia, Mother Earth, and Uranus (Ouranos), which means ‘sky’.

Each of them, as well as their future descendants, such as Polyphemus, was intriguing. At the same time, the horrible creature mentioned in Homer's Odyssey had only a single blazing eye, which was located directly in the middle of the forehead.

Most people interested in mythology are familiar with what happened when Odysseus encountered the one-eyed Polyphemus on his return from Troy. To escape from the cave where Polyphemus lived, the Greek hero had to be cunning and fool the monstrous one-eyed giant.

Other one-eyed giants are far from as famous as Polyphemus. Known as Fachan, they are described as Scottish monsters in Popular Tales of the West Highlands written by John Francis Campbell (1821 – 1885).

Campbell, who traveled extensively throughout the Scottish Highlands, was an expert on Celtic folklore; his stories are very interesting.

As Campbell writes in Popular Tales of the West Highlands, “the Gaelic giants are very like those of Norse and German tales, but they are much nearer to real men than the giants of Germany and Scandinavia, and Greece and Rome, who are almost, if not quite, equal to the gods.

Famhairan are little more than very strong men, but some have only one eye like the Cyclops. Their world is generally, but not always, under ground; it has castles, and parks, and pasture, and all that is to be found above the earth. Gold, and silver, and copper, abound in the giant's land; jewels are seldom mentioned, but cattle, and horses, and spoil of dresses, and arms, and armour, combs, and basins, apples, shields, bows, spears, and horses, are all to be gained by a fight with the giants.

The Fachan are different from other Celtic giants. Like most giants, they are described as very ugly, but they also have thick fur and only one eye and one leg. Being so repulsive, they are jealous of beautiful creatures.

One-Eyed Giants Fachan Were As Dangerous As Polyphemus And The Cyclops

Fachan are Celtic one-eyed giants. Credit: Adobe Stock - Dominick

In Encyclopedia of Giants and Humanoids in Myth, Legend and Folklore, Theresa Bane writes the Fachan “dress in a girdle of deer skin with a mantle of blue feathers as they are jealous of fairies capable of flight. Some folklore claims the Fachan are so physically repulsive that seeing one may induce a heart attack.”

Like most giants, the Fachan are aggressive and use their strength to destroy anything they dislike. “Known for their malevolent disposition and hating all things, they carry a spiked club they use liberally when chasing people out of their territory. They will also use their club or wickedly spiked chain to destroy an entire orchard in a single night, “Bane explains.

Fomorians In Irish Myths And Legends: Race Of Demonic Giants Who Inhabited Ireland And Scotland

The Fomorians (Old Irish: ‘Fomoire’) are a supernatural race in Irish myths. These giants were associated with the powers of nature such as fog, storm, winter and disease. Credit: Adobe Stock - Digital Storm

According to Campbell, the physical description and behavior of the Fachan remind of the Nesnas, creatures described as "half of a human being" and hopping about on one leg with great agility mentioned in Arabic folklore.

Celtic giants have never been forgotten by our ancestors, and there are many stories of battles between humans and these enormous creatures. For example, the Fomorians were a race of demonic giants who inhabited Ireland and Scotland. These fearsome giants had many encounters with humans.

It is said that this race of ugly beings descended from Noah’s son Ham, whom Noah had cursed, and on account of this terrible curse, the Fomorians became one-legged and one-armed monstrous beings.

According to the Old Irish "Annals of Clonmacnois", ancient chronicles from prehistoric times to the early 15th century, the Fomorians came from Atlantis.

Updated on June 5, 2024

Written by Ellen Lloyd –

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Expand for references

John Francis Campbell - Popular Tales of the West Highlands

Theresa Bane - Encyclopedia of Giants and Humanoids in Myth, Legend and Folklore