Mythology, like history, is created by the conquerors. Old oral traditions are translated by outsiders, distilled through the lens of usurpers and tourists, whose own beliefs often supplant or consume those of the original telling. The creation stories of predominantly Western European traditions—Greek, Norse, Irish, Basque, Bulgarian—but also Hindu, Native American, and elsewhere, all tell that the gods warred against the giants before the coming of humanity. But who and what were these giant “others” in our collective myth, and what service did they provide?
I don’t pretend to be a scholar on this subject, or any other for that matter, but those early mythic struggles between the older elemental forces of the giants and the newer civilizing influence of the gods have always fascinated me. I wanted to know more about those lost tribes of storied prehistory. It seems possible that the universal belief in giants derived from early peoples’ attempt to explain the oversized bones of dinosaurs and megafauna they encountered. The tales of the gods’ conquest over such beings were passed down by oral tradition, and cultivated in the group consciousness of growing communities across the world.