Humanities › History & Culture About the Giant Antaeus in Mythology Share Flipboard Email Print De Agostini / G. Nimatallah / Getty Images History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Mythology & Religion Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Rome American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated January 23, 2018 Antaeus, son of Gaia and Poseidon, was a Libyan giant whose strength appeared invincible. He challenged all passers-by to a wrestling match that he invariably won. Upon winning, he slaughtered his adversaries. That is until he met Hercules. Antaeus Challenges Hercules Hercules had gone to the garden of the Hesperides for an apple. (The Hesperides, daughters of Night or the Titan Atlas, took care of the garden.) On Hercules' way back, the giant Antaeus challenged the hero to a wrestling match. No matter how many times Hercules threw Antaeus off and tossed him to the ground, it did no good. If anything, the giant appeared rejuvenated from the encounter. The Strength of Antaeus From His Mother Gaia Hercules eventually realized that Gaia, the Earth, Antaeus' mother, was the source of his strength, so Hercules held the giant aloft until all his power had drained away. After he killed Antaeus, Hercules proceeded safely back to his taskmaster, King Eurystheus. Incidentally, the modern American hero and demigod Percy Jackson, in the eponymous series, written by Rick Riordan, also defeats Antaeus by suspending him above the earth. Ancient Sources for Antaeus Some ancient writers who mention Antaeus are Pindar, Apollodorus, and Quintus Ancient Sources for Antaeus Smyrnus.