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[106] Κύκλωπες. Hesiod , or his interpolator, Theog. 144, makes this name mean ‘round-eyed,’ as if from “κύκλος” and “ὤψ”. It is impossible to suppose, with Göttling, that the name contains an allusion to the round walls and buildings of the so-called ‘Cyclopean’ architecture. If we accept the derivation from “κύκλος” or “κυκλόω” we may see in the word some connection with a nature-myth; the round central eye symbolising the sun or eye of the universe. Döderl. proposes to derive “κύκλωψ” by a sort of reduplication from “κλέπτειν” and “κλώψ”, and to make the name of a race of robbers or brigands. The Homeric Cyclopes must be carefully distinguished from the Hesiodic (Theog. 139 foll.). Hesiod represents them as children of Uranos and Gaea, who fashion the thunderbolts for Zeus at their forge. They symbolise the powers of fire, and their home is placed in or on Mount Aetna. The Homeric Cyclopes are regarded by some com mentators as personifying the wild and turbulent forces of the sea. This belief is supported by the fact that Polyphemus is presented to us as a son of Poseidon by the daughter of Phorkys; but Preller (Griech. Mythol. vol. 1. p. 513) carries this notion much too far, when he seeks in the αἶγες ἀπειρέσιαι (118) an allusion to the leaping waves (cp. “ἐπ-αιγ-ίζειν”, etc.). The ancients generally placed the home of the Cyclopes in Sicily ( Thuc.6. 2), and in the neighbourhood of Aetna; while modern commentators have located them on the south or west coast of the island. But, surely, throughout these books we are in a wonder-land, which we shall look in vain for on the map.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 139
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 144
    • Homer, Odyssey, 9.118
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.2
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