Giants of Western Europe
In his Annals of Bavaria, Aventine writes that a giant named Ænotherus, who threw down whole battalions like mowing grass, fought on the Emperor Charlemagne's side. The huge warrior hailed from Turgan, near the Lake of Constance. (See Charlemagne)
Allia, Battle of
At the little river Allia, in 387 B.C., the Senone giants put the proud Roman army to a hasty, humiliating flight. Upon hearing the news of the defeat, practically the entire population of Rome fled the city. Shortly afterward, the revengeful giants burned Rome to the ground. (See Rome vs Senone Giants)
A skeleton found in 1692 in a tomb near Angers, France, measured seventeen feet four inches. (See Graveyards of the Giants)
"a great struggle," by Antimenidas, of Mitylene in Lesbos, a soldier brother of the famed Greek poet Alcaeus.1
Aquae Sextiae, Battle near
Two days after the battle at Aquae Sextiae, the great Roman general Gaius Marius tricked over one hundred thousand huge Teutones and Ambrones into attacking his retreating cavalry up a hill where he was posted. At the top, the cavalry suddenly turned. Being now joined by the legionnaires, they drove the pursuing Teutones and Ambrones into an ambush that Marius had set up in some nearby woods. Of the great Celtic army that began the battle, only three thousand escaped. (See German Giants' Annihilation)
Austrian Giants (See Potsdam Giants)
Bohemian Giants (See Potsdam Giants)
Boii (See Rome vs Senone Giants; Twilight of the Celtic Giants)
In his De Gigantibus, Joh. Cassanio relates that while in Bordeaux, Francis I of France (1494-1547) saw a giant of such height that he immediately enlisted him as one of his guards. It is said that the giant, who subsequently became an archer, stood so tall that a man of ordinary size could walk between his legs.
About 387 B.C., the Celtic chieftain Brennus led three hundred thousand Senone giants across the Apennines. Swarming into northern Italy, these hordes ravaged Etruscan towns and the surrounding country as they went. This invasion soon led to a war between the giants and Rome, after a Roman embassy blundered while trying to negotiate a peace between the Etruscans and the Senones. It was Brennus who later reddened the faces of the Romans with a humiliating insult. While weighing out a bushel of gold as a ransom payment to the Senones for their withdrawal, the Romans started an argument over the scales the Senones were using. Thereupon, Brennus threw the weight of his great sword on the scales, with this warning: "Woe to the vanquished!" (See Rome vs Senone Giants)
Because the country around his hometown of Ramonchamp, in the Gosges on the Rhine, was hilly, Joseph Brice styled himself "The Giant of the Mountains." At the age of sixteen he toured France and afterward exhibited himself in England and Ireland. In an 1862 advertisement he claimed to be eight feet tall, but Frank Buchland challenged him to a measurement, and in his third series of Curiosities of Natural History, he reported the French giant's actual height as seven feet six and one-half inches. But that was still tall enough, declared Buchland, to frighten the troop-horses at Regent's Park Barracks and cause them to snort and shy away when he and the giant, as his invited guest, visited that place.
While touring Ireland, Brice married a young lass, who accompanied him to London. While there, in October of 1865, Anderson the Wizard engaged him to exhibit at St. James Hall, Piccadilly, where he appeared as "Anak, King of the Anakims, or the Giant of Giants."3
According to Schreber, in his History of Quadrupeds, 1775, the Duke of Brunswick-Hanover had in his service a guard eight feet six inches tall.
Standing "above eight feet high," the Swedish giant Daniel Cajanus billed himself as the "Wonderful Giant." It was, his pro-moter states in a handbill, "humbly presumed that of all the natural curiosities which have been exhibited to the publick, nothing has appeared for many ages so extraordinary in its way as this surprising gentleman."
To promote himself on the giants' tour, Cajanus wrote and published an autobiography. He had indeed served in Frederick IIs Prussian guard, and a few feats he described in his life's story may have happened, but most were unbelievable. Because he allowed himself to be seen only by those of the upper society, Cajanus aroused the common public's curiosity to such an extent that when they chanced to catch only a glimpse of him they became greatly excited.
This announcement in the September 27, 1742, issue of London's Daily Advertiser relates a crisis he survived: "This is to acquaint all gentlemen and ladies, that the Living Colossus, or wonderful giant (who has been these five weeks very dangerously ill of a fever, which has occasioned a report of his death) is now so well recovered as to be able to shew himself to all gentlemen and ladies, who will be pleased to honour him with their company. . . . This is really the same giant as has been shewn to great numbers of the nobility and gentry, notwithstanding the petty insinuations of some people (upon hearing of his recovery) to the contrary."4 (See Potsdam Giants)
The Journal Litteraire of the Abbé Nazari reports that the skeleton of a huge giant exhumed in Calabria, Italy, measured "eighteen Roman feet." The fellow's teeth, adds the journal, weighed at least an ounce each.5