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Antaeus in Greek mythology was a giant of Libya, the son of Poseidon and Gaia, whose wife was Tinjis. He was extremely strong as long as he remained in contact with the ground (his mother earth), but once lifted into the air he became as weak as other men. He would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches, kill them, and collect their skulls, so that he might one day build out of them a temple to his father Poseidon. Heracles, finding that he could not beat Antaeus by throwing him to the ground, as he would regain his strength and be fortified, discovered the secret of his power (touching the ground) and held Antaeus aloft and crushed him in a bearhug (Apollodorus ii. 5; Hyginus, Fab. 31). The story of Antaeus has been used as a symbol of the spiritual strength which accrues when one rests one's faith on the immediate fact of things. The struggle between Antaeus and Heracles is a favorite subject in ancient sculpture.

In Book IV of Marcus Annaeus Lucanus' epic poem Pharsalia, the story of Hercules victory over Antaeus is told to the Roman Curio by an unnamed Libyanmarker citizen.

In the Berber language Antaeus is supposedly known as Ă„nti. A different figure from Egyptian mythology, Anti, was transliterated as "Antaeus" by the Greeks.


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