ALL EYES ON US #8: Eye of the Cyclop

The Cyclops is named after the single eye in the middle of its forehead. The dictionary tells us the word comes from the Greek “kuklôps”, meaning “(terrifying) rolling eye” or "circle-eyed". Various glorious and gory tales are told of these fantastical titans.

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In Greek mythology, the three Cyclops –sons of Uranus (the Sky) and Gaia (the Earth), and blacksmiths by trade– are embroiled in family drama and spent most of their lives imprisoned in the deep abyss of Tartarus. They are ultimately killed by Apollo in revenge for the death of his son, who was murdered by Zeus using a thunderbolt forged by the Cyclops. In Homer’s Odyssey, they are the sons of Poseidon, god of the sea and earthquakes. Homer’s Cyclops are grunting, man-eating cave-dwellers who live on an island corresponding to present-day Sicily. One of the three Cyclops, Polyphemus, threatens to kill Ulysses, who has no choice but to blind the monster to escape from his cave. Whichever tale we attribute to the Cyclops, their single eye represents a primitive evolutionary state and under-developed intelligence.