ANTAEUS, in Greek mythology, a giant of Libya, the son of
Poseidon and Gaea. He compelled all strangers passing through
the country to wrestle with him, and as, when thrown, he derived
fresh strength from each successive contact with his mother
earth, he proved invincible. With the skulls of those whom he
had slain he built a temple to his father. Heracles, in combat
with him, discovered the source of his strength, and lifting him
up from the earth crushed him to death (Apollodorus ii. 5;
Hyginus, Fab. 31). The struggle between Antaeus and Heracles
is a favourite subject in ancient sculpture.
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