Rome vs Senone Giants
Rome vs Senone Giants (Cont.)
The Celts, with their bushel of gold in tow, withdrew north of the Apenninesbut not for long. According to historian Donald R. Dudley, "They made many other incursions into Italy, sometimes establishing themselves upon the Alban Hills, sometimes being hired as mercenaries by the Greek cities of the south."157 Because of their easy victory over the Romans, the Celts came to regard them with contempt. They disparaged them as "little men," while bragging about their own great size.156 "But Rome learned from her disaster. She equipped herself with the walls and the tactics which were necessary to withstand attacks of this kind."158 Her generals also developed new ways to battle the giants in hand-to-hand combat. They found that the Celts' large broadsword, for example, was inferior, "being blunt at the end and good only for cutting, not thrusting." They therefore devised new techniques to defend themselves against the broadsword's blows and practiced thrusting their own blades into the Celts' unprotected parts. Eventually, the Romans also learned how to take some advantage of the Celts' great height. "Tall men with shields too small to cover them offer an excellent target for javelins and arrows," observes Herm, "and the Romans cold-bloodily exploited this."159 They also learned to use the Celts' super-stitious beliefs against them, as Caesar did against Ariovistus at Besancon.160 And for all their great stature and extraordinary strength and reckless courage, the Celts lacked the unity and discipline of the Roman army. That one shortcoming contributed greatly to their eventual downfall.
But not until more than one hundred and fifty years later, at the battle of Telamon, were the Romans able to avenge themselves on the Celts for their defeat at the Allia and for their chieftain's gold-weighing insult at Rome. The opportunity for Rome to partially heal this wound came in the spring of 225, when a Celtic army of some seventy thousand men again crossed the Apennines and stormed across northern Italy. The exceedingly tall, fair-skinned warriors once more reached Clusium, only one hundred miles from Rome. But this time, instead of sending envoys, the Senate dispatched a Roman army. They came upon the Celts at Telamon in Etruria. In the decisive battle fought there, the invaders suffered enormous casualties. The Romans reportedly killed forty thousand Celts, or more than half their forces, and captured ten thousand more besides. No doubt such a great slaughter resulted, in part, from the Celts' fanatical zeal. Caught by chance between the armies of the two Roman consuls, Lucius Aemilius Papus and Gaius Atilius, and having suffered heavy casualties in the cross fire of Roman javelins and arrows, the naked giant spearmen, "in their impotent rage, rushed wildly at the enemy and sacrificed their lives," reports Polybius.161 Similarly, when the Romans engaged them in hand-to-hand combat, the Celts, even when there was no more hope, refused to give quarter. Instead they continued to fight the advancing Roman swordsmen with a suicidal fury.162
Despite this important victory, the Romans were not done with the golden-haired, hard-eyed, harsh-voiced barbarians who still lived in great numbers in the lands north of the Apennines. From their sanctuary they continued for many years to raid and plunder Italy. Not until much later times, when command of the legionnaires fell to the great military genius Gaius Marius, and afterward to his ambitious nephew Julius Caesar, were the Romans able to put an end to the Celtic threat. (See Caesar's Triumph over the Giants; Celtic Giants; German Giants' Annihilation; Giants Who Became Gods; Gomarian Giants; Twilight of the Celtic Giants)
In December, 1717, near the new church at Rotherhithe, some workers dug up a huge stone coffin that contained the skeleton of a man ten feet long. (See Graveyards of the Giants)
Rouen's Giant (See Graveyards of the Giants)
Russian Giants (See Potsdam Giants)
Senones (See Rome vs Senone Giants)
A seven-foot-five-inch giant from Saxony was born with such strength that he could hold at arm's length a ten-pound weight for twelve minutes. James Paris, who saw him in London in May, 1716, included him in his book of drawings, which the British Museum later acquired. The Saxony giant, during his travels in Europe, was presented with a suit of armor custom-made to his great size by the King of the Romans. In England he appeared before George I, the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and Court of Windsor.163
Frederick I of Prussia (d. 1713), father of King Frederick William I, had in his guard a Swede who had a height advantage of eight feet six inches.164 (See Potsdam Giants)
In 1784, a Swiss man standing nine feet high exhibited himself to astonished patrons at Vienna, says the Gentleman's Magazine for that year.
According to an 1824 promotion, "upwards of three hundred persons" daily besieged the house at number 63 Piccadilly to get a peep at the "Swiss Giantess," who touted herself as "the finest and most beautifully proportioned giantess in Europe." An April 16, 1824, advertisement in the Morning Herald indicates her great success brought forth an imitator. The notice reads: "The public are most respectfully cautioned against the imposition of a person now travelling about London in a caravan, calling him or herself the Swiss Giantess, as the real Swiss Giantess is exhibiting at No. 63, Piccadilly, opposite St. James-street, and continues to be the leading object of attraction among the fashionable amusements of the day. ...Open from 11 till 5."
Isbrand Diemerbroeck, in his Anatomy, relates that in 1665, at Utrecht, Holland, he saw a man eight and a half feet tall, well-proportioned, and of great strength. The giant's name was John Tates, born at Schoonhoven in Holland. Tates is also mentioned by Ray in his topographical Observations, by Dr. Robert Plot in his Staffordshire, 1686, and by Dr. Thomas Molyneux in the Philosophical Transactions of 1700.
Telamon, Battle of
In a decisive battle at Telamon in 225 B.C., Roman legionnaires by chance caught seventy thousand invading Celts between their two armies. That bloody day the Latins killed forty thousand of the giant warriors from across the Apennines and captured another ten thousand. (See Rome vs Senone Giants)
In 102 B.C., Teutobokh, the giant king of the Teutones, fled from the battlefield at Aquae Sextiae, where Roman legionnaires slaughtered over one hundred thousand Teutones and Ambrones. Having been victimized by their invading, pillaging German cousins, the revenge-minded Sequani Celts pursued and captured the king and returned him to Marius' custody. According to Floras, when Marius returned in triumph to Rome, the huge Teutobokh "was seen above all the trophies or spoils of the enemies, which were carried upon the tops of spears."165 (See German Giants' Annihilation)