1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alöīdae

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ALŌĪDAE, or Alōadae, i.e. Otus and Ephialtes, in ancient Greek legend, the twin-sons of Poseidon by Iphimedeia, wife of Aloeus. They were celebrated for their extraordinary stature and strength. According to Homer (Od. xi. 305), they made war upon the Olympian gods and endeavoured to pile Pelion upon Ossa in order to storm heaven itself; had they reached the age of manhood, their attempt would have been successful, but Apollo destroyed them before their beards began to grow. In the Iliad (v. 365) Ares is imprisoned by them, but delivered by Hermes. Apollodorus says that they succeeded in piling Pelion upon Ossa. Another story is that they were presumptuous enough to seek Artemis and Hera in marriage, and that Artemis caused them to slay each other unintentionally on the island of Naxos, where they were afterwards worshipped as heroes. In punishment for their offences they were bound back to back with snakes to a pillar in the lower world (Hyginus, Fab. 28). The Alōīdae (here connected with ἀλωή, threshing-floor) represent the spirits of the fertile earth and agriculture, conceived of by the Greeks as engaged in combat with the Olympian gods. In contrast to these legends, Pausanias tells us that they were regarded as the first to worship the Muses on Mt. Helicon, while Diodorus represents them as historical personages, princes of Thessaly, who defeated the Thracians in Strongyle, i.e. Naxos, where they made themselves rulers, and subsequently slew one another in a quarrel.