Hot Damasen


As I mentioned in my review of Rick Riordan’s The House of Hades, I found the character of Damasen to be quite interesting. As with many other characters in Riordan’s books, this guy was a legitimate mythical figure, and the author did pull from the brief stories we have regarding him. He also added a lot of details of his own, which was pretty much necessary. All we really know about him is a tale from an epic written by Nonnus in the fifth century AD. When Tylos, brother of the river nymph Moria (I’m not sure what that made him), was killed by a serpent, the giant Damasen showed up to avenge him. He killed the serpent by bashing it with a tree that he uprooted, which might seem like overkill to you, but wasn’t much for a giant. The serpent’s mate then came onto the scene and used a magical flower to restore the snake to life. When Moria found out about the flower, she used it to revive her brother. Ultimately, I guess there were no real gains or losses for anyone. This was said to take place in Lydia, with Moria and Tylos being children of the River Hermos. As such, it’s thought that the myth originally came from Lydia, and might have been a local variation on the story of Pelops, who was killed by his father Tantalus but later restored to life. Damasen himself is described as a son of Gaea who was raised as a warrior since infancy, and was nursed by Eris. It isn’t specified that he is one of the Gigantes born to Gaea to combat the gods, but it’s not like the connection is that far-fetched. Since he isn’t said to have participated in the Gigantomachy, however, Riordan claims that he was meant to counter Ares specifically, and hence was unusually peaceful because he was the opposite of the god of war. Yes, Nonnus says he was brought up to be a fighter, but Damasen explains that he’s “[p]eaceful for a giant,” and that Gaea and Tartarus did fully intend for him to fight the gods. Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase meet him in Tartarus, where he lives (afterlives?) in a swamp, forced to kill the serpent over and over again. He’s a skilled healer, probably due to his association with the flower that revived Tylos. As the one good and helpful giant, I guess he also bears some similarity to Roald Dahl’s BFG.

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4 Responses to Hot Damasen

  1. Dorin M says:

    I like Damasen too . He is cool :)
    I wonder what he does symbolize, as a peaceful anti-Ares son of Gaea serpent slayer …

  2. Pingback: Myth Monday: Who’s Who in The House of Hades – Bahnreads

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