At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Friday, 5 December 2014

GARGANTUA

Gargantua is the name of a giant in the works of Rabelais, but Rabelais did not invent him out of thin air, but obtained him from an Arthurian romance.  

This said that the wizard Merlin made a giant called Grandgousier from the bones of a whale and the blood of Sir Lancelot.  He made a giantess called Gargamelle from a whale's bones and Guinevere's nail clippings.  The whale bones were from whales of the appropriate sexes for making sure the giants were male and female. Their son was Gargantua.

But where did the romancer get his ideas?  Gargantua may, in fact, be based on a giant from Breton folklore.  This giant was called Gwrgam and was lame.  In Welsh folklore there is a lame giant called Gwrgnt, who is probably the same character.

Whether the giant Gargam was a god in origin we cannot say.  This may, indeed, have been the case.  Celtic heroes in the Middle Ages were often based on Celtic gods and the same could well be true of the occasional giant.  The Welsh and Bretons both descend from the ancient Britons and their languages are allied.

Gargantua by Gustav Doré

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