The tartalo, or cyclops, is a Basque mythological creature that has several stories to its name. One such story shares many similarities to Odysseus’ encounter with a cyclops from Greek mythology. The name “tartalo” itself is derived from the Greek “Tartarus”, the region of the underworld reserved for those who committed heinous crimes in their life. Often times, the tartalo is lured into its death through some sort of trickery. Despite its strength, the tartalo is often outwitted and defeated. Basque mythology does have a unique aspect to the tartalo, in that the hero that defeats it is often times insane. The Basque tartalo, however, is not always an evil entity. In the Basque version of the story of St. George, St. George defeats a seven headed serpent with the help of a tartalo that he helped free. A collection of stories about the tartalo can be found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/basque/bl/index.htm


Image- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartalo#/media/File:Tartaloren_irudikapena.jpg

Stories and information- Various links from http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/basque/bl/index.htm

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5 Responses to Tartalo

  1. Delilah says:

    I think mythology is really interesting, so thanks for sharing this! Also the culture transfer between the Basques and the Greeks would be really interesting to research – I wonder if Basque stories affected Greek ones (or the reverse).

  2. Adam says:

    Awesome how the roman invasion may not have conquored the Basque people/land, but they still found a way to share each others’ views on life through stories. Also, St. George can be found in other stories such as the Valentine’s day story in Barcelona. Very cool to see a spanish theme among heroes, even if the basque people are “removed” from the rest of the country.

  3. rwhalen2 says:

    It’s pretty cool how a lot of cultures have similar monsters in their mythologies. I wonder if that’s a kind of shared human imagination thing, or if it has to do with cultures in contact. Either way, neat!

  4. Soohun says:

    I like how it’s usually an insane person that take down the tartalo

  5. aneicardo says:

    Very cool! When I was a kid I was always scared of his stories…

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