Forget the Thrilla in Manilla, the Rumble in the Jungle, or The Bout to Knock the Other Guy Out, this was The Battle that Made the Earth Rattle!
In the blue corner, wearing the sparkly gold trunks, the heavyweight super-god, champion of Olympus, father of gods and men and undisputed ruler of heaven, the almighty Zeus.
And in the black corner, wearing the very black trunks, weighing in at just over one mountain, the universally feared, unfathomably powerful and seriously grumpy, Typhon.
Lust for power makes men do crazy things, and so it is with gods too. Zeus had little trouble usurping his father’s throne and banishing all the Titans into the fathomless gulf of the underworld, so afterwards he put his feet up and read the sunday papers.
This astonishing act of treachery so incensed his grandma Gaia – Mother Earth and mother of the race of Titans– that, with the aid of a Barry White mix tape, she got it on with Tartarus and bore her final child, Typhon (Typhoeus).
According to Hesiod, our crazy old friend with the bonkers imagination, Typhon was a vast, smokey-black monster sporting a hundred serpent heads with dark flickering tongues and flames flashing from their eyes. Add to that a hundred snakey legs, arms that reach from sunrise to sunset, and a hat that needs booster rockets to stop it drifting off into space and you have the biggest, tallest, meanest bad ass ever.
Although Hesiod describes Typhon for us, even he wouldn’t touch the story of his battle with Zeus, so we have to look to the later poets, sourcing tales from Asia Minor, to get the lowdown on the showdown.
So, with the Titans vanquished, Gaia demanded satisfaction for the imprisonment of her offspring and without further ado the Bout for the Mount was on.
Like a one-man frat party Typhon went on a psychotic rampage, stamping on cities and chucking mountains about. The gods were terrified, and changed themselves into animals and scampered off to hide in Egypt – pussies.
Only one stood in his way – Arnold Swartzenegger – not really, it was Zeus of course. No one can beat Zeus, right? Think again because this guy did. Right off the bat Typhon defeats Zeus, kicks the crap out of him, over-powers him and rips out his sinews to stop him getting away.
Typhon then takes the splattered god back to his cave to destroy him at leisure, but before that he just pops out to post a letter and pick up some milk, leaving his next door neighbour, the gruesome Delphyne to keep watch on Zeus.
While Typhon is in the cue at the post office Hermes and Pan show up at his cave and Pan drives the monsteress up the wall with one of his panic-inducing warbles. Hermes steps in and shoves the missing sinews back in place and Zeus is back on his feet again.
When Typon returned to discover what had happened he was super-pissed, and round two of this momentous punch-up was on in no time, but this time Zeus was triumphant, scoring the win by pinning Typhon down with a hundred thunderbolts.
One version has Zeus cast Typhon down into Tartarus, but a more common account holds that our hero drops Mount Etna on top of the bad guy and traps him beneath it forever.
And so ends the tale of Zeus versus Typhon, but don’t worry, we’ll hear about old snake eyes again because along with his wife slash niece Echidna, Typhon fathered many of the demon beasts that plague both gods and men.
Love and Cheese x