Representations of the Battle of the Giants: an Early Modern Anti-Islamic Allegory Deployed by the Hispanic Monarchy


  • Borja Franco Llopis UNED
  • Iván Rega Castro University of Leon



The focus of the present paper is a prescient political allegory that was used to represent the Iberian monarchs’ fight against Islam: the Battle of the Giants. We explore the propagandistic significance of this allegory through an analysis of its two principal forms: the Gigantomachy and the Titanomachy. Taking the Gigantomachies created by Giulio Romano and Perino del Vaga as our point of departure, this study develops a diachronic approach to reconstructing the genesis, evolution and dissemination of this mythological theme in Italy and the Iberian Peninsula from the early sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. Attention is then turned to the incorporation of this allegory into the political discourse of the Hispanic Monarchy from the end of the sixteenth century onwards. Careful scrutiny is paid to invocations of this allegory in the ephemeral decorations created for royal festivals during the early modern period, and it is asked: who gained political capital from these events?

Keywords: Battle of the Giants; Gigantomachy; Titanomachy; ephemeral art; Islamic imagery; Hispanic monarchy; Iberia