Since man’s earliest history, tales of giants have been part of legend and myth. Mighty warriors of superhuman size had to be overcome as part of a holy quest. This literary motif can be found all over the world, in numerous cultures.
Perhaps the most famous of all mythological giants in world literature is the biblical Goliath slain by a shepherd boy who was to be king.
This documentary about biblical archaeology sets out to investigate the truth about the giant Goliath. New evidence and insights show that the Goliath from the Bible was most likely a historical character and that giants really lived in the ancient world.
But giants belong in the realm of myth and fairy tales. Until recently the story of David and the Philistine warrior Goliath was therefore seen as a parable, not as a historical report. Nevertheless, by piecing together archaeological evidence from Jordan, Israel, Syria and Egypt, we can now identify the Footsteps of Goliath.
Goliath is often compared with other from stories like Ruebezahl and Jack and the Beanstalk. There is even little or no evidence that he even existed. But a closer look at the biblical story makes clear that Goliath deserves a place in history. His weaponry and the type of battle fit with the cultural world of the Philistines. But that is only circumstantial evidence.
Professor Vladimir Berginer has no doubts: the battle between David and Goliath is a historical event. Goliath was a real giant with a height of no less than three metres. As a neurologist, Professor Berginer believes a height like this is certainly possible due to a disease called â€˜acromegalyâ€™. Itâ€™s a form of giant growth caused by a tumour on the pituitary gland. Berginer is convinced Goliath also suffered from this disease. However, few scholars are prepared to believe this theory.
In fact, the Bible says Goliath belonged to a race of giants: the Refaim. High up on the mountainous plains of the Golan Heights we visit the ancient stone circles of Gilgal Refaim, a 5000 year old monument, similar to Englandâ€™s Stonehenge. Could this huge monument be the work of giants? After all, it lies in the land of Bashan, the land of giants.
In ancient times, not only the authors of the Bible believed that giants roamed their lands. Many ancient people wrote about giants or engraved them on seals and temple walls. One example is found in the famous Abu Simbel Temple of Ramesses II in Egypt. But ancient texts from Syria and Egypt also suggest giants really existed.
In the late 1980â€™s a group of British archaeologists may have uncovered skeletal evidence for giants in Jordan. At the site of Tel es-Saâ€™idiyeh, archaeologist Jonathan Tubb and a team from the British Museum unearthed the remains of some extremely tall people. Are these skeletons evidence that giants really lived in the Land of the Bible? The ancient skeletons and the earliest versions of the Bible will now reveal the truth about Goliathâ€¦
Even though his traces are heavily eroded by time, this documentary ties all clues together to make Goliath live again.
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Length: 52â€™. 50â€™, 45â€™
Written and directed by: Mike Warmels
Co-producers: History Television (Canada), PTV Productions (Canada), EO (Netherlands), CoBo-fonds (Netherlands), CANVAS (Belgium), ORF (Austria) and ARTE (France)