|“||I am his favorite son! Behold, my temple to the Earthshaker, built from the skulls of all those I've killed in his name! Your skull shall join them!||”|
Greeks of the sixth century B.C, who had established colonies along the coast, located Antaeus in the interior desert of Libya.
He would challenge all passers-by to wrestling matches, kill them, and collect their skulls, so that he might one day build out of them a temple to his father Poseidon. He was indefatigably strong as long as he remained in contact with the ground (his mother earth), but once lifted into the air he became as weak as other men. Hercules, figuring that he could not beat Antaeus by throwing him to the ground as he would regain his strength and be fortified, discovered the secret of his power and, holding Antaeus aloft, crushed him in a bear-hug. The story of Antaeus has been used as a symbol of the spiritual strength which accrues when one rests one's faith on the immediate fact of things. The struggle between Antaeus and Hercules is a favorite subject in ancient and Renaissance sculpture.
Antaeus is first mentioned in the book by Chris Rodriguez, who was talking to Clarisse La Rue at this time. Chris had said, "A thousand skulls. The earth keeps healing him." Later Percy Jackson and his friends encounter Antaeus who is the ruler of an arena and Percy is given up as a warrior. Percy first fights a collection of monsters, then the demigod Ethan Nakamura. Percy then challenges Antaeus to a fight, and forces him to promise on the River Styx that if he wins, Antaeus will have to set him and his friends free. Before the fight, Annabeth Chase tells him that he is a son of Gaea, but Percy at first does not see the importance of this statement.
Percy managed to cut Antaeus multiple times with Riptide, but it had no effect as the Earth itself would rise up and heal any wound inflicted. Percy saw that he could not kill him as long as he was touching the Earth, for Gaea kept him alive. So Percy jumped up into the air and grabbed some chains that were hanging from the ceiling. Percy then taunted Antaeus, who jumped up after Percy, but became wrapped up in the chains and could not get down. Antaeus was then killed as Percy stabbed him and the earth tried and failed to reach him. However, with Antaeus dead, his promise on the Styx was no longer valid and Luke Castellan was ready to kill them had they not found a way to escape.
Later, Percy questions Poseidon if Antaeus was really his favorite son for dedicating his arena of skulls to him. Poseidon informs Percy that the things people do in the name of the gods usually say more about them then what the gods really want. He also tells Percy that he is his favorite son.
Antaeus lives for entertainment in his arena. He loves the roar of the crowd and becomes angry with anyone that disappoints his audience (either by ending a fight to quickly or not fighting at all). As a result, he is very arrogant and can be manipulated into a fight. However, because he cannot be killed when touching the ground, he is very confident in his abilities and attacks without mercy while still putting on a show. He is also very blood thirsty, as his arena is decorated with the skulls of those that have been killed.
Antaeus was one of the greatest warriors of his time who specialized in unarmed combat, and was only defeated by Hercules. Being the son of the lord of the seas and mother earth he was a very powerful being. He had superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and stamina. His greatest power was that with every injury he received he would heal at an accelerated rate due do being a son of Gaea and can only be defeated by being killed in midair.