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A kobalos (plural: kobaloi) as it is known in Greek, in Latin cobalus (plural: cobali), or goblin in English is a diminutive humanoid from Greek mythology. The Greek word "Kobalos," translates into English as "Impudent Rogue,[1]" a "Mischievous Rascal,[1]" or "Evil Spirit." The term is the basis for the etymologies of a multitude of creatures throughout European folklore.

Etymological Influence

From the ancient Greek "Kobalos" or "Kobaloi" developed the Latin "Cobalus.[2][3]" From the Latin, the term branched to form different words in different languages in Europe. In Germany, it became "Kobold.[1][2][3]" In the Norman language, it is said to have developed into "Goubelin.[2]" Though the etymological relation between "Kobalos" and "Goubelin" is still considered uncertain.[3] The Normans conquered Northern France in the 10th century, and in Old French the word "Gobelin" developed.[2][3] The Normans conquered England in 1066-1075, and in England the word "Goblin" developed.[2][3]

Heracles and the Kobalos

Below is an excerpt from Robert Brown's "The Great Dionysiak Myth (1877):

"We have seen that the Kabeiroi, the sons of Ptah, were represented as phallic pygmies, and this circumstance links them to the Kerkopes and the Kobaloi, who in legend were impudent, thieving, droll, idle, mischievous, gnome-dwarfs, who robed Herekles when asleep, and were captured by him. Amused by their antics, he spared their lives, and, according to one account, made a present of them to the Lydian queen Omphale.[1]"

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "The Great Dionysiak Myth" by Robert Brown (1877)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 goblin
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 goblin (n.) - Online Etymology Dictionary