Notes: The giant one-eyed Cyclopes are well-known from The Odyssey. "In Homer they are savage and pastoral, and live in a distant country without government or laws," according to the Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD, 3rd ed. revised). "... But in Hesiod, the Cyclopes ... are divine craftsmen who make Zeus his thunderbolt in gratitude for their release from imprisonment by their father Uranus (Heaven; their mother is Earth). They often appear ... as Hephaestus' workmen, and often again are credited with making ancient fortifications ..."
The Cyclopes were worshiped in parts of the ancient Greek world, but this was apparently limited. According to the OCD, "their only known cult is on the Isthmus of Corinth, where they received sacrifices at their altar."
The clip above is from the best dramatization of the Odyssey I've seen so far -- the 1997 British-American miniseries starring Armand Asante. If you haven't seen this, you should check it out.
The cyclopes in Hesiod who forged Zeus's thunderbolt are apparently known as the Elder Cyclops or Kyklopes, according to Theoi Greek Mythology. "The tribe of younger Kyklopes which Odysseus encountered on his travels were a different breed altogether, probably born from the blood of the castrated sky-god Ouranos [Uranus]."
In one version of the myth I've read, the Elder Cyclopes were so frightening that their father locked them away in Tartarus, "the deepest region of the underworld, lower even than Hades," according to the OCD. In another version, they were imprisoned by Cronus, "the youngest of the Titans, sons of Uranus and Gaia ..." (OCD).
According to Wikipedia, "when Cronus came to power as the King of the Titans, he imprisoned the one-eyed Cyclopes and the hundred-armed Hecatonchires in Tartarus and set the monster Campe as its guard. Zeus killed Campe and released these imprisoned giants to aid in his conflict with the Titans."
I've always felt kind of sorry for Polyphemus, the cyclops in The Odyssey. The description of his blinding is absolutely incredible, though. The following excerpt is from the Fagles translation, Book 9: In The One-Eyed Giant's Cave. Click on the embedded player below. It's a lousy reading, but what do you expect? I'm no Wayne June.