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Eight Legendary Creatures from Greek Mythology That You Might Not Know About

Eight Legendary Creatures from Greek Mythology That You Might Not Know About


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Ancient Greek mythology is filled with heroes, gods, and epic adventures. The stories told in the myths are interesting and engaging enough that most of us will be familiar with at least a few, and many of their heroes and creatures are a part of popular culture even now.

It is astounding how many of the mythological creatures we are familiar with today are rooted in Greek mythology with the phoenix, sirens, dragons, griffins, cyclopes, centaurs, sphinxes, giants, werewolves, unicorns, vampires, and even zombies making appearances in the Greek myths alongside well-known named figures such as Medusa, Pegasus, and the Minotaur. The list is seemingly endless.

Perhaps the huge number of mythical creatures recounted is down to the fantastic extant literary resources for Greek mythology such as the Odyssey and the Iliad, as well as a wealth of archaeological evidence such as the scenes from mythology presented on both red and black Greek figure pottery .

Whatever the reason, the fact remains – there are a staggering number of bizarre creatures detailed in Greek mythology and not all of them are as well known today as some of their counterparts.

Dracaenae

Mermaids are humans with the lower body of a fish and centaurs are humans with the body of a horse. But what are dracaenae?

Dracaenae are a type of creature in Greek mythology with the upper body of a beautiful woman and the lower body of a fearsome dragon. The most famous of the dracaenae was Kampe who was tasked with guarding the gates of Tartaros. Kampe was a formidable creature and along with the body of a dragon, she had a scorpion’s tail capable of injecting deadly venom, hundreds of vipers around her feet, the heads of fifty beasts such as bears and wolves around her waist, and a large pair of black wings.

With the resurgence in popularity of dragons thanks to movies like The Hobbit and shows like Game of Thrones it is surprising the Dracaenae are not more well known.

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Echidna a Scythian Dracaena. (Mantichore / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Stymphalian Birds

Best known as being the sixth labor of Heracles, Stymphalian birds are a fearsome sounding bird from Greek mythology. They get their name from their supposed location – a swamp in the real-life location of Stymphalia. The birds were supposedly man-eating with blade like metallic feathers which they could launch at their targets. As if that wasn’t enough, they also had sharp bronze beaks and their droppings were said to be poisonous.

Heracles killing the Stymphalian birds with his sling. (Jastrow / )

Cerastes

Cerastes, which translates to “horned”, were a type of serpent in Greek legend. They were said to be totally boneless and to have a large pair of horns, similar to rams’ horns. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote about the cerastes and described them as ambush predators.

The cerastes is one creature in the Greek myths that is thought to be based on a real animal. The horned viper, a snake which can have hornlike lumps over its eyes and ambushes its prey is thought to be the inspiration, though the real life cerastes can’t kill anything as big as its legendary counterpart.

Onocentaur

The onocentaur is the less glamourous cousin of the centaur. It is still part human, but the other part is donkey. Pythagoras and later Aelian both described the onocentaur as having a wild and violent temper and being completely untamable.

The onocentaur was described as having the hind legs of a donkey. Its front half was a bit more complicated – it could use its arms to run on all fours, but its front legs became arms which could pluck and carry items if it needed.

Onocentaur. (Fæ / )

Aeternae

With a huge number of bizarre creatures in the Greek myths and legends, it takes a lot to be a candidate for “weirdest creature”, but the aeternae are one of the contenders for the title.

The aetarnae were mentioned in the travels of Alexander the Great. They killed several of his men with the bony, saw-like protuberances which sprouted from their heads. The description is so bizarre that it is difficult to picture how the aetaerne must have looked, but some people have suggested they may have been nothing more than antelopes.

Scylla

A large number of the creatures in Greek mythology are sea monsters . As Greece is made up of multiple islands and the Greeks were seafarers this is no great surprise.

One of the stranger sounding sea monsters is Scylla, who appears in The Odyssey . She is described by Homer as having a crab-like shell, twelve feet hanging from her horrific body, six necks, three rows of teeth on each of her heads. Her name is similar to the word “skyllô” which means “to tear something to pieces.”

Despite this Ovid describes Scylla as having a pretty face and in Metamorphoses he notes that she was once a sweet young girl.

Scylla. (Viral Killer / YouTube)

Myrmekes

For anyone scared of insects the myrmekes, a type of gigantic ant, are nightmare fuel. It is Herodotus that first described them in very specific terms as larger than a fox, but smaller than a big dog. Supposedly native to India, they hoarded gold which the local tribes would attempt to steal.

The ants were not only huge, but frighteningly fast and the tribes who attempted to steal their gold had to work out an elaborate system to outsmart them and steal the gold.

Crocotta

The crocotta is another of the mythical Greek beasts that feature a strange array of different animal parts. It had the haunches of a stag, the neck, tail, and breast of a lion, the head of a badger, cloven hooves, and a mouth which opened as far back as its ears. On top of this terrifying description, it was said to mimic the voices of men.

While some sources say it was another name for the hyena, there are others that insist it was a hybrid between a hyena and a lion, or something else entirely.

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Crocotta. ( donnaquinn)

The tremendous number of mythical creatures with their origins in the Greek myths can tell us a lot about the society who conjured them. There are those such as the cerastes which originated with the exaggerated or miscommunicated descriptions of exotic animals from far off lands, a testament to the lengths the Ancient Greeks were able to travel. Others embody the fears of the Ancient Greeks , with the huge number of water-based spirits and sea monsters indicating how perilous their journeys could be.

The surviving literary accounts and examples of artwork depicting these creatures show the complexity of Ancient Greek society , and the fact we know about so many of them even today highlights how much they valued sharing and preserving their culture.


Greek Mythology Monsters: Full list and description

There is a fantastic realm in Greek mythology where eerily creatures and monsters live their own lives. They are born and die in special ways and live to torment and challenge the lives of mortals and Gods! The monsters of Greek mythology are non-existent creatures, unreal, created entirely by the ruthless human imagination. Each monster usually combines some realistic elements of various existing creatures and other imaginary characteristics they usually appear in secondary roles in Greek myths being an obstacle to great heroes that they need to overcome or, less often, coming to their aid. Here is an almost exhaustive list and description of the Greek mythology monsters, with photos!


10 Legendary Monsters and Creatures of Greek Mythology

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The Existence Or Non-Existence of Legendary Creatures and Mythological Creatures

The word legend is associated with ethnic groups and animals from the ancient world and often draws parallel as a comparison with something unknown. Thus, mythological creatures or legendary creatures are associations with belief that stem from the unknown. Little is known about these creatures except the fact that belief made their existence. Since early days when man walked earth, an unknown living being or elusive animal seen or encountered for the first time have become accounts narrated by man which have gradually gone onto become legends associated with mythical beasts. This theory may provide answers to belief of the mind associated with legendary creatures, however the truth remains unclear.

Monstrous creatures, mythical creatures, legendary creatures and mythological creatures have often been depicted and described in different genres such as art, fantasy, literature, history, folklore, and fiction among others. A lot of medieval art depicts the presence of mythological animals and mythical beings associated with being part human and part animal. While ancient paintings, art and sculpture signify the existence of creatures, there is not enough evidence or strongly significant explanations to prove mythical beings did exist.

11. Centaur: Horse with an upper human body (Greek Mythology)

12. Hippogriff: Hind half of horse and front half of an eagle (Medieval Bestiaries)

13. Fairy: Metaphysical form of spirit (European Folklore)

14. Kappa: Demon or Imp (Japanese Folklore)

15. Pegasus: Divine winged stallion (Greek Mythology)

16. Ghoul: A monster associated with eating flesh in graveyards (Arabian Mythology)

17. Pixie: Nature spirits and little people (Cornish Folklore)

18. Cyclops: One-Eyed Giants (Greek Mythology)

19. Redcap: Murderous goblin (Border Folklore)

20. Manticore: Similar to the Sphinx consisting of a human head, lions body with tail of poisonous spines (Persian Folklore)


7. Medusa

When you hear the name Medusa, the first thing that comes to mind is a hideous monster with snakes for hair. But, Medusa was once a beautiful young maiden. You just had to be careful not to gaze upon her beauty. Anyone who looked into her eyes was immediately turned into stone.

Medusa was the only mortal Gorgon (we&rsquoll get to the Gorgons next) and was beheaded by Perseus, the son of Zeus and Danaë. King Polydectes of Seriphus wanted to marry Danaë, but she refused because she wanted to dedicate her time to taking care of her son. So, Polydectes tricked Perseus into bringing him the head of Medusa. Since anyone who looked at her was turned into stone, Polydectes thought that Perseus was sure to die. The plot failed, however.

DID YOU KNOW?
Medusa was raped by Poseidon in Athena&rsquos temple. As punishment for the crime of being raped, Athena turned Medusa into a monster.


Stories and Facts About Thetis

Thetis Was Hera’s Stepdaughter

It is a little-known fact, but it is, nevertheless, a true one: Hera was Thetis’ stepmother.

Now, we don’t really know how it came to be for Thetis to be fostered and reared by the queen of the gods, but, according to both Homer (Iliad xxiv.59-60) and Apollodorus (iii.13.5), she most certainly was.

Otherwise, by birth, Thetis was a Nereid, that is, one of the many daughters of the kind sea-god Nereus and the Oceanid Doris.

Thetis Was the Stepmother of Her Stepmother’s Son, Hephaestus

Here’s another piece of bizarre family trivia regarding Thetis: she was the stepmother of her stepmother’s son.

Apparently, after giving birth to Hephaestus, Hera was so disgraced and disgusted with his deformities that she hurled him from the heavens into the deep, vast sea.

However, Thetis rescued him and, together with her Nereid sisters, she nurtured Hephaestus back to health and even cared for him for the next nine years (Homeric Hymn to Apollo 317-321).

Thetis Prevented a Civil War on Olympus

Soon after deposing his father from the throne, Zeus, corrupted by the immensity of power, started acting all Cronus to his subjects. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take too long for the other Olympians to rise against him.

Having had enough with his petulance and despotic measures, one night—after carefully planning out their rebellion—Hera, Poseidon, and Apollo suddenly surrounded the sleeping Zeus and bound his body with hundred-knotted rawhide thongs, rendering him immobile.

For a while, it seemed that Zeus’ time was up. However, the young nymph Thetis, as wise as beautiful, had some other plans.

Fearing a civil war on Olympus, immediately after overhearing Hera and Poseidon taunting the growling Zeus, Thetis rushed to Briareus, one of the hundred-handed cousins of the Titans.

Briareus wasted no time. And since to someone who has a hundred hands, the untying of a hundred knots takes no more than a second, Zeus was released just like that.

The outcome can be easily deduced: punishment for the wrongdoers, reward for the allies.

More precisely: Hera was hung from the sky, Apollo and Poseidon were made bond-servants to King Laomedon, and Thetis was promised a lifetime of granted wishes.

“Thetis and Zeus”, 18th century

Zeus and Poseidon Had It Bad for the Young Nymph

Now, Zeus may have had another reason to take Thetis’ side: according to the great poet Pindar (Isthmian Odes viii.28-48), he had it quite bad for her. To make matters a bit more complicated, Zeus’ brother and sometime rival, Poseidon, was enamored with Thetis as well.

And who knows what would have happened if the quarreling gods hadn’t heard a fateful Thetis-related prophecy just before things really went haywire!

Thetis Was Destined to Give Birth to a Son Greater Than His Father

Yup, that’s the prophecy we’re talking about! And there are two stories as to who exactly made it known.

The first one is told by Pindar. He says that it was wise Themis, “the lady of the good counsel,” who broke the news to Zeus and Poseidon.

“No, cease from this,” the Titaness spoke in the assembly of the blessed gods. “Thetis should bear a son stronger than his father, who would wield in his hands a weapon mightier than your trident and your thunderbolt combined. Save yourself the trouble and marry her to Peleus, the most pious man living on the plain of Iolcus.”

The great playwright Aeschylus, however, tells a different, slightly more disturbing story in Prometheus Bound.

Namely, according to him, Themis didn’t tell this secret to Zeus, but to her son Prometheus, aka the Forethinker (not to mention the conniving little rascal).

Now, when Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock as a retaliation for his theft of fire, the Titan used this very secret to buy back his freedom (eventually!) But not before shouting quite a few your-time-has-come threats in the direction of the stubborn Zeus.

Be that as it may, Zeus, as much as he wanted her, had to give up on Thetis, who, in yet another story (told in the lost epic Cypria), might have even rejected him on her own accord, out of respect for her foster-mother Hera.

So, in a way, this enchanting Nereid is a sort of unicorn among the mortal women loved by Zeus: The One That Got Away.

Peleus Struggled to Win Thetis’ Hand in Marriage (or: Proteus’ Manual on How to Wed a Shapeshifter)

However it came to be decided that Thetis was to be wedded to Peleus, she was certainly not one to willingly accept being married to anyone, let alone a mortal (after all, she did just reject Zeus).

Add to this the fact that Thetis was a sea-goddess capable of transforming into just about anything at will, and you can already get a glimpse of the extent of Peleus’ troubles.

Suffice to say, the courtship of Thetis wasn’t just another “will she, won’t she” teenage romance. Don’t believe us? Then, look no further than the eleventh book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

After happening upon the beautiful—and “quite naked” (not our words)—Thetis getting some tan in a magical cave on the Thessalian shore, Peleus approached her and tried to win her with a few “love you”-s, both in present and future tense.

Thetis wasn’t exactly moved by the advances, so Peleus (now, bear in mind, this is the ancient world we’re talking about) resorted to action and seized her firmly in his arms. Thetis, however, transformed into a tigress, scaring Peleus off, and leaving him both unsatisfied and begging.

And he begged so much—going so far to even offer sacrifices to the gods right there, on the shore—that, eventually, Proteus (though others say Chiron) took pity on him and rose up from the sea.

“Bind her fast,” he told the young man, “and wait until she goes through several transformations and back to her original shape.”

Peleus did just that, and Thetis had no choice but to yield—in all her divine majesty.

Thetis’ Marriage to Peleus was a Disaster (Blame It on an Unsent Invitation!)

Needless to add, Peleus was out-of-his-mind happy.

After all, he had just gotten a stunning girl for a wife, one pursued by both Poseidon and Zeus! Moreover, she was a revered goddess, so that guaranteed him both a demigod for a son and one heck of a wedding guest list.

Unsurprisingly, Pindar (Pythian Ode iii.88-95) claims that nobody in the history of humankind was happier than Peleus on his wedding day!

If that sentence sounds a bit ominous, that might be because it actually is: as profound as it was, Peleus’ happiness was pretty short-lived.

One could even argue that it ended on the wedding day, when an uninvited guest—Eris, the goddess of strife—appeared out of the blue, and, purely out of spite, threw a golden apple into the jubilant gathering. The apple, inscribed with the words “for the Fairest,” triggered a bitter rivalry between three Olympian goddesses, and this eventually led to the Trojan War.

But long before that—and soon after the birth of the couple’s only child, Achilles—Thetis abandoned Peleus, deeming him utterly unworthy of her.

“The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis”, 1636

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True, Thetis didn’t think highly of her husband at no point in her life, but once Achilles was born, she started blaming Peleus for everything. Most importantly—and, unfortunately, quite justly—for her son’s mortality. If she had had him with a god—any god—Achilles would have been immortal.

But now… Well, it’s not like Thetis didn’t do her best to draw the sickness of death out of Achilles’ body.

According to some, she merely tried to replicate Demeter’s attempt with Demophoon by secretly bathing Achilles into a fire to burn away his mortal skin and subsequently anointing him with ambrosia to fashion a new, ageless and immortal layer. One night, however, Peleus barged in on the ritual, and, noticing Achilles writhing in pain and flames, refused to listen to any of Thetis’ excuses and clarifications. Needless to add, that’s when the insulted Thetis left Peleus for good.

Others go a step further and claim that Thetis tried to make Achilles immortal by dipping him into the very river of death, Styx. The nymph wasn’t allowed to touch the water herself, so she held Achilles by his heel throughout the whole process, rendering him completely invulnerable to injuries—well, except for that one heel.

Of course, many years later, this weakness would spell the end of Achilles.

Thetis dipping Achilles in the River Styx

Thetis Was Progressive: She Encouraged Achilles to Become a Transvestite

Since she was adored by Zeus, Thetis had some inside info on her son: Achilles, you see, was destined to die a great hero—but only if he chooses to fight a great war.

To protect him, once the Trojan War started, Thetis dressed Achilles as a girl and sent him at Lycomedes’ court on the island of Scyros. “From now on,” she said to him, “you shall be known as Pyrrha.”

Unfortunately for Thetis, Achilles remained Pyrrha only until Odysseus, acting as a recruiter for Agamemnon and Menelaus, tricked him into revealing his identity by showing him some weapons.

Hephaestus and Zeus Paid Thetis Back During the Trojan War

Many years after helping Zeus stifle the Hera-led rebellion on Olympus, Thetis asked the supreme god for a favor.

Achilles was about to fight a duel against Memnon, the fearsome Ethiopian king, and she wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be his last one.

Thetis receiving armour for Achilles from Hephaestus

Even though Memnon was a son of Eos, the goddess of the dawn, and even though she too pleaded with the Thunderer for her son’s life, Zeus wasn’t one to quickly forget. So, without a second thought, he granted Thetis her wish Eos never forgave him.

Hephaestus, too, paid Thetis back for her kindness and motherly care during the Trojan War. At her request, he fashioned exquisite armor for Achilles and a one-of-a-kind shield, so beautiful and intricate that Homer dedicates more than one hundred verses of the Iliad to describe it.


Characteristics

Physical Description

If you search the internet for images of Sirens, you’ll probably get a flood of beautiful women with fish tails. In many ways, the modern Siren is a creepy version of the mermaid. Her long hair and scaly tail are darkly colored. Her eyes and skin are ghostly pale. And she is set against a stormy background—a shipwreck waiting to happen.

These images are a far-cry from the original Sirens. Instead of having fish tails, the first sirens had bird features: feathered wings, clawed feet, and sometimes sparrow’s tails. They were not particularly beautiful, especially considered to the sea nymphs who frolicked in the waters below them.

Personality

The Sirens were a deadly bunch there’s no use for argument there. According to Homer,

“They bewitch any mortal who approaches them. They sit in a meadow men’s corpses lie heaped up all round them, moldering upon the bones as the skin decays.”

A search of the sea floor around their island would turn up entire ships, wrecked as they tried to get to the Sirens.

Yet, the Sirens may not have been evil by nature. Few stories describe the temptresses physically attacking humans, which leaves the possibility that their songs weren’t designed to kill. According to Nonnus,

“When a sailor hears the Siren’s perfidious song, and bewitched by the melody, he is dragged to a self-chosen fate too soon […] falling into the net of melodious fate, he forgets to steer, quite happy.”

So if Sirens aren’t cold-blooded killers, what motivates them to sing?

Before the Sirens took up their deadly singing career, they suffered several setbacks in life. They were cursed by both Demeter and the Muses and exiled to a small island, where they were forced to live alone.

It’s possible that the Sirens sang to avenge the wrongs against them. Abused by life, they decided to become monsters and destroy the lives of others.

It’s also possible that the Sirens sang to express their grief. As they told Odysseus,

“We know of all the sorrows in the wide land […] we know all things that come to pass on the fruitful earth.”

This truth was something that they needed to share, even if it was more painful than mortals could bear to hear.

Finally, the Sirens may have been desperately lonely and used their songs to tempt men to join them on their island. Although the island was littered in human remains, there were no signs that the Sirens killed men. Instead, the men might have died of starvation after keeping the Siren’s company for several weeks.

Special Abilities

The Sirens are famous for their high, clear singing voices, which were so full of emotion that they drove men insane. They also accompanied their voices with musical instruments: lyres, flutes, and pipes. They also had—or claimed to have—prophetic abilities, which lent depth to the lyrics of their songs.


Although half a nymph, according to Hesiod Theogony 295-305, the raw flesh-eating serpentine Echidna was the mother of many monsters in Greek mythology and one of the opponents the great hero Hercules had to face. Gaia's last son, the hundred-headed Typhon, was Echidna's mate.


25 Greek Mythology Creatures

There is a lot of mysticism Greek Mythology Creatures. The problem is we do not know what they look like. Fortunately designers have been kind enough to draw a few pictures of what they look like. Here they are:

Centaurs: Half man and half horse. These mythical creatures were part of tale of Theseus in the course of their war against Lapiths. They were supposed to have attended Hippodamia’s wedding and having fallen for her attempted to nab her. She belonged to the Lapiths clan and they fought back along with Theseus to get rid of them.

Cerebrus : Is the dog with three heads that is guarding the entrance to the netherworld. He has been part of Greek as well as Roman mythology. Known to be born of Echidna a hybrid part female and part serpent and Typhon, Cerebrus is supposed to be the last challenge that Hercules had to face and capture alive with no weapons. The three heads are reputed to be past, present and future or the various stages of life, which actually come to the same thing.

Charybdis: She was either considered a whirlpool or a sea monster. According to the tales she is the daughter of sea god Poseidon and Earth Goddess Gaia. Because she had to consume enormous quantities of water everyday to fill the huge mouth instead of face , the resulting belch would result in whirlpools. In the story of Odysseus she was one of the challenges he had to face where she was on one side and Scylla, a hydra monster on the other side and he had to cross the channel with the ship touching neither.

Chimera: Is a being that is an amalgamation of goat, lion and a snake. Chimera shared the same parentage as Cerberus. Chimera is featured as being of female gender and having the capacity to spew fire. Chimera was supposed to have been killed by Bellerophin, a Greek hero along with Pegasus, yet another creature from Greek mythology. Pegasus could fly and this saved Belleroohin from being burned from the fire spewing from Chimera. A spear with lead helped kill Chimera in the end.

Cyclops : A monster with a single eye, cyclops were show as being giants. They were the makers of weaponry in Greek mythology for Zeua. They have been credited with making famous weapons like Hades’s helmet of darkness, Artemis’s bow, arrow of moonlight and Poseidon’s trident.

Empusa : A relatively less known character, she was supposed to be a demi-goddess born of a spirit Mormo and a Goddess Hecate. She is legendary for possessing long flaming hair along with feet of bronze. She feeds on the flesh and blood of men by seducing them in their slumber. She is not a vampire though and known to be the guardian of vital routes.

Erinyes: Reputed to be the entities of retribution they were supposed to have come to being from the blood of Uranus when he was castrated by Cronus. We do not know how many of them were there, but they could be identified by their snakes around their waist and tears of blood falling from their eyes. In Greek Mythology they make an appearance during the trial of Orestes for killing his sisters.

Gorgon: We all know Medusa as the one with serpents for hair, there were others known as Gorgons . There are many tales with regard to their origins and what they did. The three sister s Stheno, the mighty, Euryale the far springer and Medusa the queen were the most know . According to legend a look at Medusa’s face would turn the person looking into stone . Perseus was sent by King Polydectes to kill Medusa, hoping that Perseus would be killed. But using his shield provided by Athena the goddess of war to look at the reflection of Medusa, thus avoiding disaster, Perseus kills her. He presented it to Athena who used the head to convert Atlas into a stone mountain that then holds up earth and heaven.

Graeae : Sharing one mouth and one eye among themselves these three sisters born to Ceto and Phorcys. In truth sisters to the Gordons. Named Deino, Enyo and Pemphredo there is some confusions whether they were old hags or beautiful women. In the movie Clash of the Titans, these sisters gave directions to Perseus to reach the Gordons, by force when he took away their eye.

Griffin: Popularized by Harry Potter books, Griffin is a creature from Greek Mythology they are supposed to have the regal body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle. This clearly puts them in the royal category.

Harpy: They appear in the tale where Phineas was punished by Zeus for giving away the secret of Gods . Harpies are daughers of Electra and Thaumas . Their role in the punishment to Phineas was to steal the good food that surrounded him but he was unable to eat it. They did this till the arrival of Jason and Argonauts . They were driven away by Boreads who could fly.

Hippalectryon: Part horse and Part rooster, these creatures do not come up in many tales, but you can see these strange beings in the ceramics and sculptures related to Greek Mythology.

Hippocamps: Known to be the creatures that Poseidon rode, seahorses were called Hippocamps as per Greek Mythology.

Hydra: A snake with 9 heads, this has been featured in many movies. It is not a natural creature and known to have been raised to earth by the wife of Zeus, Hera. It was brought with the objective of killing Hercules. As part of his second labor Hercules was challenged to kill Hydra. With the ability to regrow heads, Hydra was difficult to slay until Hercules’s cousin Iolaus schemed to burn the stump once the head was cut off.

Lamia: Reputed to be the gorgeous queue of Libya she was converted to a man eating demon possessing of a snake tail. There are different versions of this tale of transformation. She was forced by Hera to consumer her own children which resulted in this transformation. Another legend suggests she was directly transformed by Hera.

Manticore: A being that looks like the Sphinx, this too has a human head and lion’s body. Part of both Persian and Greek Mythology the Manticore has different pictorial depictions with variations like wings and/or possessing the tail of a scorpion.

Minotaur: A being that is half man and half bull, there are only vague indications of this creature’s origins. According to the story, King of Crete, Minos prayed to Poseidon for help. Poseidon sent a white bull which had to be sacrificed. But Minos becomes attached to the bull and substituted it with another. Enraged Poseidon had a spell cast on Minos’s wife Pasiphae by the goddess of love, causing her to fall in love with the Cretan Bull. This love is consummated and Minotaur was the offspring of this union. Once it is revealed that Minotaur ate men for food, Minos had a special maze built for him by Daedalus. Minotaur was killed by Theseus when he volunteers to be killed on behalf of the citizens of Athens. But the love of Minos’s daughter for Theseus results in her helping him negotiate the maze. However on successfully killing Minotaur, Theseus picks the other daughter Phaedra to be his wife.

Ophiotaurus: Once again a relatively unknown creature who is known to possess the body of sea snake along with the head of a bull. Arising from the Chaos that give rise to mother of earth, Gaia, Ophitaurus is known to be very powerful. It is a common belief that this creature’s viscera can provide the power to overpower the gods.

Pegasus: Born of the blood of Medusa one of the Gordon sisters Pegasus is the horse with wings. Pegasus helped Bellepheron in killing Chimera, but Bellepheron died after falling off Pegasus’s back during their descent to Mount Olympus.

Satyr: Known to be half men and half goat these creatures represent passion and pleasures, though sometimes are shown to be having darker shades to them as well.

Sirens: Legendary creatures possessed of great beauty, Sirens used to draw Seamen to the cliffs and ultimately to their death using their voices. They are shown as creatures having either a fish or bird’s body. In the tale of Odysseus, he orders his men to cover their ears with wax so as to resist the call of the Sirens. But he falls prey to the call himself when the ship nears their hideout and implores his men to take him there. They ignore him and once the ship is away from the call of the Sirens he recovers his senses. The Sirens kill themselves by falling into the water.

Sphinx: With the wings of a bird, the head of a woman and the body of a lion, it seems to be related to Chimera and Cerberus. According to the tale, Sphinx guarded the road to Thebe. It would ask travelers the riddle “Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” All people who could answer this would be consumed by the Sphinx. Only Oedipus answered it correctly by saying “Man”. According the tale, Sphinx killed itself by eating itself or in other versions by bounding off a cliff on finally getting the right reply.

Stymphalian Birds: These comprised the 6th labor of Hercules. He was supposed to kill these birds which had an appetite for human flesh and beaks of steel, in the swamp. Hercules was aided by Hephaestus, the god of technology, who provided him with the means to divert and scare them with a rattle so that he could kill them with a arrow as the flew around.

Typhon: A really huge creature, the upper part of the body is human and the lower half had to two vipers that can stretch in all directions. He is reputed to be as tall as a mountain, this creature along with Echidna gave birth to monsters that include Chimera, Sphinx, Cerberus and more. In the war between Zeus and Gaia, Typhon almost managed to capture Zeus’s sinews, but he manages to release them. Later on he vanquishes Typhon and buried him under Mount Etna.


Visit Greece and Explore Top Mythological Sites

We love to joke and we love to travel. Here is a list of sites to inspire you to visit Greece and some of the top mythological sites in Greece.

Delos

Delos is a Greek island near Mykonos. The ruins at the archaeological site on the island of Delos are one of the best preserved examples of Ancient Greek civilisation and can only be matched by the Acropolis of Athens.

According to Greek mythology, gods Artemis and Apollo were born on this island, and thus the island became a sacred place and a major religious centre and port during the 1st millennium B.C.

Doric temples, markets, an amphitheatre, houses with mosaics and the iconic Terrace of the Lions statues are all among the island’s ruins. There’s also the Archaeological Museum where you can see statues that were excavated from the site.

The Labyrinth

Are you familiar with the exciting tale of Minos, Theseus and the Minotaur from the Greek Mythology? (Minos, a powerful king, ruler of Crete, and the son of Zeus was cursed to raise a son with the body of a man and the head of a bull after he betrayed Poseidon. Minos built the fabled Labyrinth and trapped the Minotaur within it and then sent victims to their deaths until Theseus, prince of Athens, ventured into the Labyrinth and slayed the beast.)

There are two possible labyrinths to explore.

Gortyn archaeological site in Crete is a suspected home of the Labyrinth. Further away from Minos’ home, these ruins bear a similar resemblance to the maze of mythology.

Another site is Kommos in southern Crete that has spectacular ancient ruins and beautiful ocean views. Within the ruins of this ancient city, you will find many maze-like corridors and walkways that may also have been the inspiration for the tale.

Cave of Zeus

The Cave of Zeus is an extraordinary system of caves and a piece of Greek mythological history tucked away on the slopes of Mount Ida, on the island of Crete. It is said that the King of Gods, Zeus, was born and raised in a cave beneath Mount Ida. The entrance of the cave leads into a network of caves filled with beautiful rock formations and underground pools. It’s a beautiful underworld and a fitting place for the beginnings of the greatest god in Greek mythology.

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and one of the most well-known natural landmarks in the world. This legendary and iconic mountain in Greek mainland is an awe-inspiring sight, however, there is more to it than meets the eye.

In Greek mythology, Olympus was created after the gods defeated the titans in the War of the Titans.

Atop its peak they then built the Pantheon, where Zeus sat upon his throne as King of Gods and where all the fiery discussions among the deities took place.


Watch the video: Top 10 MYTHICAL CREATURES From PERSIAN MYTHOLOGY (December 2022).

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