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Myth Mania: An Introduction to Greek Mythological Creatures

Myth Mania: An Introduction to Greek Mythological Creatures

From colossal monsters to cursed mortals, Greek Mythology is in no shortage of peculiar and fantastic creatures to offer. Perhaps you’ve already heard of them from your literature classes or in epic movies providing new spins to the myth. However, how deep have you truly delved into the whole lore?

Oftentimes, from what is portrayed in textbooks and films, not a lot of characters or thoroughly introduced. Or as in the case of films, stories have been changed to make them more palatable to the market. Although, I myself cannot promise to give you the whole lore, still, let me attempt to introduce you to some of the most amazing creatures from Greek Mythology.

Four Mythological Creatures from the Greek Mythology

Cerberus

Known as the fearsome multi-headed hound of the underworld, Cerberus guards the gates of Hades‘ Kingdom. His role is to prohibit any living being to enter the realm of the dead, while he devours any dead soul who dares to escape. Although there are cases when special living humans go past the gates, like Orpheus, who tamed the creature with his soothing music.

As to Cerberus’ origins, some accounts, like those of Hesiod, say that the creature is the child of Echidna and Typhon. Echidna is another Greek monster who is half-woman half-serpent while Typhon is a monstrous Serpent Giant. Cerberus also has other monstrous siblings in the form of the Hydra and Chimera.

Minotaur

The Minotaur is a Cretan monster who guards the famous greek mythological maze, the Labyrinth. The creature half human and bull, was the offspring of Pasiphae, King Minos’ wife, to a white sacrificial bull. The white bull was a supposed sacrifice to Poseidon, however, when Minos fails to do so, the god cursed Minos’ wife to fall in love with the bull. The fruit of this romance bore the Minotaur whose name directly translates as “Minos’ Bull.” This creature had then been locked in the Labyrinth, which he fiercely guards.

This strong creature met his demise in the arms of Theseus, one of the Athenian tributes offered to Crete. When Minos’ son, Androgeos dies at the hands of Athenians, the bereaved king declares war against Athens. This attack proved difficult for Athenians to recover from. Hence, they made an agreement with Minos. This agreement would involve sending seven Athenian youths and seven Athenian maidens to Crete every one or nine years. On the third batch, Theseus was sent in. And with the help of Minos’ daughter, Ariadne, he manages to kill the bull.

Cyclops

Also referred to as Cyclopes, these Greek creatures are often portrayed as gigantic cave-dwelling, foolish one-eyed monsters who live off of herds. This version of the cyclops appeared in poets’ later descriptions, situating these beings in the caves of the island of Sicily. However, this description of the one-eyed monsters had not always been this way, as in Hesiod’s Theogony, he describes these beings differently. 

In Hesiod’s version, the cyclopes are three one-eyed giant brothers who were the sons of primordial deities – Gaea and Uranus. Gaea is the embodiment of the Earth, while Uranus is the embodiment of the sky. Their one-eyed sons were named ArgosSteropes, and Brontes who are known to be skillful blacksmiths. Furthermore, they have also played an important role in helping Zeus overthrow his father, Cronus, a titan-sibling of the cyclopes. On top of it all, this version of the Cyclopes was responsible for crafting Zeus’ famous thunderbolt.

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Sirens

If you have heard of Odysseus and his journey to return to Ithaca, then you definitely heard of the sirens. The Sirens are among the creatures Odysseus faced in the Odyssey. These half-woman, half-bird creatures possess the sweet and enchanting singing voice that no human can resist. However, this inviting voice is said to be fatal as it certainly brings destruction to anyone who hears it.

Legend has it, that these sirens settle on rocky small islands, and are portrayed sitting on heaps of human bones and surrounded by rotting corpses. These carcasses belong to the many dead sailors who fell prey to the enchantress’s charming but deadly voice. Some accounts say the Sirens are the daughters of Achelous. Meanwhile, others say they were the human friends of Persephone cursed by her bereaved mother, Ceres, who blamed them for Persephone’s disappearance.

Greek Mythology is an interesting vast collection of stories that is no shortage of fantastic fictional creatures like the ones mentioned above! So if you have a thing for classic and fictional literature, delve into the lore of Greek Mythology.

Did you find the abovementioned creatures’ backstories interesting? Make sure to share with us your thoughts!

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