Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Greek Mythological Creatures

Module:6 Greek Mythological Creatures
Posted by: Jinky Catherine M. Miake
Sources: http://www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com
              http://www.greekmythology.com
              http://www.theoi.com
              http://www.factmonster.com

Introduction:
Monsters in Greek mythology usually destroy people or ravage the countryside. Some of the mythological creatures are daughters and sons of some major gods and goddesses.


 The definition of a Centaur:
-One of a race of monsters having the head, torso, and arms of a man, and the body and legs of a horse.
In Greek mythology, the centaurs (Greek: Κένταυροι) are a race of creatures composed of part human and part horse. In early Attic vase-paintings, the head and torso of a human joined at the (human's) waist to the horse's withers, where the horse's neck would be.
This half-human and half-animal composition has lead many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, of centaurs as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, as Chiron.

Centaurs are said to be extremely heavy drinkers, and were usually depicted as beasts of Dionysus.
They were thought to carry bows and are very short tempered creatures.
There is only one Cerberus know to exist in classic mythology. In Greek and Roman mythology, Cerberus (derived from Greek "kerberos") is the guardian of the gates of the Underworld, Hades. Its sole purpose is to prevent doomed souls from escaping. Cerberus; like his brother, Orthrus, and many other monsters of Greek mythology was spawned from Echidna, also known as the mother of all monsters. It is most commonly depicted as a giant dog with three heads, and sometimes a mane composed of snakes, much like the hair of the gorgon, Medusa. Some renderings portray the beast with one single tail; others two, sometimes three. The tail(s) is/are that of a serpent. The Cerberus is regarded as a great and fearsome creature and is the original - or at least most widely known - Hellhound.
  Charbdisy is a monster from Greek Mythology. She is Partnered with Scylla, who sits apon the cliff next to her.
No, Charybdis is not just a whirlpool. Unknown by many, there is actually a monster under the water. There is no description in any writing (that I have seen) of what she actually looks like.
--The whirlpool part of her, is when she opens her gaping mouth and sucks in. She swallows everything; water, passing ships, sea animals, everything.
--Then, she exhales and spits everything out. Everything flies everywhere.
And everything is timed surprisingly. These things happen at the same time every day. Many heroes of Greek Legend traveled by here safely; and many died. But who hears the story of the hero who got eaten by Charybdis? No one.

 The Chimera was a monstrous beast which ravaged the countryside of Lycia in Anatolia that was to be able to breath fire. There have been many discriptions of how it looks but in all the descriptions it is part lion, goat and snake.
The hero Bellerophon was commanded to slay it by King Iobates. He rode into battle against the beast on the back of the winged horse Pegasus and, driving a lead-tipped lance down the Chimeras flaming throat, suffocating her.
The Chimera may have once been identified with the winter-rising Constellation Capricorn (the serpent-tailed goat).
Next to the dragon, the chimera is the second most popular beast to guard portals.
The chimera is also female and is the youngest daughter of Echidna and Typhon. She is also said to be the last child the two had together The word chimera is also used in modern pop-culture within both the fantasy and science-fiction communities to refer to unnatural beings created from the combination of two or more animals by means other than breeding.

 In Greek mythology a cyclops (pronounced /ˈsaɪklɒps/), or kyklops (Greek Κύκλωψ), is a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of its forehead. The plural is cyclopes (pronounced IPA: /saɪˈkloʊpiːz/) or kyklopes (Greek Κύκλωπες). In English, the plural cyclopses is also used. The name is widely thought to mean "round-" or "wheel-eyed".

Hesiod describes one group of cyclopes and Homer describes another. In Hesiod'Toy Cyclopss Theogony, Zeus releases three Cyclopes, the sons of Uranus and Gaia, from the dark pit of Tartarus. They provide Zeus's thunderbolt, Hades' helmet of invisibility, and Poseidon's trident, and the gods use these weapons to defeat the Titans. In a famous episode of Homer's Odyssey, the hero Odysseus encounters the Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon and a nereid (Thoosa), who lives with his fellow Cyclopes in a distant country. The connection between the two groups has been debated in antiquity and by modern scholars.

Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology. In Greek drys signifies 'oak,' from an Indo-European root *derew(o)- 'tree' or 'wood'. Thus dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. "Such deities are very much overshadowed by the divine figures defined through poetry and cult," Walter Burkert remarked of Greek nature deities (Burkert 1986, p174). Normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess Artemis who was known to be a friend to most nymphs. Dryads, like all nymphs, were supernaturally long-lived and tied to their homes, but some were a step beyond most nymphs. These were the hamadryads who were an integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For these reasons, dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed trees without first propitiating the tree-nymphs

Her face and torso are that of a beautiful woman and was depicted as winged in archaic vase-paintings, but always with the body of a serpent. She is also sometimes described as having two serpent's tails. The goddess fierce Echidna who is half a nymph with glancing eyes and fair cheeks, and half again a huge snake, great and awful, with speckled skin, eating raw flesh beneath the secret parts of the holy earth. And there she has a cave deep down under a hollow rock far from the deathless gods and mortal men. There, then, did the gods appoint her a glorious house to dwell in: and she keeps guard in Arima beneath the earth, grim Echidna, a nymph who dies not nor grows old all her days. (Theogony, 295-305)
Echidna also had many children with her mate, Typhon, all of which were horrible monsterous creatures earning her the name "Mother of Monsters". Her children included...Nemean Lion, Lycian Chimera, Ladon, Theban Sphinx, Lerneaen Hydra, Cerberus, Orthrus, Ethon/Caucasus Eagle, Teumession Fox, Crommyonian Sow, Colchian Dragon.

(ALSO KNOWN AS THE Erinyes)

In Greek mythology the Erinyes ("the angry ones") or Eumenides ("the gracious ones") or Furies in Roman mythology were female, chthonic deities of vengeance or supernatural personifications of the anger of the dead. They represent regeneration and the potency of creation, which both consumes and empowers. A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "those who beneath the earth punish whoever has sworn a false oath." Burkert suggests they are "an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in fat cats".[
When the Titan Cronos castrated his father Ouranos and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes emerged from the drops of blood, while Aphrodite was born from the seafoam. According to a variant account, they issued from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, "Night". Their number is usually left indeterminate. Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto ("unceasing," who appeared in Virgil's Aeneid), Megaera ("grudging"), and Tisiphone ("avenging murder"). Dante followed Virgil in depicting the same three-charactered triptych of Erinyes. The heads of the Erinyes were wreathed with serpents (like a Gorgon) and their eyes dripped with blood, rendering their appearance rather weird and disturbing. Sometimes they had the wings of a bat or bird and the body of a dog.


 Harpy (from Latin: Harpyia, Greek: Άρπυια, Harpuia, pl. Άρπυιαι, Harpuiai) in Greek mythology, the Harpies ("snatchers"[1]) were mainly winged death-spirits (Harrison 1903, p 176ff), best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineas. The literal meaning of the word seems to be "whirlwinds".

The Harpy could also bring life. A Harpy was the mother by the West Wind Zephyros of the horses of Achilles (Iliad xvi. 160). In this context Jane Harrison adduced the notion in Virgil's Georgics that mares became gravid by the wind alone, marvelous to say (iii.274).

Though Hesiod (Theogony) calls them two "lovely-haired" creatures, Harpies as beautiful winged bird-women are a late development, in parallel with the transformation of the "Siren, a creature malign though seductive in Homer, but gradually softened by the Athenian imagination into a sorrowful death angel" (Harrison p 177). On a vase in the Berlin Museum (Harrison, fig 19), a harpy has a small.

The hippocampi or hippocampus (plural: hippocampi; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, "horse" and κάμπος, "monster"[1] [2]),Hippo campus is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician[4] and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek; it became part of Etruscan mythology. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fishlike hindquarter. The Hippocampus or hippocampi are also commonly referred to as Poseidons horses.



Hydra is an ancient Greek mythical beast that was mentioned in the tale of the twelve labours of Hercules (also called Heracles). The hydra has 9 heads, the number of head varies from different versions of the legend, however, more accounts agree on nine. It was said that the middle one was immortal and it has very poisonous venom and breath.

If the heads are cut off, the heads would grow back. One head cut-off would result to two heads growing back in its place.


Kraken ( kra’ ken, IPA: /ˈkrɑːkɛn/) are legendary sea monsters of gargantuan size, said to have dwelled off the coasts of Norway and Iceland. The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the beasts have made them common ocean-dwelling monsters in various fictional works. The legend may actually have originated from sightings of real giant squid that are estimated to grow to 13 metres (46 feet) in length, including the tentacles. These creatures normally live at great depths, but have been sighted at the surface and reportedly have "attacked" ships. they are 330-490 feet wide. there tenticles can grow up to 900 feet long. and canweigh up to 400 tons

These huge, many armed creatures would attack a ship by wrapping their arms around the hull and capsizing it, resulting in the crew drowning or being eaten by the monster. and sometimes can thrust its tenticles down with so much velocity it can snap a large ship in 2 parts.

 In Greek mythology, Medusa (Greek: Μέδουσα, Médousa, "guardian, protectress") and some times knowen as the gorgan, was a monstrous chthonic female character, essentially an extension of an apotropaic mask, whose gaze could turn onlookers to stone. She was born of Phorcys and Ceto or in some cases, Typhon and Echidna (Pre-Titan gods) she had two sisters, Stheno and Euryale both of whom were immortal, Medusa was not. They lived on an island at the end of the world.



 A Minotaur is a creature from Greek mythology that is half human and half bull. It was said to have lived at the center of a great labyrinth (an elaborate maze) built for King Minos. In Greek mythology the minotaur was eventually killed by Theseus
"Minotaur" is Greek for "Bull of Minos".
Firstly, King Minos built the maze below his palace. Secondly, the Minotaur came into existence when King Minos asked Poseidon for a bull for sacrifice. When the bull came out of the sea, Minos took it and thanked Poseidon a lot. But when Minos broke a vow that he'd made previously, the god made Minos's wife fall in love with the bull. She had an affair with it and out came the Minotaur. Minos was terrified and locked the beast away in the maze. Every nine years he would sacrifice children to the monster to keep it at bay.

A nymph is any member of a large class of female nature entities, either bound to a particular location or landform or joining the retinue of a god or goddess, particularly Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Nymphs were the frequent target of lusty satyrs.

"The idea that rivers are gods and springs divine nymphs," Walter Burkert remarks (Burkert III.3.3) "is deeply rooted not only in poetry but in belief and ritual; the worship of these deities is limited only by the fact that they are inseparably identified with a specific locality." Nymphs are personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature, most often identified with the life-giving outflow of springs. The Greek word νύμφη has "bride" and "veiled" among its meanings: hence, a marriagable young woman. Other readers refer the word (and also Latin nubere and German Knospe) to a root expressing the idea of "swelling" (according to Hesychius, one of the meanings of νύμφη is "rose-bud"). The home of the nymphs is on mountains and in groves, by springs and rivers, in valleys and cool grottoes. They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the huntress Artemis; the prophetic Apollo; the reveller and god of wine, Dionysus; and with rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes (as the god of shepherds).

Pegasus originates in Greek mythology. It is said Pegasus sprang from the blood of the Gorgon Medusa after Perseus beheaded her. Pegasus is described as a winged white horse although there are many other variations in modern fantasy.

Apparently the original Pegasus only allowed two mortals to ride him, both were Greek heroes.

Pegasus (pegai) in modern fantasy are still considered white, winged horses. They live in the forest and live in small herds. Very rarely one pegasus will befriend a human, or elf and become his/her companion.
In Greek mythology, satyrs (in Greek, Σάτυροι — Sátyroi) are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus— "satyresses" were a late invention of poets— that roamed the woods and mountains. In mythology they are often associated with male sex drive and vase-painters often portrayed them with erections. they also are associated with wine.

Satyrs are described as having a strong human torso and goat legs, a goat tail, pointed ears, horns, curly hair and full beards, like fauns. Philoctetes, (phil) from Hercules the movie was a satyr. In older depictions, however, Satyr appear as men with the tails of horses, and the change in appearance was likely due to their association with Pan and the assymilation of mythologies within an expansive culture.


In Greek mythology the Sirens or Seirenes (Greek Σειρῆνας) were Naiads (sea nymphs) who lived on an island called Sirenum scopuli, or in some different traditions,some place them on cape Pelorum others in the island of Anthemusa, and others again in the Sirenusian islands near Paestum, or in Capreae which was surrounded by cliffs and rocks. Approaching sailors were drawn to them by their enchanting singing, causing them to sail into the cliffs and drown. They were considered the daughters of Achelous or Phorcys. Homer says nothing of their number, but later writers mention both their names and number ; some state that they were two, Aglaopheme and Thelxiepeia; and others, that there were three, Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia or Parthenope, Ligeia, and Leucosia. Their number is variously reported as between two and five, and their individual names as Thelxiepia/Thelxiope/Thelxinoe, Molpe, Aglaophonos/Aglaope, Pisinoe/Peisinoë, Parthenope, Ligeia, Leucosia, Raidne, and Teles. According to some versions, they were playmates of young Persephone and were changed into the monsters of lore by Demeter for failing to intervene when Persephone was abducted. The term "siren song" refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result.

The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travelers to obtain passage. The exact riddle asked by the Sphinx was not specified by early tellers of the stories about the sphinx, and was not standardized as the one given below until late in Greek history.
It was said in late lore that Hera or Ares sent the Sphinx from her Ethiopian homeland (the Greeks always remembered the foreign origin of the Sphinx to Thebes in Greece where, in the writings of Sophocles, she asks all passersby history's most famous riddle: "Which creature in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?" She strangled and devoured anyone unable to answer.Oedipus solved the riddle: answering, Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age.

Confirmation of Learning:
1. _________is the guardian of the gates of the Underworld, Hades.
2._________was a monstrous beast which ravaged the countryside of Lycia in Anatolia that was to be able to breath fire.
3._________is a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of its forehead.
4. These were the hamadryads who were an integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well.
5._________is half a nymph with glancing eyes and fair cheeks, and half again a huge snake, great and awful, with speckled skin, eating raw flesh beneath the secret parts of the holy earth.
6.________were mainly winged death-spirit,  best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineas.
7. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fishlike hindquarter. 
8. This mythical beast has 9 heads, the number of head varies from different versions of the legend, however, more accounts agree on nine. It was said that the middle one was immortal and it has very poisonous venom and breath.
9. __________are legendary sea monsters of gargantuan size, said to have dwelled off the coasts of Norway and Iceland.
10.__________is a creature from Greek mythology that is half human and half bull.
11.__________s any member of a large class of female nature entities, either bound to a particular location or landform or joining the retinue of a god or goddess, particularly Artemis, goddess of the hunt.
12. It is said that this creature sprang from the blood of the Gorgon Medusa after Perseus beheaded her.What is this mythical creature?
13._________are described as having a strong human torso and goat legs, a goat tail, pointed ears, horns, curly hair and full beards, like fauns.
14. According to some versions, these creatures were playmates of young Persephone and were changed into the monsters of lore by Demeter for failing to intervene when Persephone was abducted.
15. Answer the riddle "Which creature in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?"

0 comments:

Post a Comment