STRANGE Greek Mythical Creatures
Date: 2019-12-05 16:45:00
The most bizarre mythical beasts of Ancient Greece! From man-eating monstrosities to divine beasts directed by the gods.
Known as towering giants equipped with just a single eye, the legendary Cyclops appeared in multiple myths throughout Greek history. In Hesiod’s poem Theogony, three cyclopes are enlisted as weaponsmiths, crafting a thunderbolt for the king of the gods, Zeus. Odysseus, the hero and title character of Homer’s Odyssey, encounters a group of cyclopes working as barbaric shepherds, including the son of Poseidon named Polyphemus. Even the architecture of the Greek archaeological site Mycenae is attributed to these fabled gargantuans, with the region’s Cyclopean walls featuring such massive boulders that legends surmise only a giant could have built them.
Half man, half horse, the centaur is one of the most recognizable mythological creatures to rise out of Greek lore as it continues to appear in fantasy works to date. According to legend, these beings were said to have been born from either the Greek king Ixion or his son Centauros, depending on the source. They are often depicted with a sense of duality, torn between wild, untamed behavior and an erudite sense of wisdom. One of the most notable centaurs in mythology is Chiron, known for acting against the lustful, wild, and indulgent manner of his kin, instead opting to instruct heroes like Asclepius, Ajax, Theseus, Achilles, Jason, Perseus, and Heracles among others. Scholars believe the concept of the centaur to have derived from cultures upon first encountering other cultures on horseback, fusing the foreign steeds and their riders together when recounting their tales.
Combining the physical aspects of birds with the features of women, the dangerous Sirens of the sea were said to seduce sailors with their enthralling songs. Originally depicted as having aviary appendages such as taloned feet and wings, their appearance changed over time with bodies matching the seductiveness of their voices. But rather than enticing mariners with romantic interest, sirens would draw in sea-farers in hopes of causing them to shipwreck along rocky coasts. Such was the curse handed to them by the Greek harvest goddess Demeter. These creatures were given lifespans, as the story goes, that would cease should a sailor successfully pass them and their alluring songs by.