A Man-Eating Hog? Meet the Crommyonian Sow

A Man-Eating Hog? Meet the Crommyonian Sow


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The myths of ancient Greece had their fair share of unusual animals—the Chimera, the man-eating horses of Dionysus, and Pegasus, to name a few. This giant, pesky pig liked to chow down on human flesh, and it wasn’t until the hero Theseus came along that she was stopped in her hoof-tracks.

Hog Versus Human

The sow, whom Plutarch calls Phaea, was bred by a grumpy old lady in the town of Crommyon. Pseudo-Apollodorus claims that the pig was named after her owner; both were called Phaea. Instead of reining in this hoggish monster, Phaea let her pig waddle free, gobbling up her neighbors and little kids like they were truffles. Diodorus Siculus quips that the hog “beast which excelled in both ferocity and size and was killing many human beings.” Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with the local authorities, but they didn’t approach Pig Phaea, lest they be chomped up, too.

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Theseus and the Crommyonian Sow, with Phaea. ( CC BY 2.5 )

Phaea was a worthy adversary that Plutarch says “gave Theseus a great deal of trouble, despite being a female animal,” “a savage and formidable wild beast, by no means an enemy to be despised.” That’s understandable, given she was thought to be the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. The last-named was a half-human, half-serpent who birthed many of mythology’s great monsters. With her hundred-headed mate Typhon, Echidna produced the likes of Cerberus, three-headed guard dog of Hades; the deadly Scylla, who almost devoured Odysseus on his way home; and the Chimera.

Theseus Slaying Minotaur (1843), bronze sculpture by Antoine-Louis Barye.

Theseus Comes to the Rescue

So along came Theseus, the answer to the Greeks’ prayers. This incident came before he killed the Minotaur or even came to the throne of Athens; instead, the young hunk was on a quest to clear the countryside of thieves, criminals, and other nuisances, just like his hero, Heracles (some scholars think the pig Phaea was considered a counterpart to Heracles’s Erymanthian boar). By now, Theseus had already done away with Sinis, a.k.a. Pitycocamptes, a rogue who asked passersby to help him bend pine trees down to the ground; then, he’d let go while the innocents were still holding on. These poor people would be flung into the air and killed. No wonder Theseus flung him off a tree to his death, a particularly apt punishment.

Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar, by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1634 (Museo del Prado).

Theseus’ logical next step, after taking out a bad guy like that, was to kill another local problem: the evil pig Phaea. He deemed her a worthy opponent and “went out of his way on purpose to meet and engage her, so that he might not seem to perform all his great exploits out of mere necessity,” says Plutarch; basically, he made sure to engage bad guys—and animals—not just those that were directly in his path. Why? Theseus felt that “it was the part of a brave man to chastise villainous and wicked men when attacked by them, but to seek out and overcome the more noble wild beasts.” And he did so, offing the hog, then going on to kill some more bad guys before meeting his real dad (King Aegeus of Athens), going to Crete, and doing much more.

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Theseus fighting against the Crommyonian Sow

There is an alternate version to this story, which Plutarch also mentions. He reports that Phaea wasn’t a pig, but a cruel lady robber who was nicknamed “Sow” because “of the foulness of her life and manners,” but she still died at Theseus’ hand. In Greek, “Phaea” means “dusky,” which would be a reference to the female thief’s dirty appearance. Puns galore!


Calydonian boar hunt

The Calydonian boar hunt is one of the great heroic adventures in Greek legend. [2] It occurred in the generation prior to that of the Trojan War, and stands along side the other great heroic adventure of that generation, the voyage of the Argonauts, which preceded it. [3] The purpose of the hunt was to kill the Calydonian boar (also called the Aetolian boar), [4] which had been sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia, because its king Oeneus had failed to honour her in his rites to the gods. The hunters, led by the hero Meleager, included many of the foremost heroes of Greece. In most accounts, it also included a great heroine, Atalanta, who won its hide by first wounding it with an arrow. This outraged some of the men, with tragic results.


Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes, p.18

‘The other way is by land,’ Aethra said, ‘which is extremely dangerous and infested with tacky outlet malls. The journey will take you many days and might get you killed.’

Aethra knew he would say that. He was always picking the most dangerous path, and she figured she’d better warn him of what lay ahead.

‘I know of at least six deadly enemies on that road,’ she said. ‘I’ll tell you about them. Try to pay attention.’

Theseus jumped about, slicing the air. ‘Yeah, I’m totally listening!’

Aethra told him everything she knew. It was hard for her to concentrate with Theseus doing his kung-fu sandal-fighter routine. She doubted he heard a word she said.

‘Please, son,’ she pleaded, ‘the six villains along the road to Athens are much worse than the local bandits you’re used to. They’ve made land travel between Troezen and Athens impossible for generations.’

‘Then I will kill them and make the road safe!’ Theseus kissed his mother and went running down the hill, waving his new saber. ‘Bye, Mom! Thanks for everything!’

Aethra exhaled. Without Hurricane Theseus blowing through the palace, she might finally get a good night’s sleep. She wasn’t too worried about her son on the road. But the bandits and monsters? They had no idea what was coming their way.

It didn’t take long for Theseus to find his first enemy, which was good, because he needed to burn off some energy.

He was sloshing down a muddy path, enjoying the scenic landscape of dead trees and burned-out villages, when he happened across a big ugly man standing in the road. Across his shoulder was a gleaming bronze club. Around his feet, the ground was littered with fuzzy smashed spheres, like mouldy cantaloupes.

As Theseus got closer, he realized the cantaloupes were human heads – all sprouting from the mud, still attached to bodies that had been buried upright. Apparently, the unfortunate travellers had been used for an evil game of Whac-A-Mole.

‘Halt!’ roared the guy with the club, which was stupid, since Theseus had already stopped to admire the bashed heads. ‘Give me all your valuables! And then I will kill you!’

The bandit stood about seven feet tall. He was slightly smaller than an armoured truck, and his face was so ugly and swollen it looked like he washed it with fire ants. His arms rippled with muscles, but his legs were shrivelled and twisted, encased from thigh to ankle in bronze braces.

‘I’ve heard of you!’ Theseus said. ‘You’re Periphetes!’

See, he really had been listening to his mom’s stories, which proves that you should never underestimate an ADHD hero. We soak up way more information than you might give us credit for. Running around while swinging a sword is just our way of concentrating.

Anyway, this guy Periphetes (pronounced Pair-of-Feet-is) was a demigod son of Hephaestus who had inherited his dad’s strength and his deformed legs. He squinted so much that people sometimes thought he only had one eye and they mistook him for a Cyclops (no offence to my Cyclops friends and family).

Periphetes puffed up his huge chest. ‘My legend precedes me! If you know who I am, you know it is useless to resist!’

‘What’s with all the heads?’ Theseus asked. ‘Did you bury them and then kill them, or –’

Periphetes laughed. ‘I pounded them into the ground with my club! That’s what I do! My nickname is the Clubber!’

‘Oh.’ Theseus scratched his armpit. ‘I thought they called you the Clubber because you went to a lot of discos.’

‘What? No! I am violent and terrifying and I smash people into the mud!’

‘So … we can’t hit some parties tonight, chat up the ladies, do some boogying?’

Periphetes scowled. He wasn’t used to being asked to boogie. ‘I will rob you and kill you, puny boy. Those are nice shoes. Give them to me!’

He brandished his mighty club, but Theseus didn’t tremble in terror the way he was supposed to.

‘That is a fine club,’ Theseus said. ‘Is it wood covered with bronze?’

Pride warmed Periphetes’s heart. He was a vicious murderer, but he was also a son of Hephaestus. He liked it when people appreciated his craftsmanship. ‘Why, yes! A solid oak core wrapped in twenty sheets of bronze. I find it gives me a really good swing.’

Theseus scowled. ‘Twenty sheets of bronze? C’mon, man. That would make it too heavy for anyone to carry.’

‘Are you sure that’s not Styrofoam wrapped in aluminium foil?’

‘Prove it. Let me check it out.’

Periphetes couldn’t see any harm. He figured this puny boy would collapse under the weight of the club, which would be good for a laugh. He passed his club to Theseus. Instead of collapsing, Theseus swung it and smacked Periphetes upside the head, killing him instantly.

‘Yep!’ Theseus said. ‘That’s bronze over wood, all right! Thanks, man. I think I’ll keep this.’

Periphetes didn’t argue, since he was dead. Theseus slung his new favourite weapon over his shoulder and continued travelling, occasionally darting into the woods to look at squirrels, racing ahead to check out shiny objects in the road or stopping randomly to stare at bugs. That’s where the old saying comes from: Walk aimlessly and carry a big stick.

I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

As Theseus moved north, the smarter monsters and bandits got out of his way. The dumber ones got their heads smashed in.

After a few days, Theseus arrived at the narrow land bridge that connected the Peloponnese to the northern mainland called Attica. Since this was a natural choke point, it was also prime bandit real estate.

Theseus was strolling through a forest of tall pine trees when he saw a dude dressed like a lumberjack – jeans, flannel shirt, bushy black beard and a cap over his curly hair. Somehow, the guy had bent a fifty-foot pine tree and was pinning its top to the ground with both hands. The man grinned when he saw Theseus.

‘Hello, stranger! My name is Sinis, and over there is my daughter, Perigune.’

A pretty young lady in a flannel dress peeked out from behind a tree. She waved nervously. Her expression said Flee! Please!

Theseus smiled at the lumberjack. ‘Why are you holding a pine tree to the ground?’

‘Oh, it’s just a hobby of mine,’ said Sinis. ‘They call me the Pine Bender!’

‘Yeah, I like to challenge people. Anybody who can hold down a pine tree like I’m doing now can marry my daughter. Nobody yet has been able to do it. You want to give it a try?’

Theseus came closer. He could see Sinis’s limbs trembling. Holding down a fully grown pine tree, even for this dude with lots of muscles and lots of experience, was not easy.

Luckily, Aethra had told Theseus about Sinis, so he knew what to expect.

Sinis was a son of Poseidon. He’d inherited his dad’s super strength and the ability to keep his footing in almost any situation – I guess because Poseidon was the Earthshaker and could make even the roots of the earth tremble. (I didn’t inherit those traits from Poseidon, but I’ll try not to be bitter.)

When Sinis was young, he had amused himself by bending tall trees and then letting them go, catapulting watermelons and cute forest animals into the stratosphere. He was a swell guy that way. Then he realized he could catapult humans. All he had to do was trick them or force them into holding the top of the tree when it was on the ground.

Over the years, he’d perfected his hobby. Sometimes he tied his victims’ hands to the treetop so they couldn’t loosen their grip. Sometimes he bent two trees at once. Then, since his hands were full, he would command Perigune to tie his victim’s left arm to one tree and his right arm to the other. Then Sinis would let both trees go at once. Boy, that was super fun! You never knew how much of the victim would fly off in either direction.

‘Interesting challenge,’ Theseus said. ‘Theoretically speaking, what happens if I de
cline?’

‘Oh, well then, theoretically speaking, you’d be insulting my daughter’s beauty, so I’d insist on an even tougher challenge. I’d tie you to two pine trees, one to each wrist. I’d force you to hold them both down as long as you could. And when you eventually got tired – ’

‘Gotcha,’ Theseus said. ‘So I can hold down one pine tree for a chance at the beautiful girl. Or I can hold down two pine trees and win certain death.’

Sinis laughed. ‘Good luck with that. See all those skeletons littered among the pine cones?’

‘I was wondering about those.’

‘Those are the guys who declined my challenge. I’ve never lost in hand-to-hand combat, so fighting me is futile. And if you try to run … well, I’m deadly accurate up to three miles with a pine-tree catapult. I can peg you with a flying boulder or a moose.’

‘I have no desire to be hit by a flying moose,’ Theseus said. ‘I’m up for the one-tree challenge!’

Theseus put his club aside. He approached the Pine Bender and sized up the situation. He wasn’t as strong as Sinis. He didn’t have the ability to root himself to the earth. He didn’t even have a plan. But he glanced over at the girl Perigune and his distractible brain started racing. A girl in the trees. A girl. A tree. Trees have spirits. I’m hungry. Wow, Sinis smells bad. A dryad. I bet the dryads in these trees are really tired of getting bent. Hey, there’s a chipmunk.

‘Any day now,’ Sinis muttered, sweat trickling down his neck.

Theseus touched the branches of the pine with his fingertips. He thought, Hello, in there. You want to get rid of this Pine Bender guy? Help me out.

He wasn’t sure if the dryad heard him, but he gripped the top of the tree.

‘Got it?’ Sinis asked. ‘I want to be sure you have a firm grip.’

He was very courteous to people he was about to murder.

‘Yeah,’ Theseus said. ‘I got it.’

‘Okay, but just for safety …’ Sinis carefully took one hand off the tree. From his back pocket he pulled a leather strap. He tied Theseus’s left wrist to the tree, which isn’t easy to do one-handed, but Sinis had had a lot of practice. ‘There you go. Now you are properly buckled in for your trip. See you!’

Sinis jumped back. He expected the pine to spring skyward as usual, launching Theseus into orbit, probably minus his left arm.

The tree didn’t move. Theseus held it firmly to the ground.

Maybe the spirit of the tree helped him. Also, Theseus was strong and smart. He knew how to apply the least amount of pressure to get the maximum results – like, for instance, to send a massive boulder rolling through a village.

He kept his feet firmly planted. His arms weren’t even straining.

‘So,’ he said, ‘how long do I have to hold this before I win your daughter?’

Sinis overcame his shock. ‘I – I’m amazed you’re still managing, little man. But you’re only human. Eventually you’ll run out of strength. Then you’ll die.’

‘Oh, I see,’ said Theseus. ‘In that case, I’d better get comfortable. This safety strap really chafes.’

He took one hand off the tree. The tree still went nowhere. He drew his sword and began sawing off the leather strap.

‘What are you doing?’ Sinis cried. ‘If you think you can just step away from this challenge –’

‘No, no. I’ll keep holding the tree.’ Theseus sheathed his sword. He continued to hold the pine with one hand. ‘I can do this all day. How long do you want to wait?’

Theseus was betting that Sinis, being a demigod, was just as ADHD as he was.

Sure enough, in about ten seconds Sinis got impatient. ‘This is impossible! What’s your secret?’

‘It’s all about the grip,’ Theseus said. ‘Come here, I’ll show you.’

‘Okay,’ Theseus said. ‘See how the top of my hand is positioned?’

Sinis couldn’t see through the pine needles unless he leaned over and looked directly down. When he did, Theseus let go of the tree. The pine sprang up, smacking Sinis in the face and knocking him out cold.

Hours later, the Pine Bender woke from a dream about flying moose. He was groggy. His mouth tasted like a Christmas tree. He realized he was lying spreadeagled on the forest floor.

Theseus’s grinning face hovered above him. ‘Good, you’re up!’

‘Listen, I was thinking about that two-tree challenge. I thought you could show me how it’s done.’

Sinis struggled. His wrists were firmly bound. ‘What have you done?’

‘Well, I’ve got two pine trees bent to the ground right behind your head. I’m holding them both down with my foot. Your wrists are tied to them, so, if I were you, I’d get up and get ready.’

Sinis yelped. He struggled to rise, which wasn’t easy with his hands tied. He had to do a sort of crab-walk somersault to get a grip on the trees. ‘You can’t do this!’

‘Whoops!’ Theseus stepped back, leaving Sinis to hold the pines.

Sinis had been bending trees all his life. He was super strong and could keep his footing in almost any situation. But now he was groggy and in pain. The two trees seemed to be actively fighting him, straining to be free. The pines felt … angry.

‘How?’ Sinis wailed. ‘How could you possibly hold down both trees and tie me up?’

The bandit’s daughter peeped out from behind a tree. ‘Hi, Dad.’

‘Sorry, Dad. This handsome man won your contest, so I belong to him now. Bye!’

Theseus picked up his club. He and Perigune walked away, hand in hand, while Sinis screamed behind them.

‘You sure you’re okay with this, Perigune?’ Theseus asked.

‘Ugh, yes. My dad is horrible! It was only a matter of time before he flung me into the sky.’

‘I wonder how long he can hold down those trees.’

From behind them came a stifled wail, followed by the whoosh of two trees snapping upward and a sound like a five-hundred-pound bug hitting a windshield.

‘Not long,’ Perigune said. ‘You want to get some dinner? I’m starving.’

They walked to the nearest town and spent a few nice days together. Some stories say that Perigune even had kids with Theseus, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going to gossip. After a while, Theseus explained that he had to keep travelling. He had business in Athens. Perigune had seen enough of the road and evil bandits, so she decided to stay put and make a new life for herself. They parted as BFFs.

After another lovely day in the wastelands, Theseus came to a village called Crommyon. In the town square, a crowd of locals was wailing and sobbing. Theseus wondered if they were upset because they had to live in a village called Crommyon. Then he realized they were gathered around the mangled body of an old man.

‘What happened to him?’ Theseus asked.

A boy looked up with tears in his eyes. ‘It’s that old lady and her pig!’

‘Phaea!’ the boy shouted. ‘She lives out in the wilderness with her massive man-eating sow.’

‘They’re both monsters!’ a woman cried. ‘That sow has destroyed the entire countryside. It eats our crops, kills our farmers, knocks down our houses. Then that old lady Phaea comes along afterwards and loots our valuables.’

‘I can fix that,’ Theseus said. ‘Let me kill the old lady and her pig.’

That may not sound like the most heroic promise, but the townspeople gasped and grovelled before Theseus as if he’d dropped from Mount Olympus.

He did look sort of like a god. He had a huge bronze club, an expensive sword and incredibly nice shoes.

‘Who are you, O stranger?’ one guy asked.

‘I am Theseus! Son of
Aegeus, king of Athens! Also son of Poseidon, god of the sea! Also son of Aethra, princess of Troezen.’

The peasants fell silent as they tried to do the maths.

‘Never mind!’ Theseus said. ‘I will kill the bandit Phaea and her pet monster, the Crommyonian Sow!’

‘Oh, please don’t call it that,’ said a farmer. ‘We don’t want our town to be immortalized because of a man-eating pig.’

And so the pig was forever after called the Crommyonian Sow, and that’s the only thing the village is remembered for.

Theseus roamed the countryside, searching for the offending porker. She wasn’t hard to find. Theseus simply followed the trail of dead bodies, trampled crops and burning farmsteads. The sow was as big as a barn, which was an easy comparison since she was standing in the shell of one, rooting around for dead farmers. Her mottled grey hide was covered with sword-size bristles. Her hooves were caked with splattered gore. And her smell … wow. Even from across the field, the stench almost knocked Theseus out. He doubted he’d ever be able to eat bacon again.

‘Hey, pig!’ he yelled. ‘Tasty, yum, yum!’

Those were the magic words.

The pig turned, saw a juicy morsel of hero and charged.

I can tell you from personal experience, there is nothing cute or funny about a charging giant pig. When you see those mean dark eyes and that toothy snout coming at you (oh, yes, they have teeth), all you want to do is run screaming to the nearest pig-proof bunker.

Theseus held his ground. At the last second, he dodged to the left and stuck the pig with his sword. The sow squealed in rage. She turned and charged again. This time Theseus dodged to the right.

Another thing about giant pigs: they aren’t very smart and they can’t turn worth crud. Don’t ever try to parallel-park one. It won’t work.

Theseus played matador until the pig was exhausted and bleeding from so many wounds, it just collapsed in the field. Then Theseus walked over, hefted his bronze club and said nighty-night to the Crommyonian Sow.

Theseus was wiping the pig blood off his club when he heard a shriek.

A fat woman in a sackcloth dress was hobbling towards him, a large battleaxe in her hands. Her skin was mottled grey. Her hair stuck up in a dark thicket of bristles.


Dragons

The dragons of Greek mythology were serpentine monsters. They include the serpent-like Drakons, the marine-dwelling Cetea and the she-monster Dracaenae. Homer describes the dragons with wings and legs.

  • The Colchian Dragon, an unsleeping dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece. , a dragon which terrorised Salamis before being slain, tamed or driven out by Cychreus. , female dragon. 's dragons, a pair of winged dragons that drew Demeter's chariot and, after having been given as a gift, that of Triptolemus.
  • Giantomachian dragon, a dragon that was thrown at Athena during the Giant war. She threw it into the sky where it became the constellation Draco.
  • The Ismenian Dragon, a dragon which guarded the sacred spring of Ares near Thebes it was slain by Cadmus. , a serpent-like dragon which guarded the golden apples of immortality of the Hesperides. , also known as King Hydra, a many-headed, serpent-like creature that guarded an Underworld entrance beneath Lake Lerna. It was destroyed by Heracles, in his second Labour. Son of Typhon and Echidna.
  • Maeonian Drakon, a dragon that lived in the kingdom of Lydia and was killed by Damasen. 's dragons, a pair of flying dragons that pulled Medea's chariot. Born from the blood of the Titans.
  • Nemean dragon, a dragon that guarded Zeus' sacred grove in Nemea.
  • Ophiogenean dragon, a dragon that guarded Artemis' sacred grove in Mysia.
  • Pitanian dragon, a dragon in Pitane, Aeolis, that was turned to stone by the gods. , a four-legged insect with filmy wings and a dragon's head. , a dragon which guarded the oracle of Delphi it was slain by Apollo.
  • Rhodian dragons, serpents that inhabited the island of Rhodes they were killed by Phorbus.
  • Thespian dragon, a dragon that terrorized the city of Thespiae in Boeotia. dragons, a pair of dragons or giant serpents from Tenedos sent by various gods to kill Laocoön and his sons in order to stop him from telling his people that the Wooden Horse was a trap.

Drakons

Drakons ("δράκους" in Greek, "dracones" in Latin) were giant serpents, sometimes possessing multiple heads or able to breathe fire (or even both), but most just spit deadly poison. They are usually depicted without wings.

  • The Ethiopian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent native to the lands of Ethiopia. They killed elephants, and rival the longest-lived animals. They mentioned in the work of Aelian, On The Characteristics Of Animals (Template:Lang-el) Ε]
  • The Indian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent which could fight and strangle the elephants of India. Ζ]
  • The Laconian Drakon was one of the most fearsome of all the drakons.

Cetea

Cetea were sea monsters. They were usually featured in myths of a hero rescuing a sacrificial princess.

  • The Ethiopian Cetus was a sea monster sent by Poseidon to ravage Ethiopia and devour Andromeda. It was slain by Perseus.
  • The Trojan Cetus was a sea monster that plagued Troy before being slain by Heracles.

Dracaenae

The Dracaenae were monsters that had the upper body of a beautiful woman and the lower body of any sort of dragon. Echidna, the mother of monsters, and Ceto, the mother of sea-monsters, are two famous dracaenae. Some Dracaenae were even known to have had in place of two legs, one (or two) serpent tail.

    , a dracaena that was charged by Cronus with the job of guarding the gates of Tartarus she was slain by Zeus when he rescued the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires from their prison. (or Keto), a marine goddess who was the mother of all sea monsters as well as Echidna and other dragons and monsters. , wife of Typhon and mother of monsters. , a dracaena sent by Apollo to ravage the kingdom of Argos as punishment for the death of his infant son Linos killed by Coraebus. , a dracaena that was the lover of Poseidon, transformed by Circe into a multi-headed monster that fed on sailors on vessels passing between her and Charybdis.
  • Scythian Dracaena, the Dracaena queen of Scythia she stole Geryon's cattle that Heracles was herding through the region and agreed to return them on condition he mate with her. , a draceana that lived on a mountain near Delphi, eating shepherds and passing travellers she was pushed off the cliff by Eurybarus.

Descriptions of the Chimera

The Chimera was one of the most outlandish monsters in Greek mythology, but surprisingly its description changed very little over the course of the centuries. While other monsters like Charybdis and Medusa evolved over time, the Chimera’s image was remarkably consistent.

While the Greek word chimaira referred to a female goat, from a very early time it was clear that the monstrous Chimera was much more than a common animal.

The earliest written description comes from Homer’s Iliad, in which he described the beast as “lion-fronted and snake behind” with “a goat in the middle.” Homer also said the monster breathed bright, hot fire.

Hesiod added the detail that the monster had three heads, each corresponding to a different body type. The types of animals contained within the Chimera’s hybrid form remained consistent.

Artistic representations agreed with Hesiod. As early as the 7th century BC, the Chimera was a popular image in art, particularly in Corinth.

Artists included the three heads, each coming from the part of the body that corresponded with the animal type. Rather than growing near one another the creature had a typical lion’s head, a goat’s head growing out of its back, and a snake’s head at the end of its tail.

Although the Chimera was almost universally described as female, art of the creature shows it with a mane around its lion’s head. This was typical in Greek art, where lionesses were shown with a mane.

The Chimera can still be identified as female in art, however, because its ears are showing. The convention in the art of the time was to show females with shorter, sparser manes than the long ones typical of males.

The Monster’s Defeat

The Chimera appeared in the story of the hero Bellerophon. Like many heroes in Greek mythology, he had been born into royalty but exiled after an unspecified crime.

Bellerophon was welcomed into the home of Proetus, the king of Tiryns. More trouble came, however, in the form of the king’s wife.

The queen was attracted to the young prince, but Bellerophon rejected her advances. Embarrassed and scorned, the queen accused the innocent man of attempting to assault her.

Proetus could not kill a guest outright without violating the sacred laws of hospitality. He sent Bellerophon to his father-in-law with a note detailing the crime and demanding justice.

His wife’s father, King Iobates, did not read the note immediately, however. He too had welcomed Bellerophon as a guest and could not order his death.

Rather than send him on, however, Iobates found a loophole. He could not kill Bellerophon himself, but he could send the exiled prince on a quest that would almost certainly result in his death.

The neighboring land of Caria had been all but destroyed by the fire-breathing Chimera. Iobates gave Bellerophon the task of killing the monster, certain that the supposed criminal would be killed in the attempt.

Bellerophon may well have died if a chance encounter had not provided guidance. He came across a seer who advised him to capture the flying horse Pegasus to aid him in his quest.

The hero followed the seer’s instructions and, with Athena’s aid, received a bridle that would tame the wild Pegasus. He became the first person to ever ride the majestic winged horse.

Bellerophon and Pegasus flew to Caria to confront the Chimera.

The flying horse helped Bellerophon to dodge the monster’s fiery breath, but he could not manage to damage it. The Chimera’s hide was too thick for arrows to pierce and even his spear did not break its skin.

The spear’s failure to stab the Chimera gave Bellerophon an idea, though. While the weapon’s point could not harm the monster, its material might.

Urging Pegasus to top speed, Bellerophon flew directly at the Chimera’s leonine head. He aimed his spear at the monster’s open mouth, even though he knew he could not damage it.

Pegasus veered away at the last moment, leaving the lead tip of Bellerophon’s spear lodged deep in the Chimera’s throat. When the monster attempted to breathe fire at them, the lead melted and blocked its airway.

The Chimera suffocated on the soft metal of Bellerophon’s spear. The monster had been killed even though not a single drop of its blood was spilled.

Rationalizing the Chimera

The fire-breathing monster with three heads and the bodies of three entirely unrelated animals was considered fantastical even by the standards of ancient mythology.

It was not long before attempts were made to rationalize the creature and its incredible attributes.

This was not unusual in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Writers and philosophers of the time were worldly and rational enough to know that the monsters of their ancestors were outlandish, and they recognized that the legends were often a mechanism for explaining previously mysterious phenomena.

Cicero, for example, was a proponent of finding logical explanations for the monsters and miracles of ancient mythology. While he and his peers believed in the power of the gods, they doubted the details of heroic tales like that of Bellerophon.

Even when some details of the story were taken as fact, other aspects were seen as part of ancient imagination. One rationalization of the story, for example, accepted the fire-breathing Chimera but found another explanation for the existence of Pegasus:

I reflected that it was panic more than anything which had induced the celebrated Pegasus to take to the air, and that the tradition that he had wings was justified because he leapt upward as high as heaven in his fear of being bitten by the fire-breathing Chimaera.

-Apuleius, The Golden Ass 8. 16 ff (trans. Walsh)

One of the most common explanations for the Chimera was that its fiery breath represented a volcano. Pliny the Elder identified a volcano in Lycia as the source of the Chimera’s supposed flames.

Modern researchers can locate the region Pliny the Elder described today based on a nearby temple to Hephaestus, although modern knowledge of geology shows that it was not a volcano that made the lands of Lycia burn.

The region of modern Turkey now known as Yanartas is home to roughly two dozen active natural gas vents.

The burning methane emitted by these vents was used as a landmark for navigators in the ancient world. They still burn today, giving a rational explanation for the monster who breathed flames so strong that they created eternal fires across the land.

A Long Line of Monsters

The Chimera was one of the most memorable monsters in the mythology of ancient Greece.


List of Greek mythological creatures

The dragons of Greek mythology were serpentine monsters. They include the serpent-like Drakons, the marine-dwelling Cetea and the she-monster Dracaenae. Homer describes the dragons with wings and legs.

  • The Colchian Dragon, an unsleeping dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece. , a dragon which terrorised Salamis before being slain, tamed or driven out by Cychreus. , female dragon. 's dragons, a pair of winged dragons that drew Demeter's chariot and, after having been given as a gift, that of Triptolemus.
  • Giantomachian dragon, a dragon that was thrown at Athena during the Giant war. She threw it into the sky where it became the constellation Draco.
  • The Ismenian Dragon, a dragon which guarded the sacred spring of Ares near Thebes it was slain by Cadmus. , a serpent-like dragon which guarded the golden apples of immortality of the Hesperides. , also known as King Hydra, a many-headed, serpent-like creature that guarded an Underworld entrance beneath Lake Lerna. It was destroyed by Heracles, in his second Labour. Son of Typhon and Echidna.
  • Maeonian Drakon, a dragon that lived in the kingdom of Lydia and was killed by Damasen. 's dragons, a pair of flying dragons that pulled Medea's chariot. Born from the blood of the Titans.
  • Nemean dragon, a dragon that guarded Zeus' sacred grove in Nemea.
  • Ophiogenean dragon, a dragon that guarded Artemis' sacred grove in Mysia.
  • Pitanian dragon, a dragon in Pitane, Aeolis, that was turned to stone by the gods. , a four-legged insect with filmy wings and a dragon's head. , a dragon which guarded the oracle of Delphi it was slain by Apollo.
  • Rhodian dragons, serpents that inhabited the island of Rhodes they were killed by Phorbus.
  • Thespian dragon, a dragon that terrorized the city of Thespiae in Boeotia. dragons, a pair of dragons or giant serpents from Tenedos sent by various gods to kill Laocoön and his sons in order to stop him from telling his people that the Wooden Horse was a trap.

Drakons Edit

Drakons ("δράκους" in Greek, "dracones" in Latin) were giant serpents, sometimes possessing multiple heads or able to breathe fire (or even both), but most just spit deadly poison. They are usually depicted without wings.

  • The Ethiopian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent native to the lands of Ethiopia. They killed elephants, and rival the longest-lived animals. They mentioned in the work of Aelian, On The Characteristics Of Animals (Greek: Περί ζώων ιδιότητος ) [7]
  • The Indian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent which could fight and strangle the elephants of India. [8]
  • The Laconian Drakon was one of the most fearsome of all the drakons.

Cetea Edit

Cetea were sea monsters. They were usually featured in myths of a hero rescuing a sacrificial princess.

  • The Ethiopian Cetus was a sea monster sent by Poseidon to ravage Ethiopia and devour Andromeda. It was slain by Perseus.
  • The Trojan Cetus was a sea monster that plagued Troy before being slain by Heracles.

Dracaenae Edit

The Dracaenae were monsters that had the upper body of a beautiful woman and the lower body of any sort of dragon. Echidna, the mother of monsters, and Ceto, the mother of sea-monsters, are two famous dracaenae. Some Dracaenae were even known to have had in place of two legs, one (or two) serpent tail.

    , a dracaena that was charged by Cronus with the job of guarding the gates of Tartarus she was slain by Zeus when he rescued the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires from their prison. (or Keto), a marine goddess who was the mother of all sea monsters as well as Echidna and other dragons and monsters. , wife of Typhon and mother of monsters. , a dracaena sent by Apollo to ravage the kingdom of Argos as punishment for the death of his infant son Linos killed by Coraebus. , a dracaena that was the lover of Poseidon, transformed by Circe into a multi-headed monster that fed on sailors on vessels passing between her and Charybdis.
  • Scythian Dracaena, the Dracaena queen of Scythia she stole Geryon's cattle that Heracles was herding through the region and agreed to return them on condition he mate with her. , a draceana that lived on a mountain near Delphi, eating shepherds and passing travellers she was pushed off the cliff by Eurybarus.

Automatons, or Colossi, were men/women, animals and monsters crafted out of metal and made animate in order to perform various tasks. They were created by the divine smith, Hephaestus. The Athenian inventor Daedalus also manufactured automatons.

  • The Hippoi Kabeirikoi, four bronze horse-shaped automatons crafted by Hephaestus to draw the chariot of the Cabeiri.
  • The Keledones, singing maidens sculpted out of gold by Hephaestus.
  • The Khalkotauroi also known as the Colchis Bulls, fire-breathing bulls created by Hephaestus as a gift for Aeëtes.
  • The Kourai Khryseai, golden maidens sculpted by Hephaestus to attend him in his household. , a giant man made out of bronze to protect Europa.
    /Headless men (Greek ἀκέφαλος akephalos, plural ἀκέφαλοι akephaloi, from ἀ- a-, "without", and κεφαλή kephalé, "head") are humans without a head, with their mouths and eyes being in their breasts. , a nation of all-female warriors.
      , a queen of the Amazons. (Ἄελλα), an Amazon who was killed by Heracles. (Ἀλκιβίη), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Diomedes at Troy. (Ἁλκή), an Amazonian warrior (Ἀντάνδρη), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Achilles at Troy. (Ἀντιόπη), a daughter of Ares and sister of Hippolyta. (Ἀρετώ), an Amazon. (Ἀστερία), an Amazon who was killed by Heracles. (Βρέμουσα), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Idomeneus at Troy. (Κελαινώ), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Heracles. (Εὐρυπύλη), an Amazon leader who invaded Ninus and Babylonia. (Ἱππολύτη), a queen of Amazons and daughter of Ares. (Ἱπποθόη), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Achilles at Troy. (Ἰφιτώ), an Amazon who served under Hippolyta. (Λαμπεδώ), an Amazon queen who ruled with her sister Marpesia. (Μαρπεσία), an Amazon queen who ruled with her sister Lampedo. (Μελανίππη), a daughter of Ares and sister of Hippolyta and Antiope. (Μολπαδία), an Amazon who killed Antiope. (Μύρινα), a queen of the Amazons. (Ὠρείθυια), an Amazon queen. (Ὀτρήρα), an Amazon queen, consort of Ares and mother of Hippolyta. (Πανταρίστη), an Amazon who fought with Hippolyta against Heracles. (Πενθεσίλεια), an Amazon queen who fought in the Trojan War on the side of Troy. (Θάληστρις), a queen of the Amazons.
      , a Lapith killed by the centaur Rhoetus at the Centauromachy. , a Lapith who fought against the centaurs at the Centauromachy. , a Lapith chieftain of Larissa.
    • Euagrus or Evagrus, a Lapith killed by the centaur Rhoetus at the Centauromachy. , king of the Lapiths. , king of the Lapiths.

    In addition to the famous deities, the ancient Greeks also worshiped a number of deified human beings. For example, Alabandus at Alabanda, Tenes at Tenedos, Leucothea and her son Palaemon were worshiped throughout Greece. [9]


    The Crommyonian Sow

    Theseus Fiighting the Crommyon Sow and Phaea (Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 440-430 BC. From Vulci)

    In Greek myth, the Crommyonian sow was a great she-pig which lived on the Isthmus of Corinth and tormented travelers until the Athenian hero Theseus came along and killed her. In some tales the sow was a lone wild animal, but in other stories she had a human woman named Phaea associated with her: it is unclear whether this woman was young or old, lovely or haggard, a rude swineheard or a great sorceress. A few sources indicate she herself might have been a shapeshifter who became the pig. Whatever the case, Theseus slew her in addition to her sow. The Borghese Gallery has a very strange relief sculpture by Vincenzo Pacetti which portrays Theseus handling Phaea’s nude (human) corpse and looking perplexed.

    It’s kind of unclear what happened here. Of all the children of Echidna, the Crommyonian sow seems to get the shortest shrift in art and literature. The sow vanishes from almost everything made after the fifth century BC. There are numerous red and black vases depicting Theseus fighting the great pig and/or her associated sorceress, so it seems like the story was important to Athenians. However the full version of this myth seems to have been lost in the mists of time and all we have are allusions and brief conflicting accounts [this sentence could apply to just about everything—ed]. Strabo asserts that the sow was the mother of the great Calydonian boar, whose mythical life and death engendered much strife, chauvinism, murder, and grief in the pantheon of Classical heroes. So perhaps, like Echidna, the sow found her greatest fame through her descendants.

    A Wild Sow with her Shoats

    I am going to go with Strabo and assume that the Calydonian Boar has a place in my musings about Echidna (being her grandson and all). The boar was sent by Artemis to obtain revenge on King Oeneus the winemaker who forgot to honor the goddess with ritual sacrifices. The monster destroyed the king’s vineyards and murdered his subjects, but it was only when Oeneus gathered the heroes of his age and sent them out (with his beloved son Meleager) to kill the boar that the virgin goddess obtained her true and terrible revenge. The machinations behind the story are long and complicated (and sad), but the story of the hunt of the Calydonian boar suits my Halloween theme for an entirely different reason. This was a favorite theme of sarcophagus makers who enjoyed sculpting beautiful armed nudes in the passion of the hunt. Beneath is a gallery of Calydonian boar themed sarcophagi from the lost classical world. The makers knew the story’s terrible fatalist tragedy (which I am not telling you) and they found it a most fitting subject for funerary art:

    Roman marble sarcophagus from Vicovaro (municipality northeast of Rome), carved with the Calydonian Hunt (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome)

    Attic sarcophagos. Pentelic marble. Found at Ayios Ioannis, Patras.

    Greek Sarcophagus of the Calydonian Boar Hunt (Piraeus Archeological Museum, Athens)

    Sculpted neo attic sarcophagus representing the Calydonian boar hunt with Atalanta and Meleager in the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum (Second quarter of the 3rd c. AD)

    A Sarcophagus with the Calydonian Boar Hunt (provenance unknown)

    Etruscan cinerary urn with boar hunt, 2nd C BCE, Volterra Museo Guarnacci


    The Monstrous Giant Typhon

    When Zeus and the Olympians overthrew the Titans, they probably thought they had defeated the worst enemies they would face. Unfortunately for them, their troubles were just beginning.

    During the war against the Titans, they had received aid from Gaia. The great mother goddess of the earth had a long history of supporting rebellions.

    First, she had convinced her son Chronus to take power from his father, Uranus. Then she had turned on Chronus when Zeus came to challenge him and lent support to her grandchildren.

    The reason Gaia was so supportive of these insurrections was, oddly enough, because of her protective, maternal nature.

    As the mother of all things, the Titans were not her only offspring. Many of Gaia’s children were much more monstrous than the first generation of gods who ruled them.

    Uranus had imprisoned six of her most terrible children, the three Cyclopes and the three Hechatonchieres, far from her sight. The action had so angered her that she had spurred the Titans to rebel.

    She gave Chronus the weapon he would use against his father and helped set the trap that would enable the younger god to win. With one of her children on the throne, she thought she could secure freedom for the others.

    When Chronus became king, though, he did not free his siblings. He became as obsessed with maintaining his power as his father before him had been.

    Gaia’s anger shifted to the new ruler who continued to keep her children imprisoned. She wouldn’t have to wait long for an opportunity to once again support the overthrow of a king.

    When Zeus waged war against Chronus and the other Titans, Gaia advised him to free the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchieres to help with the war effort. He took her advice and gained six very powerful allies.

    In fact, it was the Cyclopes who gave Zeus his thunderbolts.

    The great weapons they forged and their physical strength helped to win the war and give power to the new gods of Olympus.

    Zeus, however, sought to punish his enemies. He drove the Titans far into Tartarus and imprisoned them there behind massive gates, with the Hecatonchieres as their guards.

    Gaia again had a reason to be furious with the god who ruled as king. Six of her children had been freed, but at the cost of many more being imprisoned in their place.

    As the new ruling gods established their home on Olympus, Gaia called more of her children to avenge their siblings. She rallied the Gigantes, the giants, to her cause.

    Again the Olympians found themselves embroiled in a war. The Gigantomachy was the first great test of Zeus’s kingship.

    The Olympians emerged victorious once more, killing the majority of the giants while the rest fled into hiding. In addition to the children who were still imprisoned, Gaia now had to mourn the additional children she had lost.

    She had one more child she could send against the gods, though.

    Typhon had been born from her love of Tartarus, and like most children of the underworld he was a monster that could strike fear into the hearts of even the greatest gods.

    Typhon was sometimes confused with the Gigantes or called their leader, but in truth he was a much more powerful and frightening creature than any of the giants.

    He was larger than even the greatest of the Gigantes, standing so tall that his head scraped against the clouds. The great wings on his back could stir up winds that destroyed anything in their path.

    In place of legs he had two coiled serpents’ tails. Snakes also grew from his one hundred hands in place of fingers and rose from around his shoulders.

    The great Typhon had one hundred heads. Only one was that of a man the others were every type of beast and monster imaginable.

    Those hundred heads were constantly hungry, and each only ate whatever animal it resembled.

    Fire spewed forth from his many mouths. He had the ability to heat rocks until they glowed red hot so he could throw them at his enemies, each of his one hundred hands tossing fiery missiles in a different direction.

    His heads screamed at each other, the discordant cries of a hundred animals echoing out over the entire earth.

    Of all Gaia’s children, Typhon was the one who inspired the most fear, and who would prove the most difficult to beat.

    Battle with Zeus

    The earliest records of the battle between Zeus and Typhus describe an easy victory by the god-king.

    On his throne atop Mount Olympus, Zeus had no idea that another great battle was headed his way.

    Luckily for the gods, their king realized at the last moment that Typhus was approaching.

    Zeus picked up his aegis and thunderbolts and lept down from Olympus, meeting the monster head-on.

    The earth shook and seas boiled. The sky lit up with flashes of lightning and the flames of Typhus’s breath.

    Despite his wondrous strength, Typhus was no match for Zeus.

    The king of the gods struck him with a thunderbolt, causing the great monster to flee as fire consumed him. As he ran, a swathe of the earth was burned to ashes.

    Finally, Typhon fell. The fires caused by Zeus’s lightning burns so hot that they melted the stones of the earth around him. Zeus cast the monster into Tartarus, finally securing his throne for good.

    A later Roman story, however, tells a much more complicated version of the legend.

    According to Nonnus, Zeus had hidden his thunderbolts in a cave. The smoke they produced allowed Typhon to track him, catching the unsuspecting god far away from help on Olympus.

    Typhon stole Zeus’s greatest weapons and began his assault on Olympus. Against the great monster and the power of Zeus’s thunderbolts, the gods were forced to flee.

    Zeus tried to fight back against Typhus, but without his weapons was overcome. Typhus stole the sinews from Zeus’s legs, rendering the king virtually helpless.

    The Olympians had fled their palaces, but the rustic gods and mortals remained. Cadmus, considered the first of the great heroes of ancient Greece, and the woodland god Pan stepped forward with a daring plan to rescue their king and save the universe.

    Cadmus disguised himself as a shepherd and played Pan’s flute. Hearing the music, Typhus entrusted the thunderbolts to Gaia while he set out in search of it.

    Typhon loved music, so he challenged the shepherd to a contest, the prize being the choice of a goddess as a wife. Cadmus would play the reed pipes, while Typhus fashioned a great bellowing horn from the clouds.

    Cadmus responded that his pipes were a poor instrument, and for a real contest he should play the lyre. Sadly, he had no sinews with which to string one.

    Typhon had so fully fallen under the spell of Pan’s magical pipes that he immediately fetched the sinews of Zeus so he could hear more.

    While the monster was distracted, Zeus was able to crawl to where he had left the thunderbolts and steal them back.

    When Cadmus stopped playing Pan’s magical flute, Typhon realized he had been tricked. He ran to where he had hidden the thunderbolts and flew into a rage when he found them gone.

    He rampaged around the earth, burning trees and killing most of the animals. Seas and rivers were boiled away and fertile land reduced to dust and sand.

    His rampage lasted throughout the night, while Zeus waited and restored his legs. Nike (Victory) visited the god and told him he must stand tall to defend his throne and his people.

    When dawn came, Zeus shouted a battle cry that could be heard around the world.

    Typhon threw boulders at the king until they formed mountains, but Zeus’s thunderbolts broke them. The monster threw so many trees that entire forests were uprooted, but Zeus deflected them all.

    He tried to shoot water at Zeus to neutralize the power of the thunderbolts but was unsuccessful.

    As the battle raged, Zeus was able to use shards of frozen air to slice the one hundred hands of Typhon off one by one. More were burned off by lightning, as were many of his heads.

    The four winds joined the fight, pelting Tyhon with missiles of frozen hailstones.

    Slowly, Zeus wore the great giant down until he fell, burned and frozen.

    Zeus mocked the monster and buried him under the hills of Sicily.

    With the defeat of Typhon, Zeus secured his throne on Olympus for good. The gods returned and never again faced such a major threat to their rule.

    Gaia was done sending her children to assault Olympus. She had lost too many children in her attempts and settled into protecting those that remained instead of risking further death.

    Typhon Imprisoned

    Some said that Typhon was thrown into Tartarus. In the deepest pit of the underworld he tortured the wicked.

    It was even said that Typhon, who could not win the rule of the universe, became the ruler of the pits of Hades instead.

    In Tartarus, he was still able to influence the world of the living. Great storms and strong winds that came out of the gates of the underworld were a legacy of the monster’s power.

    Homer and Hesiod claimed that the monster had been buried beneath the legendary land of the Arimoi.

    The Arimoi were a mythical race whose lands lay beyond the great expanse of Oceanus. Their lands, probably the location of the gates of Tartarus, were shrouded in mists and darkness.

    One of the most popular theories about where Typhon ended up, however, said that he was entombed under Mount Etna.

    As Mediterranean Europe’s most active and largest volcano, Mount Etna has been associated with fire and earthquakes since the region was first inhabited. For that reason the mountain, and the island of Sicily where it lies, was a place associated with monsters.

    While the volcanic soil made Sicily a fertile and prosperous island, the Greeks were well aware of the potential for its destruction at any time.

    He [Typhon] was burnt to ashes and his strength blasted from him by the lightning bolt. And now, a helpless and a sprawling bulk, he lies hard by the narrows of the sea, pressed down beneath the roots of Aitna (Etna) while on the topmost summit Hephaistos (Hephaestus) sits and hammers the molten ore. There, one day, shall burst forth rivers of fire, with savage jaws devouring the level fields of Sikelia (Sicily), land of fair fruit–such boiling rage shall Typhon, although charred by the blazing lightning of Zeus, send spouting forth with hot jets of appalling, fire-breathing surge.

    -Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 363 ff (trans. Weir Smyth)

    Typhon’s powers were very in keeping with volcanic eruption.

    He blew fire from many places at once with such force and intensity that he could melt rocks. The burning boulders he sent flying from his one hundred hands would also be a familiar sight to anyone who had witnessed an eruption.

    The story of his battle with Zeus and the large-scale destruction it caused could be a reference to a particularly violent volcanic event from the past. Major eruptions can burn huge swathes of the landscape in a matter of hours and kill everything in their wake, just as Typhus had burned the earth and destroyed animals as he fled from Zeus.

    Even the storms that the gods raised can be associated with vulcanism. Clouds of ash and hot, swirling winds can cause as much death and destruction around a volcano as fire.

    Although he had long since been defeated and buried, Typhon was still strong enough to cause death and suffering in the world.

    The Father of Monsters

    Although he had been defeated and imprisoned, Typhus still became the father of many children.

    His consort was Echidna, a terrible serpentine woman who lived in a cave at the ends of the earth.

    Like their parents, the children of Typhon and Echidna were fierce monsters who created havoc and destruction wherever they went.

    This list of Typhon’s children grew over time. As new myths were written and old ones changed, more and more of the legendary enemies of the gods and heroes were considered to be children of Typhon.

      – The enormous multi-headed dog became the guardian of the gates of the underworld and featured in many myths. Like his father, he had the ability to breathe fire from each of his heads.
    • Orthrus – Another dog with several heads, he watched over the cattle that belonged to the giant Geryon. He was killed by Heracles when the hero was sent to steal one of the cattle.
    • The Lernaean Hydra – The many-headed snake was another creature killed by Heracles in his famous twelve labors. Unlike its father and siblings, it had the ability to regenerate its heads when they were removed.
    • The Chimera – This fire-breathing beast was part lion and part goat with the tail, and often additional heads, of a snake. It was defeated by Bellerophon with help from Pegasus.
    • Ladon – According to some sources, the great dragon who guarded the apples of the Hesperides was one of Typhon’s children.
    • The Caucasian Eagle – The giant bird, known for its torture of Prometheus, was considered Typhon’s child in some later writings.
    • The Sphynx – This hybrid animal, famous for its riddle, was popular in the mythologies of many cultures. The Greek version of the sphynx was generally seen as the most deadly and dangerous, but its riddle was solved by Oedipus.
    • The Namean Lion – Another monster killed by Heracles, its strong hide became one of the hero’s defining symbols.
    • The Crommyonian Sow – Slaying this monstrous pig was one of the early adventures of Theseus.
    • The Gorgon – A writer in the 1st century BC claimed that Typhon fathered the first Gorgon, before Medusa and her sisters existed. Its head was on Zeus’s aegis.
    • The Colchian Dragon – The same writer listed the guardian of the famous Golden Fleece as another child of Typhon and Echidna.
    • The Harpies – While they were typically said to be the offspring of Electra, at least one source named their father as Typhon.
    • Laocoon’s Serpents – The unnamed water snakes that attacked Laocoon and his sons at the end of the Trojan War were also said to be children of Typhon.

    Typhon may have been defeated fairly quickly, but through his children he would continue to torment both gods and men for many ages.

    His children carried many of his attributes. Some had many heads, some breathed fire, many were serpentine.

    But whatever their forms, one thing they all had in common was their ferocity. Fighting the children of Typhon would test many of the greatest heroes, particularly sons of Zeus, long after their father ceased to be a threat to the gods.

    Typhon in the Near East

    Many of the Greek writers claimed that Zeus and Typhon met in battle outside of Greece, in the region today referred to as the Near East.

    The destruction caused by their battle explained the dry landscape and harsh terrain of the area. Places like Syria were familiar to the well-traveled Greeks and these foreign lands were thought to be the home of many of their legendary monsters.

    The link between Typhon and the Near East extends beyond the landscape, though. Evidence from the mythologies of Mesopotamia and the surrounding cultures leads historians to believe that the story of Typhon, like many of the Greek myths, has its roots there.

    Four of the greatest cultures to rise out of Mesopotamia – Sumer, Babylon, Akkad, and the Hittites – had legends that closely paralleled that of Typhon and his battle with Zeus.

    The Sumerians believed that the earth, Ki, grew the serpent monster Asag to challenge the rule of Ninurta. The monster and Ninurta, who was also a storm god, set fire to the landscape before the god-king finally won.

    The Akkadians also worshiped Ninurta, but the monster he fought in their story was called Anzu. Anzu was a winged monster who could call up terrible wind storms.

    In Babylon, the king of the gods was Marduk. He used his power over storms to fight the chimera-like monster Tiamat.

    The Hittites also had a storm-king god who fought a terrible serpent. Like the account of Nonnus, Illyuanka steals body parts from the god to weaken him.

    In Greek mythology, Typhon is the end of a great succession myth. Uranus was unseated by Chronus, who in turn fell to Zeus, and Zeus had to repel several threats to his own rule.

    In Greece, this cycle only ended when Zeus swallowed Metis, preventing her from ever bearing the son that would someday overthrow him in turn. This cycle of conquest is thought to have its beginnings in the Near East as well.

    These similarities point to a common origin for all these myths, which probably passed on through the oral traditions of many regions before being written down by later cultures.

    By the time the Greek civilization reached its height, the earlier cultures of Mesopotamia had mostly faded away. One Near Easter power remained, however, that was already an ancient one before Homer and Hesiod ever told their tales.

    The Greeks closely identified Typhon with the Egyptian diety Set.

    The Egyptians believed that at the founding of their land they had been ruled by a succession of god-kings. Set, the violent god of storms and wind, was the second to last of these divine rulers.

    He was challenged and eventually defeated by Horus, which ended the great succession myth of the Egyptians. All their pharaohs claimed divine lineage from Horus.

    The Flight into Egypt

    Set, however, was far from the only Roman god associated with the legend of Typhus.

    Later writers, particularly those in the Roman Empire, claimed that the majority of the Olympians had fled to safety when they were surprised by Typhus’s attack on their mountain. Specifically, they fled to Egypt.

    The Greeks and Romans didn’t believe that the gods of Egypt were a wholly separate pantheon. They imagined connections between them and the Olympians and often saw the Egyptian deities as different aspects of the ones they were familiar with.

    These connections were furthered, in their minds, by the similarities between many of the stories and characters the mythologies shared.

    This earliest form of comparative religion helped to create understandings between the cultures, particularly when Egypt and its gods came under the control of Imperial Rome. The Greeks were used to their gods having many epithets and local traditions, so they interpreted much of Egyptian religion as another version of this.


    In The Presence of the Ancient Sulawesi Pig: A Remembering

    It is a remarkable finding that pushes back the history of humans in that part of the world even further and gives archeological evidence for the spread of humans all over that part of the world in regards to timing.

    But just like the famed cave paintings from France and Spain that are full of aurochs and ibex and all manner of animals that clearly inspired awe in the painters because they painted thousands of them. Next to the pig painting there are degraded images of other pigs. The cave system is not well explored yet so who knows what other wonders will be found there. But for the moment we know that the people who painted this pig were absolutely human like you and me and like the painters in Lascaux and Chauvet and elsewhere. They probably found great wonder in the pigs among them and painted them to try to remember them somehow.


    List of Greek mythological creatures

    The dragons of Greek mythology were serpentine monsters. They include the serpent-like Drakons, the marine-dwelling Cetea and the she-monster Dracaenae. Homer describes the dragons with wings and legs.

    • The Colchian Dragon, an unsleeping dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece. , a dragon which terrorised Salamis before being slain, tamed or driven out by Cychreus. , female dragon. 's dragons, a pair of winged dragons that drew Demeter's chariot and, after having been given as a gift, that of Triptolemus.
    • Giantomachian dragon, a dragon that was thrown at Athena during the Giant war. She threw it into the sky where it became the constellation Draco.
    • The Ismenian Dragon, a dragon which guarded the sacred spring of Ares near Thebes it was slain by Cadmus. , a serpent-like dragon which guarded the golden apples of immortality of the Hesperides. , also known as King Hydra, a many-headed, serpent-like creature that guarded an Underworld entrance beneath Lake Lerna. It was destroyed by Heracles, in his second Labour. Son of Typhon and Echidna.
    • Maeonian Drakon, a dragon that lived in the kingdom of Lydia and was killed by Damasen. 's dragons, a pair of flying dragons that pulled Medea's chariot. Born from the blood of the Titans.
    • Nemean dragon, a dragon that guarded Zeus' sacred grove in Nemea.
    • Ophiogenean dragon, a dragon that guarded Artemis' sacred grove in Mysia.
    • Pitanian dragon, a dragon in Pitane, Aeolis, that was turned to stone by the gods. , a four-legged insect with filmy wings and a dragon's head. , a dragon which guarded the oracle of Delphi it was slain by Apollo.
    • Rhodian dragons, serpents that inhabited the island of Rhodes they were killed by Phorbus.
    • Thespian dragon, a dragon that terrorized the city of Thespiae in Boeotia. dragons, a pair of dragons or giant serpents from Tenedos sent by various gods to kill Laocoön and his sons in order to stop him from telling his people that the Wooden Horse was a trap.

    Drakons Edit

    Drakons ("δράκους" in Greek, "dracones" in Latin) were giant serpents, sometimes possessing multiple heads or able to breathe fire (or even both), but most just spit deadly poison. They are usually depicted without wings.

    • The Ethiopian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent native to the lands of Ethiopia. They killed elephants, and rival the longest-lived animals. They mentioned in the work of Aelian, On The Characteristics Of Animals (Greek: Περί ζώων ιδιότητος ) [7]
    • The Indian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent which could fight and strangle the elephants of India. [8]
    • The Laconian Drakon was one of the most fearsome of all the drakons.

    Cetea Edit

    Cetea were sea monsters. They were usually featured in myths of a hero rescuing a sacrificial princess.

    • The Ethiopian Cetus was a sea monster sent by Poseidon to ravage Ethiopia and devour Andromeda. It was slain by Perseus.
    • The Trojan Cetus was a sea monster that plagued Troy before being slain by Heracles.

    Dracaenae Edit

    The Dracaenae were monsters that had the upper body of a beautiful woman and the lower body of any sort of dragon. Echidna, the mother of monsters, and Ceto, the mother of sea-monsters, are two famous dracaenae. Some Dracaenae were even known to have had in place of two legs, one (or two) serpent tail.

      , a dracaena that was charged by Cronus with the job of guarding the gates of Tartarus she was slain by Zeus when he rescued the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires from their prison. (or Keto), a marine goddess who was the mother of all sea monsters as well as Echidna and other dragons and monsters. , wife of Typhon and mother of monsters. , a dracaena sent by Apollo to ravage the kingdom of Argos as punishment for the death of his infant son Linos killed by Coraebus. , a dracaena that was the lover of Poseidon, transformed by Circe into a multi-headed monster that fed on sailors on vessels passing between her and Charybdis.
    • Scythian Dracaena, the Dracaena queen of Scythia she stole Geryon's cattle that Heracles was herding through the region and agreed to return them on condition he mate with her. , a draceana that lived on a mountain near Delphi, eating shepherds and passing travellers she was pushed off the cliff by Eurybarus.

    Automatons, or Colossi, were men/women, animals and monsters crafted out of metal and made animate in order to perform various tasks. They were created by the divine smith, Hephaestus. The Athenian inventor Daedalus also manufactured automatons.

    • The Hippoi Kabeirikoi, four bronze horse-shaped automatons crafted by Hephaestus to draw the chariot of the Cabeiri.
    • The Keledones, singing maidens sculpted out of gold by Hephaestus.
    • The Khalkotauroi also known as the Colchis Bulls, fire-breathing bulls created by Hephaestus as a gift for Aeëtes.
    • The Kourai Khryseai, golden maidens sculpted by Hephaestus to attend him in his household. , a giant man made out of bronze to protect Europa.
      /Headless men (Greek ἀκέφαλος akephalos, plural ἀκέφαλοι akephaloi, from ἀ- a-, "without", and κεφαλή kephalé, "head") are humans without a head, with their mouths and eyes being in their breasts. , a nation of all-female warriors.
        , a queen of the Amazons. (Ἄελλα), an Amazon who was killed by Heracles. (Ἀλκιβίη), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Diomedes at Troy. (Ἁλκή), an Amazonian warrior (Ἀντάνδρη), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Achilles at Troy. (Ἀντιόπη), a daughter of Ares and sister of Hippolyta. (Ἀρετώ), an Amazon. (Ἀστερία), an Amazon who was killed by Heracles. (Βρέμουσα), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Idomeneus at Troy. (Κελαινώ), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Heracles. (Εὐρυπύλη), an Amazon leader who invaded Ninus and Babylonia. (Ἱππολύτη), a queen of Amazons and daughter of Ares. (Ἱπποθόη), an Amazonian warrior, killed by Achilles at Troy. (Ἰφιτώ), an Amazon who served under Hippolyta. (Λαμπεδώ), an Amazon queen who ruled with her sister Marpesia. (Μαρπεσία), an Amazon queen who ruled with her sister Lampedo. (Μελανίππη), a daughter of Ares and sister of Hippolyta and Antiope. (Μολπαδία), an Amazon who killed Antiope. (Μύρινα), a queen of the Amazons. (Ὠρείθυια), an Amazon queen. (Ὀτρήρα), an Amazon queen, consort of Ares and mother of Hippolyta. (Πανταρίστη), an Amazon who fought with Hippolyta against Heracles. (Πενθεσίλεια), an Amazon queen who fought in the Trojan War on the side of Troy. (Θάληστρις), a queen of the Amazons.
        , a Lapith killed by the centaur Rhoetus at the Centauromachy. , a Lapith who fought against the centaurs at the Centauromachy. , a Lapith chieftain of Larissa.
      • Euagrus or Evagrus, a Lapith killed by the centaur Rhoetus at the Centauromachy. , king of the Lapiths. , king of the Lapiths.

      In addition to the famous deities, the ancient Greeks also worshiped a number of deified human beings. For example, Alabandus at Alabanda, Tenes at Tenedos, Leucothea and her son Palaemon were worshiped throughout Greece. [9]


      Watch the video: Πέππα το γουρουνάκι Ελληνικά. Πολύ Ζεστή Μέρα. Ολόκληρο επεισόδιο. Κινούμενα σχέδια


Comments:

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  2. Maurg

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  3. Ishmael

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  4. Aibne

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  5. Tal

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  6. Julrajas

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