13 of The Most Interesting Mythological Creatures From Greek Mythology

Typhon: Typhon was the father of most mythological creatures. He was the last child of the goddess Gaea. He was an enormous being. It is said that he was as tall as the stars and his arms stretched from East to West.

Some legends describe Typhon as having a hundred dragon heads, some describe him with one human head and dragon heads for fingers. However, most stories agree that his body was covered in dragon wings and had hundreds of serpents for legs. Typhon could throw mountains at people he didn’t like.

Echidna: The Echidna was a snake woman who chose Typhon as her lover. Both she and her mate were children of Gaia and Tartarus. She had the distinction of giving birth to the most terrifying, horrible and dangerous monsters in the ancient Greek world.  Her offspring included; Cerberus, the gorgons, the Hydra, the Nemelan Lion, Chimera, and the Sphinx.

Echidna and Typhon attacked Olympus, but Zeus managed to repel them, burying Typhon under Mount Etna. Echidna and her children were spared to continue challenging future heroes. Eventually, Echidna was killed by Argus Panoptes while sleeping.

Terrifying offspring of Typhon and Echidna:

Cerberus: You might know this one as the three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hell and Hades. Cerberus has the claws of a lion, a mane made out of snakes, and a serpent’s a tail. Legend tells of a few living people who were able to sneak past the great beast with bits of magical music or drugged food. Hercules is the only one who is said to have defeated the monster head on.shutterstock_379035166

Chimera: One of the most fascinating mix n’ match monsters, the Chimera had three heads, but only one of them was on its neck. The torso and main head was that of a lion. It had a goat’s head sticking out of its back and snake as a tail. It could also breath fire.

The hero Bellerophon defeated the Chimera using its own fire-breathing against him. Bellerophon threw a spear with a tip of lead into the Chimera’s mouth, when the Chimera breathed fire the lead melted inside, killing it. It is said that just seeing the Chimera was an omen of some kind of horrible disaster, like a volcanic eruption.

shutterstock_379035157The Hydra: Yet another creature that Hercules battled, perhaps the most famous of them all. The Hydra was essentially a dragon with nine heads. Every time one head was cut off, two would grow in its place, oh yeah and one of the heads was immortal.

If that’s not enough, the blood and breath of the Hydra was incredibly poisonous and could kill you instantly.

Hercules took on the Hydra in his second of twelve labors. He defeated the monster by cauterizing the stumps of the neck before new heads could grown back. He crushed the immortal head with a large bolder.

The Sphinx: The sphinx is best known for asking riddles. It was considered to be a woman who would eat you alive if you shutterstock_241369723failed to answer one of her riddles.

The Sphinx is described as having the body of a lion, wings of an eagle, head of a human and tail of a serpent.

She lived outside the city of Thebes and asked riddles to travelers who wished to pass. Oedipus managed to answer two of her questions correctly and the Sphinx killed herself.

 Gorgons: The Gorgons might be some of the most well-known monsters in Greek mythology. The Gorgons were comprised of three sisters; Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale. All three had  heads full of poisonous snakes and looking them in the eye would turn you straight into stone. Stheno and Euryale were said to be immortal while Medusa was not. Medusa was defeated by the demi-god Perseus, with some help from Athena.

Empousai: Empousai was an evil goddess. The daughter of Hecate, (Goddess of witchcraft) who spent her evenings drinking the blood of young men while they slept. As time went on, she was downsized from a goddess to an entire species of monster who devoured travelers late at night. Similar to a vampire in action and purpose, but differing slightly in appearance. An Empousai had one bronze leg and one goat leg, making them just that much creepier.

Stymphalian Birds: This was another monstrous species of bird that only Hercules proved capable of defeating. The Stymphalian Birds liked to eat and attack people with their razor sharp bronze feathers. Legend tells that they could even be shot at people by the bird. Hercules took on these beasts in the sixth of his twelve labors. He scared them out of their swampy home with a rattle made by Hephaestus, which launched them into the air. He then proceeded to shoot them down.

Ichthyocentaurs: You are probably familiar with Centaurs. The half man, half horse creatures popular in many fantasy movies like Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia. This particular mythological creature was built like a centaur, except the back half of the horse was actually the back half of a fish. They were basically a mixture between a mermaid and a horse. The pair of centaurin sea-gods were half-brothers of the wise centaur Chiron, and sons of the Titan Cronos and Nymph Philyra. The twins maintained the ability to breathe underwater, swim with great speed, express great stamina, and communicate with other aquatic species.shutterstock_94878622

The Minotaur: The minotaur is another well known mythological creature that often pops up in movies, novels, and TV shows.

He can be quite boring when compared to some of the other fantastical creatures mentioned here. However, some people forget the incredibly unsettling and sinister background of the Minotaur. The Minotaur was hidden away in a labyrinth and his sole purpose was to kill the sacrificial children that got dumped in there as a yearly tribute.

The Minotaur was born of Queen Pasiphae who wanted to have sex with a bull so veraciously that she made a metal cow costume she could hide in, that the bull would mount.

The Furies: The furies were created when Cronus castrated his father Uranus and tossed his genitals into the sea. The drops of blood that hit the ground became furies. The furies were not particularly happy entities and they spent a majority of their time seeking out people who had done wrong and torturing them until they died horrible. Their favorite sentence was repeatedly whipping their victims with scourges. The furies are actually more goddess than monster, but their appearance often categorizes them in the latter. They were said to have dog’s heads, snakes for backs, back wings, and dark black bodies.

Manticore: The Manticore is very similar to its sibling monster the Sphinx. It has the head of a human, the body a lion, and wings. However, it has bat wings instead of eagle wings and the tail of a scorpion that can shoot poisonous spikes at people. The Manticore also had three rows of teeth in its human-like mouth.

The next time you’re watching a movie or reading a book and one these creatures shows up, you’ll know exactly what it is, what it can do, and how it can be defeated. Keep it close, you never know when one might pop out of the shadows.

Written by:

The Hearty Soul

Sources:

http://io9.gizmodo.com