Greek mythology is no less than an immense store of tales with men, gods and heroes facing challenges, or killing or taming a mythological monster. They not only showed strange characteristics but also performed paintings and sculptures; giving an idea of the imagination of what the ancients must had to conceive of such conceptions about these beings and what they represented for Greek culture.
Today, we have brought together the 16 most famous legendary and also terrifying creatures of Greek mythology. We are sure you are going to enjoy reading it. Check out below!!
The Minotaur is a bull-headed monster with a man’s body. He was son of the Queen Pasiphae of Crete, and King Minos (a white bull). He resided in a labyrinth built by the architect Daedalus, and used to sacrifice youths and maidens to curb his cannibalistic hunger. He was killed by the Greek hero Theseus. His proper name is Asterion (the starry one), this name is related to the constellation Taurus.
Gorgon has a Greek and Sanskrit connotation where they both mean devil and frightening woman respectively. Its Greek derivation is gorgós, meaning “dreadful”.
According to the Theogony described by Hesiod, Keto was an extremely beautiful goddess who born beautiful daughters but dangerous and hated by the gods.
Three of her daughters had their hair made of living venomous snakes, or snake-tail, or snake-hair. The Gorgons were traditionally thought of as immortal, and Stheno and Euryale actually were immortal, with the exception of their sister Medusa who was not. She was killed by the demigod and famous hero Perseus.
Sea-serpents are giant monsters combining the body of a snake and the scaly skin. Some stories also have them spitting fire and wrapping boats; it was one of their biggest strengths. They possess the ability to crush and devour the crew.
Harpies are monsters with a grotesque combination of a winged head and woman’s chest, body and claws of predatory birds. They were popularly considered as the agents of divine revenge, usually for the God of the Underworld – Hades. Harpies had the hobby of eating carrion and attacking newly buried dead to satisfy their sexual desires.
Cerberus guarded the gates of Underworld (or hell) that was the kingdom of Poseidon. The beast was gulping down anyone who tried to go out or enter. He was a gigantic three-headed, snake-tailed dog, who had hairs among several infernal worms that parasitized his skin.
The worms were like serpents and were very venomous. Cerberus is the father of the dogs of hell. History has it that one of his head was for spitting fire, another for spewing ice, and another for barking rays. His howling was used when some soul escaped, spirits fled from hell or did not take their course (ghosts or specters).
Cerberos left his post of guardian when Hades was chained and killed by Hercules.
6 Dragon Ladon
Ladon is a Dragon of the Hesperides or guardian of the Herperides. With his one hundred heads, he guards the golden apples of immortality in a tree. This task is given by the goddess Hera.
The famous twelfth labor of Hercules has it that the damigod had a dreadful encounter with the hundred headed Ladon.
Charon, son of Night and Erebus, was the old boatman (Ferryman) who carried the souls of the dead by the Styx rivers to the gates of the underworld. Charon was only allowed to pass by Cerberus.
In Greek mythology, it is customary to leave two gold coins with the deceased. This ensures that he has something to pay for the passage to the carriage and that he does not need to swim through the course of the Styx River and end up getting lost among several other lost souls that fall there.
Cyclopes were a race of single-eyed giants with two divisions; according to time – the ancient Cyclopes (or first generation) and the Young cyclops (new generation).
These immortal giants in Greek mythology had one eye in the middle of the forehead which worked in existence. They appear in many Greek myths but with a controversial origin. Their origin tells that they were organized with three different species: Brontes, Steropes and Arges.
9 Stymphalian Birds
With huge stature, Stymphalian birds used to hide in the woods located on the banks of Lake Stymphalia that was further located in the extreme north of Arcadia.
The Greek legends have many interesting stories about this Man eater bird. They are often depicted while attacking men with the help of their feathers. They have beaks made up with bronze and this is very helpful in predating.
According to legends, Hercules was appointed to kill the birds, but the task was far from easy. The biggest difficulty was to get them out of the woods. Hercules then received a pair of brass cymbals from the goddess Athena, which was created by the god Hephaestus. Without waiting for long, he vibrated the cymbals with all its force and the birds came out. And he could become succeed to kill them.
This was a race of monsters that, according to the belief, inhabited the mountainous regions of Thessaly and Arcadia. They usually looked half man and half horse, and were tribes of barbarous monsters with a good IQ and born warrior skills.
11 Nemean Lion/King of Nemeia
The Lion of Nemeia or the King of Nemeia was a famous lion with a life-like large appearance, golden fur, indestructible physique, bronze-like-hard claws, and a knocking roar. Hercules had several missions, one of which was to defeat the Lion of Nemeia, and was successful in doing so as he killed him by stifling him. It would have been impossible with weapons.
12 Chimera Fire- breathing
The combination of a lion-headed monster, goat’s head, goat’s body, lion’s claws and dragon’s tail with a venomous serpent’s head at its tip is enough to present a vivid picture of the Chimera. Some stories have them with dragon or bat wings. It terrified Lycia, a region of Asia Minor, but the Greek hero Belerofonte finally managed to kill him. Chimera, the son of equine, became a symbol of evil by the church because it resembled evil entities like the bafomete and adrameleck who had goat’s head. The term chimera was used several times for the horrible acts of bad people, or for having become symbol of the bad.
Manticore was a monster with a lion’s body and wings, scorpion’s legs and tail, and man’s head. To a large extent it resembled Chimera’s brother. It also had a powerful poison, and the ability to spit fire; the scorpion tail casted poisonous data, and summed up a venomous dragon that spits fire and looks like people.
This monster was an amalgam of a woman’s head and torso, lion’s body and bird’s wings. He squatted himself on a rock and approached anyone who was to enter the city of Thebes. The visitor was presented with the following riddle: What is it that has four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?
If solved good, else it would kill them. Ancient Egyptians saw sphinxes as statues representing the deities, with the lion’s body and head of some other animal or human, often a replica of the king.
Hydra was a nine-headed monster living in a swamp near Lerna, Greece. It possessed a deadly venomous murmur which was a great threat to all the inhabitants of Argos. Threat grew when they discovered that if one of the heads was cut, two grew in the place. Immortality was given only to the middle head. Also noteworthy is that it was not born exactly with nine heads, but eventually attained the number with head cut several times. Hercules killed it crushing it with an immense rock.
16 Erimanto’s Boar
In the Greek mythology, the Erimanto Boar is a terrible monster that came down the hill everyday in Arcadia. The motive behind the daily descend to land was to destroy the neighborhoods. Hercules was given the task of capturing the wild boar alive and bringing it to King Eurystheus.