This page gathers some fantastic creatures considered as monsters. You will find more conventional animals on the fiche dedicated to them.
Campe or Kampe, a fearsome chthonic drakaina (she-dragon), was the guardian who watched over the Tartarus, Cyclops, and Hecatonchires on the order of Cronos. She had poisonous snakes for hair, the body was covered with scales and a scorpion was wrapped around her shoulders. Zeus killed her to free her prisoners who were going to help her conquer her throne.
Child of Echidna and Typhon, the Caucasian eagle is a creature in our eyes, really unsympathetic. It would be a Zeus envoy who every day would devour Prometheus’ liver, punished and chained for stealing the fire from Zeus and giving it to men. He was finally killed by Heracles.
Charybdis is the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia. One day she stole from Heracles part of Geryon’s herd, which was one of her twelve works. Furious Zeus struck her and turned her into a huge sea abyss. Many sailors died because of the Charybdis and Odysseus also experienced it bitterly. It is said that this abyss is present in the Strait of Messina off Sicily. It is also associated with Scylla, hence the expression “having to choose between two evils”.
In Greek mythology, a centaur is a creature half horse half man (body of the horse and bust of the man). Centaurs are imaginary beings, like fairies, elves or cyclopses.
Cerberus is a three-headed dog. He is the son of Echidna and Typhon and the brother of Orthrus, the two-headed dog. Cerberus’ interpretation is deeper than it seems. Each head would represent the past, present and future or birth, youth and old age.
Thus this dog has a major role to hold the door of hell. He’s hungry for fresh meat, so the dead don’t have to worry about anything. However, once the Styx was crossed, this dog terrorized the recently deceased who had to bring a honey cake to calm him down. Once in hell, Cerberus formally prevented anyone from getting out. In addition, several personalities have reportedly tried to soften the molosse in order to gain access to the world of the dead.
The chimera is a rather strange creature, with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a snake’s tail. This monster was generated by Echidna and Typhon.
Chimera was known to spit fire and devour humans. She was terrorizing the Lycia, a region of Asia. It was Bellerophon, on his Pegasus horse, who killed him.
But this creature has generated above all many interpretations. Some say it represents the states of women during their lifetime: the lion would represent puberty, the goat maturity, and the snake menopause. Still, others associate this creature with the seasons: the lion being spring, the goat in summer and the snake in winter because it is cold-blooded and molts, it regenerates.
In any case, the chimera generally represents an “impossible” creature contained in its appearance and crossbreeding. It is from this point that the word chimeric would have been born to designate dreams, ambitions that are impossible to achieve.
The Cyclops, in Greek mythology, are monstrous giants, sons of Ouranos and Gaia, with a single eye in the middle of their forehead. They are brutal beings without faith or law, they raise herds of sheep, harvest what the earth agrees to grow and are not afraid, on occasion, to devour the human beings who risk themselves on their territories and in their caves; they lived simply, thanks to the fruits of the Earth and without laws.
From birth, their father rushed them and their brothers, the Hecatonchires, into Tartarus, the “prison” of the underworld, considering them too monstrous. But Zeus freed them to become servants of Hephaestus and to provide weapons to the gods during the Titanomachy. They forged for Hades the helmet making invisible, for Poseidon the trident with whom he lifts the seas, and for Zeus, the lightning making men and the sky tremble.
The most famous Cyclops is Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, who lived in a cave not far from Mount Etna (Sicily).
He imprisoned Ulysses’ companions, returning home after the Trojan War. Ulysses, with the help of a trick, pierced Polyphemus’ only eye, causing Poseidon’s anger. To get revenge, he forced Odysseus to wander the seas for many years, facing several dangers.
Among all the monsters of Greek mythology, Echidna must be one of the most formidable. Not that it is not especially awful or wicked, no, but for the simple fact that it will generate most of the most despicable creatures in all of Greece.
Echidna is a young woman with a very pretty face but with the body of a gigantic snake. She is married to Typhon (the son of Gaia and Tartarus). The two of them gave birth to Cerberus (the three-headed dog), the evil winds, the crommyon’s crow’s-foot (man-killing sow), the Sphinx (half woman, half lion, half bird), the Lerne Hydra (multi-headed snake), the Chimera (half lion, half goat, half snake), Ladon (man with a hundred heads), Orthrus (two-headed dog), the Nemea lion and the Giant eagle.
Finally, Echidna has the last characteristic of having generated a very poisonous plant with its drool, which will be one of Medea’s weapons.
The hydra of Lerna
Produced by Echidna and Typhon, The Lernaean Hydra or Hydra of Lerna was nevertheless raised by Hera near Lerna, hence its name. It is a huge snake whose end ends in a multitude of snake heads. They say only one of these heads is immortal. On the other hand, each time one of the heads is cut off, two others grow back. Its breath was also a deadly poison that killed anyone who breathed it in.
This creature will be defeated by Heracles in his twelve works that we will see later.
The Nemean lion
As its name suggests, it is a lion known to terrorize the Nemea region. Its main characteristic is that its skin is tear-proof, impenetrable. It will be the first of Heracles’ twelve works. The latter had great difficulty defeating the beast, his skin being invulnerable to the arrows thrown. Thus it is by a violent blow of the club that Heracles succeeds in killing the lion. With one of his teeth, sharp and sharp as a razor, he managed to cut the lion’s skin and make himself into armor. Zeus dedicated a constellation to this creature: the constellation of Leo.
Geryon is a giant with three busts living on the island of Erythia. There he owns a herd of magnificent oxen that he keeps carefully with his dog Orthrus. However, Heracles’ tenth job consists in capturing the “Geryon oxen”. So he kills Geryon and Orthrus. Nevertheless, when he returns, some of these oxen will disappear, either stolen by Charybdis or devoured by Scylla.
It’s inevitable, you’ve already heard about it. These monsters have appeared in many mythological stories and some film adaptations have not hesitated to introduce them into their scripts. Thus we count three Gorgons. Two are immortal and the other is deadly.
They are easily recognizable by their physique and breathtaking abilities. They are women with large golden wings, with terrible claws (some will say they are bronze hands). Their faces are punctuated by huge horrible canines (also said to be boar tusks) and their hair is nothing more than snakes. But especially the Gorgons are known to petrify as stone statues, whoever would cross their eyes.
They are the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto. The most famous of them is Medusa, the deadly Gorgon that was killed by Athena and Perseus. We will talk about it when we talk about the myth of the latter. According to the myth, when Poseidon fell in love with the Medusa. He then turned into a horse and took her to the temple of Athena to make love to her. Offended, she cast a spell on the Medusa and her sisters by turning their hair into horrible snakes.
On the other hand, when the Medusa was killed, the blood that sprang up gave birth to the very famous Pegasus and Chrysaor of the winged horses resulting from the union between Medusa and Poseidon. When Perseus cut off his head, he gave it to Athena, who adorned his shield, which would be called the Egidian, and whoever looks at his shield in a battle would petrify him. A real weapon against the enemy!
Today, it is from this legend that we remember the term “to be amazed” when we are petrified by something.
The three Graeae (“old women”) are three sisters named Deino, Enyo and Pemphredo. They are also the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto. They are given such a name because they are said to have been born old and wrinkled. Their particularity is that they have only one eye and only one tooth for the three of them.
Once again they appear in the myth of Perseus going to their home to find out where their ugly sisters the Gorgons are staying. It is by a clever ploy and playing on the only weakness of these sisters that he succeeds in making them talk.
The griffin or griffon is a legendary creature found in many ancient cultures. It is imagined and represented with the body of an eagle (head, wings and claws) grafted onto the back of a lion (abdomen, legs and tail), and equipped with horse ears. With sometimes variants, the Griffin will always keep the recognizable characteristic of being a hieracephalus.
Children of Thaumas and Electra, they are creatures with female heads and bird bodies. They fly extremely fast and steal everything they find in their way. It is even said that they stole the daughters of Pandarus and gave them to the Erinyes (or the Furies) to use them as slaves. But they were also actors of Phineus‘s sad fate. This king of Thrace was endowed with formidable powers of prophecy. He could predict the future to anyone who wanted to. Excessive of Phineus’s talents, Zeus punished him so that he would stop giving the future to mortals who were not supposed to know the future. Thus the king lost his sight and became extremely thin because everything he ate was stolen by the Harpies or soiled by their excrement. It is the Argonauts, in the quest for the golden fleece, who will put an end to these creatures and free King Phineus from his sad fate.
Ladon was very poorly represented in mythology. Child of Echidna and Typhon, his appearance is ambiguous. He would be either a man or a reptile but with nevertheless a hundred heads who would each speak a different language. This creature was called upon to guard the golden apples of the Garden of the Hesperides, which would constitute a major step in Heracles’ twelve works. Like the fate of all monsters, he would have finally been defeated. To thank Ladon for his services, Hera would have given him a place in the sky that is now called the constellation Draco .
The Minotaur is a strong man with a bull’s head and horns that can pierce the best armor. He was locked in the Labyrinth where he served as a monster of service for Minos the King of Crete who indeed used him as a means of pressure on people. Helped by Ariane, Theseus killed him.
In Greek mythology, Medusa is one of the three Gorgons. She is the granddaughter of Gaia (the Earth) and Pontus (the sea stream). Although of divine blood, she is the only one of the three Gorgons who is mortal, Medusa, who is very beautiful, is seduced by Poseidon. One night, the latter took him to a temple dedicated to Athena.
Athena, offended, transforms Medusa and her sisters into monsters unable to move, with hair made of snakes and the gaze of those who look at them petrified, to be able to approach Medusa who lives at the foot of Mount Atlas (in Morocco), Perseus receives help from the gods. Athena will provide him her polished bronze shield, which, when used as a rear-view mirror, allowed him to move backwards towards Medusa without facing his eyes directly.
Hermes provided him with the serp to slice Medusa’s scaly neck and a leather bag to hide the head of the monster who, although dead, kept his magical powers. Perseus also has Hades’ invisibility helmet, which makes him invisible, and winged shoes, and Perseus succeeds in killing Medusa and seizing her head: he will offer it to Athena, who places it in the centre of his shield: it is the Aegid.
From the blood flowing from Medusa’s neck are born Pegasus, the winged horse and Chrysaor, a warrior with a golden sword, both sons of Poseidon, the blood will also cover the algae that will petrify and turn red: the coral will be born.
Orthrus is the famous two-headed dog of Geryon. He is the child of Echidna and Typhon. His role was to guard Geryon’s oxen. He will be killed by Heracles at the same time as his master.
Polyphemus is a Giant, son of Poseidon and Thoosa. This creature will be found in the myth of Ulysses. During his trip, the latter set foot on the island of Cyclops. He and his crew walked across the island where they found a cave filled with food and drink. Except that this cave is the one of Polyphemus. On his way home he surprises these individuals in his home and thus locks them in his cave. Every day it feeds on two sailors from Ulysses.
But the hero has a plan. When he ran aground on the island he took a barrel of wine with him to make an offering to the one who would welcome him to the island. So he goes to Polyphemus with this drink and offers it to him. The Giant thanks him then offers him a gift: he will be the last to be devoured.
He then asked for the name of Ulysses. This one being clever answers him “nobody”. Thus Polyphemus begins to drink the whole barrel of wine, so that it becomes completely drunk. Taking advantage of his vulnerability, Odysseus caught the eye of the Cyclops who woke up screaming horribly. These friends come running and ask him who did this to him. “Nobody,” he replied, “It’s nobody”. Excess his companions leave. Then Odysseus and the rest of his crew took the opportunity to escape.
Procrustes is a slightly special character because he is neither a creature nor an animal. On the other hand, he is also a monster. Procrustes is therefore a robber. it is said that he lived in the mountains and had a small inn in the heart of them.
His hobby was to warmly welcome lost travellers. He gave them hospitality with such kindness that no one would have known about the awful ordeals he was planning. In his house, he had two beds: one very small and the other huge. Every time he picked up a traveller, he strangely assigned the largest bed to the smallest ones and the smallest bed to the tallest men.
Thus during their sleep, Procrustes made sure that the man “adjusted” correctly to the bed. Thus he cut off the limbs that protruded from the bed for the older ones, and spread the arms and legs of those who were swimming in their bed. But these horrible crimes were later avenged by the hero Theseus who inflicted the same fate on Procrustes.
Python is a huge and monstrous snake that watched over the oracle of Delphi. He is either from Gaia or Hera. Anyway, one day Hera asked Python to pursue Leto, one of Zeus’ lovers who was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis. But in vain.
Much later, Apollo went in search of the Python to get revenge. Once found, he pierced it with his bow and arrow. Thus Apollo officially became the master of the oracle of Delphi on whom Python was watching. Since that day, since the assassination of Python, this oracle has been called Pythia, which will be the meditation of many Gods and mortals in order to know their future.
Scylla was a beautiful young woman, daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. One day the god Glaucus (son of Poseidon who predicts the future) falls madly in love with Scylla but she refuses her advances. He then asked the magician Circe to give him a love filter so that Scylla would fall in love with him. Except Circe was herself in love with Glaucus.
So to get rid of her rival, she gives Glaucus a poison. The latter, believing himself to be a potion of love, pours it into the fountain where Scylla baths. But as soon as she comes into contact with the poison she turns into a hideous woman surrounded by snakes and howling dogs. When she sees herself transformed in this way, Scylla, ashamed, runs into the sea where she will live not far from Charybdis in the Strait of Messina, where she will terrorize the sailors.
Contrary to popular belief, sirens would not be creatures half-woman, half fish but half woman, half birds (at least in Greek mythology). Located in the Strait of Messina (not far from Charybdis and Scylla) they attracted sailors with their melodious and so attractive songs. Unfortunately, each sailor who grabbed a single note of these sweet melodies perished drowned.
Daughter of Echidna and Typhon, this creature would have the body of a lion, the bust of a woman and the wings of birds. Laymen, the king of Thebes was murdered (by his son Oedipus). As a result, Hera sent the Sphinx to Boeotia to ravage crops and terrorize populations. In addition, the Sphinx learned an enigma from the Muses and took a malicious pleasure in imposing it on the inhabitants of Thebes.
If someone ever manages to solve it, the Sphinx will leave and leave the country in peace. On the other hand, if someone fails, she will kill him. Many people try the challenge but all get killed. Until the day Oedipus arrives.
The Sphinx then asks him the following enigma: “Who has four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and three in the evening?” Oedipus, cunning, manages to answer the enigma: It is a man. In the morning he gets up with four legs because he has just been born, in the middle of his life he stands on both legs and at the end of his life, he is held by a third leg, a cane. Furious at having lost, the Sphinx threw herself off a rock and died.
Typhon is the son of Gaia whom she herself would have begotten in order to take revenge for Zeus’ victory in the titanomachy and gigantomachy. There are many ways to represent Typhoon, either as a destructive Hurricane or as a fire-eating creature. He is married to Echidna where he had many children (as mentioned above). Anyway, one day Typhoon decides to rebel against the Gods and especially against Zeus. But the latter being all-powerful, Typhoon was quickly defeated.
After this defeat, Typhon generated evil winds and Zeus took him prisoner under the Etna volcano, from which he caused many eruptions.