When the subject of mythology pops up, the greeks always take the center stage. After all, there is none who could argue or challenge the richness with which they’ve penned down the lives of their characters. Be it their Gods; the kings; or their mythological creatures, each have a detailed history of their own complete with a description so vivid that it won’t be an exaggeration to label them as life-like. Infact it is this very grandeur that has kept their mythology alive the world over; and up top, unscathed by the sands of time. Let us take special note of their mythological creatures which apparently were conceived with such masterful creativity that they never fail to awe us despite lacking any kind of a reasoning whatsoever! Heck, our scientists themselves couldn’t deny growing up to stories of their majesty and drooling over their otherworldly adventures!
THE MIGHTY KRAKEN
No legendary creature, past or present commanded a terror of the likes of the Kraken. Its descriptions were as vivid as could be; with detailed testimonies to make them digestible! Legend speaks of a super sized squid who was so huge that it was often mistaken for an island! It uses its far reaching arms to wreck havoc upon a fleet of ships and in less than 5 minutes, the said fleet would be doomed beyond a trace! Since it nested itself in the sea, it is said to serve the will of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas.
Not to be confused with the X man of the same name, these one eyed monsters were created by the Gods themselves, but apparently held no regard for them whatsoever. Metallica’s song, Seek and destroy seems to describe them the best, for they did nothing but wreak havoc on whatever came down their path. The way they dealt with any resentment against their ‘socially-poor’ lifestyle was to silence said critics with giant boulders flung their way. The most notable of them all, Polyphemus was reportedly blinded by the Greek Hero Odysseus for his barbarous ways, on his return journey from Troy to Ithaca (For which he paid a steep, steep price later. Alas Greek gods were themselves a confused mess!)
A mashup between a horse and a human, centaurs weren’t any less human than any of their more human peers, despite lacking a few human parts down below! They were all the offsprings of a single centaurus who mated with a mare! The most noteworthy is Chiron, an immortal and apparently the only wise and intelligent creature of his kind. Infact he was so highly regarded that he was one of the high council in Atlantis and a tutor to the likes of Achilles himself! My age of Mythology days were full of admiration for his skills, if those can be counted as a viable source of nostalgia! Why aren’t there any centaur’s today? Probably because sexual assault on animals is strictly forbidden today! (This pun in-ten-did!)
If only the narcissists of today were aware of the terrible fate that befell Medusa, i bet they’d think a hundred times before uttering a self appraise! With the body of a dragon and a head adorned with snakes, she is every bit a monster as could be. Her fate was a lesson for all, that there’s more to life than beauty. She was once a beautiful maiden, very much obsessed with her own self; so much so that she offended Athena, the Greek goddess of beauty and wisdom. Appalled by her foolishness, Athena turned Medusa into the monster she is known as today, as a punishment for her utter vanity. Anyone who would look her in the eye would now turn to stone, even her own self. Thus, she could neither look at her own self in a mirror any more, nor could she command the attention of men! (Now read the first line once again. And stop considering me a sadist!)
A three headed dog with the tail of a serpent, a mane adorned with snakes and claws of a lion. Could there ever be a more perfect, all in one creature for a pet? Before you start searching up google about where to buy one (i mean seriously?) it is suggested that you glance upon its picture down below! There, there! Now we’re talking. This beast heeds to none but the god of the underworld himself, Hades where he stands guard ready to rip apart any soul that dares walk in or out before its time! Evolution can indeed be a notorious evil!
An immortal, winged horse that sprang out of Medusa’s head as Perseus decapitated her. Hard to believe but yes that’s what they say of its not-so- holy origins! Throughout history, this winged horse has made appearances in many works of art. It has been made immortal as a constellation, as a horse to the nine holy muses and as the primary torchbearer to the king of the gods, Zeus himself. Others have created their own interpretation of the creature(Pokemon’s Ho-oh!) yet all focus upon its might and heavenly avatar. Me? I just lust upon a ride that would be free off any traffic jams, pegasus or no pegasus!
Sent to the accursed land of Thebes as a punishment to the Egyptians there, this monster; with the body of a lion, the breasts and head of a woman and wings of an eagle brought destruction and bad luck to the nation. Thebes, once a flourishing kingship was now left in a state of utter gloom, with no one to ascend the throne or to set it’s people free from their misery, for apparently, this Sphinx loved playing games; especially riddles, and it was said that the only way to rid her off Thebes was to solve her famous riddle; ”What is it that has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?” Oedipus, son of Laius solved the riddle when he gave ‘man’ as an answer who crawls on all four in his infancy, then on two and later a stick to support his walks acts as the third leg. He was awarded the Kingship for his brilliance, but soon succumbed to a pitiable fate. (Search: Oedipal complex) To date, the Sphinx is regarded as a symbol of mystery and awe, with huge pyramids carved out in its shape!
Legend speaks of a creature who was of such monstrous proportions that he had to be caged in a masterful maze of sorts. Hordes of cattle and maidens were regularly sacrificed to keep the beast satisfied and under control. He was later slain by the Athenian hero Theseus and who hence brought an end to the terror. The tale of how theseus bested the gigantic minotaur is rather an interesting one and involves the minotaur’s human sisters Ariadne and Phaedra assisting Theseus in the act with hopes of winning his hand in marriage. You can read an interesting account of the same here.
First mentioned in Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, these twin terrors are a common sight in the English language today. ‘Between Scylla and Charybdis’ is the idiom and it represents a situation where both options are unattractive. As a bonus, they were within an arrow’s reach to each other making things more worrisome than ever. Thus a ship passing them by was almost certain to meet its maker by either of these two. Thankfully, none of the dangers today require us to battle a six headed monster with terribly huge rows of teeth in each head (Scylla) and a whirlpool who’d be more spiteful about locating and destroying you than even Liam Neeson was in Taken!
By this, we conclude our list. A lot of resources were made use of in its compilation, but special thanks to Age of Mythology, my childhood love, a game i still cherish and hold dear to my heart! If not for it, i would miss on the nostalgia and the fantasy required to even think of compiling such a list! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it down. Stay tuned for more!