Our love affair with monsters is not a completely new thing; the fertile imagination of the ancient Greeks had given rise to many terrifying beings. While these ancient mythical monsters may not have been the results of cloning, nuclear tests, or even deep sea mining, they certainly were as good, if not better than present-day, computer generated ones. And these monsters have staying power, for they have continued to influence writers and artists over thousands of years. I seriously doubt that the Cloverfield monster (as cool as it was) will be remembered a few centuries from now.So, let’s take a look at five of the most iconic monsters from ancient Greek mythology, and some of the interesting influences they have had on popular culture.
- The Lernaean Hydra
Monster Origins: The Lernaean Hydra was the spawn of Echidna – the mother of all monsters, and Typhon, a monster with a hundred serpent heads and legs.
Appearance and Powers: The Hydra was a vicious serpentine beast with numerous heads, and a breath poisonous enough to kill. If one of her heads was cut off, she had the power to regenerate two in its place.
- The Minotaur
Appearance and Powers: The Minotaur was a hybrid; he was half-man and half-bull. He was sometimes shown holding a huge axe.
Origins: The mother of the Minotaur was Queen Pasiphaë, who gave birth to it after a, uh, wild night of passion with the handsome royal bull. Queen Pasiphaë accomplished this by ordering Daedulas, the best architect of her time, to build a special wooden cow for her to climb into, and consummate* the beastly union.
- The Chimera
Origins: She was the offspring of Echidna and Typhon, and the sibling of the Lerneaen Hydra and Cerberus.
Appearance & Powers: The Chimera was an ancient beast with heads of a lion, a goat, and a vicious serpent. She could also breath fire from her mouth.
- Polyphemus – The Cyclops
Appearance and Powers: The cyclops were a race of gigantic, ungainly, one-eyed monsters with an appetite for human flesh.
Origins: Polyphemus was the son of sea god Poseidon and a nymph.
- Cerberus – The Original Hell Hound
Appearance and Powers: Cerberus has been described as having three dog heads and a serpents tail.
Origins: Cerberus was the son of Typhon and Echidna (the horny twosome, again), and a sibling of the Hydra and the Chimera.