Argus - (Argos) -
Argus was the 100 eyed giant that served his master, Hera, loyally. He was sent to guard the transformed Io. Zeus, sorry for his bride sent Hermes to bore Argus to death. Hermes told Argus a story with no beginning and no end, thus boring him to death. Hera enraged but sympathetic took Argus’ eyes and put them on her bird, the peacock.
Arion was the son of Demeter and Poseidon. He was a horse and possibly winged. His appearance was the way it was because Demeter was fleeing from Poseidon and turned herself into a mare, then Poseidon turned himself into a stallion. Arion’s first owner was Heracles and was later mastered by Adrastus, who, thanks to Arion was the only one to survive the war called the Seven Against Thebes.
Calydonian Boar, The -
The Calydonian Boar was a vicious, giant boar sent to ravage the kingdom of Calydon. It was a punishment to King Oeneus who refused to sacrifice to Artemis, she was furious. Oeneus sent his son, Meleager, to kill the boar, he first asked lots of people to help him. Some of his aides were Theseus, Jason and Atalanta, the only woman, she was the first one to wound the boar. Meleager finally killed the ferocious Calydonian Boar.
Centaurs were animals with the torso of a man and the rest of a horse. Their existence came into being as follows.
Ixion, one of the Lapiths of Thessaly, was in love with Hera. Zeus was jealous and made a cloud named Nephele to look like Hera. Ixion made love to Nephele. The offspring’s name was Centaurus, this really mixed up kid mated with the mares of Thessaly, thus making Centaurs.
The centaurs were wild and unruly and caused a lot of damage. The only nice Centaur was Chiron who was immortal but gave it up to end his suffering.
Cerbrus was the dread hound of Hades. He was one of the hideous off spring of Typhon and Echidna. His job was to devour any souls trying to escape from the Underworld. He is said to have 3-50 heads that dripped evenom from his fangs. His mythical origin was in Egypt where they used dogs to gaurd the dead. He is associated with Hekate and in Egyptian mythology Anubis.
The Cercopes were twin sons of Oceanus and Theia, depicted as monkeys. They were very mischevious and liked to steal. They were taken captive by Heracles after they harrased him. The hero tied them to a pole and carried them across his shoulders. He was put in a good mood by the Cercopes jokes that he let them go.
The Chimera was an ugly and troublesome daughter of Typhon and Echidna. She had a lions head, goats body, and a serpent’s tail. Her myth was the result of a volcano in Lycia which is just as dangerous as the Chimera. She was finally slain by Bellerophon when he, riding on Pegasus, shot lead into her belly and killed her.
There were three Cyclopes; Arges (Bright), Brontes (Thunderer), and Steropes (Lightner, Lightning). They were the sons of Gaia and Uranus. The had only one eye in their head, but were master craftsmen. They helped Zeus defeat their brother, Cronus, by forging lightning bolts. They also made Poseidon’s trident and Hades invisibility cap.
Echidna was the half woman half serpent daughter of either Gaia and Tartarus or Ceto and Phorcys. She fed on the flesh of men where she cared for her hideous brood of monsters. Her children were fathered by Typhon, their names were: Cerbrus, Hydra, Ladon, Cimera, Shpinx, and the Nemean Lion. In some accounts she was slain by the hundred eyed Argus.
Erinyes - (Eumenides) [Furies] -
The Erinyes were the bitch headed goddesses of punishment. They were three daughters of Gaia and the blood of Uranus’ severed genitals, but some say Erebus. Alecto (She who rests not) was the leader; Megaera (Jealous one) and Tisiphone (Avenger of blood) were their names. They were mercilesss avengers and carried whips with metal spike, spit and smelled like rotting blood and had burning eyes. They were called the Eumenides (Good tempered ones) by the fearful Greeks to put them in a good mood. They punished those who killed, especially if it was someone among their kin. They were “the ones to be feared.”
Geryon was a three-bodied and six handed monster that owned red cattle. These cattle were guarded by the two headed dog Orthos and the herdsman Eurytion. In his tenth labor Heracles slayed the dog and the herdsman and eventually Geryon himself.
Giants - (Gigantes) -
The Giants were conceived when Uranus was castrated and his blood fell upon Gaia. The Giants attacked the Olympians on the advice of Gaia. After a long war they were finally defeated.
The gorgons were three disgusting daughters of Phorcys and Ceto; sisters of the Graea. They had snakes for hair, and hands and teeth of bronze, but bodies of women. The two immortals were Euryale and Stheno. Medusa (mentioned later on this page) was the only mortal and was slayed by Perseus.
The harpies were fat, birds with the face and breasts of women. They ate the food off plates and left the rest so unsanitary it wasn’t edible.
Hecatoncheires - (Hecatonchires) [Centimanes] -
The Hecatoncheires were three sons of Uranus and Gaia. They had 100 hands and helped Zeus in his war against the Titans.
The Hydra was an offspring of Echidna and Typhon. When one head was severed two more grew in its place. Its death was in Heracles Second Labor. He would cut off a head and his 1/2 brother Iolaus burned them, thus, they killed the monster. It still killed people though. Its venomous blood was collected and killed Chiron(by mistake), Nessus, Philocetes and finally Heracles.
Ladon was one of the awful children of Typhon and Echidna. He was the dragon who guarded the garden of Hesperides, in the Atlas mountains. In Hesperides was a tree that bore golden apples that gave immortality to whoever ate them. This tree was a gift to Hera from Gaia on her marriage to Zeus. Ladon was killed by Heracles during his Twelfth Labor.
Medusa was one of the three Gorgons. She was at one time a beautiful maiden, but she was loved by the god Poseidon in the temple of Athena. Athena was really mad and turned her into a monster. She was so ugly that anyone who looked upon her was turned to stone. She was slain by Perseus and from her neck came Pegasus, and Chrysaor, the father of Geryon.
The Minotaur was the mythical half man half bull son of Pasiphae and a bull. Poseidon was mad at king Minos of Crete for not sacrificing a bull to him, so the king of the seas made Pasiphae fall in love with the bull, she made love to it. Minos wanted to hide the hideous bullman from the world so he ordered Daedalus to build the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth was a tortuous chamber with so many passages that if you took one step you were lost. The Minotaur lived down there and ate the young Athenians sacrificed to him every year. Theseus finally killed the Minotaur with the help of Ariadne, Minos’s daughter. Theseus returned to Athens safely.
Nessus was a cunning but stupid centaur who carried the current wife of Heracles, Deianira, over the river Evenus on the couples escape from Calydon. Heracles shot Nessus with a posioned arrow. As he lay dying he whispered to the frightened girl “Take my blood, and if he is ever unfaithful to you, put it on his tunic and he will be madly in love with you”. She obeyed. Heracles became fond in Iole a young girl. Deianira used Nessus’s blood and inadvertantly killed her husband.
Pegasus has lots of mythology. He was the winged horse, son of Poseidon and Medusa. He was born when Perseus cut off her head (he sprang from her severed neck). He then carried Perseus to Andromeda. He took Bellerophon to kill the Chimera, Bellerophon then attemted to ride Pegasus up to the home of the gods, Olympus. Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus who threw Bellerophon off, the horse rode up alone to help Zeus launch his lightning bolts. He also created the fountain of Hippocrens when he clipped Mount Helicon with his hoof.
Polyphemus was the son of Poseidon and a sea-nymph. He is identified as a Cyclopes by his single huge eye in the middle of his head. He lived on the island of Sicily with his brothers. He is present in both Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. In the Odyssey he takes Odysseus and the crew that are present captive in his cave; he eats six of the sailors. The vulgar giant is blinded by the cunning Odysseus. In the Aeneid he is a threat to Aeneas and his crew.
Python was a tormenting serpent and a child of Earth. Hera who wasn’t happy with her rival Leto sent Python to chase the woman and so she could not give birth. When Apollo got older he killed Python. She rotted where she fell and that spot was called Pytho. It was later called Delphi, Apollo’s sacred shrine. He also founded the Pythian Games in her honour (so Gaia wouldn’t get mad at the death of her daughter), these games were held every four years and second in importance to the Olympic Games.
Satyrs were half men, half goat or monkey. Sometimes they are the sons of Hermes and Iphthima. Hera turned them to their beast shape because they neglected to watch over Dionysus (why Hera cared? I don’t have a clue). They learnt their lesson and were eternally faithful to the wine god. They were always mischevious and loved to terrify herdsmen and chase nymphs. In Christianity and medieval art, the satyr is an image of the devil.
Scylla & Charybdis -
Scylla and Charybdis were two horrifying monsters on either side of the Straits of Messina. On the Italian side was hideous Scylla with six dog heads that were attached to long, scaly necks. She snapped out and ate six of Odysseus’s men. On the Sicilian side dwelled the ferocious and deadly whirlpool, Charybdis. Three times a day he swallowed up the sea and spat it out again.
The Sirens were women faced birds that sang so beautifully they lured sailors off their ships and to them. If a man ever got to the alluring Sirens, they were tortured and clawed to death. To prevent this from happening Odysseus plugged his mens ears with wax. He wanted to hear the song himself so he had himself tied to the mast. Orpheus helped the Argonauts past by singing more beautifully then the Sirens.
The Sphinx was one of the terrible offspring of Echidna and Typhon (sometimes Orthos). She was a lion, a bird and woman all in one. She terrorized the city of Thebes; she wouldn’t let anyone go in or out unless they answered her ridiculous riddle. The riddle was: “What goes on four feet, on two feet then three, But the more feet it goes on, the weaker it be?” The answer is a human; as an infant we crawl on all fours, as an adult two, and in old age we use a cane to support himself. Oedipus solves this riddle and, thus freed Thebes from the curse. The Sphinx commits suicide. It has no relation to the Egyptian Sphinx.