Creatures And People Of Myth

The Archers of Hades were handpicked by Hades from the Isles of the Blessed. They were Amazons in their former lives and, with the permission of Artemis, he gave them the gift of immortality in return to follow his orders. Their arrows and bows were fashioned in the pits of Hades bearing the gift of instant death upon the inflicted. The best way to describe them is to picture Nemesis with five identical sisters.

Argus Panoptes is the all seeing, a man with many eyes. Early accounts say he had four eyes, later a hundred. He was in a number of adventures: He killed a bull ravaging Arcadia, he killed a satyr for stealing cattle, he killed Echidna and he avenged the death of Apis. Argus was finally killed by Hermes while he guarded Io for Hera.

Aeolus is the keeper of the winds. He lives on the floating island Aeolia with his six sons and six daughters. Zeus gave him the power to still and arouse the winds. When the Greek hero Odysseus visited Aeolus he was welcomed as an honored guest. As a parting gift Aeolus gave him a favoring wind and a leather bag filled with all the winds. Odysseus's sailors, thinking the bag contained gold, opened it and were at once swept back to Aeolia. Once there, Aeolus refused to help them again.

Centaurs are half man and half horse, these creatures were wild and untamable. Centaurs are characterized by savageness and violence; they are known for their drunkenness and lust and are often portrayed as followers of Dionysus, the god of wine. They were driven from Thessaly when, in a drunken frenzy, they attempted to abduct the bride of the king of the Lapiths from her wedding feast. The centaur Chiron, noted for his goodness and wisdom, was an exception. Several Greek heroes, including Achilles and Jason, were educated by him.

Cerberus is one of the offspring of Typhoeus and Echidna. He is a three headed dog with a snake's tail and three snake heads protruding from his back. He stands as watchdog to the entrance of the underworld allowing the dead to enter, but never to leave. One of the few living mortals to get past Cerberus was Orpheus who charmed it to sleep with his song during his attempt to rescue Eurydice from death, fetching Cerberus from the Underworld.

Charon is known as the mystical ferryman, he travels the banks of the River Styx offering his boat and services for those who are willing to pay his price. He is the son of Night and of Erebus, who personified the darkness under the earth through which dead souls passed to reach the home of Hades, the god of death. He admits to his boat only the souls of those who have received the rites of burial and whose passage has been paid with a coin placed under the tongue of their corpse. Those who have not been buried and whom Charon will not admit to his boat are doomed to wait beside the Styx for 100 years.

The Cyclops are gigantic one eyed monsters. There are three of them representing thunder, lighting, and the lighting bolt named Brontes, Steropes, and Arges. They were born to Gaea and Uranus and were also the first smiths. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. They were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans. As a reward for their release the Cyclopes gave Zeus his weapons of lighting and thunder. Most Greek Cyclopes are not intentionally evil, but are manipulated to hate by immortals and mortals alike, only to be taunted by cause of their differences and left to feel lonely and isolated, just ripe to be manipulated for vengeance. They are usually the average size of our friendly giants.

Echidna is a female monster consisting of half nymph, half speckled snake. She lived in a cave only coming out to snatch up and eat those who dared pass it. She was ageless but, not immortal as she was killed by Argus while sleeping. She mated frequently with Typhon producing a variety of offspring. She was the mother of Ladon (a dragon), Hydra, Chimera ( a goat-like creature), Orthus, Obie, the She-Demon , Cerberus, the Nemean Lion, and the Sphinx.

Giants were generated from Uranus' blood from when Cronus castrated him. They became powerful enough to try to unseat Zeus and the Olympians, so when the gods won they imprisoned the Giants in Tartarus. Enceladus, one of the most powerful of the giants, was buried under Mt. Etna by Athena for his part in leading the struggle. Cacus, another giant, was defeated by Hercules.

Gorgons are often described as terrifying, female dragon-like creatures, covered with golden scales and having snakes for hair. Their faces are so ugly that any man looking into them would turn to stone. Oddly the three gorgons have very different origins. Stheno and Euryale were born as gorgons from Phorcys and Ceto thus they were immortal. Medusa was not. Medusa alone could be killed. The hero Perseus killed her and brought back her head with the help of Hermes and Athena. From her blood sprang the winged horse Pegasus, her son by the god Poseidon.

Graegus was created by Ares for the sole purpose of killing Hercules, Graegus is an enormous dog, larger than Cerebus, but with only one head. For strength and food it fed off the bodies of the dead, but when there were none to feed off of he would take the living. Hercules heard of this and saved the world from destruction yet again by leashing him inside of one of Ares' shrines. Hercules then managed to push the evil Darphus (a daeomic liuetenant of Xena's army) into his mouth, and in a burst of flames the two were destroyed as Hercules said, "Evil destroyed evil."

Graiae (The Gray Women) are three witch like sisters who live along the banks of Ocean's domain. They were gray-haired from birth and have only one eye and one tooth, which they share among them and fight over constantly. Their names are Enyo (horror), Deino (dread) and Pemphredo (alarm). The sisters played a pivotal role in aiding Perseus find his way to island of the Gorgons.

Gryphons are considered "The hounds of Zeus" who never bark, with beaks like birds, the head and wings of an eagle, and the body of a lion. They are said to guard the gold of the North which the Arismapsi tried to steal.

Harpies are frightful winged creatures with hooked beaks and claws that leave a sickening stench to whatever they touch. They were encountered on Jason's voyage for the Golden Fleece. When Jason and the Argonauts set down on small island for supplies they came upon an old man, Phineus, who had the gift of foretelling the future but who had angered Zeus and was punished with a plague of harpies. Every night food was set out for Phineus but just before he could take a bite the harpies would swoop down and spoil the dinner. Jason had the sons of Boreas hunt the harpies down. They were about to kill them when the rainbow messenger Iris stepped in and forewarned them that killing these hounds of Zeus would surely bring them disfavor, she also told them if they let the harpies go then they would never bother Phineus again. For their help Phineus aided the Argonauts with advice on how to pass the treachorous Symplegades, "Crashing Rocks".

Hippocampus are the swift and beautiful underwater steeds of Tritons, with a long fish like rear body, and horselike forelimbs and heads. Hecatoncheires, meaning "hundred handed", are gigantic and have fifty heads and one hundred arms, each of great strength. There are three of them: Briareus also called Aegaeon, Gyges also called Gyes, and Cottus. They were born to Gaea and Uranus and their mutual hatred of their father caused him to force the Hecatoncheires back into Gaea's womb. This precipitated Gaea's rebellion against Uranus and when Cronus came to power he imprisoned them in Tartarus. The were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans, able to hurl huge boulders as many as a hundred at a time against their opponents. One of them, Briareus, serves as Zeus' bodyguard.

The Hydra was another offspring of Typhon and Echidna, a poisonous water snake that lives near the well of Amyone. It was Hera's pet for a while, and ravaged the district of Lerna near Argos. It has foul smelling breath which works like a poisonous cloud on would be hereos, and nine heads, the middle one being immortal. The great hero Hercules was sent to deal with the hydra, and fought valiantly, lopping off many of the hydra's heads, but as soon as he chopped them off two new heads would grow in place of the one he took. It was only with the help of Iolaus, Hercules' faithful companion, that the Hydra was defeated. Every time Hercules severed a head Iolaus would burn the stump with a torch preventing any new growth. When it came down to the final head Hercules buried it underneath a rockslide.

The Maenads are female followers of Dionysus, their worship of him centered on two basic ideals….one of freedom and ecstatic joy, the other of savage brutality. Many of them left the cities they resided in to live in the wilderness and woodlands. There Dionysus gives them food and drink, they make their beds in soft meadows and bathe in clear brooks. But every once in a while these women, pleasant by nature, are turned mad, frenzied with the wine of Dionysus. They rush through forests and over mountains uttering sharp cries and waving pine-cone tipped wands wildly about. Nothing can stop them when they are in this frenzy, every creature they meet is torn to pieces and then devoured as they make their way across the lands.

Medusa began life as a girl so lovely that she made even Athena jealous. Such beauty turned Poseidon's head and he seduced the girl, unfortunately for her, in one of Athena's temples. Such an affront to Athena would not go unpunished particularly by one already in ill favor, so Medusa was turned, by Athena, into a gorgon but since she started as human she remained mortal. As if this were not punishment enough, Athena later helped Perseus hunt her down and kill her. When Perseus cut her head off, Pegasus and Chrysaor, her children by Poseidon, sprang forth. Drops of her blood also fell into the Libyan desert and turned into snakes which later killed Mopsus. After Perseus left with her head, Athena took charge of what was left of her body. She flayed off Medusa's skin and made it into her trademark Aegis. She then took two drops of the blood to King Erichthonius explaining that one would cure disease and the other was a deadly poison.

The Mesomorph's gift is like the gift of immortality as it is a gift that can be either born with or bestowed upon by the gods. The gift of mesomorph permits one to change shape between their previous self and a contorted form with an ape-like quality to it. The most notorious of such chance encounters with mesomorphs is the Olympics fiasco. During a competition involving the relentless Spartans, the mesomorph warriors began to reek havoc by attacking the Spartans. Little did they know they were the elite of athletic and warrior superiority, and they were overcome. The Olympics went on as scheduled, and the crowd never knew what had "really" happened there.

The Minotaur was a fierce creature, half man and half bull. It was the offspring of King Minos' wife Pasiphae. Legend goes that Minos, the son of Zeus and and Europa, asked Poseidon to send him a sacrificial bull. The great god of the sea sent him a beautiful snow white bull but instead of sacrificing it to the gods the greedy king kept it for himself and put another lesser quality bull in its place. When Poseidon discovered this treachery he punished Minos by causing the bull to go mad and Minos' wife Pasiphae to fall in love with it bearing a hideous creature, the minotaur. Horrible though that it was, Minos could not bear to have it slain and ordered the architect Daedalus to build a labyrinth in which to confine it. There it stayed in the twisting impossible maze feasting on at least a dozen young Athenian tributes. Only Theseus, son of Athenian King Aegeus, had the courage and quick wits to defeat the beast. Moving quickly through the maze Theseus came upon the Minotaur sleeping and fell upon him with fury, beating him with his fists until the Minotaur died.

Pegasus is a marvelous winged horse that sprung from the severed head of Medusa after Perseus killed her. Hippocrene, the poet's spring, was said to have welled up from the hoofprints of Pegasus. None could catch the swift steed, except Bellerophon, who with the help of a golden bridle provided by Athena, was able to capture the mighty horse and train it. After many adventures, including the felling of the Chimaera, Bellerophon, who grew too ambitious for his own good, believed himself a god and attempted to take his place among them by flying on the back of Pegasus to Olympus. Pegasus knowing full well Bellerophon was out of his mind threw his rider. Little is known what became of Bellerophon but Pegasus found his way to the halls of Olympus and was cared for by Zeus as his favorite steed.

Sirens live on an uncharted island and lure sailors to their deaths by lulling them with their sweet hypnotic songs while their ships crash upon the rocks. They have voices of such sweetness that mariners who hear their songs are lured onto the rocks on which the nymphs sing. Odysseus was forewarned of their affect on men from Circe and commanded them to plug their ears with wax so as not to fall victim to the sirens' spell.

The Stymphalian Birds were flying creatures with lethal, metallic feathers who infested the Stymphalian marsh in Arcadia. When Hercules had to confront these man-eaters as one of his Labors, he was aided by Athena. The goddess gave him a pair of castanets, and with these noisemakers, he caused the birds to take wing. As they fled from the marshes he managed to bring them down by the dozens with arrows from his bow.

Tritons are the "Trumpeters of the Sea". They play great shells for trumpets and ride on the backs of hippocampuses and seahorses, along with dolphins. The original Triton is the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite.

Typhon, or Typhoeus, is a fire breathing dragon with a hundred heads that never rests. It was birthed by Gaea as a last ditch effort to keep the Olympians from defeating her children, the Titans. It came close to succeeding, setting most of the gods to flight and capturing Zeus, but Hermes was able to free Zeus who was then able to dispatch Typhon with his lighting bolts. Typhon is buried under Mount Etna in Sicily.

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