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Greek Mythology Research
Cerberus was the offspring of Echidna, a hybrid halfwoman and halfserpent, and Typhon, a
firebreathing giant whom even the Olympian gods feared. Its brother is Orthrus, always depicted as a
twoheaded hellhound. The common depiction of Cerberus in Greek mythology and art is as having three
heads, a mane of live serpents (similar to Medusa's hair) and a snake's tail. In most works the
threeheads each respectively see and represent the past, the present, and the future, while other
sources suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. Each of Cerberus' heads is said to have
an appetite only for live meat and thus allow the spirits of the dead to freely enter the underworld, but
allow none to leave Cerberus was always employed as Hades' loyal watchdog, and guarded the gates
that granted access and exit to the underworld (also called Hades).
Sirens were three dangerous birdwomen, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their
enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. They were considered the
daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon. "The
sirens, though they sing to mariners, are not seamaidens," Harrison had cautioned "they dwell on an
island in a flowery meadow."
A Cyclops was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his
forehead. The name is widely thought to mean "circleeyed".