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Greek Mythical Creatures

Interesting Legends of the Fascinating Greek Mythical Creatures

Greek mythology is by no means complete without the mention of mythical creatures. From centaurs and mermaids to gorgons and sirens, these creatures have always dominated the folklore of Ancient Greece.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Parents of All Monsters
That's what they call Typhon and Echidna, the ferocious monsters who sired some of the most fearsome creatures of Greek mythology, including Cerberus and Hydra.
Greek mythology has always been a subject of fascination for mankind. From gods and goddesses to rituals and heroics, Ancient Greek mythology has it all. Of the several captivating chapters, the one about Greek mythological creatures in particular grabs your attention from the word go.

While the likes of Centaur, Minotaur, and the Nemean lion have become quite popular over the course of time, there are others who have not been so lucky. That, however, doesn't mean they are not interesting. In fact, the legend of each of these creatures is as interesting as the myth of Greek creation.
List of Greek Mythological Creatures
Name Description
Argos Panoptes He was the hundred-eyed giant from Argolis, Peloponnese, who was killed by Zeus. For his service, Hera rewarded him by putting him on the tail of a peacock.
Calydonian Boar A monster sent by Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, and wilderness, to destroy the region of Calydon, as she believed that King Oeneus had disrespected her by not honoring her in his rites to the gods. In fact, the Calydonian boar hunt is one of the most fascinating chapters of Greek mythology.
Centaurs Half-human and half-horse mythical creatures―typically with the upper body of human and lower body of a horse―that inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion, Mount Pholoe, and the Malean Peninsula.
Cerberus The three-headed dog, with mane of snakes, lion's claws, and serpent's tail, who guarded the gates of Hades to prevent anyone who crossed River Styx from escaping the Underworld. He was the offspring of Echidna and Typhon.
Charybdis A beautiful naiad (water nymph)―the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia―who was turned into a sea monster by an enraged Zeus, when she helped Poseidon engulf lands and islands in water.
Chimera A monstrous fire-breathing creature, who was part lion and part goat, and had a snake as its tail. Like Cerberus, even Chimera was an offspring of Echidna and Typhon.
Cretan Bull A mythical bull who fell in love with the Greek goddess, Pasiphae, and fathered the Minotaur. According to some sources, the Cretan Bull was actually Zeus in disguise, who seduced Europa and took her to Crete.
Cyclopes Primordial giants from Greek mythology, typically characterized by a single eye in the middle of their forehead. In Hesiod's Theogony, they are the three giants who gave Zeus the thunderbolt, Hades the helmet of invisibility, and Poseidon the trident when Zeus released them from Tartarus.
Echidna A half woman-half snake, who is known as the 'Mother of All Monsters', as some of the most-feared monsters of the Greek mythology, including the Cerberus and Chimera, were born to her. She was the daughter of Tartarus and Gaia.
Erymanthian Boar A gigantic, fiery boar that inhabited the wild regions near Mount Erymanthos. On the fourth of his Twelve Labors, Hercules was sent to capture the Erymanthian Boar.
Gigantes Also referred to as giants, they were the children of Gaia and Tartarus, who were fertilized by the blood of Ouranos when he was castrated by his son, Cronus.
Gorgons Female creatures whose hair were made of live, venomous snakes. In Greek mythology, the most famous gorgons were Medusa, who could turn anyone to stone with her gaze, and her sisters, Stheno and Euryale. Medusa was slain by Perseus―a demigod and the son of Zeus.
Graeae Sisters to the gorgons, graeae were the three sisters who shared one eye and one tooth and took turns using them. Also called the Grey Sisters, it was them who told Perseus about Medusa's whereabouts when he stole their lone eye.
Griffin Mythical creatures with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. In Greek mythology, they were believed to be the guardians of treasures.
Harpy Mythical birds with human face, who used to steal food from their victims. When Phineas, the Phoenician King of Thrace, got into Zeus' bad books, the latter made him blind and left him on an island. This island was laden with food, but the moment Phineas would pick up anything to eat, harpies would snatch it from him.
Hekatonkheires These were the three giants: Aigaion, Cottus, and Gyges, each with a hundred hands and fifty heads, who helped Zeus during the War of the Titans. In return, they were made the guards of Tartarus.
Hippalectryon A half horse-half rooster hybrid creature, with the head, withers, and the front legs of horse and wings, tail, and legs of a rooster.
Hippocampus A mythical creature normally depicted with the upper torso of a horse and lower torso of a fish, typically resembling a seahorse.
Ladon A serpent-like dragon that coiled around a tree in the Garden of the Hesperides and guarded the golden apples. While some sources consider it the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, others consider it the offspring of Ceto and Phorcys.
Laelaps A mythical dog who was destined to catch what it was hunting. He was put in the sky by Zeus as Canis Major.
Lernaean Hydra A serpent-like water monster with several heads and poisonous breath, who was killed by Hercules as a part of his Twelve Labors. Like the Cerberus and Charybdis, it was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna.
Manticore Yet another mythological hybrid, typically resembling the Egyptian sphinx, with a body of a red lion and a human head. It was said to have three rows of teeth and a trumpet-like voice.
Mares of Diomedes These were the four man-eating horses, namely Podargos, Lampon, Xanthos, and Deinos, that Hercules stole from King Diomedes of Thrace, as the eighth of his Twelve Labors.
Mermaid Mythical aquatic creatures, typically characterized by human head and torso, and the tail of a fish, who lured seafarers and drowned them. While mermaids were females, their male equivalents were called mermen.
Minotaur A fierce creature, typically characterized by the head of a bull and the body of a man, who was confined in the Cretan Labyrinth by King Minos of Crete. He was eventually killed by Theseus with the sword of Aegeus.
Nemean Lion A mythical monster, with impervious golden fur and sharp claws, who lured warriors to his cave, killed them, and gave their bones to Hades. He was killed by Hercules as the first of his Twelve Labors.
Ophiotaurus A part bull-part serpent hybrid creature who was killed during the Titanomachy. It was said that whoever would burn its intestinal organs would get the power to defeat the gods.
Orthrus A two-headed dog owned by Geryon, a fearsome three-bodied giant from Erytheia. Orthrus was assigned the task of guarding Geryon's herd of red cattle. He was the brother of Cerberus.
Pegasus An immortal, winged horse that rose from the blood of gorgon Medusa, when she was slain by Perseus. Zeus gave him the task of carrying his thunderbolts, and eventually transformed him into a constellation and placed him in the sky.
Phoenix A legendary golden-red bird that burned itself to death and emerged from ashes of the same fire, once every five hundred years.
Python An earth-dragon who was assigned the task of guarding the oracle of Delphi. It was eventually killed by Apollo, the god of light, to avenge his mother, Leto.
Satyrs Half man-half beast, these were the deities of the woods and mountains. They were typically characterized by goat's ears, hooves, and tail. Their female equivalents were satyresses, who were depicted with the upper torso of women and lower torso of a goat.
Scylla A beautiful naiad who was turned into a monster by Amphitrite, the sea goddess and wife of Poseidon, by poisoning the water where she used to bathe.
Sirens The three bird-women from the island Sirenum scopuli, often portrayed as seductresses, who used their enchanting music and voice to lure sailors into shipwrecking along the rocky coast of this island.
Sphinx A mythical creature with the body of a lion, wings, and the head of a woman. It guarded the Greek city of Thebes and asked travelers a riddle, which they had to answer to enter the city.
Stymphalian Birds Man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers. They were raised by Ares, the god of war, as pets. Hercules killed these birds as his sixth Labor.
Talos A giant made of bronze, who guarded the island of Crete and protected the Phoenician princess, Europa. He was made by Hephaestus―the god of fire and metalworking―at the behest of Zeus, who was worried about Europa's safety.
Telekhines These were the skilled metal workers from the island of Rhodes, with the heads of dogs and flippers instead of hands, who made Posiedon's trident and Cronus' sickle. They were killed by gods, as they started using their magical powers for wrongful deeds.
Teumessian Fox A huge fox born to Echidna, who was destined never to get caught. Zeus put it in the sky as Canis Minor.
Typhon A monster who attempted to destroy Zeus at the will of Gaia, but was defeated and imprisoned in the pit of Tartarus. If Echidna was the 'Mother of All Monsters', Typhon was the 'Father of All Monsters', siring children like the Cerberus, Orthrus, Lernaean Hydra, and Chimera.
Like we said earlier, one of the most important chapters of Greek mythology revolves around these mythical creatures. While gods and goddesses were the most important characters of Greek culture and folklore, all these creatures that we spoke of, were no less important. If it was not for them, Greek mythology wouldn't have had been so fascinating.