8. Furies It’s said that Gaea shaped a great flint-bladed sickle after Uranus imprisoned her, and told her sons to castrate him. So the youngest of the Titans, Cronus, ambushed his father, Uranus, and fulfilled his mother’s request. From the blood that spilled onto the Earth as the result of his castration, the Furies, among other creatures, were born. The Furies were the goddesses of vengeance and retribution who punished men for crimes against the natural order. Their names are Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphone, but most of the time they were not referred to by name to avoid getting their attention. Oops. Guess I shouldn’t have just said their names… Considered the spirits of justice, they could be summoned by a curse upon a criminal. At the beginning they started by punishing crimes against parents. One example is when Orestes kills his mother to avenge his father. He kills her and ends up tormented by the Furies. But in time they began to punish any kind of sin. They would harass and hurt the criminal, but never kill him. Erinyes, as they were also called, were considered incredibly hideous creatures, dressed in black and red with snakes for hair. Sometimes they were even portrayed as having dog’s heads, bloodshot eyes and bat’s wings. Their weapons were whips and torches, used to chase their victims. Their wrath knew no bounds and they could only be placated with a ritual of purification and the completion of some tasks assigned to the criminal.
7. The Gorgons The Gorgons were three evil sisters with snakes for hair. Known as Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, they were the daughters of Phorkys, a Greek sea god and Keto, a monster of the oceans. They were normal women until Medusa was raped by Poseidon inside a temple of Athena. Legend goes that because of her lack of shame, Athena turned Medusa and her sisters into the disagreeable beings they came to be. In other versions, they were born that way. The eldest of the Gorgons is Stheno which meant “forceful”. She was a vicious female monster with brass hands, sharp fangs and, you guessed it, living venomous snakes for hair! She was known to be the most murderous of the Gorgons, having killed more men than both of her sisters combined- so it is interesting that Medusa is the most famous and not Stheno. Euryale, meaning “far-roaming” was the second eldest of the Gorgon sisters and they were both immortals. Medusa means “guardian” or “female ruler”. Medusa, the youngest was the only one born mortal and is ultimately killed. The story of Medusa is quite sad. The widely accepted version of the story is that she was a priestess of the goddesses Athena, and one of the most beautiful women in all of Athens. Poseidon, the arch-enemy of Athena raped Medusa inside the temple. This infuriated the goddess Athena who decided to punish Medusa by turning her and her sisters into Gorgons. She became a dreadfully ugly and evil creature, with snakes for hair and the ability to turn anyone into stone with just one look. The myth says that she left her home and fled to Africa, turning everyone she gazed upon into stone. Nobody was spared by Medusa, proving that the beautiful woman she once was is long gone and would never return to this world. In the end, the monster that Medusa had become was killed by Perseus, son of Zeus. Pegasus and Chrysaor, the children of Medusa and Poseidon, sprang from her severed neck.
6. Cerberus The powerful monster and god Typhon was married to Echidna and had several sons. One of them is Cerberus, a three headed dog that guarded the entrance to the underworld of Hades. His task was to ensure that only the dead entered the underworld, and that nobody was let out. In ancient Greece, dogs were depicted as wild animals that fought against domestication. Cerberus was not only as stubborn as the ancient interpretation of dogs; he was a mixture of several creatures. His looked like a huge dog with three heads that represented the past, the present and the future. He had a serpent’s tail, a mane full of snakes and the claws of a fierce lion. The hound of Hades is one of the most iconic monsters in the entire Greek mythology. And we can understand why! With eyes which flashed fire, venomous mouths and a fearsome hunger for raw flesh there is no doubt he was one of the most frightening creatures ever! Origins Explained is the place to be to find all the answers to your questions, from mysterious events and unsolved mysteries to everything there is to know about the world and its amazing animals!