10 Most Popular Greek Mythical Creatures List With Pictures
Greek mythical creatures list with pictures in alphabetical order are 1. Centaur 2. Chimaera 3. Cyclops 4. Faun and six more. The 10 most popular ones are discussed here.
The characters are often portrayed as hybrids of humans and animals. Strange creatures have been an integral part of Greek mythology for centuries. Greek folklores often tell the stories of terrifying beasts, creatures, and mysterious forces of nature.
As these folktales are passed down from generation to generation, these stories can get distorted and appear far from reality. Today, Greek and other mythologies play a crucial role in pop culture.
The strange life forms from these mythologies have been featured as characters in Hollywood movies. For instance, actress Uma Thurman plays the snake-haired Medusa in the 2010 movie, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The movie stars actors like Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Allison Cowley, and more.
Mythical creatures list a-z goes as follows:
The details on each of these creatures are discussed below.
Centaur is a mythical beast that is part human and part horse. It has the torso and head of a human and the lower body of a horse.
According to legends, these creatures live in the mountains located in Arcadia and Thessaly. Centaurs were born as the children of Lapiths king Ixion and are best known for their war against the Lapiths. The rivalry between Centaurs and Lapiths started when the former tried to kidnap the bride of Ixion's son Pirithous. Centaurs were exiled from Mount Pelion after losing the battle.
Centaurs have played an important part in Greek mythology. Initially, they were represented as full humans with a horse's hindlegs and body attached to its back. But, now, they are portrayed as creatures with the body of a human from the waist up and a horse's lower body.
In many folklores, Centaurs are described as a primitive race of beasts living in caves. They were primitive hunters who used tree branches and rocks as weapons.
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Chimera is a fictional beast with the power to breathe fire. It is a hybrid of lion, goat, and dragon.
In artistic works, Chimera is normally portrayed with the forepart of a lion, the middle body of a goat, and the back of a dragon. Alternatively, the creature is also occasionally represented to have a snake head as its tail.
As per legends, the beast wreathed havoc in the ancient kingdoms of Lycia and Caria. It was finally killed by Poseidon's son Bellerophon.
Bellerophon was tasked with killing the beast by King Iobates of Lycia. After praying to Athena, he is told to get the magical creature Pegasus. After several attempts, he succeeds in taming the flying horse.
With the help of Pegasus, Bellerophon killed Chimera with a spear. Chimera bled green blood and eventually turned into a pile of goo.
Cyclops is a giant creature with a single eye in the middle of its forehead. These beings have been mentioned by several Greek scholars, including Homer, Hesiod, and Euripides.
Greek poets described the existence of three types of Cyclopes. In his famous poem Theogony, Hesiod mentioned Cyclopes are weapon builders. According to Hesiod, Cyclopes consisted of three brothers named Arges, Brontes, and Steropes, who built the thunderbolt for Zeus.
Similarly, Homer also discussed the Cyclopes in his famous poem Odyssey. As per the poem, the creatures include a race of uncivilized shepherds. Polyphemus is one of the most famous Cyclopes; he has an encounter with King Odysseus.
Tragedian Euripides noted the encounter between King Odysseus and Polyphemus in his play Cyclops. He offered comic relief through satirical tales in his play.
Cyclopes are often portrayed to be skilled builders. They allegedly constructed the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae.
The faun is a hybrid creature depicted as half-human and half-goat. The creature is featured in tales from Greek and Roman mythology.
Fauns have the horns, tail, and legs of a goat along with human head, torso, and arms. These creatures were initially called satyrs in Greek folktales and were portrayed as hairy and ugly dwarves.
Fauns are described to be a mix of evil and good. While they have always commanded fear from lonely travelers, these beings have also occasionally guided in-need humans.
Similarly, according to Roman mythology, fauns were created as the offspring of Faunus and Fauna, two Roman deities. Faunus and Fauna were the Roman gods of fields, forests, and plains.
Fauns are depicted to be primarily male with no female equivalent. To reproduce, they mated with tree nymphs, dryads, and other creatures.
Gorgons are monster creatures that live in the underworld. Early classical artworks depict Gorgons to be female creatures with wings.
Gorgons were initially portrayed as flat-nosed beings with round faces and large teeth. These beings have the power to turn their victims into stone statues with simple eye contact. Folklores describe Gorgons as terribly frightening with hair replaced by live snakes.
Greek poet Homer was the first one to talk about Gorgons in one of his works. He described Gorgon to be a single entity from the underworld. Later, another poet Hesiod changed the number to three. He wrote that the Gorgons were the children of the Greek sea god Phorcys and Ceto, his sister-wife.
According to Hesiod, the three Gorgons were Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa. Among the three sisters, Stheno and Euryale were immortal, whereas Medusa was mortal. Often portrayed as one of the most beautiful but terrifying, Medusa was killed by the Greek hero Persues through beheading.
Following her decapitation, Medissa's offspring Chrysaor and Pegasus were created from her blood.
Hydra is a water monster with nine snake heads. The animal is also called Hydra of Lerna or the Lernean Hydra.
The creature is believed to be created as the child of monsters Echidna and Typhon. It had multiple heads, including one immortal head. While most agree the number of heads is nine, the number is different in some folktales.
Hydra lived near Argos in the Lernaean marshes. It would occasionally come out of its natural habitat to hunt cattle and even humans.
Hydras are considered to be extremely powerful and very challenging to kill. If anyone tried to decapitate one of its heads, two more heads would be generated from the wound.
The Lernean Hydra was eventually killed by the Greek hero Heracles. To destroy Hydra, Heracles took the help of his nephew Iolaus. As Heracles decapitated the heads of Hydra, Iolaus would immediately burn the wound to stop new heads from emerging.
Heracles finally rid the world of Hydra by burying its immortal head under a massive rock.
Mythical sea creature names also include:
- Loch Ness Monster
- Selkie, etc
Scylla is a female monster with six heads and 12 feet. Each of her heads had three sharp teeth, whereas her legs reflected the body of snakes.
Along with her counterpart Charybdis, Scylla ambushed unsuspecting sailors in the narrow waters traveled by Odysseus. She even attacks and devours Odysseus's six colleagues.
Scylla was originally a beautiful human woman in love with the sea god Glaucus. But, she was transformed into a hideous creator by a witch named Circe. It's believed that Circe used witchcraft to turn Scylla into a beast out of sheer jealousy. Meanwhile, some folktales argue that she was turned into a monster when she betrayed her father after falling in love with the king of Crete, Minos.
According to some folktales, Scylla was slain by Heracles when he encountered her during a trip to Sicily. However, legends suggest that she was resurrected by the sea god Phorcys using flaming torches.
Siren is a half-woman and half-bird creature who primarily haunted sailors. The creature uses its sweet voice to lure unsuspecting sailors into utter destruction.
The Greek poet Homer first mentioned the existence of these beasts. He wrote in one of his poems that two Sirens reside on an island located between Aeaea and Scylla in the western sea. However, some historians argue the number of sirens is three.
Sirens were created from the union between one of the muses and the river god Achelous or the sea god Phorcys. They primarily operated on the seas and manipulated sailors into destroying themselves.
Odysseus was on a ship when he started hearing the songs of the sirens. However, he had been warned about those creatures by sorceress Circe. The Greek hero survived the sirens by placing wax on his ears to stop the sound and also suggested other sailors do the same.
Listening to the songs would cause the sailors to jump overboard from the ship to their death. Additionally, the sirens committed suicide if a mortal individual resisted their songs.
Most popular mythical creatures list is not complete with the inclusion of unicorn. Unicorn is a fictional animal that resembles a horse.
The creature has a single horn sticking out from its forehead. Unicorns have been featured in different lores all over, including Greek, Chinese, Mesopotamian, and Indian mythologies.
Greek historian Ctesias first mentioned the animal in 400 BCE. He described the beast's physical characteristics as consisting of a purple head, blue eyes, and a white body.
The mythological animal is said to have multiple health benefits, including immunity from poison. It's believed that drinking from its horn will cure serious diseases and conditions like epilepsy, poisoning, and stomach problems.
The existence of unicorns is also briefly described in the Bible. Some of the poems from the book mention a fascinating animal named re'em, which translates to a unicorn. However, some historians believe that the word re'em refers to a rhinoceros or an ox.
Werewolves are possibly one of the most famous mythological creatures in multiple mythologies. Werewolves are humans who can turn into wolves due to an affliction or curse.
Folktales suggest that werewolves can shapeshift from humans to wolves in the presence of a full moon. According to Greek mythology, Pelasgus' son Lycaon was the first individual to become a werewolf.
Lycaon angered Zeus when he used a sacrificed boy's body to prepare a meal for the god. Upon learning how the meal was made, Zeus punished Lycaon by turning him and his sons into wolves.
Werewolves have been an integral part of folktales all around the world. The creatures were reportedly first mentioned in a Nordic tale called the Saga of the Volsungs.
As the story goes, a father and his son found wolf pelts with the power to transform a human being into a wolf for ten days. The pair used the pelts to commit mass murders in the forest. The killings ended after the father injures his son with a lethal wound.
Werewolves are powerful creatures that can be killed with a few techniques. Shooting a silver bullet and burning are considered the most effective ways to kill a werewolf.
Previously, our team has also explored and made a list of 12 Greek Gods and Goddesses with pictures.