Cerberus- The Three Headed Hound In Greek Mythology
Introduction To Cerberus
Have you ever pictured a hound with three heads? Cerberus, in Greek Mythology is indeed a three headed hound. He's the hound that guarded the gates of the underworld to stop those who have crossed the river styx from leaving. The most common physical appearance of Cerberus that has been depicted is a hound with three heads that have manes of live snakes and a tale of a snake.
The Three Heads
There are many different sources that have different opinions of what the three heads represented. Some say that they are of the past, present and the future. While others state that they represent birth, youth and old age. My personal favorite representation is the one that says they are of past, present and future.
In either case each head is said to have an appetite of live meat and only for live meat. He allows people to enter the underworld freely but will never allow them to leave.
Hercules And Cerberus
Hercules was assigned twelve tasks by King Eurystheus and one of them included capturing Cerberus. It's said that he wouldn't have had to capture him in the first place if he hadn't received help in two of his tasks prior to Cerberus.
While he was in the underworld Hercules asked Hades if he could take Cerberus from the underworld, Hades was willing to allow this if this hero could successfully overpower the monstrous hound with out any weapons. The well known Greek hero was very successful and returned with Cerberus, bringing him to the king. However the king was absolutely terrified of Cerberus and asked Hercules to return him back to Hades.
Interesting and Terrifying
I find the very idea of a three headed hound guarding Hades to be both very interesting as well as frightening. This hound was not said to be of normal size. Imagine a gigantic three headed hound. Yes, gigantic! The Greeks have very interesting creatures in their mythology as well as Gods and Goddesses but Cerberus will always captivate my attention.
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