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6 Mythical Beings With Interesting Backstories

Updated on March 23, 2014

Medusa

Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, was the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, the children of Gaea (Earth) and Oceanus (Ocean). She was the only mortal gorgon, who despite of her mortality, was highly celebrated, for her charms and beautiful locks of hair.

As a priestess of Athena, she had devoted her life to a life of celibacy, which was later tragically broken when she was violated by Poseidon in the temple of Athena.

This violation, of the sanctity of the temple angered Athena and she inturn punished Medusa by turning her into a hideous gorgon, with venomous snakes replacing her once beautiful locks and a face that could turn anyone into stone.

This enraged Medusa and she became vicious and cruel. She continued torturing her victims, as an act of revenge, against the injustice done to her, until the day when Perseus, guided and gifted by the Gods, slew Medusa and used her head inturn to slay the Sea-dragon Cetus. He later gave the head to Athena who mounted it onto a breastplate (or shield) called the Aegis.

Pegasus

Pegasus, a divine winged stallion, was born from Medusa when her head was cut off by Perseus. He was tamed by Bellerophon and served as his mount during his adventures. When Bellerophon attempted to fly Pegasus to Mount Olympus he was dismounted by Zeus.

Pegasus continued its journey and on reaching Mount Olympus, took a place in the stables of Zeus. Here it spent its days carrying lightning bolts for Zeus.


Cyclops

Cyclops, a member of an ancient race of giants with a single eye on their foreheads, were initially known for their creative craftsmanship. They comprised of 2 generations.

The first generation consisting of 3 brothers Brontes, Steropes and Arges, were skilled metal workers who created Poseidon’s trident, Zeus thunderbolt and Hades’ Helmet of Darkness.

The 2nd generation of Cyclopes was a group of lawless shepherds who lived in Sicily and had no skills of metallurgy. They were moody, rebellious shepherds, who ignored divine laws and prayed on mortals.

Khimaira (or Chimera)

Khimaira (or Chimera), was a composite creature, with the body and maned head of a lion, goat's head arising from its back, a set of goat-udders, and a serpentine tail.

Over the time, as Chimera became an epitome of evil, Bellephoron mounted on the back of the winged horse Pegasus, killed it by driving a lead-tipped lance down its flaming throat, which completely burnt the beast from the inside.


Griffin

Griffin, a legendary creature with the head, breast and forelegs of an eagle and body of a lion is often denoted as a composite of both strength and intelligence.

Griffins were known to be extremely clever and witty creatures, who were appointed to guard and protect treasures.They often created tricks and riddles, to prevent people from finding the treasure.

Phoenix

Phoenix, a long-lived bird, known to arise from its own ashes, is often considered as a sacred firebird in the greek mythology.

It is said to have a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; burning both the nest and the bird and reducing them to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix is reborn.

Owing to the manner it is reborn it is often said to symbolize immortality, resurrection and life after death.

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