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SeaBeasts pt.2

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Forums -> Misc Topics -> SeaBeasts pt.2

SeaBeasts pt.2
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Post # 1
A continuation of my bestiary.


-Delphin (translated to dolphin) was an attendant of Poseidon. He served Poseidon and helped him as a messenger. However, one day when Poseidon's wooing scared Amphitrite away, Delphin found the nymph and convinced her to marry Poseidon.He was made into a constellation as a show of Poesidons gratitude.
This is not a surprising story, since dolphins are found in many Greek myths. They were portrayed as 'helpers of men'.They were scared to both Aphrodite and Apollo, serving as messengers for Poseidon.


-Skylla (or Scylla) and Kharybdis (or Charybdis) are a well-known part of Homer's 'Odyssey'. Scylla, meaning to tear or rend, was a monstrous sea-beast (though its debated as to whether or not she was a goddess) that dwelled within the rocks of a narrow strait sitting opposite of Kharybdis.
She had six heads that would dart out and steal men from their ships if they passed too close.In ancient pottery or drawings she is shown as a goddess with a large fish-tail and clusters of canine parts around her midsection. Homer gives a lengthy description of her. Skylla had twelve tentacled feet, six gigantic necks (each adorned with a terrifying head, with four eyes, that was lined with three rows of teeth) and multiple dog like heads ringing her waist. Her voice sounded similar to the yelps of a dog. Thus, it is not surprising that the Greek word 'skyllaros' means hermit-crab, 'skylax' means dog or dog-shark and the word 'skyllo' means 'to rend'. Ovid writes, saying that she was once a beautiful nymph that Glaucus fell overwhelmingly in love with. When she fled onto land, knowing he could not chase her, he went to Circe and asked for a potion which would 'melt her heart'. Circe fell in love with Glaucus as she listened to his story, yet he would not return the feelings. In a jealous rage, she prepared a vial of poison and poured it into the bathing area of Scylla. When she stepped into the water to bathe she was then transformed.


-Kharybdis, on the other hand, had a name that translated roughly to swallow and belch. It was either a sea monster or a goddess who was in the form of a huge whirlpool. It swirled opposite of Skylla, into the straits of Messina. It is debated as to whether Kharybdis was a goddess of tides, or a living personification of whirlpools. Nevertheless, she was identical to Keto Trienos or Ceto, a marine goddess who went by the name 'Three Times'. In some myths she is described as being a giant bladder of a creature whose entire face was its mouth that swallows in everything three times a day before belching out large sums of water. It is said that she would aid Poseidon in his feud against Zeus, gobbling up entire villages by drowning them.


From these two comes the saying "between a rock and a hard place".


-Seirenes, or Sirens, are famous in mythology for being sea nymphs that lured sailors to a cold, rocky death by singing bewitching songs. The Latin word siren translates into Entwiner or Binder. "They are mantic creatures like the Sphinx with whom they have much in common, knowing both the past and the future," Harrison observed. "Their song takes effect at midday, in a windless calm. The end of that song is death."Some stories portray the sirens as handmaidens to Persephone. When she was taken by Hades, Demeter (her mother) gave them each bodies of birds and sent them to find her. They gave up and settled on the island of Anthemoessa. Sometimes they were thought to be the daughters of Achelous, a river God. The Argonauts encountered them, yet passed unharmed as Orpheus drowned out their bewitching song with his own. Then Odysseus sailed through and was bound the his mast, all of his men having their ears stuffed with wax. In distress and frustration, the sirens threw themselves against the rocks and into the sea to die.


Sources:
Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 17 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.)
Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 47 (from Scholiast on Homer's Odyssey 12. 168) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.)
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E7. 20 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.)
Homer, Odyssey 12. 84 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.)
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