Mythical Creatures Lecture notes from guest professor about the kinds of mythical creatures in Greek mythology and the stories associated with them.

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
University of Regina
Classical Studies
Mythical Creatures
4:00 PM
Often combine human and animal forms
Add excitement to myths
Provide unique quests and challenges
Provide local colour of faraway lands
o Created by Mother Earth to overthrow Zeus
o Piled rocks to reach the sky where Zeus lived
o Took all the Gods, but the giants were defeated
o Originally 3, who produced Zeus' lightning bolts
o Polyphemus: famous giant, appeared in Odyssey. Giant traps Odysseus, who then offers him
wine. Polyphemus falls asleep, Odysseus and crew heat up metal rod and stab him in the
eye. Giant traps them in a cave with his sheep, Odysseus and his men tie themselves to the
underside of the sheep and escape.
o Galatea: Polyphemus' girlfriend. She leaves him for someone else, he kills that someone
o Cyclops are generally cannibals
Human and Animal Combos
o Part human, part winged serpent
o 100 snake heads, usually depicted with one giant head
o Created by Mother Earth to try to overthrow Zeus
o Winged, female monsters with snakes in their hair. Very ugly
o Turned people into stone if you looked at them
o 2 were immortal, one was mortal - Medusa
o Medusa: made love to Poseidon in the temple of Athena, Athena gets pissed and turns her
into a gorgon. She is later decapitated by Perseus, who has winged shoes and a mirror shield
as gifts from Athena. Medusa spawns Pegasus as she dies; Athena then wears Medusa's
head on her breastplate to turn people into stone
o Has sex with Circe's man, Circe poisons her bathwater
o Turns into a monster with a serpent tail and six dog heads protruding from her thighs
o Eats sailors
o Half man, half horse
o Usually bearded
o Eat people
o Invited to the wedding of king of Thrace, they get drunk and try to carry the bride away.
Battle between Thracians and Centaurs ensue.
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