Creatures and Monsters from Greek Mythology
The heroes are probably the best-known part of Greek mythology, but what makes a hero?
Having monsters to fight, that's what. Luckily for the heroes, the Ancient Greeks had the strangest, coolest, most terrifying creatures & monsters mythology had to offer ranging from Dragons, Giants, Demons and Ghosts, to multi-formed creatures such as the Sphinx, Minotaur, Centaurs, Manticores & Chimaera.
There were also many fabulous animals such as the Nemean Lion, golden-fleeced Ram and the winged horse Pegasus, not to mention the creatures of legend such as the Phoenix, the Griffin and Unicorns.
In this section, you'll learn interesting facts and information about the many creatures and monsters of ancient Greek mythology
Children of Typhon
Many of the great Greek monsters were descendants of Typhon, the most deadly monster of Greek mythology.
Typhon was the last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, he was known as the “Father of All Monsters”. Instead of a human head, a hundred dragon heads erupted from Typhon's neck and shoulders. His wife Echidna, half woman half snake, was likewise the “Mother of All Monsters.”
Together, Echidna and Typhon raised some of the most well known monsters and creatures in all mythology.
- Orthrus. A fearsome two-headed hound that lived with giants
- Sphinx. A half human, half lion who would slay anybody who did not answer her riddles. When Oedipus was able to answer a riddle correctly, she jumped into the ocean in a fit of rage and drowned.
- Nemean Lion. A gigantic lion with impenetrable skin that eventually became the star constellation Leo.
- Cerberus. This well-known monster was a three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades.
- Ladon. A serpentine dragon (drakon) that guarded the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides.
- Lernaean Hydra. An ancient serpent-like water monster with reptilian traits and many heads that multiplied if they were cut off.
- Caucasian Eagle. An eagle that every day ate the liver of Prometheus.
- Chimera. A monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature with the body of a lion, the head of a goat, and a tail with a snake’s head.
In Ancient Greek mythology, gods and goddesses regularly interacted with mere mortals. In most cases, the greek gods did acts that were worthy of praise and worship. However, some interactions highlighted the vindictive nature of the deities. Those cautionary tales served as warnings to Ancient Greeks while continuing to teach valuable lessons today. One notable […]
Arion was an ancient Greek mythical creature that took the form of a giant, extremely swift horse. Arion was endowed with both eternal life and the ability to speak. By some accounts Arion was born from a union of the Sea god Poseidon in the form of a stallion and the Earth goddess Demeter in […]
In Greek mythology, Centaurs (or Kentauroi) are half-man, half horse creatures that inhabited the mountains and forests of Thessaly. Centaurs were said to be primal, existing in tribes and making their homes in caves, hunting wild animals and arming themselves with rocks and tree branches.
Cerberus: The three Headed Dog of Greek Mythology There are many unique creatures mentioned in Greek mythology. One of the most well known may be the three-headed dog known as Cerberus. It was the job of Cerberus to guard the entrance to Hades. In Greek mythology, this was the underworld where spirits of the dead […]
The most awe-inspiring elements of Greek mythology are, without a doubt, the ferocious beasts and monsters. These legendary creatures have inspired tales throughout history and continue to mystify fans of the mythos. Most are already familiar with the Cerberus, the Harpies, and the famous Gorgons. However, plenty of other monsters deserve their time in the […]
Chimaera – A Fire-Breathing Monster
Chimaera has become one of the most famous female monsters described in Greek mythology. An aura of mystery has always surrounded this creature. (Even today, the name “chimaera” sometimes refers to a genetic puzzle.) Greek sailors considered it a very bad omen to see Chimaera. She usually appeared right before a disaster! A Lion, […]
The island of Crete was the home of the legendary King Minos, who worshiped bulls. Poseidon, God of the Sea, gave King Minos a magical bull that rose from the sea. Poseidon gave Minos this bull on the condition that it was to be sacrificed in Poseidon’s honor, but Minos was so impressed with this […]
The Cyclopes were giant; one-eyed monsters; a wild race of lawless creatures who possess neither social manners nor fear of the Gods. Cyclopes means ‘round eye.’ Considered the sons of Uranus and Gaea they were the workmen of the God Hephaestus whose workshop was in the heart of the volcanic mountain Etna. According to Homer’s […]
Dogs in Greek Mythology
Dogs have been featured prominently in Greek mythology, often acting as loyal companions to the gods and goddesses and even the mortal heroes too. Argus Unbeknownst to Odysseus as he left the defeated Troy for Ithaca, many obstacles such as Sirens, inebriated Cyclops, and furious gods awaited him. Most people of his hometown thought he […]
Echidna The She-Viper – Mother of Monsters Echidna is a somewhat obscure, but nevertheless fearsome monster in Greek mythology. Homer’s The Iliad and Hesiod’s poem Theogony are some of the oldest writings to feature her, and have therefore been influential in shaping Echidna’s modern narrative. Other than what is established in The Iliad, Theogony and […]
The Harpies were mythical monsters in Greek mythology that had the form of a bird with a human female face; often agents of punishment they abducted people and tortured them on their way to Hades’ domain, employed by the God as instruments for the punishment of the guilty. They stole food from their victims and […]
Kraken – Fearsome Giant Sea Monster of Norse Legend
The Kraken is one of the most fearsome and famous legendary sea monsters to terrorize sailors on the high seas. This beast is often described as a gigantic cephalopod-like creature. It resembles an enormous octopus or giant squid with many strong tentacles. In some Scandinavian stories, the Kraken terrorizes ships and sailors, dragging crews to […]
Lamia – The Child-Devouring Queen – Ancient Greek Creature – Monster
In many cultures around the world, old legends become cautionary tales. Eventually, they turn into metaphors and allegories used to frighten people into good behavior. There’s no more remarkable example of that than Lamia in Greek mythology. Ancient writers described Lamia, the daughter of Poseidon, as a ” queen of surpassing beauty.” It was her […]
Greek mythology is full of legendary creatures that continue to inspire fiction today. From the famous Cerbeus guarding the gates to the Underworld to the ghastly Hecatoncheires of immortal lineage, these beasts frequently appeared throughout the mythos. Most served as obstacles for heroes and their tales of triumph. Others served as allegories to instill fear […]
Greek Mythology is known for its many fearsome beasts such Mantikhoras and Cyclopes. One of the most popular monsters of Greek Mythology is Medusa. She was a beautiful maiden with golden hair. She vowed to be celibate her entire life as a priestess of Athena until she fell in love with Poseidon. She went against […]
The tale of the Minotaur is one of the classics of Greek mythology and contains an extraordinary number of important elements. Characters like the brilliant Daedalus, strong Theseus, evil King Minos and his beautiful daughter Ariadne all make an appearance in this story. The concept of the labyrinth, or the endless underground maze, also originates […]
Mythical Sea Creatures
The Ancient Greeks were a creative people, and their mythology is filled with all sorts of amazing creatures. One of our favorites are the sea creatures from Greek mythology. These creatures were often used to explain natural phenomena, such as storms, tidal waves and earthquakes. Although many of these mythical sea creatures are considered evil, […]
The Nemean Lion was a legendary monster in Greek mythology infamous for prowling and terrorizing the valley of Nemea. It was larger than any other lion and benefitted from fur thought to be impervious to human weapons, making it virtually unstoppable. Thanks to the lion’s appetite and lore, King Eurystheus made killing it the very […]
Pegasus is a mythological creature described as a beautiful, pure white stallion with wings. He was born from the blood of Medusa, a frightful Gorgon whose gaze could turn men to stone, when the hero Perseus decapitated her.
Cyclopes are the only beasts of the first creation that are not punished by Zeus when he overthrows his father, Cronus. This may have something to do with them being his nephews as sons of Poseidon, and no, there are no female cyclopes. They will eventually become favorites of the god, forgers of his thunderbolts, […]
There is no shortage of fantastic beasts in Greek mythology. Many recognizable monsters challenge famous figures like Odysseus, Heracles, and more. One monster that’s inspired creatures throughout history is Scylla. Scylla is a sea monster that guards one side of a narrow strait. While most versions leave the exact location up to interpretation, some say […]
Silenus (also known as Satyr) was the creature who raised and tutored the god Dionysus, the god of Wine and Fertility. After Dionysus was born, Zeus entrusted the infant Dionysus to Silenus’ care to be raised and taught. Once Dionysus grew to adulthood, Silenus was his companion along with his group of satyrs. Depictions […]
The Sphinx is arguably one of the world’s most well-known images. The creature is closely associated with Egypt, mostly due to the 5,000-year-old statue still standing tall guarding the Giza plateau to this day. However, this isn’t the only image of the Sphinx in ancient culture. The Greeks had their own Sphinx as well, and […]
The Sirens were creatures that sang beautifully, luring those passing by to their deaths. Each Siren combined the appearance of a woman and a bird, with the exact appearance varying depending on the artist. Some artists drew Sirens that had bodies of birds with the heads of women, while others made them look like women […]