Mother of all monsters in Greek Mythology
The first creature on our list is the sphinx; a monster that was said to have the body of a lion, the head of a woman, and the wings of an eagle.The sphinx is perhaps known best for her role in the legend of Oedipus.The story goes that as Oedipus was traveling down the road to Thebes, he is confronted by the mysterious creature. The sphinx blocks Oedipus’ path and confronts him with a riddle. Although the exact riddle is not mentioned in early Greek legend, the popular version of the story tells that the Sphinx poses the following riddle to the young traveler…
“What is that which in the morning goeth upon four feet; upon two feet in the afternoon; and in the evening upon three?”Oedipus correctly answers the riddle: Man- who crawls on all fours as a child, then on two feet as an adult, and finally (with the help of a cane) on three feet during the sunset of life. Having been bested at her own game, the Sphinx throws herself from a high cliff. In some versions, the Sphinx devours herself out of anger and frustration. Had Oedipus not answered the riddle correctly, he would have been strangled and devoured by the creature, which had been the fate of so many travelers before him.
9. The Cyclops
Known from: The Odyssey
Confronted by: Odysseus
The cyclops were primordial giants that were said to have been born from Gaia, the earth. They were said to possess great strength and ferocity, with one bulging eye protruding from their forehead. Fearing their power, the cyclops were thrown into the pits of Tartarus by their father Uranus. The monsters remained imprisoned when the titan Cronus overthrew Uranus and took his place as ruler of the universe. It was only when the Olympians came to power did the cyclops find freedom. The mighty Zeus released the monsters, who in turn would craft thunderbolts for the young Olympian.
Perhaps the most famous story involving a cyclops involves Odysseus and his woeful travels. In book 9 of The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew find themselves trapped in the cave of the mighty cyclops, Polyphemus. The monster blocks their escape and devours the flesh of his captives day after day. Being known for his cleverness, Odysseus devises a plan to escape.
Odysseus offers to Polyphemus wine that the traveler brought along from his ship. The cyclops indulges and is soon very drunk. Feeling joyful, the monster asks the man his name. Odysseus replies that his name is “nobody.” When Polyphemus falls asleep from intoxication, Odysseus and him men blind the cyclops by stabbing him in the eye with a sharpened staff. Polyphemus, now enraged, cries out to the other cyclops of the island that “Nobody” has blinded him.
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