Fascinated by tales of mermaids and harpies, people have spent centuries searching for answers to the existence of mythical creatures in the depths of our great oceans and skies. For those who love mythical creatures, the allure of these mythical creatures harboring tremendous power and beauty can be difficult to ignore.
The classic image that currently represents mermaids is half woman, half fish. However, their origin in Greek mythology is not like that, but they were half woman, half bird. This is how Homer tells it in his Odyssey, where Ulysses ties himself to the mast of his ship with his ears covered so as not to be tempted by the song of the sirens. When a man does not succumb to their precious song, the siren dies and those of the Odyssey succumb to the bottom of the sea. Hence their later adaptation with half a fish body. It is said that mermaids are connected with death.
Mermaids in mythology
Sirens are not the only creatures in Greek mythology that have a connection to death. There are also writings about the birds of death, known as harpies. These beings are depicted as women with bird-like bodies and sharp claws. They are often described as vengeful beings who punish mortals for their crimes.
In Greek mythology, mermaids and harpies have different origins. Sirens are daughters of Achelous, the god of rivers, and the muse Terpsichore, while harpies are daughters of the god of the sea, Forcis, and the goddess of night, Nix. Despite these differences, both creatures are seen as dangerous and deadly to humans.
The legend of the Greek mermaids became a popular theme in world culture, inspiring books, films and works of art. They are depicted as seductive and dangerous beings, which makes them a captivating element for horror and suspense stories. Their song is described as a hypnotic force that cannot be resisted, leading the characters in the story to a tragic end.
Characteristics of the harpies
In contrast, harpies are lesser known, but no less striking creatures. Their role in Greek mythology is seen as more vengeful, punishing those who violate the laws of the gods. Their appearance is more terrifying, with sharp claws and messy feathers. In some stories, they chase evildoers until they die of exhaustion.
Both creatures are seen as dangerous, and boast certain powers. Some beliefs state that mermaids have the ability to foretell the future, and that harpies can see beyond death.
Despite its popularity, the legend of mermaids and harpies also has an important historical dimension. During the Middle Ages, these creatures were believed to be real and their presence at sea was feared. Sailors said that if they encountered mermaids, their ships could be swept into cliffs and reefs, leading to their death, as described by Homer. Because of this belief, sailors used to wear amulets and objects of protection to avoid their influence.