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Female Mythology Names – The Complete Guide to Famous Scary Female Monsters

03.09.2021
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female monster from mythology in art

Creatures tell many facts about themselves. The fruit of the imagination can be alien, creeping, fanged, winged or anything else, really, and terrifying creatures inhabiting myths have long helped societies define cultural boundaries. The creation of mythological creatures can perhaps be seen as part of an attempt to answer the age-old question: what is considered human, and what is not?

In the classical Greek and Roman myths that permeate Western knowledge today about different creatures as mythical female creatures.

Mythology is used to understand the world, to explain why things are the way they are, from natural phenomena such as volcanoes and weather to human behavior and society. Greek myths describe the lives of gods and heroes, their relationships, mortals, and battles with monsters.

Female monsters in mythology make up a significant part of the Greek mythical corps – there are harpies, gorgons, giants, centaurs, satyrs, sirens, minotaurs, chimeras, werewolves, vampiric phantoms, many-headed hydras, sphinxes, and other creatures that threaten society. And it is the role of gods and heroes to protect humans from them.

Female monsters can walk among humans, but they tend to be at the edges of the known world, acting as warnings or fantasies about what people might meet on their journey into the unknown. They can be seen as a way to explore the limits of human nature, as what makes them monsters is not just their bodies, but also their excessive, immoral, or threatening behavior.

Female Magical Creatures

These stories may sound fantastic today, but to ancient humans, they reflected a “quasi-historical” reality, a lost past in which humans lived with heroes, gods, and the supernatural, as curator Madeleine Glennon wrote for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017. Moreover, female demons in mythology in fairy tales reveal more about the patriarchal restrictions imposed on femininity than women themselves.

  • Medusa struck fear into ancient hearts because she was deceptively beautiful and terribly ugly;
  • Charybdis frightened Odysseus and his people because it was a seething bottomless pit.

Female mythological creatures are “bedtime stories told by patriarchy itself,” reinforcing expectations about the female body and behavior, says journalist and critic Jess Zimmerman in her book Women and Other Monsters: Creating a New Mythology.

While fearsome female monsters have emerged in cultural traditions around the world, Zimmerman has chosen to focus on the ancient Greek and Roman antiquities that have been imprinted in American culture for generations. “Greek mythology had a strong influence on Renaissance literature, and Renaissance art and literature have a strong influence on our understanding of what constitutes a literary quality from a very white, cisgender, masculine point of view,” she explains in an interview.

Find out below how the myths of the six female Greek monsters, from the all-knowing Sphinx to the fire-breathing Chimera and the lesser-known werewolf Lamia, can shed light on the problems addressed by modern feminism.

Gorgons

Gorgons

Although descriptions of the Gorgons vary in Greek literature, the earliest source identifies them as three sisters of female snake monsters, Sfeno, Euryalou, and Medusa, who had poisonous snake hair. Anyone who looks into their eyes immediately turns to stone. While two of the sisters, Spheno and Euryale, are immortal, Medusa, on the other hand, is killed by the hero Perseus. According to legend, Perseus was presented with the shield by the goddess Athena, and the scythe by Hermes, the messenger, and messenger of the Greek gods. He chopped off Medusa’s head with a scythe, looking only at her reflection on the shield.

Scylla and Charybdis

Scylla and Charybdis

When Homer’s Odysseus and his men try to return home to Ithaca, they must pass through a narrow, dangerous channel fraught with dangers on both sides. Scylla – a six-headed, twelve-legged creature with horrible necks and wolf heads that grab and eat unsuspecting sailors – dwells in a cliff-top cave. On the other side of the strait, the oceanic monster Charybdis is raging and threatens to drown the entire ship.

This pair of scary female monsters, Scylla and Charybdis, piqued Zimmerman’s interest because “they are presented as things that Odysseus just had to go through,” she says. “So they became part of his heroic history. But this is not their only goal? At least that shouldn’t be their only goal.”

Lamia

Lamia

Lamia is one of the lesser-known mythical female sea creatures. She appears in the fifth century BC comedy of the Greek playwright Aristophanes, and then almost disappears before reappearing in 17th and 18th-century European literature, most notably in the romantic poetry of John Keats.

Some stories claim that Lamia has the upper half of the body of a woman, but the lower half of the snake; her name in ancient Greek translates roughly as “outcast shark.” In other tales, she is depicted as a woman with paws, scales, and male genitals, or even as a swarm of many vampire monsters. Regardless of which story you read, Lamia’s main vice remains the same: she steals and eats children.

Arachne

Arachne

Arachne was the daughter of a shepherd and a talented weaver who challenged Athena, the goddess of wisdom and crafts, to a weaving competition. However, her weave, depicting female demigods deceiving and insulting mortals, enrages Athena, and for insulting the gods and comparing herself with them, the goddess turns the girl into a spider.

Medusa

Medusa

Like most mythical female monster art, Medusa meets her end at the hands of a male hero. Perseus manages to kill her, but only with the help of many powerful tools: winged sandals from the messenger god Hermes; the invisible hat from the god of the underworld, Hades; and a mirror-like shield from the goddess of wisdom and war, Athena.

Sirens

Sirens

Half female and half-bird, these creatures appeared first in Homer. Inspired by the idea, female monsters in literature are often said to lure sailors to their death to the nearest rocks, shoals, and shoals.

It is often believed that siren names female may have inspired the creation of mermaids, another popular mythological creature. In the works of the 19th-century artist John William Waterhouse (1849-1917), scenes from Greek mythology are presented romantically. No matter how creepy the creatures are, the females in his works are always beautiful and harmonious.

Chimera

Chimera

Of all the fictional female supernatural creatures, the Chimera may have had the strongest roots in reality. Several later historians, including Pliny the Elder, argue that her story is an example of “euhemerism,” where an ancient myth could match historical facts.

Harpies

Harpies

Harpies are another brand of female monsters in Greek mythology characterized by having the head of a woman and the body of a bird. They are known to be devious and violent. They are one of the guardians of the Underworld – the kingdom of the god Hades – and agents of punishment who kidnap people.

Scylla

Scylla

According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Scylla was a beautiful ocean nymph. The sea god Glaucus fell in love with her, but Scylla, repelled by Glaucus’s fishtail, fled from him to land. In desperation, Glavkus goes to Circe, the daughter of the Sun, for a love potion. Circe falls deeply in love with him and out of revenge and jealousy prepares a potion for Scylla which turns her into a monster so terrible that even Glaucus cannot look at her.

World folklore is inhabited by a huge number of amazing, fantastic monsters. In different cultures, they were credited with incredible properties or skills. Despite the diversity and dissimilarity, all mythical creatures have an undeniable commonality – there is no scientific confirmation of their existence in real life.

Attempts to explain incredible phenomena are pushing researchers into desperate attempts to take photos of mythical creatures. Modern sensitive technology gives researchers hope to capture the desired objects. Sometimes some light spots or darkening appear in the photographs. None of the specialists undertakes to assert anything for sure.

So in conclusion, fictional monstrous bodies represent the extremes of human behavior and can act as warnings or threats to social activity: female hybrid monsters such as Medusa and Scylla express ideas about female behavior and bodies, while male hybrid giants explore limiting social morality in their wickedness and excessive masculinity. Greek myths and monsters in particular have been used to explain Greek life.

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