Greek mythology has been a subject of fascination for mankind for ages. From gods and goddesses to rituals and heroics, Greek mythology has it all. Among the several captivating concepts of ancient Greek mythology, one is that of the Greek mythical creatures. Names like Centaur, Minotaur and Nemean lion have become quite popular over the period of time, but there are many more mythical creatures from Greek mythology about whom not many people are aware.
Ancient Greek Mythical Creatures List
Greek mythical creatures were basically, legendary creatures that were believed to exist at some point of time in ancient Greece. The legend behind each of these mythical creatures is as interesting as the Greek creation myth itself. Mentioned below are some of the most amazing mythical creatures in ancient Greek mythology.
Calydonian Boar: Calydonian boar was a monster in Greek mythology, who was sent by Artemis to destroy the region of Calydon, when she felt disrespected as the king of Calydon failed to honor her.
Centaur: In Greek mythology, the Centaur were creatures who were half-human and half-horse, who inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion, Mount Pholoe and the Malean peninsula.
Cerberus: Cerberus was a three-headed dog who guarded the gates of Hades to prevent anyone who crossed river Styx, from escaping the Underworld.
Charybdis: Charybdis was a beautiful naiad (water nymph), who was changed into a sea monster by an enraged Zeus.
Cretan Bull: Cretan bull was a mythical bull who fell in love with the Greek goddess, Pasiphae. Their offspring was Minotaur.
Cyclopes: Cyclopes were primordial giants, from the Greek mythology, typically characterized by a single eye in the middle of their forehead.
Erymanthian Boar: The Erymanthian Boar was a gigantic, fiery Greek mythical creature who inhabited the wild regions near Mount Erymanthos.
Gigantes: Gigantes, also referred to as the giants, were the children of Gaia and Gaea, who were fertilized by the blood of Ouranos, after he was castrated by his son Cronus.
Gorgons: In Greek mythology, gorgons were the three sisters whose hair were made of live, venomous snakes, and had the ability to turn anyone to stone with their gaze.
Griffins: Griffins were Greek mythical creatures with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. According to a popular belief, they were assumed to be the guards of treasures.
Harpy: In ancient Greek mythology, harpy was a winged spirit, who used to steal food from Phineas, the Phoenician King of Thrace.
Hippocampus: Hippocampus was a legendary creature, normally depicted with the upper torso of a horse and lower torso resembling a fish.
Lernaean Hydra: One of the most fearsome Greek mythical creatures, Lernaean hydra was a serpent like water beast with nine heads and poisonous breath.
Laelaps: In Greek mythology, Laelaps was a dog, with an amazing ability of getting whatever he was hunting.
Manticore: Manticore was a Greek mythical creature, resembling the Egyptian sphinx, with a body of a red lion and a human head, with three rows of heads and a voice like a trumpet.
Mares of Diomedes: The Mares of Diomedes, also referred to as the Mares of Thrace in some accounts, were four man-eating horses who featured in ancient Greek mythology.
Mermaid: Mermaids were mythical aquatic creatures in Greek mythology, typically characterized by a human head, and torso and the tail of a fish.
Minotaur: Minotaur was yet another Greek mythical creature who inhabited the Cretan Labyrinth, typically characterized by the head of a bull and the body of a man. Read more on Minotaur in Greek mythology.
Nemean Lion: Nemean lion was a mythical monster from ancient Greek mythology, who was eventually killed by Hercules.
Nymph: In Greek mythology, nymphs were female spirits most often associated with a particular location or a water-body.
Pegasus: Pegasus was an immortal winged horse, which rose from the blood of Medusa, when she was slain by Perseus. Read more on legend of Pegasus.
Phoenix: The phoenix was a legendary bird which was believed to burn itself to death and emerge from ashes of the same fire, once every five hundred years.
Siren: The term ‘siren’ is used to refer to the three dangerous bird-women, from the island Sirenum scopuli, who were often portrayed as seductresses in ancient Greek mythology.
Stymphalian Birds: Stymphalian birds were the man-eating bird pets raised by Ares, the god of war. These birds were typically characterized by beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers.
Talos: In Greek history, Talos was a giant man made of bronze, who guarded the island of Crete in order to protect the Phoenician princess, Europa.
Teumessian Fox: Teumessian fox was a huge fox born to Echidna, the ‘Mother of All Monsters’, and destined never to be caught.
Typhon: One of the most deadly mythical creatures in Greek mythology, Typhon was a monster who attempted to destroy Zeus – the Greek god, at the will of Gaia.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important chapters of Greek mythology revolves around these Greek mythical creatures. For kids or adults, understanding Greek mythology without taking a note of these legendary mythical creatures is virtually impossible. While Greek gods and goddesses were the most important characters of Greek culture and folklore, Greek mythical creatures were no less important. Without these creatures Greek mythology wouldn’t have been as fascinating as it is today.