Greek and Roman Mythology > Monsters


Monsters, in the language of mythology, were beings of unnatural
proportions or parts, usually regarded with terror, as possessing
immense strength and ferocity, which they employed for the injury
and annoyance of men. Some of them were supposed to combine the
members of different animals; such were the Sphinx and the
Chimaera; and to these all the terrible qualities of wild beasts
were attributed, together with human sagacity and faculties.
Others, as the giants, differed from men chiefly in their size;
and in this particular we must recognize a wide distinction among
them. The human giants, if so they may be called, such as the
Cyclopes, Antaeus, Orion, and others, must be supposed not to be
altogether disproportioned to human beings, for they mingled in
love and strife with them. But the superhuman giants, who warred
with the gods, were of vastly larger dimensions. Tityus, we are
told, when stretched on the plain, covered nine acres, and
Enceladus required the whole of Mount AEtna to be laid upon him
to keep him down.

We have already spoken of the war which the giants waged against
the gods, and of its result. While this war lasted the giants
proved a formidable enemy. Some of them, like Briareus, had a
hundred arms; others, like Typhon, breathed out fire. At one
time they put the gods to such fear that they fled into Egypt,
and hid themselves under various forms. Jupiter took the form of
a ram, whence he was afterwards worshipped in Egypt as the god
Ammon, with curved horns. Apollo became a crow, Bacchus a goat,
Diana a cat, Juno a cow, Venus a fish, Mercury a bird. At
another time the giants attempted to climb up into heaven, and
for that purpose took up the mountain Ossa and piled it on
Pelion. They were at last subdued by thunderbolts, which Minerva
invented, and taught Vulcan and his Cyclopes to make for Jupiter.

Myth Collection

Achelous and HerculesAcis and GalateaAdmetus and Alcestis
Agamemnon, Orestes, and ElectraAmphionAmphitrite
AntigoneApollo and DaphneApollo and Hyacinthus
Aurora and TithonusBacchusBaucis and Philemon
CadmusCastor and PolluxCephalus and Procris
Ceyx and HalcyoneClytieCupid and Psyche
DaedalusDiana and ActaeonDryope
Echo and NarcissusEndymionErisichthon
Glaucus and ScyllaHebe and GanymedeHercules
IbycusIo and CallistoLeucothea dnd Palaemon
LinusMarsyasMedea and Aeson
MelampusMenelaus and HelenMidas
Minerva and ArachneMonstersMusaeus
NeptuneNereus and DorisNiobe
Nisus and ScyllaOrionOrpheus and Eurydice
Pegasus and the ChimaeraPenelopePerseus and Medusa
PhaetonPluto and ProsperinePrometheus and Pandora
PygmalionPyramus and ThisbePython
ThamyrisThe Calydonian HuntThe Camenae
The CentaursThe Golden FleeceThe Graeae and Gorgons
The Griffin, or GryphonThe IliadThe Myrmidons
The PygmiesThe Rural DeitiesThe Sphinx
The Trojan WarThe Water DeitiesThe Winds
TheseusThetisVenus and Adonis
Vertumnus and Pomona

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