Of all stories told to humanity, only one leaves us all in awe – the Greek Mythology.
Ancient Greeks had the strangest and yet the coolest monsters for heroes to fight. From a host of badass birds of prey with spine-chilling qualities, grotesque animals to mythical humanoid creatures – it can’t be fascinating enough.
Check out some of the mind-blowing facts and information about the creatures and monsters of Greek Mythology.
36 Legendary Creatures From Greek Mythology
1. Pegasus – A Flying Horse
Pegasus was a winged stallion that was a child of the mortal Medusa and Poseidon, the Lord of the Sea. His mother, Medusa, was a dreadful beast who had snakes for hair and was hated by everyone. An ancient myth says that Pegasus was born when Medusa was headless after being slain by Perseus.
It further details that Pegasus was born when the headless Medusa’s blood mixed with the sea’s foam. He came out as a horse with wings because his father, Poseidon, had a horse’s shape when seducing Medusa. And since he disliked his mother and couldn’t live with his father under the sea, he lived with muses who used him for rides to the star.
2. Calydonian Boar
The Hus Kalydonios was a monstrous boar that heroes of Greek’s Olympian age had to overcome. This gigantic boar was sent by a vengeful goddess Artemis to destroy the region of Calydon. The reason was, their King forgot to include her in his offerings to the gods.
It rampaged throughout the city, destroying everything in its path, forcing people to starve while seeking refuge inside the city walls. This event drew together several heroes, including women who managed to slay it in the Calydonian Boar hunt.
If ‘beautiful but dangerous’ had faces, it would be that of Sirens. Greek Mythology describes Sirens as unique creatures that were half-woman and half-bird. Being a bird was peoples undoing since their beautiful voices were so seductive that no one could resist.
They would use this charm to lure sailors to the shores where they would drown and be eaten by these monsters. They made the sea a dangerous place for the Greeks.
Being a son of a herdsman did not stop Actaeon from being a hunter and a Greek hero. Sadly, his hunting skills and boastfulness would later become his undoing.
One day after hunting, he decided to relax by a pool in the Vale of Garphia. Unfortunately, goddess Artemis was bathing in the pool, and he saw the goddess naked. The goddess transformed him into a stag to prevent him from telling others what he saw.
Medusa was among the three Gorgon sisters that everyone saw as ugly and dreadful. However, the myth states that she was once a lovely priestess of Athena until she lost her celibacy after sleeping with Poseidon.
As punishment, Athena cursed her by turning her hair into a tangled mass of snakes. The goddess also cursed her with a deadly gaze that turned anyone that looked at her into a stone.
6. Phoenix Bird
This legendary bird is famous for several elements: life, creation, death, and destruction. It was a colorful bird with colors similar to fire- yellow, red, orange, and gold.
It was said to be a giant bird that could live for ages and could be reborn or regenerate from its predecessor’s ashes. Some myths suggest that it could die and decompose before its rebirth, while others claim it burst and died in a fire of its own making before rising again.
Pan was a legendary figure from Greek mythology believed to live in the mountains and the forests. He was the patron of the shepherds among the Greeks.
He was depicted to be half-human with goat’s feet and horns on the head. Although his appearance scared mortals, he was a favorite for gods. He had a thing for music and spent most of his days playing haunting tunes on his pipe in the forest.
If you have ever fallen in love, then you know the taste of Cupid’s arrow. Cupid was also known as Eros in Greek and was the ancient god of love and sexual desire. He was a slender boy with lovely little white wings. He was feared by both mortals and gods because his arrows affected didn’t choose who to affect.
His magic was useful in the war against giants when he filled one of them with a lust for Hera, making it forget about the enemy. Heracles found an opportunity to strike the giant with a bolt and bow.
Here comes the mythical creature that struck terror into the hearts of Ancient Greeks the most. Basilisk was depicted to be a reptile that was the King of all serpents.
It is said to kill with a single glare by spitting venom and killing mortals at a distance. It was a bizarre breed-one that hatched from a rooster’s egg and was incubated by a frog.
10. Cretan Bull
The Cretan Bull was a gift from Poseidon to King Minos of Crete. It was a handsome bull that made Queen Pasiphae lust over it. She coupled with it and gave birth to Minotaur, a man with the head of a bull.
Herakles was commanded to find the Bull as one of his twelve labors. Although he found it, he set it free, making the Bull reach the countryside of Athenian town. It was, however, recaptured and slain by Theseus, another Greek hero.
Now, here is another curious creature that was at the service of Poseidon and other gods. The Hippocampus had a horse’s front, a fish’ hind, and a tail. The Ancients believed they were adult-versions of today’s seahorses.
Faun was a handsome male human, complete with limbs above the waist. It was, however, a goat below the waist. It also had horns on its human head, pointy ears, and a woolly head.
Although it’s peculiar features did make it the loveliest of creatures, its undeniable charm left humans in awe. It wooed humans with hypnotizing dances, jokes, and fantastic melodies from its flute.
Another equine horse-hybrid of the Greeks was the Hippogriff. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter books, you must have come by it. Hippogriff had a horse’s body but with the head of an eagle.
If you find Ancient Greek monsters the scariest of them all, you must have seen a Scylla. He lived with his counterpart, Charybdis, on one side of a narrow water channel that separated mainland Italy from Sicily. They both made it hard for sailors to cruise on these parts of the water.
This monster’s dreadfulness is thanks to its four eyes, six heads, and the three rows of teeth per head. Her body had twelve tentacle-like legs, a cat’s tail, and four ravenous dogs for legs. She could use her flexible neck to snatch up the sailors from their vessels and eat them.
One of the most well-known unique creatures in Greek mythology is Cerberus. This monster was a dog with three heads, whose job was to guard the gates of Hades. Hades was the underworld where the spirits of the dead would enter but never leave.
Cacus was a fire-belching giant that dwelled in a cave. He is said to have three heads and decorated his cave with the bones of those he ate.
He was the monster that stole Hercules’ cattle-the ones he had captured from Geryon, the giant. He met his death after Hercules couldn’t find the herd. Hercules unroofed his cave, jumped on him, and pulled his eyes out of his sockets.
Arguably, Cyclopes are the most famous and identifiable giants found in Greek mythical tell-tales. They are three ugly monster brothers, each with a one-round eye on the forehead. These creatures are lawless, uncivilized, and destructive. They were so massive and tall that a full-grown human would still fall below their knees.
The Cyclopes were among the monsters that helped Zeus and Olympians to defeat the Titans. Thus, they are the only monsters awarded by Zeus when he overthrew his father, Cronus.
Here’s Polyphemus, the most famous Cyclop from Greek mythology. He was a gigantic man-eating cyclops and also had a single round-shaped eye in the middle of his forehead. What makes him different from the other Cyclopes is that he was Poseidon’s son-the god of the sea.
Other myths, like the tale of Odysseus, portray Polyphemus as savage and less flattering. However, others suggest that he fell for a nymph called Galatea, making him a likable creature. He died at the hands of Odysseus.
These legendary Greek mythological creatures were hybrids. A harpy was a fascinating subject to ancient Greeks, thanks to its half-woman face and half-bird body.
However, they are a host of badass birds of prey that would use their beauty to lure and steal food from unsuspecting victims. Apart from that, they are claimed to snatch souls from children into the underworld.
20. Lernean Hydra
This nine-headed creature is among the few in Greek mythology that is still famous today. The reason is that it was a powerful and ferocious multi-headed water snake that had could regenerate. Apart from that, it lived in the water around Lerna and would terrorize residents from the place.
It was for this reason that it came second among the 12 labors of Hercules. However, it was a hard one to kill because the nine heads made it unbeatable. The biggest hurdle was that one of the heads was immortal!
Ah, the intriguing Minotaur! Here’s the outcome of King Manos’ wife Pasiphae and the White Cretan Bull- a ferocious monster with a head of a bull and a human body.
King Minus was furious with this child and, in the process, asked Daedalus to build a labyrinth with cells for Minotaur. He used this place as punishment for defiant people, and anyone who entered the cell never returned. Theseus, the Greek hero, later killed it.
22. Nemean Lion
Here’s Hercules’ first task as given to him by King Eurysheus. The King wanted its skin because it plagued the residents of Nemea. What made it dangerous was that it was gigantic, ferocious, and with a skin that was impenetrable by weapons.
Although it was a deadly task, the hero captured the lion in its cave and wrestled it to its death. Do you see the lion skin that Hercules dons? Yes, it was from this Nemean Lion.
This mythical creature was a lion with a female human face, eagle wings, and a serpent’s tail. It was said to be a child of Orthrus, a giant dog with two heads, and Chimera, the fire-breathing creature. There were other times, however, when it was said to be Typhon and Echidna’s offspring.
This monster lived in a cave in Thebes and would kill anyone who passed by it and didn’t answer the riddle it asked them correctly. It was after Oedipus got it right that it threw itself off the cliff and died.
24. Orthrus – A Dog With Two Heads
Orthus was a brother to Cerberus, a three-headed watchdog. Orthus, on the other hand, was equally monstrous and had two heads.
He used to look after the cattle of a giant called Geryon in the land of Erytheia. Sources claim that Orthrus mated with Echidna and begot several monsters like Sphinx, Hydra, Nemean Lion, and Chimera. Hero Hercules killed him alongside his owner.
Geryon was a giant with three heads and one body and an owner of cattle in Erytheia. Other myths suggest that he also had two other bodies making them three in total. This giant was also the owner of Orthrus, the dog with two heads.
Geryon and his dog were Hercules’ tenth labors. Hercules was to capture his herd and kill the giant, the dog, and his herdsman. He killed the dog with a blow, then he herdsman, and later Geryon with an arrow.
26. Stymphalian Birds
Here goes Hercules’ sixth labor-to chase flock of Stymphalian birds. Now, they had to be quite a menace for the greatest hero in Greek to drive them away, right?
These birds were enormous and had taken Lake Stymplais hostage. They were vast and man-eating and with bronze beaks that could cut through all iron and bronze types. Their wings were also made of brass, and they could shoot them at people as though they were arrows.
27. Alcyneus – The Immortal Gigante
Here’s another Gigante-Alcyneus. However, unlike the others, Alcyneus was immortal and controlled the boundaries of Phlegra. Gaea created him to destroy the gods.
The gods couldn’t fight him alone and asked Heracles for his support. Although he was immortal, Hercules managed to drag him out of Phlegra and killed him with Athena’s help.
28. The Gorgon Sisters
If you are familiar with Medusa’s tale, then you are familiar with the figure of snakes for hair and a stone-turning gaze. However, Medusa wasn’t the only one of her kind. She had more powerful, immortal, and fearsome sisters.
Medusa, Euryale, and Stheno were Gorgon sisters, a race of creatures with wings, scaly skin, claws, brass hands, fangs, and snakes for hair. Their gazes were a ticket to the underworld.
29. Kraken – Giant Octopus
Meet an elementary ancient Greek monster that was strong, secretive, and deadly. Some sources liken it to a giant octopus, while some say it was more of a giant crab. The Kraken was fearsome, with the agility to capsize ships and the endurance to destroy cities.
30. Graeae – A Single Eye For Three People
If two eyes aren’t enough for a person to see the future, imagine how troublesome it is to share an eye among three people. Three sea hags with grey hair knew this feeling very well.
The Graeas were three monsters who had one permanent eye and tooth among them to share. Some myths also claim that they had human arms and bodies of swans.
31. Ethon – The Caucasus Eagle
Here’s the giant eagle that was on a mission to torture Prometheus to his death. It was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Hercules killed it to save Prometheus.
32. The Satyrs – Lustful Hybrids
They were conspicuous creatures with a man’s upper body and a goat’s lower half. They also had horns on their heads.
Satyrs were lustful, with asinine ears, pug noses, tails, and erect cocks. They were always drinking, playing flutes, dancing, and lusting over Maenads.
33. Charybdis – Sea Monster
There were two monsters in Greek mythology that beset the narrow waters between mainland Italy and Sicily. They were Scylla and Charybdis.
Well, Charybdis lurked under a tree a short distance away on the opposite side of Scylla as they terrorized ships together. Charybdis would lunge in and out of the water with extreme force to sink the ships.
Python was an enormous serpent and Gaia’s child. Sources indicate that he was born from rotting mud that was left behind after a great flood. It was a tough serpent that had dragon-like features. It was a Delphi’s guard and was killed by Apollo to revenge for going after his mother.
Here’s the mortal man that ate a magical herb and became an immortal sea-god. Glaucus was a fisherman who thought that he could give his fish back to life by feeding them a herb.
He instead ate the herb himself and began having fish-like features, like fins and tail. He ended up living in the waters. He liked Scylla but couldn’t get her because of his features. He asked a witch for a love potion, but the witch brewed one that made Scylla a water monster instead.
Greek mythology describes Chimera as a fire-breathing female beast that was a lion in the front part of her body, a goat in the middle, and a dragon in the lower body. It also had a snake for a tail.
It lived in Lycia and would destroy farms with its hot breath. It would cause shipwrecks, storms, or volcanic eruptions. For this reason, Bellerophon sought to kill her, with the help of Pegasus.