Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day XXXIII - Cerberus

Three-headed canine,
Guard of Hades' Underworld,
Escape unlikely.

The famous multi-headed dog of Greek mythology, Cerberus (or Kerberos in the original Greek) is the pet of Hades and fearsome fanged guardian of the Underworld who prevents the dead who've crossed the River Styx from ever leaving. Descriptions of the monster vary depending on the source: sometimes cited as having two heads and sometimes as many as 50, though three is the most common, magic number. Cerberus is also said to have a tail of snakes and aside from being an iconic ancient Greek beastie in art through the ages, the big dog has the honour of being the last of Heracles' twelve labours. On the condition that he can overcome the colossal canine without weapons (which he does) Hades allows the hero to borrow Cerberus to show to taskmaster King Eurystheus who subsequently hides in a jar and accepts that Heracles has achieved the obligation. Dante's Inferno has the hound watching over the glutinous in the Third Circle of Hell and I'd say -
because three heads are better than one - Cerberus stands proud as the greatest guard dog ever.


  1. Came across your blog through a Google alert on "Creative Mythology" (don't ask why because I will be here all day then). The first impact was that I know a James Clayton but no way can you be the same guy because he is...well just in case, I wont say.

    When I then saw this, "I like it when people get all enthusiastic, proactive and aim to use their creative energies to try and make the world a better place." I knew I had found someone who I was going to have some sort of relationship with. Yep, hold the bus, I mean that one right up front and in the open!

    Context; I am an historian so context is important. Firstly I am an historian who specialises in Comparative Mythology. Secondly I founded HumanRightsTV because of this:

    And if you like this too then you can embed it on your site using the code below the video. Personally, I cannot for a moment believe that having read this blog you wont get into Aunty Maureen. She is awesome.

    On the myth side then I can offer you some stuff on Japan, which I am sure you will like as well for obvious reasons. I am currently in Tokyo but return to London in a weeks time. I spent yesterday out in the temples and shrines and this is my story of that with photographs:

    If this lot doesn't spark an interest and contact between us then I am a Chinaman (in Japan).


  2. Looks like there is a problem with that first url so here:

  3. Hi Jack,

    Thanks for the link to Aunteen Maureen's video (she is, indeed, awesome) and your Japanese blog.

    I'd love to talk with you further. Email me at and we can have proper, in-depth communications.

    Take care,