Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day LXXV - Chimera

Three mouths breathe fire,
Beast battles Bellerophon,
Hybrid monster slain.

Legendary composite creature of Greek mythology, the Chimera (or Chimaera) is said to be a feminine fire-breathing monster of many heads whose infamy is such that her name now refers to anything of many amalgamated parts or a 'wild fancy' in popular lexicon. Said to have three faces, whoever encounters the ominous Chimera comes up against a lion at the front, a goat in the middle and a snake at the tail-end, altogether making it a terrifying beast and another terrible offspring of Echidna and Typhon. It's the great Greek hero Bellerophon who travels to the perpetual fires of Lycia, Asia Minor to obliterate the monster: according to the myth he avoids the flaming breath of the Chimera by flying high on the back of the winged horse Pegasus. Crafty Bellerophon defeats the dread creature by sticking a block of lead on the point of his spear which he rams into the mouth (which mouth we're not sure) whereupon it melts under molten flame and suffocates the great Chimera. It's a tragic but fittingly gruesome finale for a monster that epitomises the ancient Greek idea of combining a number of amazing animals together into one awesome supernatural package. I salute this scary entity: the great goat-lion-serpent deserves much praise.

No comments:

Post a Comment