The origin of most mythical creatures is rooted in literary creations and story telling passed on through centuries. Every culture of note, is associated with a multitude of such mythical entities , who at one point were believed to be real beings , who walked God’s green earth. Over the course of thousands of years , many of such creatures, which defy every scientific logic and inspire fear, have become ingrained in our culture. Questions like –Do they really exist or are merely figments of our overactive imaginations ?-continues to confound us .
This article tries to explore few such legendary beings , who are most prominently featured popular culture.
Chimeras are mysterious, half-human, half-beast mythological entities whose presence is littered in the history and popular lore of several civilizations. The ancient Greek mythology portrayed chimeras as frightful creatures, which were in fact a combination of several animals. They sported the head of a lion, body of a goat and the posterior of a serpent .The Centaurs, perhaps the most widely mentioned chimera were the fusion of a horse and a man, was thought to be followers of Dionysius, the eccentric Greek God of fertility and wine
The iconic, mythical creature of Greek mythology , portrayed as a hybrid between a lion and an eagle. It sported the body of a lion and and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion is believed to be the “Lord Of The Jungle” and eagle, the “Lord Of The Skies”, consequently Griffins were looked upon as the King of all living creatures . They are also known for being custodians of treasure or other priceless possessions. Although griffins are mostly asserted in the art and lore of ancient Greek Mythology, telltale evidence of it can be traced to Ancient Egyptian murals as far back as 3300 B.C
Gog & Magog-
Gog Magog appear in the Qur’an, Book of Genesis, the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation. They are variously presented as supernatural beings, demons or national groups that lurked upon the land. Gog and Magog occur widely in mythology and folklore and their existence is accepted by many religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
The widely accepted notion, in Christianity and Islam holds that “He of the Two Horns” (a great and righteous ruler) or Two Ages (one who impacts on two ages) traversed the world in three directions, until he came across a tribe threatened by Gog and Magog, who were of an “evil and destructive nature” and “caused great corruption on earth.” The people offered tribute in exchange for protection, he agreed to help them, but refused the tribute; he constructed a great wall that the hostile nations were unable to penetrate. They will be trapped there until doomsday, and their escape will be a sign of the end: “The War of Gog and Magog” would precede the return of Jesus.
Featuring first in Greek Mythology and then later in Roman lore, the Cyclops were believed to be members of an arcane race of giants, whose most distinctive feature was the presence of a single eye in the middle of its forehead. The name, Cyclops, is widely believed to mean circle eyed. The Cyclopes were described in great detail, both by Homer and Hesiod. As per Hesiod’s narrative – the Cyclops Brontes , Steropes and Arges -were the sons of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth), while Homer wrote about the Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon (God Of The Sea) and Thoosa.
The mythical sacred firebird,whose existence can be evidenced in the mythologies of several cultures. Depicted as a bird with colorful plumage, with a tail of scarlet and gold, Phoenix’s mythical ability to rise from its own ashes , led many to believe about its immortality. Its lifespan was said to range between 500-1500 years, at the end of which it builds a nest of cinnamon twigs. When its lifespan is over, the nest is said to ignite spontaneously reducing its inhabitant to ashes, from which a new, younger phoenix rises. Its tears were also renowned for their magical healing abilities.
Perhaps the most legendary of all mythical entires, simply by the magnitude of its impact on popular culture. Vampires are believed to subsist by feeding on the life essence of animals and humans, mainly in the form of blood. Their origin is rooted in the lore of every civilization, something that may be as old as man himself dating back to prehistoric times. Since vampires are generally reanimated corpses , they are referred to as undead who get incinerated by sunlight and garlic. Even though after extensive research , there has been no scientific evidence to confirm vampirism, our age old belief in blood sucking vampires is too deeply ingrained in our culture and our subconscious, that it will persist forever.