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 The Cerberus

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PostSubject: The Cerberus   Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:23 pm

In Greek mythology, Cerberus was the terrifying three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to the underworld. The offspring of the monsters Typhon and Echidna, Cerberus was also the brother of the serpent creature Hydra and the lion-headed beast Chimaera. He is often pictured with the tail of a snake or dragon and with snakes sprouting from his back. According to legend, his appearance was so fearsome that any living person who saw him turned to stone. The saliva that fell from his mouth produced a deadly poison.
underworld land of the dead
Cerberus prevented spirits of the dead from leaving Hades and living mortals from entering. Three humans, however, managed to overcome him. Orpheus* charmed him with music. An old woman named the Sibyl of Cumae put Cerberus to sleep by giving him a cake soaked in drugged wine to give the Roman hero Aeneas access to the underworld. Hercules* used his sheer strength to take Cerberus from the land of Hades to the kingdom of Mycenae and back again, the twelfth labor of Hercules.

The mythology of the ancient Greeks included a dazzling array of deities, demigods, monsters, and heroes. These figures inhabited a realm that stretched beyond the Greek landscape to the palaces of the gods on snow-capped Mount Olympus, as well as to the dismal underworld. In time, Greek mythology became part of European culture, and many of its stories became known throughout the world.
Despite their awesome powers, the Greek gods and goddesses were much like people. Their actions stemmed from recognizable passions, such as pride, jealousy, love, and the thirst for revenge. The deities often left Mount Olympus to become involved in the affairs of mortals, interacting with men and women as patrons, enemies, and sometimes lovers. They were not above using tricks and disguises to influence events, and their schemes and plots often entangled people.
Heroes and ordinary humans in Greek myths frequently discovered that things were not what they appeared to be. The underlying moral principle, though, was that the gods rewarded honorable behavior and obedience, and people who dishonored themselves or defied the gods usually paid a high price.
deity god or goddess
demigod one who is part human and part god
underworld land of the dead
patron special guardian, protector, or supporter
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The Cerberus
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