(Ancient Greece and Rome)



THE SPHINX of THEBES - Although the Sphinx originated in Egypt, the Theban Sphinx is the most famous. It was she who asked the riddle: "What walks first on four feet, then two feet, the three?" - and killed herself in rage when Oedipus answered: "Man".

THE SILENI - These were a woodland tribe resembling the Satyrs in appearance and habits, except that they had the ears and tails of horses.

THE HYDRA - A monster of the Lernean marshes. It had nine heads, and one of the labors of Hercules was to kill it - a difficult task, as for each head chopped off, two more would spring forth!


THE PHOENIX - This gorgeous, many-colored bird was reputed to live for five thousand years. Then, at dawn, he would build a nest which the rising sun would set afire. When he was consumed, a new Phoenix would arise from the ashes.

THE CHIMERA - This fire-breathing monster resembled a lion in the fore part, a goat in the middle,  and a dragon behind. The scourge of Lycia, she was finally slain by the hero Bellerophon.

PEGASUS - The beautiful, winged white horse who figured in many legends. He was the steed of Bellerophon who slew the Chimera, and a favorite of the gods.


THE HARPY - These hideous birds, with faces of women and claws of brass, were much feared by the ancients, as they had ravenous appetite for human flesh.

THE SALAMANDER - A small but venomous dragon, said to seek out the hottest part of a fire as a breeding- place. Salamanders were supposed to possess priceless jewels, and their skins were used to make fireproof clothing.

THE ANT-LION - As described by the ancient Greek naturalists, this creature had the head of a lion and the hind-quarters of an insect. Such a bizarre combination must have been hard to believe even in those days!