View Full Version : Cerberus {Mythology of the Week}

April 30th, 2007, 05:41 AM
Cerberus was the guardian of the Greek Underworld, and a faithful servant of Hades (the god who ruled that gloomy realm). He was represented as a grotesque dog who had three heads (although the poet Hesiod claims that Cerberus had fifty heads - quite an extravagant number), all of which snarled at those foolish enough to attempt to leave the Underworld; the dog also had the tail of a serpent. According to legend, Cerberus was the result of the union of Echidna and Typhon, two beings that are best described as somewhat monstrous themselves. Additionally, he was the brother to both the Hydra and the Chimera, which further emphasizes his monstrous aspect.

Cerberus is featured in several mythological stories in his role as the watchdog of Hades. Perhaps the best known involves the vigorous hero Herakles (or Hercules, if you prefer the more familiar Latinized version). Herakles underwent a series of Twelve Labors, one of which was to capture the fierce canine guardian and parade him around the Greek city of Mycenae for a bit, and then return the dog to Hades. This unbelievable stunt was in due course accomplished by the hero, although one would imagine that Cerberus did not enjoy it in the least.
Another tale depicts the poet and singer Orpheus charming Cerberus by the power of his song, which emphasizes Orpheus's magical gifts of enchantment (indeed, Cerberus was notorious for not allowing mortals who were still alive to enter the Underworld, with the exception of a handful of mythological characters).
FROM: Cerberus (http://www.loggia.com/myth/cerberus.html)

In Greek mythology, Cerberus or Kerberos (Greek Κέρβερος, Kerberos, "demon of the pit") was the hound of Hades, a monstrous three-headed dog (sometimes said to have 50 or 100 heads) with a snake for a tail; he was also seen with a dragons tail and serpentine mane.
Cerberus guarded the gate to Hades and ensured that spirits of the dead could enter, but none could exit (additionally no living person was to come into Hades). His sister was Chimera and his brother was Hydra. He is the offspring of Echidna and Typhon.
He was overcome several times:

Hercules' final labour was to capture Cerberus, which he did by wrestling it into submission.
Orpheus used his musical skills to lull Cerberus to sleep.
Hermes put him to sleep with water from the river Lethe.
In Roman mythology, The Sybil of Cumae lulled Cerberus to sleep with drugged honeycakes in order to permit Aeneas fuller entry to the underworld.
In a Greek tale, Psyche also lulled Cerberus to sleep with drugged honeycakes.In the Greek Oracle of the Dead at Cumae in southern Italy, the recently excavated subterranean shrine was found to contain chains fixed to the wall for three large dogs before the entrance to the shrine of Hades and Persephone. The three dogs would have represented Cerberus in this ancient temple.
FROM: Cerberus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu76euTVGdxUBiRVXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2c2oyZ3VxBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGOTIyX zgz/SIG=11pudb7k6/EXP=1178012446/**http%3a//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus)

Also see:
Cerbslair.com - the Lair of Cerberus! (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu9bkuTVGxF0BPmxXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3NXJyZDhhBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMTUEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjkyM l84MQ--/SIG=1224tgqh0/EXP=1178012516/**http%3a//www.cerbslair.com/content/cerberus.html)
Cerberus (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu9bkuTVGxF0BRGxXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3bzFnZG5uBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMTcEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjkyM l84MQ--/SIG=122qus7sh/EXP=1178012516/**http%3a//www.monstrous.com/monsters/cerberus.htm)
Cerberus Homework Page (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu6kmujVGYj4AIydXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3ZnJldGhlBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMjgEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjkyM l84MQ--/SIG=11ornvl9l/EXP=1178012582/**http%3a//www.thanasis.com/cerberus.htm)
Cerberus (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu6kmujVGYj4AICdXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3ZTM3YnZ1BGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMjcEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjkyM l84MQ--/SIG=11uofgqrm/EXP=1178012582/**http%3a//www.occultopedia.com/c/cerberus.htm)
Cerberus: Mythical Creatures of Legend and Folklore, Myth Beast ... (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.9KujVGS8gA5khXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3NGRrNjRwBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMzEEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjkyM l84MQ--/SIG=128a1d016/EXP=1178012618/**http%3a//www.mythicalrealm.com/creatures/cerberus.html)
Theoi.com entry (http://www.theoi.com/Ther/KuonKerberos.html)
Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology: Cerberus (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu59_ujVGFucACQFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3aXRobGZlBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNDEEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjkyM l84MQ--/SIG=126d744gb/EXP=1178012671/**http%3a//www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/cerberus.html)