Friday, October 11, 2013


Cerberus had an impressive pedigree. He was the offspring of two of the most feared monsters in myth, Echidna and Typhon, and was the brother of the Hydra and the Sphinx. Cerberus was one of the hybrids loved by ancient artists, a huge dog with many heads, usually three but sometimes as many as 50. All the heads were wrapped up in a mane of living snakes. As guard dog of the underworld, Cerberus preserved the boundary between life and death, resisting the efforts of heroes who tried to enter the underworld while still alive.
Despite his ferocity, Cerberus could be defeated, albeit only temporarily. Orpheus sang him to sleep when he tried to bring back Eurydice, and both Aeneas and Theseus drugged Cerberus with cake. Unfortunately for Theseus, the drug wore off before he could get back out, and he was trapped until Heracles rescued him.

Heracles' approach was more direct. He simply overpowered Cerberus, wrestling him to the ground. As the capture of Cerberus was one of the labors set by Eurystheus, Heracles took him to Mycenae, but Eurystheus was so terrified that he hid in a large pot and ordered Heracles to return Cerberus to Hades.
by Emma Griffiths, 30-Second Mythology

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