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Madison askew, Russell

Cerberus

3 rd hour

The many-headed dog that guarded the entrance of Hades, is mentioned as early as the Homeric poems, but simply as "the dog," and without the name of Cerberus. (Il. viii. 368, Od. xi. 623.) Hesiod, who is the first that gives his name and origin, calls him (Theog. 311) fifty-headed and a son of Typhaon and Echidna. Later writers describe him as a monster with only three heads, with the tail of a serpent and a mane consisting of the heads of various snakes. (Apollod. ii. 5. § 12; Eurip. Here. fur. 24, 611; Virg. Aen. vi. 417; Ov. Met. iv. 449.) Some poets again call him many-headed or hundred-headed. (Horat. Carm. ii. 13. 34; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 678; Senec. Here. fur. 784.) The place where Cerberus kept watch was according to some at the mouth of the Acheron, and according to others at the gates of Hades, into which he admitted the shades, but never let them out again.

If in the wiliness of my heart I [Athene] had had thoughts like his, when Herakles was sent down to Haides of the Gates, to hale back from Erebos (the Dark) the hound of the grisly death god (Haides Stygeros), never would he have got clear of the steep-dripping water Styx." [N.B. In Homer the dog is only named as the "the hound of Haides." Hesiod is the first author to call it Kerberos (Cerberus).]

Homer, Odyssey 11. 623 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :

"[The ghost of Herakles addresses Odysseus in Hades:] ‘He [Eurystheus] once sent me even here [to Haides] to fetch away the hound of Haides, for he thought no task could be more fearsome for me than that. But I brought the hound out of Haides' house and up to earth, because Hermes helped me on my way, and gleaming-eyed Athene.’"

Hesiod, Theogony 310 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

"Typhaon

. . .

was joined in love to her [Ekhidna]

. . .

And next again she bore the

unspeakable, unmanageable Kerberos (Cerberus), the savage, the bronze-barking dog of Haides, fifty-headed, and powerful, and without pity."

Hesiod, Theogony 769 ff :

"And before them [the halls of Haides and Persephone] a dreaded hound (deinos kunos) [Kerberos, Cerberus], on watch, who has no pity, but a vile stratagem: as people go in he fawns on all, with actions of his tail and both ears, but he will not let them go back out, but lies in wait for them and eats them up, when he catches any going back through the gates."

Cerberus is the offspring of Echidna, a hybrid half-woman and half-serpent, and Typhon, a gigantic monster even the Greek gods feared. Its siblings are the Lernaean Hydra; Orthrus, a two-headed hellhound; and the Chimera, a three-headed monster. [6] The common depiction of Cerberus in Greek mythology and art is as having three heads. In most works, the three heads each respectively see and represent the past, the present, and the future, while other sources suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. [7] Each of Cerberus' heads is said to have an appetite only for live meat and thus allow only the spirits of the dead to freely enter the underworld, but allow none to leave. [8] Cerberus was always employed as Hades' loyal watchdog, and guarded the gates that granted access and exit to the underworld. [9]

Cerberus featured in many prominent works of Greek and Roman literature, most famously in Virgil's Aeneid, Peisandros of Rhodes' epic poem the Labours of Hercules, the story of Orpheus in Plato's Symposium, and in Homer's Iliad, which is the only known reference to one of Heracles' labours which first appeared in a literary source. [10]

Madison askew, Russell

Cerberus

3 rd hour

There have been many attempts to explain the depiction of Cerberus. A 2nd century CE Greek known as Heraclitus the paradoxographer - not to be confused with the 5th century BCE Greek philosopher Heraclitus - claimed euhemeristically that Cerberus had two pups that were never away from their father, and that Cerberus was in fact a normal (though very large) dog, but that artists incorporating the two pups into their work made it appear as if his two children were in fact extra heads. [25] Classical historians have dismissed Heraclitus the paradoxographer's explanation as "feeble". [22] Mythologers have speculated that if Cerberus were given his name in Trikarenos it could be interpreted as "three karenos". [22] Certain experts believe that the monster was inspired by the golden jackal. [26]

Whilst in the underworld, Heracles met Theseus and Pirithous. The two companions had been imprisoned by Hades for attempting to kidnap Persephone. One tradition tells of snakes coiling around their legs then turning into stone; another tells that Hades feigned hospitality and prepared a feast inviting them to sit. They unknowingly sat in chairs of forgetfulness and were permanently ensnared. When Heracles had pulled Theseus first from his chair, some of his thigh stuck to it (this explains the supposedly lean thighs of Athenians), but the earth shook at the attempt to liberate Pirithous, whose desire to have the wife of a god for himself was so insulting, he was doomed to stay behind.

Heracles found Hades and asked permission to bring Cerberus to the surface, to which Hades agreed if Heracles could overpower the beast without using weapons. Heracles was able to overpower Cerberus and proceeded to sling the beast over his back, dragging it out of the underworld through a cavern entrance in the Peloponnese and bringing it to Eurystheus.

In Greek mythology Cerberus is depicted as a dog with three ferocious heads and the tail of a snake. He is one of the great Greek monsters born unto Typhon and Echidna.

His sole task is essentially be the "bouncer" of Hades. As the rules go, only the dead may enter the Underworld, and none may leave.

There are only a couple of myths in Greek mythology where a hero gets the better of Cerberus. The first is when Orpheus (Greek mythology), the famed musician, sneaks into Hades by lulling the usually unstoppable Cerberus to sleep with his beautiful music.

The second myth is when Hercules (Greek mythology), with the approval of Hades (Greek mythology), the god of the Underworld, gets Cerberus in a choke hold, knocks him out, and kidnaps him. He is eventually returned to his post where he remains to this day. Other than these myths, the three-headed hound of Hell is an unmatched force for anyone trying to get in or out of Hades without express permission.

In vampire mythology, it is said that the souls of all vampires are held in a container (a coffin, appropriately), somewhere in Hades. According to the Vampire Origin Story, because of a deal made by the first vampire, if any vampire should ever return to Hades they can get in (because technically they are dead), but they can never leave again.

Some believe that due to his unmatched dedication to the gods of ancient Greece, Cerberus was eventually released by Hades and was able to join the gods in a more human immortal form, thereafter being known by the name Naberius.

Madison askew, Russell

Cerberus

3 rd hour

Cerberus or Kerberos in Greek and Roman mythology is a bronze multi-headed dog, usually three heads. Often referred too as a Hell Hound with a serpents tail, a mane of snakes and lions claws. It guards the entrance of the underworld to prevent those who entered from ever escaping. Although the depiction of Ceberus often differs and varies they often have the same body and same three heads.

The most notable difference is the number of its heads: Most sources describe or depict three heads; others show it with two or even just one; a smaller number of sources show a variable number, sometimes as many as 50 or even 100.

Cerberus is the offspring to Echidna, a hybrid half- woman and half- serpent, and Typhon, a gigantic monster even the Greek gods feared. It is the sibling of Lernaean Hydra, Orthrus a two headed hellhound, and the Chimera a three headed monster.

In most works, the three heads each respectively see and represent the past, the present, and the future, while other sources suggest the heads represent birth, youth, and old age. Each of Cerberus' heads is said to have an appetite only for live meat and thus allow only the spirits of the dead to freely enter the underworld, but allow none to leave. Cerberus was always employed as Hades' loyal watchdog, and guarded the gates that granted access and exit to the underworld.

Cerberus was often said to freely move between the land of the living and the underworld. It would often collect souls that refused to go to the underworld. There was a legend of Cerberus actually leaving the underworld and running amuck. It is said that the only one who could get close enough to stop Cerberus is Heracles. He was said to have stabbed Cerberus in the shoulder and drive him with such force back to Hades. At this time Hades did not wish to lose his loyal companion so he was said to have chained each head of Cerberus. Cerberus was said to have deeply hated being chained up and broke free once. At which time he was chained again and this time with no chance of breaking free.

Cerberus not only was a loyal watchdog and a guardian to the gates of the underworld but to Hades himself. He has been said to give each head a nickname while keeping the name Cerberus as a whole.

Madison askew, Russell

Cerberus

3 rd hour

Madison askew, Russell Cerberus 3 hour