Love a good story? Then you'll love these ghastly Greek myths from the time of the Ancient Greeks! Read on, if you dare...
Created thousands of years ago, Greek myths were epic stories about Greek gods, passed down over generations. They often feature heroic battles and terrible creatures, and taught the importance of bravery, intelligence, and right and wrong. They showed that even the gods, like mortal men, could be punished or rewarded for their actions. Details of the ancient tales have been found on artefacts such as pottery and stone statues.
Greek myths were a huge part of the religion in Ancient Greece, and they offer a glimpse into the beliefs of the people who told them - hence why they're still fascinating people today. Check out five of these terrifying tales below, and meet the people-eating, fire-breathing beasts and the heroes who battled them!
The Monster: Scylla and Charybdis
The Hero: Odysseus
The Battle: On both sides of a narrow stretch of sea, monsters lie in wait. On one side, Scylla thrashes around her six snakelike heads, ready to crunch on passing sailors. On the other, Charybdis creates a deadly whirlpool. No person has ever faced these beasts and escaped unharmed. Now the king, Odysseus, and his crew must pass them to get home. They edge around Charybdis' spiralling sea, saving the ship from being swallowed whole. But Scylla swoops down and gobbles up six men. "Row!" Odysseus shouts, leading the rest of the crew past Scylla and out of the deadly channel. Having survived the dreaded beasts, Odysseus and his men continue their journey.
The Monster: The Minotaur
The Hero: Theseus
The Battle: Half-man, half-bull, the Minotaur lurks in an underground maze waiting for his next meal – children sent to him as a sacrifice. Lost in the labyrinth, the kids surely will be devoured. But brave king Theseus has had enough of his land living in fear of the Minotaur. He accompanies the group and is prepared to fight. Hearing the Minotaur breathing nearby, he springs toward it. Dodging the monster's deadly horns, he thrusts his sword into the beast. The Minotaur is dead, but will the group find its way out? Luckily, Theseus unspooled a piece of string as he walked through the maze, and leads the children out to safety.
The Monster: The Hydra
The Hero: Heracles
The Battle: In a swamp creeps a deadly nine-headed serpent called the Hydra. Killing it is one of 12 tasks Heracles – the son of Greek god, Zeus - must complete to become immortal. After throwing flaming spears at the beast, the Hydra attacks so Heracles hits its heads with a club, but more grow in their place! Heracles' friend, Iolus, then leaps to his aid with a flaming torch. After an epic battle, the men finally destroy the Hydra!
The Monster: Medusa
The Hero: Perseus
The Battle: The hideous Medusa has snakes for hair, terrifying tusks and a face that turns anyone that looks at it into stone! To please his king, warrior Perseus agrees to slay the beast. Wearing a helmet of invisibility, he sneaks up on Medusa. She's asleep, but one gaze at her face and Perseus would be a statue! So he looks at her harmless reflection in his shiny shield and beheads her. Victorious, Perseus flies off on winged sandals.
The Monster: The Chimera
The Hero: Bellerophon
The Battle: The fire-breathing Chimera is a terrifying beast with a serpent for a tail, a goat's body and a lion's head! A king has commanded warrior, Bellerophon, to destroy her. Soaring above the monster on a winged horse, Pegasus, he shoots arrows at her. Bellerophon then attaches lead to his spear and thrusts it into the vicious beast. The hero’s actions kills the fiery Chimera.
Read more about amazing ancient adventures in National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology.