Greece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the Past
Greece: Secrets of the PastAbout Ancient GreeceGreece: Secrets of the PastAbout The IMAX FilmGreece: Secrets of the PastRelated TopicsGreece: Secrets of the PastFor TeachersGreece: Secrets of the Past
Greece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the PastGreece: Secrets of the Past
Introduction Family FunLinksCredits
Go back
Learning Activities

Compound Creatures

Ancient civilizations did not have scientific explanations to account for Nature’s dramatic demonstrations of power and might — violent thunderstorms, earthquakes, volcanoes, eclipses, the plague, etc. It was not unreasonable for them to conclude that powerful and unpredictable entities were the cause of these events. As time went by, they created a rich mythology of hybrid beings reflecting human and animal qualities the ancients admired, respected or feared. From the east we see Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of wisdom, while the Egyptian god of wisdom was represented by Thoth, who had the head of an Ibis. Most will recognize Egypt’s Bastet the cat-headed goddess and Horus, the hawk-headed symbol of the reigning pharaoh. The Greeks also had their compound creations, some of whom were definitely in the naughty category while a few were nice. See if you can fill in the blanks and identify the following fourteen hybrids.

Name and Combination

  1. _P_ _N_     Head of a woman, body of a lion, wings of a bird of prey
  2. _I_ _ _A_ _     Body of a man, head of a bull
  3. G_ _ _ _ I_     Head of an eagle, body of a lion, wings of a bird of prey
  4. _E_A_U_     Horse with the wings of a large bird
  5. _ _ N     Man with horns on forehead and body of a goat
  6. _ _ R_ _E_     Birds with women’s faces
  7. _ _ _ T_ _     Creature that was half-man and half-fish
  8. M_ _ M_ _ _     Creature that was half-woman and half-fish
  9. _I_E_U_     Fat old man with tail and ears of a horse
  10. _E_ _O_S     Legendary king of Athens, half-man and half-serpent
  11. _E_U_A     A gorgon. A woman with snakes for hair
  12. _ _I_AE_A     Lion, goat and snake combined
  13. _C_L_ _     Woman above waist, six vicious dogs below
  14. _ _I_O_     A wise centaur, half-man and half-horse

Additional Clues

  1. The Egyptians had one, too.
  2. Theseus took care of him.
  3. The guardians of treasure.
  4. Bellerophon knew him well.
  5. Don’t panic and you’ll find the right answer.
  6. Often sent by the gods to punish criminals.
  7. He could calm the sea with a conch shell.
  8. Possibly the Greeks knew her first as Derketo.
  9. A friend of Dionysus, he was seldom sober.
  10. Son of Gaia.
  11. You wouldn’t want to stare at this woman.
  12. Bellerophon killed this fire-breathing monster.
  13. This beautiful sea nymph was changed by Circe.
  14. He raised Apollo’s son and looked after Jason as well.

SOLUTION