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
- _P_ _N_ Head of a woman, body of a lion, wings of a bird of prey
- _I_ _ _A_ _ Body of a man, head of a bull
- G_ _ _ _ I_ Head of an eagle, body of a lion, wings of a bird of prey
- _E_A_U_ Horse with the wings of a large bird
- _ _ N Man with horns on forehead and body of a goat
- _ _ R_ _E_ Birds with women’s faces
- _ _ _ T_ _ Creature that was half-man and half-fish
- M_ _ M_ _ _ Creature that was half-woman and half-fish
- _I_E_U_ Fat old man with tail and ears of a horse
- _E_ _O_S Legendary king of Athens, half-man and half-serpent
- _E_U_A A gorgon. A woman with snakes for hair
- _ _I_AE_A Lion, goat and snake combined
- _C_L_ _ Woman above waist, six vicious dogs below
- _ _I_O_ A wise centaur, half-man and half-horse
- The Egyptians had one, too.
- Theseus took care of him.
- The guardians of treasure.
- Bellerophon knew him well.
- Don’t panic and you’ll find the right answer.
- Often sent by the gods to punish criminals.
- He could calm the sea with a conch shell.
- Possibly the Greeks knew her first as Derketo.
- A friend of Dionysus, he was seldom sober.
- Son of Gaia.
- You wouldn’t want to stare at this woman.
- Bellerophon killed this fire-breathing monster.
- This beautiful sea nymph was changed by Circe.
- He raised Apollo’s son and looked after Jason as well.