The Chimera, according to a Greek mythology, is a monstrous fire-breathing creature that has parts of multiple animals: the body of a lion with a tail that ended in a snake's head, two heads one of a goat and the other of a lion. Her father was the giant Typhon and her mother the half-serpent EcThidna. She had as brothers Cerberus (the hound of Hell), Sphinx, Hydra (the nine-headed water snake), and Orthrus (another multi-headed dog). The term chimera has also come to mean, more generally, an impossible or foolish fantasy, hard to believe. Greek Myth
Homer's brief description in the Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". Hesiod's follows the Homers description: he makes the Chimera the issue of Echidna: "She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire While there are different genealogies, in one version the Chimera mated with her brother Orthrus and mothered the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion.
The Chimera was finally defeated by Bellerophon, with the help of Pegasus, at the command of King Iobates of Lycia. Since Pegasus could fly, Bellerophon shot the Chimera from the air, safe from her heads and breath. A scholiast to Homer adds that he finished her off by equipping his spear with a lump of lead that melted when exposed to the Chimera's fiery breath and consequently killed her, an image drawn from metalworking. Hypothesis about origin
Pliny the Elder cited Ctesias and quoted Photius identifying the Chimaera with an area of permanent gas vents which still can be found today by hikers on the Lycian Way in southwest Turkey. Called in Turkish Yanartaş (flaming rock), it consists of some...
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