THE SIRENS Edit
By Brittany Lewis
Sirens are beautiful half-woman, half-birdlike creatures. They have the head of a female and the body of a bird. The Sirens are special, yet dangerous sea nymphs. There are thought to be three Sirens named Aglaope, Pisinoe, and Thelxiepia. Aglaope means beautiful voice, Pisinoe means persuasive mind, and Thelxiepia means soothing words. Mythology has created a moral of the danger of falling for a beautiful woman with these creatures.
Demeter, the goddess of harvest and fertility, turned the Sirens into the half-woman, half-bird creatures to assist in the search for Demeter's daughter, Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped by the god of the Underworld, Hades. However, their search failed and in Persephone’s vain, the Sirens prayed that they would keep their wings, and that they might not lose their tuneful voices. Once their wishes were granted by the gods, they sang in unison with the music of the Moerae.
The most common Sirens were named Aglaope, Pisinoe, and Thelxiepia. Since they had the same parents, the Sirens were all sisters. They were the daughters of the sea god, Phorcys, and the goddess of the dangers of the sea, Ceto. The couple produced other terrible monsters such as the Echina, Ladon, and the Gorgons. They all sprouted from a large family line of sea gods dating back to Pontus and Gaia.
The Sirens were a group of creatures who looked like beautiful women, but were really man-eating beasts. They sat on the shore and sang with voices so seductive and compelling that anyone who heard their song became absolutely mesmerized with them. So mesmerized, in fact, that they became obsessed with reaching the shore to get closer to the sound. The Sirens lived in impassable reefs which would destroy the sailor’s boats when they tried to reach them. When the sailors would finally reach them, the Sirens would eat them and scatter their bones across the island in which they lived.
Jason and the Argonauts Myth Edit
Sirens appeared in a story with Jason and the Argonauts. An uneasy feeling came upon the Argonauts, as strange beautiful music drifted over the waters, tugged at their hearts and they found themselves rushing towards the source. To their disappointment, they found themselves amongst the Sirens. They knew the dangers of their songs. The presence of Orpheus, a wonderful musician, saved the Argonauts from being lured in. He played a song on his lyre far more powerful and captivating than that of the Sirens, which drowned out their song. Finding that they were no longer affected by the Sirens’ charm, Jason and his friends rowed their boat with all their might as far away from the rocks but unfortunately, one of their men Butes fell over. Lured by the Sirens, he swam towards the rocks and to his pending death but out of nowhere he was caught up and carried safely away by the goddess Aphrodite.
Odysseus and the Sirens Myth Edit
In Greek mythology the story of Odysseus and the Sirens is described by Homer in the Odyssey. In the myth, Odysseus is warned by the enchantress Circe that he will have trouble at sea and pass the island inhabited by the Sirens on his ship. Circe tells Odysseus to plug his men's ears with wax so they cannot hear the songs and music of the Sirens. Circe also tells Odysseus to order his crew to bind him tightly to the mast of the ship so he may listen if he wants to experience their seductive songs without jumping off the ship and swimming to shore. As they approach the island, Odysseus orders his crew of sailors to plug their ears so they would not hear the Siren's fatal song. When they arrived, they described their voices as "golden-sweet above the sound of wind and wave, like drops of amber floating on the tide." Odysseus was the only man in the world who ever heard the Sirens sing and lived to tell about it.
The Sirens vs The Muses Myth Edit
The Sirens appear in a tale with the Muses. The Sirens claimed that they were better singers than the Muses which was a great insult to them. It is said that the Sirens, induced by Hera competed with the Muses in a singing contest. The songs of the Muses were loyal and true, whilst those of the Sirens were the false and deceptive strains. The Sirens were defeated by the Muses. As a mark of humiliation, The Muses plucked the Sirens of their feathers and wore them as a trophy in their hair to show off their victory. With their feathers plucked the Sirens were no longer able to fly and turned half of their body into a fish tail.
Interesting Facts Edit
- Some sources believe Sirens were unhappy souls of the dead, and envoius of the living which explains why they killed every person that came to them.
- There were only two occasions where the Sirens failed to enchant sailors which were in two of the myths above concerning Jason and the Argonauts and Odysseus
- The Starbucks Coffee logo is in fact a Siren. There is even an article about it on their website. They call the Siren the "heart of Starbucks" because it completely represents their company.
- If you've seen O Brother, Where Art Thou?, you'll have heard the enchanting music of some Sirens.
1) "Sirens." Sirens. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Sirens/sirens.html
2) "Siren (Greek Mythology)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/546538/Siren
3) "SIRENS : Bird-Women Monsters | Greek Mythology, Seirenes, W/ Pictures." SIRENS : Bird-Women Monsters | Greek Mythology, Seirenes, W/ Pictures. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Seirenes.html
4) "Demigods & Spirits » Sirens, Alluring Sea Nymphs." Sirens in Greek Mythology. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.greek-gods.info/ancient-greek-gods/sirens/
5) "Sirens :: World Mythology." Kidzworld. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.kidzworld.com/article/1850-sirens
6) "SIRENS - Greek Mythology Link." SIRENS - Greek Mythology Link. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.maicar.com/GML/SIRENS.html
7) "The Sirens Mythology." The Sirens. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.gods-and-monsters.com/sirens-mythology.html
8) "Pelion Myths: Jason and the Argonauts." Pelion Myths: Jason and the Argonauts. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.greeka.com/thessaly/pelion/pelion-myths/jason-argonauts.htm
9) "Sirens Mythology - Crystalinks." Sirens Mythology - Crystalinks. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.crystalinks.com/sirens.html
10) "Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus, Cyclops Cave, the Sirens - Ancient Greece for Kids."Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus, Cyclops Cave, the Sirens - Ancient Greece for Kids. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://greece.mrdonn.org/odyssey.html
11) "The Sirens." Sirens ***. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/nymphs/sirens.htm