- Echidna (mythology)
In the most ancient layers of
Greek mythologyEchidna (Greek: Ἔχιδνα) ("ekhis" (ἔχις), meaning "she viper") was called the "Mother of All Monsters". Echidna was described by Hesiodas a female monster spawned in a cave, who mothered with her mate Typhoeus (or Typhon) every major horrible monster in the Greek myths,
"the goddess fierce Echidna who is half a nymph with glancing eyes and fair cheeks, and half again a huge snake, terrible smelling, with greasy skin, eating raw flesh beneath the secret parts of the holy earth. And there she has a cave deep down under a hollow rock far from the deathless gods and mortal men. There, then, did the gods appoint her a glorious house to dwell in: and she keeps guard in Arima beneath the earth, grim Echidna, a nymph who dies not nor grows old all her days." —— ("Usually considered offspring of
Theogony", 295-305) Tartarusand Gaia, or of Cetoand Phorcys(according to Hesiod) or of Chrysaorand the naiadCallirhoe, or Peirasand Styx (according to Pausanias, who did not know who Peiras was aside from her father), her face and torso of a beautiful woman was depicted as winged in archaic vase-paintings, but always with the body of a serpent (see also Lamia). She is also sometimes described as having two serpent's tails. Karl Kerenyinoted an archaic vase-painting with a pair of echidnas performing sacred rites in a vineyard, while on the opposite side of the vessel, goats were attacking the vines (Kerenyi 1951, p 51f): chthonicEchidna as protector of the vineyard perhaps.
The site of her cave, Arima,
Homercalls "the couch of Typhoeus" ("Iliad", II.783). When she and her mate attacked the Olympians, Zeusbeat them back and punished Typhon by sealing him under Mount Etna. However, Zeus allowed Echidna and her children to live as a challenge to future heroes. She was an immortal and ageless nymph to Hesiod ("Theogony" above), but was killed where she slept by Argus Panoptes, the hundred-eyed giant. [http://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus2.html#1 Apollodorus, Library 2] Accessed June 14, 2008.]
Typhon and Echidna's offsprings
The offspring of Typhon and Echidna were:Fact|date=February 2007
OrthrusSome sourcesFact|date=February 2007 also include the Gorgons and the Graeaeas her children. Hesiod claims that Sphinx and the Nemean Lion were her children by her son, Orthrus. It is also believed that the eagle (some say vulture) that ate Prometheus' liver was also born to Echidna, though this has never been proven.
Echidna, a monotreme mammal of Australia and New Guinea named after the mythological monster.
* [http://www.loggia.com/myth/echidna.html Mythography article]
* Kark Kerenyi, 1951. "The Gods of the Greeks" (Thames and Hudson)
* [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/1111.html Echidna] in the
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
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