|Sibling(s)||Cerberus, Hydra, Nemean Lion|
|This subject is also available on|
The Chimera (alternately Kimera, Chimaera, etc.) is a mixed beast from Greek lore whose body typically consists of various bits of lion, goat, and serpent (sometimes dragon) and it is known to breathe fire. The Greek hero Bellerophon was known to have fought and defeated the singular chimera of ancient Greek lore. Bellerophon defeated the Chimera by placing a lump of lead on his spear and holding it in front of it's mouth. The fire-breathing monster melted the lead with it's breath and the molten lead flowed down it's throat and eventually killed it.
The chimera featured in the story of Bellerophon was one of the offspring of the monster Typhon and his niece, the drakaina Echidna. As such, it is the sister of Cerberus, Orthrus, the Nemean Lion, the Lernaean Hydra, Scylla, and many other monsters. Other legends attribute the Nemean Lion to be the offspring of the chimera rather than her brother.
According to Homeric poems, the Chimera was of divine origin.
King Iobates commanded the Greek hero Bellerophon to slay the Chimera. He rode into battle on the back of the winged horse - Pegasus. Bellephoron used a lead-tipped lance down the Chimera's troat, suffocating it, causing it's death.
The Chimera may have once been identified with the winter-rising constellation of Capricorn, the serpent-tailed goat.
Typically, she is portrayed with the body of a male lion, the front end of a goat sticking out of her back, and either a serpent's tail or a serpent for a tail. She does not typically have the power of flight, a weakness which is exploited by Bellerophon on his flying steed, Pegasus.
Western scholars of Chinese art use the word Chimera to refer to winged quadrupeds such as the Bixie, Tianlu and the qilin.
Possible Real-life OriginsEdit
It is possible that the myth could have been inspired by permanent gas vents along the Lycian Way in southwest Turkey.
The origin of the notion of this fire-breathing nature of the Chimera must probably come from the volcano named Chimaera near Phaselis, in Lycia, or it may have originated on the volcanic valley near the Cragus, which is mentioned as the scene of the events connected with the Chimera.
The word or term Chimera has two alternative forms: Chimaera and Chimæra. The term by itself has various meanings:
- A vain, foolish, or incongruous fancy, or creature of the imagination; as, the chimera of an author.
- In Genetics, An organism with genetically distinct cells originating from two zygotes.