The Sirens (Greek (singular): Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek (plural): Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures from Greek mythology that were portrayed as femme fatales. The Sirens would lure nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices in order to shipwreck them on the rocky coast of the island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. There were some named sirens; Parthenope, Thelxiepeia, Peisinoe, Aglaopheme, Ligeia and Leucosia. When the Sirens were given a name of their own, they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Gaia (the Earth; in Euripides' Helen 167, Helen in her anguish calls upon "Winged maidens, daughters of the Earth").
Although they lured mariners, for the Greeks, the Sirens in their "meadow starred with flowers" were not sea deities. Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys. Sirens are found in many Greek stories, particularly in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus orders himself to be tied to the mast of the ship so he may hear their song as the ship passes. He orders his crew to block their ears with beeswax and to ignore his pleas to be untied (so that he cannot leave the ship to join the sirens).
They were given wings by Demeter, in order to help the goddess search for her lost daughter Persephone. However, Demeter cursed them when they failed to find her. In another myth, Hera persuaded the sirens to participate in a singing comeptition against the Muses. The Muses won and plucked the feathers from the sirens. In anguish, the sirens turned white and threw themselves into the sea at Aptera ("featherless") and became the Leukai.
In Popular Culture
- The 2012 film Ice Age: Continental Drift features sirens as minor villains. They look more like fish than women and shapeshift into who the heroes love most.
- Sirens (Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas)
- The Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode The Siren's Song featured a mermaid, although she is only referred to as a siren in the episode title.
- Sirens (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)
- Sirens appear in Hero of Sparta II. In the game they can paralyse the player by screeching loudly.
- A siren is encountered by Orpheus in the side-scrolling video game The Battle of Olympus.
- Sirens appear in the God of War video game series.
- A pack of sirens known as Desert Sirens appear in God of War I.
- There is a siren character in League of Legends named "Nami"
- The app Ice Age Adventures contains the sirens from Ice Age: Continental Drift as enemies.
|Greek mythology articles|
|Deities||Aphrodite • Apollo • Ares • Artemis • Athena • Demeter • Dionysus • Hephaestus • Hera • Hermes • Poseidon • Zeus|
|Heroes||Abderus • Bellerophon • Daedalus • Diomedes • Achilles • Cadmus • Heracles • Perseus • Odysseus • Orpheus • Theseus • Jason • Argonauts|
|Groups||Demigod • God • Titans • Graeae • Gorgons • Protogenoi|
|Creatures and monsters||Chimera • Centaur • Charybdis • Cyclops • Ceryneian Hind • Cretan Bull • Empusa • Erinyes • Erymanthian Boar • Minotaur • Typhon • Medusa • Makhai • Lernaean Hydra • Pegasus • More...|
|Titans||Atlas • Coeus • Crius • Cronus • Epimetheus • Gaia • Helios • Iapetos • Pallas • Perses • Prometheus • Oceanus • Hyperion • Rhea • Styx|
|Locations||Mount Olympus • Tartaros|
|Topics||Titanomachy • Overthrowing of Ouranus|