Mythology Mondays: Cerberus

Welcome to Mythology Mondays, where I highlight a different Greek myth or an aspect of mythology that has influenced the Turning Creek series. The first two books, Lightning in the Dark and Storm in the Mountains, are out now.

Be honest. I know most of you think of this when you think of Cerberus:

Hagrid, was his hair on fire?

We can all learn a life lesson from Hagrid’s penchant to acquire things in pubs. If a slightly inebriated, shady chap is trying to get you to win a three headed dog or dragon egg, just call it a loss and walk away. Nothing good ever comes from this kind of transaction. Just ask Harry.

Cerberus, thrice the heads, thrice the drool.

Cerberus was another illustrious offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Cerberus was a dog with three heads and was said to have a serpentine tail and a mane of snakes. Remember, Greeks did not think a large three-headed dog was scary enough. They added some other animals parts to make him truly horrifying.

Cerberus guarded the entrance to the Underworld. He allowed shades (souls) to go in but would not let them leave. He was without pity and feasted upon raw flesh.

The last of Hercules’ twelve tasks was to capture Cerberus. Not to be daunted, Hercules made the journey to the underworld and asked Hades for the hound. Hades agreed on two conditions. Hercules could not use any weapon but his own strength and no harm was to come to Cerberus. Hercules agreed.

Hercules wrestled the three-headed hound, managing to wrap his strong arms around all three of Cerberus’ throats. Even though Hercules was bitten by the snakes on Cerberus’ mane, he subdued the beast and carried him out of the Underworld slung over his shoulders.

Hercules presented Cerberus to King Eurystheus at the gates of Tiryns. Eurystheus begged Hercules to let the monster go and not leave him at the gates of his city. Hercules released Cerberus and the hound returned to his duty in the Underworld.

There are various versions of the tale of Hercules and Cerberus, but they all end with Hercules triumphant and Cerberus back at his post.

In Turning Creek, the Remnant of Cerberus has only one head, but he manages to cause quite a bit of havoc.