Chiron’s Guide to Greek Mythology

Please click a person from the list below to view its description.


Distinguishing Features: One large eye in the center of his head, sheep breath, fashionable cave man outfit, bad dental hygiene.

Now: The giant Polyphemus hangs out in a cave on a deserted island, where he herds sheep and enjoys simple pastoral pleasures, like eating the occasional Greek hero who happens to sail by.

Then: The giant Polyphemus hung out in a cave on a deserted island, where he herded sheep and enjoyed simple pastoral pleasures, like eating the occasional Greek hero who happened to sail by. (Some monsters never learn.)

Distinguishing Features: Great hairdo, beautiful robes, enchanting singing voice, deadly wand hidden up her sleeve.

Now: Circe runs a fashionable spa and resort on an island in the Sea of Monsters. Stop in if you'd like a makeover, but be warned, you might not leave the same person, or even the same species.

Then: Circe loved to entertain sailors. She would welcome them warmly, feed them well, then turn them into pigs. Odysseus put a stop to this practice by eating a magic herb, then holding the sorceress at knife-point until she released his polymorphed crewmates. Circe promptly fell in love with Odysseus. Go figure.

Distinguishing Features: Ugly bodies, faces like vultures, beautiful singing voices. (Hey, that sounds like my elementary school choir teacher…) However, they can fool you into thinking they are beautiful.

Now: The Sirens inhabit the Sea of Monsters, where they lure sailors to their deaths by singing sweet songs, something like ‘80s Oldies radio, only worse.

Then: Back in the day, the Sirens were a real threat to the Greek shipping industry. Then a smart guy named Odysseus discovered that you could plug your ears with wax and sail right past the Sirens without hearing a thing. Strangely, Odysseus is usually remembered for his other accomplishments, not as the inventor of ear wax.
The Minotaur
minotaur(min'-o-tar or mīn'-o-tar)

Distinguishing Features: The smell is a giveaway, sort of like a very angry sweaty hamburger. Half-man, half-bull, the minotaur has roughly human limbs and body, but the head of a bull. His bulky body is covered with fur, and he has absolutely no fashion sense. If this sounds like Percy's stepdad Smelly Gabe, you're right. The resemblance is uncanny.

Now: The Minotaur is unleashed to make life miserable for demigods. He is usually so anxious to get going he forgets to dress in anything but tidy whities, which makes him even more repulsive. He enjoys throwing cars, charging people with his horns, and ramming his head into trees.

Then: The Minotaur lived in a maze called the Labyrinth outside King Minos's palace in Crete. Each year, fourteen Athenian captives were sent into the Labyrinth as a sacrifice. Each year, none of them came out alive, until a kid named Theseus came along and invented the sport of bull fighting.

Distinguishing Features: The father of monsters is rather hard to miss, since he's as tall as a skyscraper. He has an ever-changing, ever-horrible face and a body that is a mix of human and reptile, but he is normally shrouded in storm clouds. And believe me, this dark cloud has no silver lining.

Now: Typhon was last seen rampaging across the United States, causing massive storms and tornadoes, knocking down buildings, and smashing gods out of the sky. If not for a Cyclopes army with a battle cry of "Peanut Butter!" (long story) things could've gotten very dicey.

Then: The first time the storm giant appeared, he was so horrifying all the gods except Zeus ran away. The sky god finally beat him by throwing a mountain on top of him, but Typhon didn't go quietly. Volcanoes are usually blamed on him rumbling around beneath the earth.

Distinguishing Features: One of the nastier, stranger monsters you might encounter, Kampe has the lower body of a dragon, snake hair like Medusa, and various animal heads snapping and snarling around her waist. As if that wasn't enough, she wields poisonous scimitars.

Now: Kampe was last seen in the employ of the Titans during the Battle of the Labyrinth. She has an old score to settle with the gods, and doesn't mind trampling any demigods, Cyclopes, or other lesser beings that get in her way.

Then: In the Age of the Titans, Kronos used Kampe as his jailor. She kept watch on the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed Ones to make sure they didn't escape out of Tartarus. Imagine the world's most evil babysitter. Add snake hair and lizard breath. That's pretty much Kampe.

Distinguishing Features: Female humanoids from the waist up, with a pair of snake trunks for legs, which makes them naturals at cross-country skiing.

Now: The dracaenae show up pretty much anywhere the forces of evil are making mischief. There's nothing they love more than fighting demigods and opposing Olympus. Of course, if you had snake trunks for legs, you might be a little bitter too.

Then: The dracaenae always lurked in the shadows, ready to pounce on unsuspecting heroes. You never knew when you might run across one in the Underworld, or on some wild island. To be safe, if you hear a sound like two heavy snakes shuffling toward you, it's best to run.