Sirens And Their Songs

The belief in sirens has its origin in the Ancient Greece and they've populated literature and legends of the Western world until our times.

In their origin, the Sirens were hybrid beings between women and birds. Later, they were depicted as half woman half fish.

In the Greek mythology, the voice of these creatures, beautiful and enchanting, was called the Sirens' Song. This song of the Sirens was described as hypnotic and, in many occasions, it meant the ruin for sailors.

This appears in many important literary works like the Odyssey of Homer.
Odysseus asks his men to protect their ears with beeswax, to avoid the temptation of the Sirens' Song. Circe the sorceress told Odysseus to not listen the Sirens' Song, but Odysseus was curious and ordered his men to tie him to the mast of his ship. When he heard the song, he tried to go with the Sirens, but his men saved him from doing that.

There are also stories about Sirens in the writings of Euripides and Plato.

In the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, the sailors save their lives with the help of Orpheus, the legendary musician son of Apollo and the muse Calliope. Orpheus distracted the sailors playing his beautiful music much louder than the Sirens.

The origin of Sirens is confusing. Some assert that they were daughters of Achelous, a river god that was depicted as a man with fish tail, and a muse.

In some ancient maps it can be read in some seas "Hic Sunt Sirenae", which means a place where there could be Sirens, dangerous beings that sailors should avoid to encounter.

Christopher Columbus said that he had seen Sirens in his travel to America. There are thousands of stories in which people told that they captured a Siren, or have seen one. Sirens are a classic in sailor's songs and tales from Antiquity.

Sigmund Freud analyzed Sirens as a depiction of beauty and danger, and that was the explanation of their power of attraction.

But not always have Sirens been depicted as evil beings of the seas. In many stories, they evolved to be vain and beautiful beings, that sometimes save the sailors that fell to the waters and could drown in the sea. They are depicted sat in a rock combing their hair or staring their faces in hand mirrors, prone to fall in love, and mysterious.

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

Some Related Posts: If you liked this post, subscribe to Emma Alvarez Site
give yourself a gift
Stumble Upon Stumble it!
AddThis Social Bookmark Button Add to Technorati Favorites


Sincerae said...

I have been fascinated by sirens and mermaids since I was a child.

Studies in grade school in Greek mythology and adoring Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid got me started.

Lovely post!

Emma Alvarez said...

Glad you liked it, Sincerae. Tales of sirens are really fascinating.

Matt said...

The Sirens are one one of my favourite Mythology characters.
Here is some artwork I did in Photoshop. Check out the high res version if you have time. Ive put more of a "darker" spin on it than most would.
You have a great Blog.. I'll be back to check it out some more.

Emma Alvarez said...

Matt your work is really good. I liked it very much.

Post a Comment