CERBERUS Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


Biography » fictional iconical mythological characters » cerberus


In Greek mythology, Cerberus or Kerberos                                                   
was the hound of Hades, a monstrous three-headed dog with a snake for                       
a tail (sometimes said to have 50 or 100 heads) called a hellhound. Other hell             
hounds included Orthus, his two headed brother. Cerberus guarded the gate to               
Hades and ensured that spirits of the dead could enter, but none could exit (additionally, 
no living person was to come into Hades). Among his siblings are Chimera and the           
Hydra. He is the offspring of Echidna and Typhon. In Dante's Inferno, he is                 
described as having a human head. This symbolizes the possibility of Cerberus               
being more human than animal.                                                               
Cerberus was overcome several times:                                                       
Heracles' final labour was to capture Cerberus, which he did by wrestling it               
into submission.                                                                           
Orpheus used his musical skills to lull Cerberus to sleep.                                 
Hermes put him to sleep with water from the river Lethe.                                   
In Roman mythology, the Sybil of Cumae lulled Cerberus to sleep with drugged               
honeycakes in order to permit Aeneas fuller entry to the underworld.                       
In a Roman tale, Psyche also lulled Cerberus to sleep with drugged honeycakes.             
In The Inferno, Cerberus punishes the gluttons and is passed by Virgil and Dante           
due to Virgil throwing into one of his mouths some of the putrid earth found in             
the Third Circle.                                                                           
In the Greek Oracle of the Dead at Cumae in southern Italy, the recently                   
excavated subterranean shrine was found to contain giant chains fixed to the               
wall for three large dogs before the entrance to the shrine of Hades and                   
Persephone. The three dogs would have represented Cerberus in this ancient