Drakaina (mythology)

In Greek mythology, a drakaina (Ancient Greek: δράκαινα) is a female dragon, sometimes with human-like features. Examples included Campe, Ceto, Delphyne, Echidna, Scylla, Lamia (or Sybaris), Poine, and Python (when represented as female).

Python, slain by Apollo, and the earliest representations of Delphyne are shown as simply gigantic serpents, similar to other Greek dragons. However, although the word "drakaina" is literally the feminine form of drakon (Ancient Greek for dragon or serpent), most drakainas had some features of a human woman. Lamia, Campe, Echidna, and many representations of Ceto, Scylla and Delphyne had the head and torso of a woman.

The drakaina was a monster generally slain only by gods or demigods. Zeus slew Delphyne and Campe, Apollo slew Python, and Argus Panoptes slew Echidna.

Ceto and Echidna were both the mothers of a huge brood of monsters, including other dragon-like creatures. Ceto, according to Hesiod, gave birth to Echidna, as well as Scylla and Ladon, the dragon of the Hesperides. Also according to Hesiod, Echidna gave birth to the Chimera, Cerberus, Orthrus, Nemean lion, Sphinx and the Hydra. (Other ancient authors, such as Hyginus, attribute even more monsters as children of Echidna, such as the Caucasian eagle, Crommyonian sow, Colchian dragon and Scylla and Charybdis.)

External links

  • Theoi.com page on Echidna
  • Theoi.com page on various types of Greek dragons; describes Drakaina
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