Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mermaid Mythology

There are many types of sea mythology, and why this is can be debatable.
Maybe because Sailors were very superstitious, maybe because when the myths were created they knew very little about the ocean. But why is not really important.
For the first part of this post, I shall talk about the most common of sea mythology: Mermaids
Mermaids have very many sides. Some say they were kind, others say they lured you to your death. Which is true, we will never find out, but we can dissect the different aspects:
Extracted from Katharine Briggs's A Dictionary of Fairies:
Mermaids: The general characteristics of a Mermaid are clear and well defined, They date from times of great antiquity, and have been retained and unaltered almost to the present day. According to this set of beliefs, the mermaids are like beautiful maidens from waist upwards, but they have the tail of a fish.- Read more in her book.
Other Facts about Mermaids:
The Mermaid, like the Merman, derives her name from the Anglo-Saxon word mer, which means 'sea'. She is one of the most popular and decorative of all the fabulous beasts. The image of a creature swimming powerfully through the tumultuous surf, that is a coldly beautiful woman from the waist up and a glistening silvery fish below,has inspired artists from the earliest of times. Some of the earliest depictions of Mermaids and Mermen were in the drawings of the Babylonian Water God Oannes or Ea. At first, pictures of this God showed a man - like creature wearing the head of a fish above his human visage, with his legs ending in a fishtail. Later sculptures figured him as a true Merman, with the upper parts of a bearded man and his lower half the muscular tail of a fish. It was said that this God had a human voice and taught his people the arts of civilization. His retinue. included both Mermen and Mermaids who held vases of lifegiving water.

Early portraits and sculptures of the Mermaid show her as a Goddess; the Sumerian goddess Nin-Nlitk, the Mother of the Universe and the essence or heart of the sea, was often portrayed as a Mermaid; it was written that her heartbeat governed the tides and waves of the Southern Ocean. In Syria she was the Goddess Dercerto, and in Greece the Mermaid or Merrymaid was a disguise of the ancicnt Sea Goddess Aphrodite. It is here that she appears in her familiar in rising from the sea, carrying her attributes of a round mirror and a golden comb.

In Greek mythology, the Merman Proteus, s6metimes called Nereus, was the shepherd of the flocks of the ocean and is portrayed bearing a shepherd's crook. As flowing water is constantly changing, Proteus was also able to change his shape at will. Another Sea God was Triton, also called The Old Man of the Sea. This amphibibious being was very jealous of his skill at playing the conch shell and drowned the trumpeter Misenua whose ability exceeded his own. The Old Man of the Sea was usually a peaceful deity who often assisted seafarers in trouble by blowing on his conch shell which caused even the roughest seas to subside.

Later, in medieval times Guillaume Rondelet described a type of Merman called a Monk Fish in his Book of Sea Fishes. The Monk Fish had a tonsured head, a scaly cowl and a robe that ended in a fish tail. It was known in China as the Hai Ho Shang, or 'Sea Buddhist Priest'. It was said to be so aggressive that it upturned junks and drowned the crew. It could only be driven away by the strong stench of burning feathers or by a member of the threatened crew performing a ritual dance. The Chinese believed that Mermen or other sea monsters with human heads were the spirits of drowned men desperate to find a human substitute to take their place.

Mermaids have reputations, like those of the Sirens, for luring men to live with them beneath the sea, especially if they are young and handsome. Sailors, who are isolated from women by their careers and are particularly susceptible, say that they have seen them sitting on rocks at the site of such dangerous places as
reefs and whirlpools, singing to themselves, coaxing the unwary to come closer. The wind is the Mermaid's song and in stormy weather she can be seen dancing on the waves. Then sailors should beware, for a person soon to die by drowning is said to see a mermaid frolicking in the water in anticipation of fresh company. In northern France, Breton Mermaids sing enchantingly as they comb their long hair, and their great joy in life is to rescue young shipwrecked mariners and care for them. However, they are very possessive and will never let their charges leave them.
Mermaids can sometimes be captured and kept for the knowledge that they can give to humans, particularly their understanding of herbal lore and the ability to prophesy by foretelling the advent of catastrophes, tidal waves and storms. The greatest wish of a Mermaid is to gain a human soul but only rarely can she achieve this, for she must first transform herself into an aeriel spirit and cause no harm for 300 years.

No point in Scotland is farther than 66 miles from the sea - so it's no wonder that folklore has filled the country's waters with hosts of mythical creatures. The legends of selkies and Finfolk in particular are unique to Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles, where they were first introduced by Norse settlers. The selkies and Finfolk, although complete opposites in their natures, both evolved from the same source: the Sami people of Scandinavia, a nomadic tribe that roamed the northern reach of Norway known locally as "Finnmark," and a tribe Norsemen feared and respected for their great magic.
These mighty sorcerers, known as the "Finnar" in Old Norse, were able to command the weather; they held great powers of healing and prophecy; and they could take the shape of sea creatures or bears. And they clung to their old shamanistic religion while Norwegians converted to Christianity, making it easy for their neighbours to claim that they wielded the power of the devil. Shunning the Sami people out of fear, Norwegian imagination transformed them into a semi-mythical race shrouded in mystery and darkness.
As the Norwegians began to colonize the islands of northern and western Scotland, they brought their tales of the Finnar with them. Even into the twentieth century, there were Orcadians who, supposedly in possession of otherworldly powers, claimed descendancy from the Finnar. Over time, however, the lore became corrupted, and this mighty race of magicians transformed into the mythical, aquatic Finfolk. The shape-shifting element of the Finfolk detached and further evolved into a separate race of skin-shedding selkie-folk.
Selkie is simply the Orcadian term for seal. Scotland's seas are full of seal populations, so it is quite common for people on the shore to look out over the water and see seal heads bobbing above the waves, their gaze returned by inquisitive, eerily human eyes. New Age lore has recast selkies as benign sea spirits, creatures at odds with the sense of terror they once inspired in the sea-faring populations. Originally associated with the feared Finnar and Finfolk, the selkies took on their distinct form as they merged with another element of Sami culture: kayaking.
As fishing became a major Norwegian industry in the Middle Ages, the Sami took to the productive northern seas. They constructed their lightweight kayaks from deer sinews or seal skins, markedly different from the wooden vessels used by the Vikings who were colonizing Scotland at the time. Being made from animal skins, these kayaks, although enormously swift, would also lose buoyancy as they became water-logged. Sodden kayaks would have to be pulled onto shore regularly to dry out.
The selkie-folk are seals that become human after coming onto land and removing their skins. Without this skin, the shape-shifters cannot return to their homes in the sea. Documented sightings of naked Finfolk with their skins sitting nearby undoubtedly peppered the existing lore, especially since the Sami continued to travel in animal-skin boats into the eighteenth century. Orcadians and Shetlanders watched from afar as foreigners dragged their upside-down seal-skin kayaks onto the shore and emerged from underneath to rest. The sea-faring creatures became human, and became legend.
While Finfolk retained their malevolence throughout the centuries, the selkie-folk transformed into gentle creatures, beautiful and lithe in their human forms. Once ashore, the selkie-folk would cast off their magical sealskins to become human, and bask in the sun on lonely stretches of sand. If the sealskin was lost, or stolen, however, the creature was doomed to remain in human form until the skin could be recovered, for it was the only way for the selkie to return to its original form, and hence to its home in the sea. Because the skin was so precious, selkies would hastily snatch them up and rush back into the safety of the water if someone disturbed them while they were on land.
Capture of a Selkie-woman
Capture of a Selkie-woman
Selkie-men became famous for their handsomeness and irresistible powers of seduction over mortal women. They had no qualms about stashing their sealskins somewhere safe while they ventured inland to seek out lovers, single or married. If a woman wished to meet a selkie-man, according to legend she needed to shed seven tears into the sea at high tide. The selkie-man would then come ashore to take her as a lover. Women who went missing while at sea or on the ebb were said to have gone back to the watery homes of selkie-men.
Selkie-women were no less desirable to mortal men. Selkie-women, however, were chaster than their male counterparts, and selkie lore is full of tales of cunning young men acquiring a selkie-girl's sealskin by theft or deceit. The poor creature would be left with no choice but to marry their captors. These stories usually end with one of the selkie-wife's children returning the hidden skin to their mother after many years. Sometimes her children go to the sea with her, while others remain on land with their father.
If you believe that King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Lancelot, and that they lived in Camelot, you better believe this scottish ledgend:
According to legend, Mungo's mother, Theneva, was seduced by Owain mab Urien, King of Rheged and a figure of Arthurian legend. When her father, King Lleddun of Gododdin (present-day Lothian), discovered that she had become pregnant, he had her thrown from Traprain Law. She survived the fall and escaped across the River Forth to Culross, where she sought shelter in the community of Saint Serf, apostle to the Picts. After Theneva bore her son, Kentigern, Saint Serf adopted the child and raised him for the religious life. Serf also gave the boy the pet-name by which he is known in Scotland, Mungo, which means dear one in Brythonic Gaelic.
Mungo, a contemporary of St. Columba, began his missionary work at the age of twenty-five along the River Clyde, where he built a church at the confluence of the river and the Moledinar Burn. He lived there in austerity for thirteen years before anti-Christian sentiment forced him to retire to Wales, where he remained until he was invited to return to Strathclyde by the new king. Mungo fixed his seat at Hoddom in Dumfriesshire while evangelizing the district of Galloway for many years before returning to his church at the Moledinar Burn, around which a community was quickly growing. The community became known as Clas-gu, or "dear family," and was the foundation of the city of Glasgow. Mungo became its first bishop.
Glasgow Coat-of-Arms
Glasgow Coat-of-Arms
Glasgow's coat of arms incorporates a number of symbols and emblems associated with Mungo, the city's patron saint. The robin on the shield recalls a time from Mungo's boyhood when some of his fellow classmates at the monastery accidentally killed Saint Serf's pet and tried to blame it on him. Through fervent prayer, Mungo restored the bird to life. These same boys tried again to thwart Mungo when they caught him having fallen asleep while guarding the holy fire by putting out the flame. When Mungo awoke, he broke a branch from a hazel tree and prayed for it to catch fire so that he could relight the holy flame. This miracle is represented by the tree on the shield. Another image on the shield commemorates the bell Mungo brought back to Glasgow from a pilgrimage to Rome. The original bell was lost, however. Its replacement, made in 1641, is on display at the People's Palace Museum near Glasgow Green.
The supporters, two salmons bearing gold rings, refer to the story of Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde. Her husband had given her a ring that she, in turn, gave to a knight with whom she was having an affair. The knight wore this token of affection on a chain around his neck, and the king saw it while they were on a hunting party. Humiliated and enraged, the king quietly removed the ring and threw it in the River Clyde. He then returned to his wife and threatened to have her put to death if she could not produce the ring he had given to her. Distraught, Languoreth confessed her sins to Mungo and begged his help. Mungo took the queen with him to fish in the River Clyde. He reached into the mouth of the first fish he caught and produced the ring for Languoreth, who was able to escape her husband's persecution.
Glasgow takes its motto, "Let Glasgow flourish," from Saint Mungo's call, "Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of His word and the praising of His name."
mermaid The mermaid is one of the most popular figures in world folklore. Her characteristic appearance is as a nubile young girl, with long hair and a fish tail, carrying a comb and a mirror. Unlike the other part-human, part-animal creatures of myth and folklore, mermaids have been the object of many sightings up to the present day; it is as if there is a desire to prove the reality of mermaids, which makes them closer to creatures such as the Loch Ness monster and the Yeti than to centaurs and sirens. Another expression of this desire to believe can be found in the many fake mermaids, usually made of the upper torso of a monkey and the tail of a salmon, which have been exhibited in fairs and circuses. In the age of trade and exploration, seeing a mermaid was an almost essential part of travelling to new worlds; Christopher Columbus saw three off Haiti, Sir Richard Whitburne sighted one when discovering Newfoundland in 1610, and Henry Hudson's crew saw a mermaid off Nova Zembla in 1625. In each case, the surviving accounts consciously compare what has been seen with the dominant images in art — Columbus finding his mermaids less pretty and more masculine than he expected. The most famous mermaid to have been captured, the ‘mermaid of Amboina’, was found off the coast of Borneo in the eighteenth century and is said to have lived in captivity for four days. She refused to eat, and made plaintive sounds like those of a mouse. The account given of these events in 1754 suggested that dead mermaids were never found because their flesh rots particularly rapidly.

Where do the myths of mermaids come from? Somewhere in the later Middle Ages, the fish-woman mermaid supplanted the bird-woman siren as the creature believed to lure sailors astray, although in many languages words based on ‘siren’ continued to be used for the fish-woman. The shift to fish-women as the danger facing mariners may be related to an increasing ability to travel to the open sea, where mermaids live, out of sight of the coastal rocks where sirens had been thought to perch. Both sirens and mermaids have musical talents; bird-sirens sing and play the pipes and the lyre, whereas mermaids rely on their voices to entice sailors to their death. Mermaids can raise and calm storms at will and, like the Sphinx, they can trap men with questions and riddles. In nineteenth-century Greek folklore, sailors in the Black Sea may meet the fish-woman Gorgona, who asks, ‘Does Alexander live?’ If they do not give the correct answer, ‘He lives and rules the world’, Gorgona will raise a storm and kill all aboard.

Mermaids combine the beauty of a young girl with a repulsive, fishy lower body. Physically, the problem this poses is how the men whom they target are supposed to have sexual intercourse with them. Some medieval representations get around this problem by showing the mermaid with a forked tail, but perhaps the whole point about the mermaid is that she is sexually unattainable except through death. As popular songs of the nineteenth century remind us, a man who marries a mermaid can never leave her, as there is no divorce court ‘at the bottom of the deep blue sea’. An unusual solution to the problem of the sexual availability of mermaids is found in Magritte's Collective Invention (1935), which shows a beached mermaid with the upper half of a fish and the lower half of a woman. A related problem is how mermaids themselves reproduce; male mer-people, or tritons, are shown in art, particularly in the Renaissance, but again they may miss the point. Matthew Arnold's poem The Forsaken Merman (1849) is a rare example of the treatment of mermen in literature; it reverses the common pattern of a mortal man loving a mermaid but being deserted by her, to imagine a mortal woman being called back from the mer-world by the distant sound of church bells.

Modern literary representations of the mermaid are dominated by the influential Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Anderson. Here the mer-world is a systematic inversion of our own, in which not birds, but fish, fly in through open windows. Rather than causing shipwrecks, the little mermaid saves the life of a shipwrecked prince, then makes a bargain with the sea-witch, exchanging her tongue for a pair of human legs. Every step she takes causes her terrible pain, and her feet bleed. Unable to win the love of the prince without her voice, she rejects the chance to kill him and thus return to her life as a mermaid, but instead dies when he marries someone else. Feminist interpretations of this story suggest that the little mermaid's surrender of the power to speak in order to enter the prince's world is an image of women giving up their own voices if they are to be accepted within patriarchy. Anderson's own message was that, by her love for the prince, the mermaid gained the chance of winning the immortal soul she most craved.
By Helen King
According to German myth the rock Loreley over the Rhine by St. Goar inhabited a beautiful virgin named Loreley. The river by the rock was very narrow, and hence it was a dangerous place for ships to sale. Myth tells us Loreley endangered shippers by singing, because they would look up and subsequently sale their ships onto the rocks. After the death of a nobleman’s son, soldiers were sent to take Loreley. She saw them and called upon the river to aid her. Consequently, the rocks flooded and Loreley was carried away overseas, never to be seen again.

Melusine was a feminine spirit of freshwater in sacred springs and rivers in European mythology. She is usually depicted as a kind of
mermaid, and may even have wings in some pictures. One story tells us she was born to the fay Pressyne and a common man, and taken to the isle of Avalon when she was little to grow up there. When she heard of her human father betraying her mother, she sought revenge on him. Her mother heard of this and cursed her to look like a serpent from the waste down. She supposedly got scaled arms and fins for hands, and could never change back to her old form.

Many a myth represented merpeople as creatures having the head and upper body of a human, and a fishtail instead of legs. Female merpeople are known as mermaids, and male merpeople are known as mermen. They usually had great beauty and charm, and thereby lured sailor men to their deaths. Some stories include mermaids altering their form to resemble humans. In the old Disney movie ‘The Little Mermaid’, Ariel assumes human form to gain the love of human prince Eric.
In Greek mythology Nereids were the nymphs of the sea. They were daughters of
Nereus the sea god, and his wife Doris. Unlike sirens, Nereids were depicted friendly folk, always helping sailors through rough storms. They mainly lived in the Mediterranean Sea. Examples include Thetis and Amphrite (see 4).

 Animal Planet Explores whether Mermaids are real or not:
You first saw "Mermaids: The Body Found" during Animal Planet's monstrous Monster Week line-up, but the two hour documentary-style program recently re-aired on Discovery. Once again, the Animal Planet program, which uses scientific theory and real events to debate whether or not mermaids exist, caused a stir among viewers and the program was trending in the No. 1 spot on Google after airing. It seems the program had many convinced that mermaids could exist.

After the shows original airing in May, executive producer Charlie Foley weighed in on the debate over whether or not mermaids really exist. He explained that the theories presented were rooted in science and based on other evolutionary theories (like polar bears evolving from brown bears). So how did they figure out what mermaids would look like?
[Watch: A Compilation of Mermaids: The Body Found Videos!]

"The mermaids you’ll see in the special were born from the scientific evidence that exists in other real evolutionary theories," Foley explained in his earlier blog post. "This informed us on the physical characteristics mermaids would share with humans and which attributes they would have acquired through evolution in order to live in our oceans.

"For example, mermaids most likely would not have hair, since that would cause much drag moving through the water. And, like other marine mammals such as dolphins and whales, the mermaids have a type of counter shading - a dark blue shade on the top and a paler shade on the underside.  This is a form of camouflage - when you look down at the creature from above, the dark blue skin tone blends against the dark blue of the water.  Whereas if you are looking up at the creature from underneath, the paler shaded skin blends against the lighter surface."

[Photos: See Mermaids: The Body Found Photos!]

So, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) may have released a statement earlier in the summer declaring that no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found, the possibility presented in "Mermaids: The Body Found" keeps the belief and lore of mermaids alive.

Now the real question is, what do you believe?

Merrow (from Gaelic murúch) or Murrough (Galloway) is the Scottish and Irish Gaelic equivalent of the mermaid and mermen of other cultures. These beings are said to appear as human from the waist up but have the body of a fish from the waist down. They have a gentle, modest, affectionate and benevolent disposition.
There are other names pertaining to them in Gaelic: Muir-gheilt, Samhghubha, Muidhuachán, and Suire. They would seem to have been around for millennia because according to the bardic chroniclers, when the Milesians first landed on Irish shores the Suire, or sea-nymphs, played around them on their passage.
The merrow were capable of attachment to human beings and there are reports of them inter-marrying and living among humans for many years. However, most times they eventually return to their former homes beneath the sea.
Merrow-maidens are reputed to lure young men to follow them beneath the waves where afterwards they live in an enchanted state. Merrows wear a special hat called a cohuleen druith which enables them to dive beneath the waves. If they lose this cap, it is said they have no power to return beneath the water.[1] Sometimes they are said to leave their outer skins behind, to assume others more magical and beautiful. The merrow has soft white webs between her fingers, she is often depicted with a comb parting her long green hair on either side. It is said that Merrow music is often heard coming from beneath the waves.
An old tract found in the Book of Lecain states that a king of the Fomorians, when sailing over the Ictean sea, had been enchanted by the music of mermaids until he came within reach of these sirens .... then they tore his limbs asunder and scattered them on the sea. From Dr. O'Donovan's Annals of the Four Masters - entered in the year 887 A.D. there is a curious tale of a mermaid cast on the Scottish coast - Alba - She was 195 feet (59 m) in length and had hair 18 feet (5.5 m) long, her fingers were 7 feet (2.1 m) long as was her nose, while she was as white as a swan.
Most of the stories are about female beings; however, there are some about mer-men who capture the souls of drowned sailors and keep them in soul cages under the sea.[2] Female Merrows were considered very beautiful, whereas the mermen were ugly, another reason why Merrow women sought out human men. [1] In most cases, the female Merrow had a cap or cape, normally red, and if a human could capture and hide either so the Merrow never found it, then she would remain on land without a fuss. But if the Merrow should ever find her cap or cape, she would feel compelled to return forever to the ocean, leaving entire families behind.

In Greek mythology, the Naiads (pron.: /ˈnæd/ or /ˈnəd/ or /ˈnæd/ or /ˈnəd/; Ancient Greek: Ναϊάδες, Naiades, from νάειν, "to flow", or νᾶμα, "running water") were a type of nymph (female spirit) who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater.
They are distinct from river gods, who embodied rivers, and the very ancient spirits that inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes, such as pre-Mycenaean Lerna in the Argolid.
Naiads were associated with fresh water, as the Oceanids were with saltwater and the Nereids specifically with the Mediterranean, but because the Greeks thought of the world's waters as all one system, which percolated in from the sea in deep cavernous spaces within the earth, there was some overlap. Arethusa, the nymph of a spring, could make her way through subterranean flows from the Peloponnesus, to surface on the island of Sicily.
They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to humans. Boys and girls at coming-of-age ceremonies dedicated their childish locks to the local naiad of the spring. In places like Lerna their waters' ritual cleansings were credited with magical medical properties. Animals were ritually drowned there. Oracles might be situated by ancient springs.

Naiads could be dangerous: Hylas of the Argo's crew was lost when he was taken by naiads fascinated by his beauty (see illustration). The naiads were also known to exhibit jealous tendencies. Theocritus' story of naiad jealousy was that of a shepherd, Daphnis, who was the lover of Nomia or Echenais; Daphnis had on several occasions been unfaithful to Nomia and as revenge she permanently blinded him. Salmacis forced the youth Hermaphroditus into a carnal embrace and, when he sought to    get away, fused with him.             
The Naiads were either daughters of Poseidon or various Oceanids, but a genealogy for such ancient, ageless creatures is easily overstated. The water nymph associated with particular springs was known all through Europe in places with no direct connection with Greece, surviving in the Celtic wells of northwest Europe that have been rededicated to Saints, and in the medieval Melusine.
Walter Burkert points out, "When in the Iliad [xx.4–9] Zeus calls the gods into assembly on Mount Olympus, it is not only the well-known Olympians who come along, but also all the nymphs and all the rivers; Okeanos alone remains at his station",[1] Greek hearers recognized this impossibility as the poet's hyperbole, which proclaimed the universal power of Zeus over the ancient natural world: "the worship of these deities," Burkert confirms, "is limited only by the fact that they are inseparably identified with a specific locality."[1]

Fountain of the Naiads, Piazza della Repubblica, Rome, Italy
So, in the back-story of the myth of Aristaeus, Hypseus, a king of the Lapiths, married Chlidanope, a naiad, who bore him Cyrene. Aristaeus had more than ordinary mortal experience with the naiads: when his bees died in Thessaly, he went to consult them. His aunt Arethusa invited him below the water's surface, where he was washed with water from a perpetual spring and given advice.
Another interpretation is from the children’s literature, Fablehaven. In the series there is a lake in the center of the property where naiads reign. One of the characters tricks one of the naiads to come above land where she is then turned into a human and falls in love with the human who tricked her. They are married but her sister naiads say she is tainted and will not talk to her. They believe humans have such short lives that they are merely play things (...) in which they drown men for the fun of it.
In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous and devious creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the "flowery" island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa,[1] is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae.[2] All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks.
When the Sirens were given a name of their own they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon (the Earth; in Euripides' Helen 167, Helen in her anguish calls upon "Winged maidens, daughters of the Earth"). Although they lured mariners, for the Greeks the Sirens in their "meadow starred with flowers" were not sea deities. Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys.[3] Sirens are found in many Greek stories, particularly in Homer's Odyssey.
Their number is variously reported as between two and five. In the Odyssey, Homer says nothing of their origin or names, but gives the number of the Sirens as two.[4] Later writers mention both their names and number: some state that there were three, Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia (Tzetzes, ad Lycophron 7l2) or Parthenope, Ligeia, and Leucosia (Eustathius, loc. cit.; Strabo v. §246, 252; Servius' commentary on Virgil's Georgics iv. 562); Eustathius (Commentaries §1709) states that they were two, Aglaopheme and Thelxiepeia. Their individual names are variously rendered in the later sources as Thelxiepeia/Thelxiope/Thelxinoe, Molpe, Aglaophonos/Aglaope/Aglaopheme, Pisinoe/Peisinoë/Peisithoe, Parthenope, Ligeia, Leucosia, Raidne, and Teles.[5][6][7][8][9]
The Sirens of Greek mythology are often confused with the Gorgons portrayed in later folklore as half women–half birds, (birds sing beautiful, enchanting songs, like the sirens are portrayed to do); the fact that in Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Portuguese the word for mermaid is respectively Sirena, Sirène, Sirena, Syrena, Sirenă and Sereia, and that in biology the Sirenia comprise an order of fully aquatic mammals that includes the dugong and manatee, add to the visual confusion, so that Sirens are even represented as mermaids.
There were fifty Naiads, and 2-5 sirens, but the amount of Mermaids and Merrow are unknown, as there seemed to by many with out name. 
 Aphrodite, or Venus  was also born from the sea when her father Ouranos or Uranus died- was cut up by Kronos- and fell, or was thrown into the sea. Aphrodite/Venus is the goddess of Beauty.
According to legend, most females of water are beauties, and therefore are luring.
Now, for the killer of this post. What the Mermaid 'fantasy'may have been based upon (believe they are real if you wish, there is as much evidence saying they are real as saying they aren't, but it isn't as scientific. Anyway, science shows that everything  came from the sea. Who is to say that humans were once mermaids?)
Killer one:
It is highly likely that the sailour's mistook Manatees for Mermaids, as they often were sighted around that part of the ocean
Killer two: 
Sailours were often drunk at night when they would have supposedly 'sighted'  mermaids, and then might have fallen over board if a storm had come with their lack of mind.
Killer three:
NOAA's National Ocean Service came out against the reality of mermaids after a documentary-style science fiction program on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet suggested in May that the body of a mermaid had been found on a beach.
Of course, it wasn't. But the program prompted public inquiries to NOAA, which more commonly deals with questions about weather, water and solar storms.
"No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found," the agency wrote on its "Ocean Facts" page here
Humans have been wondering about mermaids since the Stone Age, as shown in cave paintings of magical female figures made 30,000 years ago, NOAA said.
"But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, anthropologists and Marine biologist ."
Ben Sherman, a spokesman for the Ocean Service, said the item on mermaids was posted June 27 in response to queries about Discovery's fictional "documentary." There was also interest on a couple of NOAA's Facebook pages, he said in an email to Reuters on Thursday.
"This Ocean Fact received little attention until the Discovery News Channel reposted it with commentary on June 29," Sherman wrote.
The Discovery site - here - suggested NOAA responded because Discovery's documentary-style show, "Mermaids: The Body Found," had painted a convincing picture of the existence of mermaids.
"The show was an 'X-Files' type fanciful mix of state-of-the-art computer generated animation, historical fact, conspiracy theory and real and faked footage sprinkled with enough bits of scientific speculation and real science to make it seem plausible," the Discovery site said.
In fact, NOAA scientists recorded a mysterious sound in the Pacific Ocean in 1997 that they called "The Bloop," and the source of this sound has never been identified. The Discovery program mentioned this finding. Listen to "The Bloop" here
For conspiracy theorists, there is a website called that purports to show that it has been "seized" by the Justice Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
"It is a hoax," wrote Ross Feinstein of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which oversees the seizure of web sites engaged in criminal activity. Claiming that mermaids exist is not a crime, Feinstein said by telephone.
"This operation is focused on counterfeit goods and piracy, not freedom of speech - including those regarding the existence of mermaids," he wrote. "It is not our agency's position to judge whether or not mermaids exist or don't exist. ... Our agency has no open investigations into any issues regarding mermaids." (Editing by David Lindsey and Vicki Allen)
-Hmm, maybe they are trying to cover something up? what do you think?

Poseidon or Posidon (Greek: Ποσειδῶν) is one of the twelve Olympian deities of the pantheon in Greek mythology. His main domain is the ocean, and he is called the "God of the Sea". Additionally, he is referred to as "Earth-Shaker"[1] due to his role in causing earthquakes, and has been called the "tamer of horses".[2]
The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology; both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon. Linear B tablets show that Poseidon was venerated at Pylos and Thebes in pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece as a chief deity, but he was integrated into the Olympian gods as the brother of Zeus and Hades.[2] According to some folklore, he was saved by his mother Rhea, who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which was devoured by Cronos.[3]
There is a Homeric hymn to Poseidon, who was the protector of many Hellenic cities, although he lost the contest for Athens to Athena. According to the references from Plato in his dialogue Timaeus and Critias, the island of Atlantis was the chosen domain of Poseidon.[
Poseidon had many wives and children, as well as being god of the sea, earth quakes and hurricanes. He was the brother of Zeus, and Hades, the children of Kronos.  He procedded the titan Oceanus, and took over his realm. 

In Scottish mythology selkies were sea lions that could shed their skin and take human form. They were thought to live on the shores of Orkney and Shetland. When a female selkie shed her skin and a human captured it, she was forced to become his wife. If she were to ever find her skin again, she would return to sea, leaving her husband to pine and die. In Ireland these mythical creatures are called Roane.
In Greek mythology Sirens were sea nymphs that lived on the island Sirenum scopuli, and were daughters of
Ceto the sea monster and Phorcys the sea god. They drew sailors to the rocks by their enchanted singing, causing their ships to sink. It is uncertain how many sirens there would be, as different tales vary their number between two and five. Some claim the sirens where playmates of young Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As Persephone was abducted by Hades to become his queen of the Underworld, Demeter cursed the sirens to become monsters of lore. Sirens were often depicted as women with the legs and wings of birds, playing a great variety of musical instruments. However, they may also be depicted as half human, half fish (see picture). Consequently siren is often applied as a synonym for mermaid, because many believe sirens and mermaids are similar creatures. In German mythology, sirens were known as Nixes, and in Welsh and Breton mythology as Morgans.
In Polynesian mythology, a woman named Takua was once abducted by two evil spirits, and they stole the baby inside her. Than the sea rose, and the two spirits dissolved in a cloud. The boy, called Tahoratakarar, was raised by the sea itself. Other sea spirits built him a big boat that was tied to the
Underworld. It sailed by night and stopped if someone died at sea, collecting his or her soul. The boat was known in myth as the Boat of Souls, or the Boat of the Dead. The myth resembles that of Charon in Greek mythology.

The Titans were twelve divine beings that ruled the earth in Greek mythology. They were associated with the primal concepts drawn from their names, such as ocean, moon and memory. Oceanus and Thetys, children of Uranus and Gaia, were the Titans that ruled over the sea. Oceanus was said to have the upper body of a man with a long beard and horns, and the lower body of a serpent. He ruled over the oceans. His sister Thetys ruled over the rivers, including the Nile and the Menderes. They married each other and had over 3000 children, known as the Oceanids. After the Olympians, the younger siblings of the Titans, eventually overthrew them,
Poseidon (Neptune) and his unwilling queen Amphitrite ruled over the waters.
These were water spirits in Slavic mythology that supposedly lived in underwater palaces made from sunken ships. They were depicted old men with long green beards, covered in hairs, scales and slime. It was said the Vodianoi were offended by the boldness of humans, and would therefore cause swimmers to drown. They took the drowned down to their underwater dwellings to serve as slaves, with the exception of millers and fishermen, whom they might befriend. Vodianoi were often married to Rusalka and like Rusalka, they may have been the spirits of unclean dead. Some thought they were able to transform into fish.

Water nymphs (Naiads)
Nymphs are female nature entities that are bound to a particular location or land form. Naiads are water nymphs, and inhabit fountains, wells, springs, brooks, rivers, marshes, ponds and lagoons. The essence of a naiad was bound to the water body she inhabited. If a spring dried, the naiad within it died. In some stories naiads are depicted as dangerous creatures, because they could take men underwater when fascinated by their beauty, and these men were never to be seen again. Naiads were known by their jealous nature. A naiad that was once cheated by her husband is said to have blinded him in revenge. In Greek mythology naiads were friendly creatures that helped sailors fight perilous storms. They also had the power of foresight, and were said to make prophecies.

The following species of naiad are distinguished:
Crinaeae, which live in fountains
Limnades, which live in lakes
Pagaeae, which live in springs
Potameides, which live in rivers
Eleiomomae, which live in marshes
Water sprites
Water sprites were human females with skins the colour of the sea. They could breathe both water and air, and could therefore live in water and on land. They were thought to be harmless, if only people left them alone.
These were water spirits in Slavic mythology that supposedly lived in underwater palaces made from sunken ships. They were depicted old men with long green beards, covered in hairs, scales and slime. It was said the Vodianoi were offended by the boldness of humans, and would therefore cause swimmers to drown. They took the drowned down to their underwater dwellings to serve as slaves, with the exception of millers and fishermen, whom they might befriend. Vodianoi were often married to Rusalka and like Rusalka, they may have been the spirits of unclean dead. Some thought they were able to transform into fish.

Water nymphs (Naiads)
Nymphs are female nature entities that are bound to a particular location or land form. Naiads are water nymphs, and inhabit fountains, wells, springs, brooks, rivers, marshes, ponds and lagoons. The essence of a naiad was bound to the water body she inhabited. If a spring dried, the naiad within it died. In some stories naiads are depicted as dangerous creatures, because they could take men underwater when fascinated by their beauty, and these men were never to be seen again. Naiads were known by their jealous nature. A naiad that was once cheated by her husband is said to have blinded him in revenge. In Greek mythology naiads were friendly creatures that helped sailors fight perilous storms. They also had the power of foresight, and were said to make prophecies.

The following species of naiad are distinguished:
Crinaeae, which live in fountains
Limnades, which live in lakes
Pagaeae, which live in springs
Potameides, which live in rivers
Eleiomomae, which live in marshes
Water sprites
Water sprites were human females with skins the colour of the sea. They could breathe both water and air, and could therefore live in water and on land. They were thought to be harmless, if only people left them alone.

The Mermaid Wife

A story is told of an inhabitant of Unst, who, in walking on the sandy margin of a voe, saw a number of mermen and mermaids dancing by moonlight, and several seal-skins strewed beside them on the ground. At his approach they immediately fled to secure their garbs, and, taking upon themselves the form of seals, plunged immediately into the sea. But as the Shetlander perceived that one skin lay close to his feet, he snatched it up, bore it swiftly away, and placed it in concealment. On returning to the shore he met the fairest damsel that was ever gazed upon by mortal eyes, lamenting the robbery, by which she had become an exile from her submarine friends, and a tenant of the upper world. Vainly she implored the restitution of her property; the man had drunk deeply of love, and was inexorable; but he offered her protection beneath his roof as his betrothed spouse. The mermaid, perceiving that she must become an inhabitant of the earth, found that she could not do better than accept of the offer. This strange attachment subsisted for many years, and the couple had several children. The Shetlander’s love for his merwife(wife who was a mermaid) was unbounded, but his affection was coldly returned. The lady would often steal alone to the desert strand, and, on a signal being given, a large seal would make his appearance, with whom she would hold, in an unknown tongue, an anxious conference. Years had thus glided away, when it happened that one of the children, in the course of his play, found concealed beneath a stack of corn a seal’s skin; and, delighted with the prize, he ran with it to his mother. Her eyes glistened with rapture—she gazed upon it as her own—as the means by which she could pass through the ocean that led to her native home. She burst forth into an ecstasy of joy, which was only moderated when she beheld her children, whom she was now about to leave; and, after hastily embracing them, she fled with all speed towards the sea-side. The husband immediately returned, learned the discovery that had taken place, ran to overtake his wife, but only arrived in time to see her transformation of shape completed—to see her, in the form of a seal, bound from the ledge of a rock into the sea. The large animal of the same kind with whom she had held a secret converse soon appeared, and evidently congratulated her, in the most tender manner, on her escape. But before she dived to unknown depths, she cast a parting glance at the wretched Shetlander, whose despairing looks excited in her breast a few transient feelings of commiseration.
“Farewell!” said she to him, “and may all good attend you. I loved you very well when I resided upon earth, but I always loved my first husband much better.”

Questions for this post- please answer them in a comment:

  • Do you think that Mermaids could have ever existed?
  • Do you think something like a Mermaid could have existed?
  • Do you think the National Ocean Service is trying to cover something up?
  • What else do you think about mermaids?
  • Is there anything else you think I should have added? e.g. other cultures? I only looked up parts I knew something about. Please do not be offended, just tell me and I will be able to change it. 


    • The Dictionary Of Fairies- Katharine Briggs
    • Wikipedia  
    • Prior Knowledge

I wrote this a year ago on one of my other blogs. I hope you find it interesting.

1 comment:

  1. شما به هر حرفه ای که مشغول باشید، حتما به این موضوع فکر کرده اید که چقدر خوب بود که اگرفن بیان خوبی داشتید، اینکار را ما به راحتی به شما آموزش میدهیم فن بیان در واقع میزان نفوذ سخن شما در افراد را شامل می شود. یعنی اینکه صحبتهای ما به چه میزان در افراد اثرگذار خواهد بود. هنگامی که از فن بیان خوبی برخوردار نباشیم مدام نادیده گرفته می شویم و همین امر موجب می شود که اعتماد به نفس خود را از دست داده و دچار اضطراب گردیم. برای بهبود فن بیان روش های گوناگونی وجود دارد که هریک از این روشها از جنبه های گوناگون مورد سنجش و بررسی قرار گرفته است. ارتباط چشمی ، لبخند زدن و اشتیاق برخی از این راهها می باشد.