3 Headed Dog Cerberus: 11 Horrifying Facts About Greek Hell-Hound

Cerberus also dubbed as “Three Headed Dog” is one of the most well known creatures from Greek mythology. As he guarded the entrance to Hades, Cerberus was responsible for his work to keep mortals away from entering the underworld. According to Greek mythology, the underworld isn’t a welcoming place, with only spirits of the dead being allowed to enter. Nobody was allowed to leave.

The Greeks revered dogs for their ability to be guardians, but also feared them for their danger and ferocity. The mythical beast Cerberus illustrates the type of watchdog that terrifies even the Greeks themselves.

1 The Greek Hell Hound Cerberus Is A Combination Of Serpent’s Tail, Snake’s Mane & Lion’s Claws

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The Greeks believed that this mythical three headed dog had a serpent’s tail, snake’s mane and Cerberus was also often depicted to have a lion’s claws.

This deity had three heads, which has different meanings depending on the culture. For one group, three heads were considered to represent the present, past and future while one another group believes, three heads were symbol of birth, old age and youth.

2 You can Turned Into Stones While Facing Towards His Eyes

According to Greek mythology, The most ergastic ability of Cerberus was his own eys which appeared terrible – anybody which looked upon him was turned instantly to the stone. This is a quote describing Cerberus, which states that it had razor sharp teeth and poisonous bite. The poison dripped from Cerberus’ mouth on the ground grew into a special plant called Wolfsbane.

3 His Father Typhon Is Even More Dangerous Than Cerberus

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Typhon was the father of Cerberus. He was known for being the mightiest and deadliest monster in Greek mythology, and he was a deity as well. It is also said that this fire breathing dragon had red eyes, hundred wings and hundred heads. He terrified even the Olympian gods. Typhon was detrimentally disruptive, spreading fear and disaster – with his end goal being the destruction of the world. Typhon was a major obstacle for Zeus which prevented him from reaching the Kingdom of Heaven.

4 Cerberus Mother Is Also A Monster & A Half Woman-Half Snake Like Creature

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Cerberus’ mother held the form of a half-woman, half-snake creature called the “mother of all monsters” and named as Echidna. She had the head and torso of a pretty woman and also black eyes, while her lower body was that of a serpent. In Greek mythology, Echidna is one of the figures that reside in a cave and is said to lure men with her body, before devouring them.

5 He’s A Watchdog of Hades

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The primary task of Cerberus in Greek mythology was to guard the underworld. He was also extremely loyal to Hades, who is the god of the underworld, and served him faithfully. Cerberus is often seen moving on the banks of the mythical waterway, The River Styx. This boundary separates the dead of the underworld from the existing of the earth.

6 Cerberus Was Loyal To Hades & Kind To The Dead

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Cerberus, the three-headed dog, becomes an all-star in guarding the gates of Hades. His duty was to keep the dead from escaping and for concealing any living creatures that wander there without Hades’s permission. Cerberus was a friendly and kind monster to the dead, as well as any new spirits that enter the underworld.

7 Those Who Tried To Enter Underworld Without Hades Permission, Is Killed By 3 Headed Dog

The monster becomes fearsome and would prevent those in the underworld from going back to the land of the living. Anyone who tried to cross him would be killed and become a part of his domain.

8 With Nemean Lion’s Coat, Heracles Protect Himelf & Captured Cerberus

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There are many different stories about how Hercules captured Cerberus, who was a three-headed dog guarding the gates of Hell. Hades was the god of the underworld. In one of the most popular mythologies, the Greek demigod Heracles was told by the Greek god of death Hades that in order to get Cerberus, he had to defeat the animal using only weapons that he carried with him.

Heracles battles the three-headed dog, Cerberus. He uses his shield (lion-skin) to preserve himself from two of the heads of the dog while occluding the third one. After a thorough struggle, Cerberus’s neck is choked and he surrenders to Heracles.

In one version of the myth, Hades becomes angry about Heracles taking Cerberus and shoots him. In another account, Hades does warfare with Heracles and is defeated.

9 Death of Cerberus Isn’t Specified In Greek Literature

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When Heracles brought Cerberus back from the Underworld, accounts vary on what he did. Some of the accounts say that Heracles processioned the three-headed dog, Cerberus throughout Greece. This three-headed dog was said to scare women and children with his presence.

Numerous people thought Heracles demonstrated Cerberus and was met by celebrants (crowds) who gave him a laurel coronet and sang a warble about him. The fate of Cerberus is a mystery. Some say that Heracles took him back to the underworld after a duration of time, while Other accounts claim Cerberus escaped on his own and has since returned to the underworld.

10 Orpheus Tricked Cerberus With His Music Skills & Outsmarted The Best

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The Cerberus was the watchdog of the Greek Underworld, guarding it from escape. He was known to frequent the banks of the river Styx and was a loyal servant to Hades. He prevented anybody who hadn’t been invited from entering and prevented anyone who had been dead from exiting.

Acheron’s gates were guarded by Cerberus, one another river. Souls going to the underworld would enter through Cerberus and those trying to return to the land of the living would be eaten.

Cerberus appears in many myths and legends, and even some Greek mythology. There are a few stories where heroes outsmart the beast. The first one is the famous story of Orpheus, the musician in Greek mythology who sneaks into the Underworld by lulling Cerberus, a guard dog and aggressive creature, with his music.

The Thracian singer was beloved by the Greeks, and married happily to the nymph, Eurydice. They lived together but one day sadly, she died after being bitten by a snake. After realizing that he would never see his wife again, the protagonist Orpheus abandoned playing music and singing out of grief. He was however determined to bring her back, which motivated him to go on a journey to the Underworld for Eurydice.

The ferryman who took away the spirits of the dead across the river Styx, Charon listened to Orpheus playing on the lyre and was charmed, agreeing to transport him across the River Styx even though he was still alive. He encountered Cerberus, the three-headed monster who was reduced to a meek creature after it was seduced by the sounds of Orpheus’s lyre. The fearsome dog slowly lay down and let him pass.

In the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, Hades and his wife Persephone spared Eurydice and she was able to go back to earth with Orpheus one condition – Eurydice would walk behind him, and he was not to turn around and look at her.

Orpheus was so overcome with enthusiasm that he turned around to take one last look at Eurydice. Upon looking back, her circumstances changed from being a human to forever being a goblin and Eurydice was dispatched back forever to the Underworld. Orpheus descended into the Underworld to bring Eurydice back from death and he too was dismembered by Thracian maenads for refusing to worship Dionysus.

11 Hercules/Heracles Was The Only Demigod Who Fought With The Hell Hound & Capture Him Alive

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One of the most popular stories of Cerberus was when Hercules (Heracles) half-man, half-god had to capture this dog and bring it back alive. The king of Tiryns, as one of his final 12 labors requested that Hercules capture and bring Cerberus back alive. Eurystheus was doubtful that Hercules could complete this impossible task.

The Greek god Hercules traversed the land to find Hades, and if he could take the three headed dog without any use of his weapons, then he would be able to leave with the Cerberus. Hercules fought Hades bare-handed, since he had found Cerberus on the bank of the Acheron.

Hercules was the world’s strongest man. In order to subdue Cerberus, it took all his strength and power. However, Cerberus soon grew languid and after running out of breath by Hercules’ strong chokehold, he submitted to Hercules. One of the few monsters to ever challenge Hercules fought and escape alive was Cerberus. The adventure with Cerberus was different from his encounters with other supernatural creatures. It ended positively, with Cerberus returning to the Underworld to continue guarding the entrance.

The depiction of Cerberus in different cultures and times is quite different. For example, in Dante’s ‘Inferno’, Cerberus is guarding the third circle of Hell rather than guarding the entirety of the Underworld. Cerberus is a remarkable cosmic animal possessing three heads and represents uncontrollable appetite.

Cerberus In Literature

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Cerberus was mentioned in many legends of Roman literature, including “Virgil Aeneid” and “Plato Symposium”. It is also mentioned in the “Homer Iliad” which is the only known reference to one of Heracles’ labors.

There is an equivalent in Norse mythology to Cerberus, the guardian of Hell. This was a four-eyed dog named Garm who guarded the Underworld. The Dog of Egypt was Anubis, who conducted souls to the Underworld and guarded tombs.

Some writers (like Hesiod and Horace) claim that Cerberus could have as many as 50 or 100 heads. In some descriptions, the heads are similar to that of a lion, dog, and wolf serially. The most famous representation of the creature in popular culture is the appearance in the first Harry Potter movie, The Philosopher’s Stone. Known as Fluffy, was lulled to sleep by Harry, who played the flute— just like in the story of Eurydice and Orpheus.