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Cyprus Mythical Creatures

Cyprus Mythical Creatures

Cyprus is a land of myths and legends, and it is home to a variety of mythical creatures that have fascinated people for centuries. From sea monsters to winged beasts, the island has been the subject of many stories and legends that have been passed down through generations. Many of these myths and legends are still alive today, and they continue to capture the imagination of both locals and visitors alike.

One of the most famous mythical creatures associated with Cyprus is the sea monster Auli, which is said to inhabit one of the underwater caves near Ayia Napa. According to local tales, the creature looks very much like the Loch Ness Monster and has been the subject of many sightings over the years. Another well-known creature is the winged beast known as the Siren, which is said to lure sailors to their deaths with its enchanting song. The Siren is often depicted in ancient Cypriot art and is still a popular symbol of the island today.

Despite the passage of time, the myths and legends of Cyprus continue to fascinate people from all over the world. Whether it is the sea monster Auli or the winged beast known as the Siren, these mythical creatures are an important part of the island’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors to Cyprus can explore the many legends and stories associated with these creatures and experience the magic and mystery of this ancient land for themselves.

Legends of Aphrodite

Adonis and Aphrodite

One of the most popular legends of Aphrodite is the story of Adonis. According to the myth, Adonis was a handsome young man who was loved by both Aphrodite and Persephone. He was killed by a wild boar while hunting, and both goddesses were devastated by his death. In honor of Adonis, Aphrodite created a flower known as the anemone. This flower symbolizes love and loss, and is often associated with the story of Adonis and Aphrodite.

Pygmalion and Galatea

Another famous legend of Aphrodite is the story of Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion was a sculptor who created a statue of a beautiful woman. He fell in love with the statue and prayed to Aphrodite to bring her to life. The goddess granted his wish, and the statue, named Galatea, came to life. Pygmalion and Galatea fell in love and lived happily ever after.

These two legends are just a few examples of the many stories that surround the goddess Aphrodite. Her beauty, love, and power have inspired countless tales and myths throughout history.

The Twelve Labours of Heracles

Heracles, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, was a legendary hero in Greek mythology. He was known for his incredible strength and his ability to complete seemingly impossible tasks. One of the most famous stories about Heracles is his completion of the Twelve Labours, a series of tasks that King Eurystheus assigned to him as punishment for killing his own family.

The Nemean Lion

One of Heracles’ first tasks was to slay the Nemean Lion, a fierce beast that terrorized the town of Nemea. The lion had impenetrable skin, making it nearly invulnerable to weapons. Heracles was able to defeat the lion by using his bare hands, choking it to death. He then skinned the lion and wore its pelt as armor.

The Lernaean Hydra

Another of Heracles’ labours was to slay the Lernaean Hydra, a many-headed serpent that lived in the swamps near Lerna. The Hydra had the ability to regrow its heads, making it nearly impossible to kill. Heracles was able to defeat the Hydra by cutting off its heads and cauterizing the stumps with fire to prevent them from regrowing. He then buried the immortal head under a rock, and used the Hydra’s poisonous blood to coat his arrows.

Cypriot Mythical Beasts

Cyprus is a land of myths and legends, and its folklore is filled with tales of strange and wondrous creatures. Here are two of the most fascinating mythical beasts from Cypriot mythology:


Akheilos is a sea monster with the head and torso of a man and the tail of a fish. According to legend, he was the son of the god Poseidon and a mortal woman. Akheilos was said to have the power to transform into any animal he desired, and he was known for his cunning and his love of mischief.

In some versions of the myth, Akheilos was a shape-shifter who could take on the form of a bull, a lion, or a serpent. He was said to have the ability to control the winds and the waves, and sailors feared encountering him on their voyages.


Ceto is a monstrous sea goddess who is often depicted as a giant sea serpent or dragon. According to legend, she was the daughter of the primordial sea god Pontus and the earth goddess Gaia. Ceto was said to have the power to control the tides and the currents, and she was feared by sailors and fishermen alike.

In some versions of the myth, Ceto was the mother of many other sea monsters, including the Gorgons and the Graeae. She was also said to have been responsible for sending storms and other natural disasters to punish mortals who angered the gods.

Overall, the mythical creatures of Cyprus are a fascinating and diverse group, and they offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this ancient land.

Mythical Heroes of Cyprus

Cyprus has a rich history of mythical heroes, each with their own unique stories and legends. Here are two of the most notable ones:


Teucer was a legendary archer and warrior who played a significant role in the Trojan War. He was the half-brother of Ajax and the son of King Telamon of Salamis. According to legend, Teucer was an expert archer who could shoot arrows with incredible precision, and he was known for his bravery and skill in battle.

Teucer is also famous for founding the city of Salamis in Cyprus. After the Trojan War, Teucer was exiled from his homeland and sailed to Cyprus, where he founded a new city that would become one of the most important centers of trade and culture in the ancient world.


Cinyras was a legendary king of Cyprus who was said to have been a descendant of the goddess Aphrodite. He was known for his beauty, wisdom, and musical talent, and he was revered as a hero and a leader by the people of Cyprus.

According to legend, Cinyras was also a skilled craftsman who created beautiful works of art and music. He was said to have invented the lyre, a stringed instrument that became popular throughout the ancient world, and he was known for his ability to create beautiful sculptures and paintings.

Despite his many talents, Cinyras was also known for his tragic end. According to legend, he fell in love with his own daughter, Myrrha, and when she rejected him, he killed himself in despair.

Folkloric Creatures and Spirits


Nereids are sea nymphs who are often depicted as beautiful young women with long hair and fish tails. According to Greek mythology, they were the daughters of Nereus, the god of the sea, and his wife Doris. The Nereids were known for their singing and dancing, and were often depicted as playful and mischievous. In Cyprus, they are believed to inhabit the waters around the island, and are said to be friendly towards fishermen and sailors.


Lamia is a creature from Greek mythology that is often depicted as a half-woman, half-serpent. According to legend, she was once a beautiful queen who was cursed by the goddess Hera to become a monster. In Cyprus, the Lamia is believed to be a female demon who preys on young children. She is said to have the ability to shape-shift into a beautiful woman in order to lure her victims, and is often associated with the night and darkness.

Overall, Cyprus has a rich tradition of folkloric creatures and spirits, many of which have their roots in Greek mythology. From the Nereids who inhabit the waters around the island, to the Lamia who preys on young children, these creatures continue to capture the imagination of the people of Cyprus.

Cultural Influence on Myths

Myths and legends of Cyprus have been shaped by different cultures over time. The island’s location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa has made it a melting pot of different civilizations. Below are some of the cultural influences that have shaped Cypriot myths.

Hellenic Impact

The ancient Greeks had a significant impact on Cypriot mythology. The Greek goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born from the sea foam near Paphos, Cyprus. This event is said to have occurred when Cronus, the father of the gods, castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea. The sea foam that formed around the genitals gave birth to Aphrodite.

The Greeks also adopted an existing ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power, the Sumerian Great goddess Ishtar or Inanna, a Phoenician Great goddess Ashtart or Astarte – to become Aphrodite, and her original husband, Tammuz, god of vegetation, to become Adonis. Adonis was a handsome youth who was loved by Aphrodite. He died young, and his death was mourned by the goddess and the people of Cyprus.

Near Eastern Contributions

Cyprus is also located near the Near East, and this region has had a significant impact on Cypriot mythology. The island was a major center of worship for the goddess Astarte, who was worshipped throughout the Near East. Astarte was the goddess of fertility, love, and war, and she was associated with the planet Venus.

Another important figure in Cypriot mythology is the god Baal, who was worshipped in the Near East. Baal was the god of storms and rain, and he was associated with fertility and agriculture. The Cypriot myth of the “Death of Baal” tells the story of how the god was killed by his rival Mot, the god of death. The myth was popular throughout the Near East and was retold in different forms by different cultures.

In conclusion, Cypriot myths have been shaped by a variety of cultural influences, including the Greeks and the Near Eastern civilizations. The myths reflect the island’s rich history and diverse cultural heritage.

Archaeological Evidence of Mythology

Mythology and legends have been an integral part of Cypriot culture for centuries. The island is home to many archaeological sites that offer insights into the ancient myths and beliefs of the people who once lived there.

Paphos Archaeological Sites

Paphos, located on the southwestern coast of Cyprus, was an important religious center in ancient times. It is believed to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. The city is home to many archaeological sites that provide evidence of the myths and legends associated with the goddess.

One of the most significant sites in Paphos is the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, which dates back to the 12th century BC. The sanctuary was a place of pilgrimage for worshippers of the goddess and was believed to be the site of her birth. The site includes a temple, a sacred spring, and a series of altars and shrines.

Another important site in Paphos is the Tombs of the Kings, a complex of underground tombs that date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The tombs are believed to have been used by the aristocracy of the time and are decorated with elaborate frescoes and sculptures.

Salamis Ruins

Located on the eastern coast of Cyprus, Salamis was an important city-state in ancient times. The city was home to many important archaeological sites that provide evidence of the myths and legends associated with the island.

One of the most significant sites in Salamis is the Gymnasium, a complex of buildings that was used for athletic and cultural events. The site includes a large courtyard, a swimming pool, and a series of rooms that were used for various purposes.

Another important site in Salamis is the Roman Amphitheatre, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. The amphitheatre was used for gladiator games and other public events and could seat up to 15,000 people.

Overall, the archaeological sites in Cyprus provide a fascinating glimpse into the ancient myths and legends of the island. Visitors to the island can explore these sites and learn more about the rich cultural heritage of Cyprus.

Modern Retellings and Literature


While Cyprus mythical creatures are often the subject of ancient literature, they have also been featured in modern poetry. For example, the winged creature known as the Siren has been reimagined in “Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood. In this poem, the Siren is portrayed as a cunning and manipulative being, luring sailors to their doom with her enchanting song. Similarly, the Chimera, a creature with the body of a lion, the head of a goat, and the tail of a serpent, has been the subject of several modern poems, including “Chimera” by John Barth.


Cyprus mythical creatures have also been featured in modern novels. One notable example is “The Bull from the Sea” by Mary Renault, which retells the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. In this novel, the Minotaur is portrayed as a tragic figure, rather than a monstrous beast. Similarly, “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller, retells the story of Achilles and his lover Patroclus, with the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology playing a prominent role in the narrative.

Overall, modern retellings of Cyprus mythical creatures have allowed these ancient beings to continue to captivate and inspire readers of all ages.

Mythological Sites in Cyprus

Cyprus is a land of myths and legends, and there are many mythological sites that are worth visiting. Here are two of the most famous ones:

Aphrodite’s Rock

Aphrodite‘s Rock, also known as Petra tou Romiou, is a beautiful sea stack that is located on the coast of Paphos. According to legend, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, emerged from the sea foam near this rock. The site is a popular tourist destination and is said to have magical powers that can help bring love and fertility to those who visit.

Temple of Apollo Hylates

The Temple of Apollo Hylates is an ancient Greek temple that is located in Kourion, near Limassol. The temple was dedicated to Apollo, the god of music, prophecy, and healing. The site is surrounded by beautiful gardens and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Visitors can explore the ruins of the temple and learn about the history and mythology of the site.

These are just two of the many mythological sites that can be found in Cyprus. Each site has its own unique story and significance, and visiting them can be a fascinating and enlightening experience.