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The Chimera (sometimes Khimaira) is a monster from Greek mythology. It is a fire-breathing hybrid composed of the parts of multiple animals; lion with the head of a goat atop the feline’s (sometimes along with that of a dragon) and a snake tail usually ending with a snake head. Though the original is described above, the term chimera has come to mean a mythical creature made up of parts taken from various animals, to describe something made up of contrasting parts, or something regarded as wildly imaginative, unconvincing, or dazzling.

The Greek monster chimera was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, the sibling of monsters like Cerberus, the Hydra, and the Sphinx.

Seeing the chimera was believed to be an omen for shipwrecks, storms, and other natural disasters (particularly volcanoes).

The chimera was slain by Bellerophon and the  winged horse Pegasus, on the command of King lobates of Lycia. The hero shot the monster from the air from atop the winged horse, safe from the chimera’s fiery breath.

In the Iliad, Homer described the chimera as “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire”. In Theogony, Hesiod writes on the Echidna: “she was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay”.


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