CerberusSpencer Kwolyk

Origins

Cerberus was the watchdog to the entrance of the Greek underworld and a faithful servant to Hades, the god of the underworld. Its job was to devour anyone who tried to exit the underworld and return back to the land of the living. Those who were still living were denied admittance by the dog. It was known for letting people enter but never leave. Cerberus had two parents, Echidna and Typhon, and one brother, Orthrus, who too was a multi-headed dog.

s-echidna-beg.jpg external image 300_1527900.jpg

Appearance

Although it is now most commonly recognized for its three heads, Cerberus, the watchdog of the underworld, had many different features that added to its intimidating appearance which struck fear in the hearts of anyone who dared to try to escape. Some of these traits involved a mane of live serpents similar to Medusa's hair and also a snake's tale. Some myths involving Cerberus even suggests he had 50 to 100 heads. Nevertheless, most myths only described it as having three heads which usually represented the past, present, and future, but it wasn't uncommon to find other myths which said the heads represented birth, youth, and old age.
external image Cerberus.jpg

Mythological Stories

In almost all of the stories it is mentioned in, Cerberus serves the position as the watchdog of the underworld. Some of the more prevalent myths it is mentioned in are when Orpheus traveled to the gates of the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice, and one where one of Hercules' 12 labors was to retrieve Cerberus from the underworld but had to do it unarmed.
external image cerberus2.jpg

Importance

Hades was´╗┐ believed to be one of the mortal portals leading into the Underworld. Styx, The river which formed a boundary between Earth and the Underworld was believed to have miraculous powers that could make a person immortal, resulting in the grave need for it to be guarded which is why Cerberus' job guarding it was so important.
external image The_River_Styx_by_hungerartist.jpg

Modern References

Fluffy from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was a three headed large dog who prevented people from entering a trap door. What he represents by guarding the door is similar to how Cerberus guarded the underworld.
external image Fluffy.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_xrqPUV0Ic
1. Lindemans, Micha F. "Cerberus." Encyclopedia Mythica: Mythology, Folklore, and Religion. 30 Mar. 2001. Web. 04 May 2011. <http://www.pantheon.org/articles/c/cerberus.html>.


2. "Cerberus." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus>.