Charybdis and Scylla

external image CharybdisPainting.jpg

Who are Charybdis and Scylla?
Charybdis is a huge monster whose face is just a big mouth and body has arms and legs as flippers. Charybdis was once a Naiad, which was a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks. And a nymph is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform (Wikipedia), and was a daughter of Poseidon and Gaia. When Charybdis was a beautiful nymph, her father Poseidon created a large storm and Charybdis went in with the tides and claimed a bunch of land for her father’s underwater world. It made Zeus mad so he changed Charybdis into a sea monster. She swallows massive amounts of water three times a day and then spits it out. When she spits it out, it creates big whirlpools as you can see in the picture above. Charybdis is located in the Strait of Messina. Scylla lived on the opposite side of Charybdis. Scylla was a sea monster with six snake-like heads, four eyes, three rows of razor sharp teeth, 12 legs that were like tentacles, and four to six dog heads hanging from her waist.
external image 320px-Strait_of_Messina.jpg

Mythological Story

The mythological story says that Charybdis would be on one side of a narrow channel and then Scylla was on the other side which was very close to each other and when ships tried to go through, it would be extremely dangerous. They were so close that if they tried to go around Charybdis, they would run into Scylla; and if they tried to go around Scylla, they would run into Charybdis. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus runs into Charybdis and Scylla while rowing through the channel. He told his men to avoid Charybdis which directed them toward Scylla and resulted in the death of 6 of his men. Then later, he is pushed back into the channel and he grabs a tree while his raft is sucked in. Then he waits for Charybdis to spit out water so he can get his raft back. So he gets it back and paddles away.

external image Charybdis_1997.jpg


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"Naiad." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 May 2011.

"Scylla and Charybdis (Greek Mythology) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 04 May 2011.