are sirens birds or fish

Renaissance edit

By the Renaissance, courtesans—female court musicians—filled the role of an unmarried companion, and it was sometimes considered immoral for single women to perform music. Female vocalists were linked to the mythological siren, a creature that existed somewhere between nature and civilization and typically assumed a half-animal, half-human form. The siren was thought to possess the ability to control a man’s reason. [109].

“The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners into sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners,” Leonardo da Vinci wrote about them in his notebooks. “.

List of sirens edit

Their number is variously reported as from two to eight. [34] Homer describes the number of sirens as two but provides no information about their names or origin in the Odyssey. [35] Subsequent writers mention both the names and the number of the sirens: some say there were three, Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia; others say there were two, Aglaopheme and Thelxiepeia; still others mention Parthenope, Ligeia, and Leucosia; [38] Apollonius, who followed Hesiod, gives their names as Thelxinoe, Molpe, and Aglaophonos; [39] Suidas mentions the names of Thelxiepeia, Peisinoe, and Ligeia; [40] Hyginus lists the names of the sirens as Teles, Raidne, Molpe, and Thelxiope; [41] Eustathius states that there were two, Aglaopheme and Thelxiepeia; [42] an ancient vase painting attests the two names as Himerope and Thelxiepeia.

Thelxiepeia/Thelxiope/Thelxinoe, Molpe, Himerope, Aglaophonos/Aglaope/Aglaopheme, Pisinoe/Peisinoë/Peisithoe, Parthenope, Ligeia, Leucosia, Raidne, and Teles are the various renderings of their individual names in the later sources. [43][44][45][46].

  • Molpe (?????)
  • Thelxiepeia (??????????) or Thelxiope (????????) “eye pleasing”)
Comparative table of sirens names, number and parentage

Relation Names Sources
Homer Epimenides Hesiod Sophocles (Sch. on) Apollonius Lycophron Strabo Apollodorus Hyginus Servius Eustathius Suidas Tzetzes Vase painting Euripides
Alex. Tzet. Brunte Grant
Parentage Oceanus and Gaea ?
Chthon ?
Achelous and Terpsichore ? ?
Achelous and Melpomene ? ? ? ? ?
Achelous and Sterope ?
Achelous and Calliope ?
Phorcys ?
Number 2 ? ? ? ?
3 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
4 ?
Individual name Thelxinoe or Thelxiope ? ? ?
Thelxiepe ? ?
Thelxiep(e)ia ? ? ? ? ?
Aglaophonus ? ?
Aglaope ? ?
Aglaopheme ? ?
Aglaonoe ?
Molpe ? ? ? ?
Peisinoe or Pisinoe ? ? ? ?
Parthenope ? ? ? ?
Leucosia ? ? ?
Raidne ?
Teles ?
Ligeia ? ? ?
Himerope ?

Nomenclature edit Archaic perfume vase in the shape of a siren, c.

The etymology of the name is contested. Robert S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. [5] Some assign the meaning “binder, entangler” to the name by connecting it to ????? (seirá, “rope, cord”) and ???? (eír?, “to tie, join, fasten”).[6][better source needed] i e. one who binds or entangles through magic song. This may have something to do with the well-known tale of Odysseus chained to his ship’s mast to withstand their song. [7].

Later, sirens were frequently depicted with upper human bodies and fish tails, serving as a synonym for mermaids. This combination became iconic in the medieval period. [8][9] The treatment of sirens in the medieval Physiologus and bestiaries, both iconographically and textually in translations from Latin to vulgar languages,[a] is what led to the mingling, as will be explained below.


Were sirens mermaids or birds?

Today, Sirens are almost always represented as voluptuous mermaids, whose beauty and sexuality lure men to their deaths. But the Classical Greeks understood the Sirens differently: as bird-women, creatures that Mediterranean cultures traditionally associated with hidden knowledge.

What type of animals are the sirens?

siren, (family Sirenidae), any member of the family Sirenidae (order Caudata), a group of five North American species of aquatic salamanders that resemble eels. Their long slender bodies are usually brown, dark gray, or greenish. The forelegs are tiny, and the hind legs and pelvis are absent.

Why is a siren a mermaid?

The sirens we think of today are a variation of mermaids, but according to Greek mythology they are half woman, half bird. Sirens are mentioned in Homer’s The Odyssey. An island near Scylla and Charybdis is where the sirens lived. They would await ships and sing their song to bring death upon sailors.

What is the bird version of a siren?

Sirin is a mythological creature of Rus’ legends, with the head of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird (usually an owl), borrowed from the siren of the Greek mythology. According to myth, the Sirin lived in Iriy or around the Euphrates River.