9

I'm looking for other "Mother of Monsters" examples to supplement a post I wrote involving Lilith and Angrboda and their status as "Mother of Monsters." Over time, I'd like to add more examples to the post, do more analysis, and rework it.

Any help is much appreciated!

  • Possibly Gaia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_%28mythology%29 if you count the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed Ones, but I don't know if the timeline works. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Oct 28 '15 at 10:09
  • 1
    I think it's a suggestion worth tracking, thanks (I added it to the original post). Gaia had other children, and the circumstances don't exactly match, but two crucial elements do: monstrous children, and that the children were taken from her, causing her pain. Also, now that I think of it, that she's famous AS a mother. Thanks again! – Steven M. Long Oct 29 '15 at 11:56
6

A prime example of a mother of monsters from Greek mythology is Echidna:

Men say that Typhaon the terrible, outrageous and lawless, was joined in love to her, the maid with glancing eyes. So she conceived and brought forth fierce offspring; first she bare Orthus the hound of Geryones, and then again she bare a second, a monster not to be overcome and that may not be described, Cerberus who eats raw flesh, the brazen-voiced hound of Hades, fifty-headed, relentless and strong. And again she bore a third, the evil-minded Hydra of Lerna, whom the goddess, white-armed Hera nourished, being angry beyond measure with the mighty Heracles. And her Heracles, the son of Zeus, of the house of Amphitryon, together with warlike Iolaus, destroyed with the unpitying sword through the plans of Athene the spoil-driver. 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; but Echidna was subject in love to Orthus and brought forth the deadly Sphinx which destroyed the Cadmeans, and the Nemean lion, which Hera, the good wife of Zeus, brought up and made to haunt the hills of Nemea, a plague to men. There he preyed upon the tribes of her own people and had power over Tretus of Nemea and Apesas: yet the strength of stout Heracles overcame him.

Source: The Theogony of Hesiod, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White

You may find a list of her offspring on Wikipedia.

3

Tiamat

In mesopotamian mythology, Tiamat was at first the mother of the younger gods. When they had killed their father, Apsu, she made war on them, giving birth to monsters. After the younger gods killed her, they created the world from her body.

Loki

No, really. Not only did he mother Sleipnir, a horse with eight feet, after having mated with Svaðilfari, which we can reasonably characterise as a monster, we also have a short verse in Hyndluljóð, according to which he gave birth to "all the monsters" after eating the heart of a which (the verse is further discussed here).

For a more general discussion about the view of motherhood and monsters in Norse mythology, I would recommend Margaret Clunies Ross Prolonged Echoes, which devotes significant time to the theme.

2

Additional creatures to consider are Grendal's mother from the story of Beowulf. Another one harder to track is Coarnach, a mother of demons and possibly the devil. Banished to the bottom of a lake and possibly straight to hell by Saint Patrick.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.