In last week’s weather god series I mentioned those similar weather phenomena: hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. Their differing names have to do with their location. That’s the kind of word play that grabs my attention and thinking on that now, it just gave me an idea for a future blog series. Anyway…
Cyclones occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. Hurricanes are seen in the Atlantic and the Pacific Northeast. Typhoons are seen in the Northwest Pacific.
This morning a typhoon is hitting Japan — a “super typhoon” named Neoguri with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, two inches of rain fall an hour, and who knows what impact the expected 20 foot storm surge will have. The maps are pretty dramatic. I feel for those people.
So the northern Atlantic got slammed by Hurricane Arthur recently, the Great Barrier Reef was damaged by a Cyclone named Ita this past April, and a typhoon named Neoguri is poised to wreak havoc on Japan and parts of Korea today. Typhon, you snake-limbed, winged-skin, fire-eyed, monster, give it a rest.
Typon the Family Man
The story goes that Typhon felt like an outcast. Hmm I wonder why? He was no less divine than the rest of his family so naturally he felt he should be allowed on Mount Olympus with the others. Known for his peculiar temper he was feared. So when the other gods discovered he intended to stay, they all fled. Apparently Zeus took exception to this idea of him moving in and a battle with Typhon ensued.
Depending on what mythic accounting you read, the battle unfolds in several different ways. They all end pretty much the same — Zeus throws him into a cavern and slams Mount Etna down on top of him, forever trapping him under mountain. Interesting to note that Mt Etna is an active volcano. That goes with another story that says he also breathes fire. Every time he moves to free himself from his prison, he causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Before Zeus flung a mountain on top of him, Typhon had a romance with Echidna. Echidna was no beauty either, the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto (both primordial sea gods). Phorcys and Ceto had many notable and unfortunate-looking children in addition to Echidna. They spawned the Phorcydes: the hideous snake-headed Gorgon sisters (Medusa, Euryale, and Stheno), and the one-eyed/one-toothed Graeae (Enyo, Deino, and Pemphredo).
Passing on the monster genes, Echidna and Typhon spawned these notable offspring:
- Chimera – the art-lion, part-goat, and part-snake omen of shipwrecks.
- Sphinx – the half-human, half-lion lover of riddles.
- Cerberus – the three-headed dog who guards the gate to Hades
- Hydra – the nine-headed serpent with a talent of growing two new heads for every one that was cut off.
- Nemean Lion – the giant lion with impenetrable hide (who later becomes the constellation Leo).
- Ladon – the snake guarding the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides.
Some myths say Typhon fathered more. You might recognize some of the names. Several of these creatures played part in the Twelve Labors of Hercules (or Heracles in the Greek version)
Tomorrow ~ more.
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My Family’s Living History
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Here’s a cliché for today:
Beauty is only skin deep
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