The Chimera herself is the supreme hybrid. She has the head of a lion, the mid-section of a goat and the hindquarters of a dragon. Most versions of her myth say that she is one of many monstrous beings deriving ultimately from the union of  from the union of Earth and Heaven the Titans were born. Among her kin are the harpies, the Sphinx, the snake-haired Gorgons (of whom Medusa  is the best known), and the Nemean lion that featured in the

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labours of Hercules. The members of this bizarre family tree tend towards the repetition of body parts for example, the many heads of the dog of the underworld, Cerberus. The Chimera has the heads of all three of her component animals, and breathes fire through her goat head. However, Homer refers to her as having been ‘kept’ by king Amisodarus, which could suggest an alternative tradition in which she was deliberately created as a boundary-guardian or weapon.

Her father was Typhon, half man and half serpent, whose rapid movement makes him the origin of hurricanes and typhoons; he has a hundred hissing snake heads coming from his loins. Her mother, Echidna, also combined human and serpent but, in contrast to her fast-moving, fire-belching husband, she stayed in a cave beneath the earth, only coming out rarely to eat young men. The Chimera was eventually killed by the hero Bellerophon, aided by another hybrid descended from Earth and Sea the winged horse, Pegasus. Only by rising into the air above the Chimera was it possible to evade destruction by her fire-breathing head.

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