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"Chimera of Arezzo."
Etruscan bronze sculpture.

In Greek mythology, the Chimera (Greek :el:Χίμαιρα (μυθολογία)|Χίμαιρα (Chímaira); Latin Chimaera) is the monstrous creature of Greek mythology classicaly fought by the hero Bellerophon. Its name can also refer to any monster of mismatched animal parts especially in church statuary.



Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and sister of such monsters as [[Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. While there are different genealogies, in one version it mated with its brother Orthrus and mothered the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion.


Descriptions vary – some say it had the body of a goat, the tail of a snake or European dragon and the head of a lion, though others say it had heads of both the goat and lion, with a snake for a tail. It is generally considered to have been female, despite the mane adorning its lion's head. All descriptions, however, agree that it breathed fire from one or more of its heads.

Sighting the chimera was a sign of storms, shipwrecks, and natural disasters (particularly volcanos). In Medieval Christian art, the chimera appears as a symbol of Satanic forces.



The myths of the Chimera can be found in Apollodorous' Library (book 1), Virgil's Aeneid (book 6), Homer's Iliad (book 6), Ovid's Metamorphoses (poem)|Metamorphoses (book VI 339; IX 648) and Hesiod's Theogony.


The king of Caria, Amisodarus, raised the Chimera to terrorize the surrounding region. Chimaera main activity was to spit flames and devours all living.

The Chimera made great havoc in Lycia, so that the king, Iobates, sought for some hero to destroy it. At that time there arrived at his court a gallant young warrior, whose name was Bellerophon. He brought letters from Proetus, the son-in-law of Iobates, recommending Bellerophon in the warmest terms as an unconquerable hero, but added at the close a request to his father-in-law to put him to death. The reason was that Proetus was jealous of him, suspecting that his wife Antea looked with too much admiration on the young warrior.

Iobates, on perusing the letters, was puzzled what to do, not willing to violate the claims of hospitality, yet wishing to oblige his son-in-law. A lucky thought occurred to him, to send Bellerophon to combat with the Chimaera. Bellerophon accepted the proposal, but before proceeding to the combat consulted the soothsayer Polyidus, who advised him to procure if possible the horse Pegasus for the conflict. For this purpose he directed him to pass the night in the temple of Minerva. He did so, and as he slept Minerva came to him and gave him a golden bridle. When he awoke the bridle remained in his hand. Minerva also showed him Pegasus drinking at the well of Pirene, and at sight of the bridle the winged steed came willingly and suffered him to be taken. Bellerophon mounted him, rose with him into the air, soon found the Chimaera, and killed it with a lump of lead on a spear that he threw into the Chimera's stomach.

Some say merely that Bellerophon ran it through with his spear, whereas others say that he fitted his spear point with lead that melted when exposed to Chimera's fiery breath and consequently killed it. Another story is that Bellerophon chopped off the three heads of the Chimera, and it fell to the ground dead.

Theories and analysis

Theories about origin and existence

Some say this geothermically active region was the inspiration for the myth Ctesias (as cited by Pliny the Elder and quoted by Photius) identified the Chimaera with an area of permanent gas vents which can still be found today by hikers on the Lycian Way in southwest Turkey. Called in Turkish Yanartaş (flaming rock), it consists of some two dozen vents in the ground, grouped in two patches on the hillside above the Temple of Hephaistos about 3 km north of Çıralı, near ancient Olympos, in Lycia. The vents emit burning methane thought to be of metamorphic origin, which in ancient times sailors could navigate by, and which today the custodian uses to brew tea. (Strabo held the Chimaera to be a ravine on a different mountain in Lycia.)

Art / Fiction

Popular culture

  • In an episode of The Godzilla Power Hour an ancient Greek island re-appears in the Earth dimension after 1,000 years, the crew open the doors to a chamber against the warnings of Sirens, and they release a Chimera. After Siren's leader Morphea exclaims that not even the Sirens can control the Chimera, the crew summons Godzilla, who easily defeats the Chimera by shoving her back into her chamber. Determined to make the crew stay on the island, Morphea engages in an elaborate plan to gain control of the Chimera: physically merging herself and her two sisters into one giant being, Morphea then merges them with the Chimera, finally gaining control of the fire-spitting beast and causing her to grow larger than Godzilla. As Godzilla and the Chimera/Siren hybrid grapple with each other, Godzilla manages to make the mythological beast fall off of a huge cliff into the water below.
  • Chimera is Monster in My Pocket #30.
  • In the computer game Age of Mythology, the chimera is granted to Greek players for worship of Artemis.
  • In the 7th season of the show X-Files there was an episode titled Chimera.
  • In the 7th season of the show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine there was an episode titled Chimera.
  • In the 7th season of the show Stargate SG-1 there was an episode titled Chimera.
  • In the movie Mission: Impossible II Chimera was the deadly virus upon which the plot was based.
  • Chimera is also a type of unit in the game Warcraft III.
  • A renegade faction in Starcraft known as the Kimerean Space Pirates, with Kimerean presumably derived from Chimera.
  • In the video game Resident Evil the chimera is an insect-like creature which hangs from ceilings.
  • Chimeras are featured in the Harry Potter series.
  • Chimaira is a Metal band from Ohio.
  • The Caldari State's carrier in the MMORPG EVE Online is code-named "Chimera"
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, a Chimera is two or more animals (including humans) joined together by Alchemy.
  • In the arcade game Magic Sword, the player encounters a chimera at several key locations.
  • In the video game series Golden Sun, the Chimera appears numerous times; first as a pair of bosses on Crossbone Isle, then as a normal enemy under the names Chimera Mage and, in Golden Sun: The Lost Age, the stronger Grand Chimera. All forms are Mars(Fire) creatures, and have a goat's body, a snake for a tail, and the head of a lion and an eagle instead of knees on their forelegs.
  • In the roleplaying game D&D, the chimera is an evil-aligned creature which looks like a lion with leathery wings on its back. To either side of its lion's head is the head of a goat and the head of a dragon.
  • In the video game Resistance: Fall Of Man, the monstrous creatures of the game that come in many forms are called Chimera
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, there is a fusion monster named Chimera The Flying Mythical Beast
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! GX character Zane Truesdale uses the Cyber Dragon|Chimeratech Overdragon. A multi-headed monstrosity fused from many other machine monsters, it emits an evil aura and is constructed out of pitch-black metal.
  • In a few episodes of Digimon as Kimeramon, a Digimon created out of several strong other digimon. It had wings, 4 arms, breathed nermonuclear fire, and was larger than a house. One of the parts used to create it was from Devimon, and this evils spread to take over Kimeramon.
  • In the video game Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, there are random creature encounters that are Chimera. They have a bird head, snake tail, and have what appears to be somewhat like a bull's upright body. To attack, they use a combination of elements(fire, water, lightning). It has also appeared in many other Final Fantasy games as a random encounter, dating back to the original. In the original Final Fantasy, up to four could be encountered at once.
    • Also, in the game Final Fantasy IV, Chimera are also random creature encounters. They have heads of a lion, goat, and dragon, atop a goat's body. It attacks with Blaze.
  • The fourth book of the "The Well Of Echoes" quartet by australian fantasy-writer Ian Irvine is entitled "Chimaera". One of its characters is a blending of human and alien (Lyrinx) species. This Chimaera has unique abillities to shape-shift by "flesh-forming" its body.
  • In the video game Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, the boss of the Castle realm is the Chimera. It has three heads, of a lion, eagle, and snake, which breathe fire, lightning, and acid, respectively, on a lion's body with eagle's wings.
  • In the video game Titan Quest Chimera appears as a boss.
  • In the anime Slayers, one of the lead characters, Zelgadis Greywords, is turned into a chimera prior to the start of the series. He is a third human, third rock golem and third brau-demon.
  • There are several instances of "Chimera" appearing in both Super Sentai and Power Rangers series. In Kyouryuu Sentai ZyuRanger one of the monsters was "Dora Chimera", it was a two legged lion with a mountain goat's face on its chest and had a snake for a tail, its Mighty Morphin Power Rangers counterpart was the monster, Goatan. Another time was in Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo-V where the remains of the three fallen angel warriors: Zoodo, Guuru and Jiin, were combined to form a Chimera that was the combination of the three, in Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue, the remains of Demonite, Thunderon and Falkar were used to create its American counterpart, Troika. In Hyakujuu Sentai GaoRanger, Highness Duke Ura used the Gao Crystals of Gao Elephant, Gao Giraffe, Gao Bear and Gao Polar to create the Chimera Org, its Power Rangers: Wild Force counterpart was called the Quadra Org and was created by General Org Nayzor using the Animal Crystals of the Elephant, Giraffe, Black Bear and Polar Bear Wildzords. Finally in Mahō Sentai Magiranger, Meemy created the Gestalt Beastman Chimera from the ghosts of fallen monsters and warriors defeated and sealed away by Blagel, the creators reused the name "Chimera" for the monster's Power Rangers: Mystic Force counterpart that was created by Imperious from the spirits of the fallen creatures defeated by Leanbow.
  • In Godzilla vs. Biollante, Biollante is a Chimera. She has attributes of a rose and of Godzilla, with a human spirit.
  • In the MMORPG World of Warcraft there is an enemy mob called a Chimera, it has the appearance of a two-headed ragon.
  • In the Star Wars the Chimera is an Imperial Mk.2 Star Destroyer that was commanded by Grand Admiral Thrawn and later Gilad Pellaeon.
  • The Chimera is also a creature regularly seen in the Xanth series, by Piers Anthony.
  • In the web comic Wapsi Square Monica has ancient Chimera staying at her house, usually in the form of three college-age women, as seen here and here.
  • There is a philosophy known as "Chimaeran Philosophy," named for its three cornerstones or heads that have almost no relation to each other but a body that unifies it all.
  • There was a recent reference to Chiamera or Chiamerism in an episode of the Fox TV series "House", describing a condition in which a patient had two seperate types of DNA

References, related sources and media

External links to relevant sites of interest


See also

  • Azhi Dahaka, a three-headed Persian dragon associated with deceit and mendacity.
  • Nue, a creature from Japanese folklore that is similar in appearance to the Chimera.
  • Tuba, a mythological Mongolian beast with the head and body of a goat, but the lower half of a snail.
  • Manticore, another mythological beast that had the head of either a man or a lion (or a mix of the two), the body of a lion and usually the tail of a dragon/snake or a scorpion.
  • Qilin, a Chinese mythical creature, thought to bring good luck.


Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

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