The Chimera ("// or "//, also Chimaera (Chimæra); "Greek: Χίμαιρα, Chímaira "she-goat") was, according to "Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing "hybrid creature of "Lycia in "Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a "lion, with the head of a "goat arising from its back, and a tail that might end with a "snake's head, and was one of the offspring of "Typhon and "Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as "Cerberus and the "Lernaean Hydra.
The term Chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling.
The seeing of a Chimera was an omen for disaster.
Homer's brief description in the "Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire." Elsewhere in the Iliad, Homer attributes the rearing of Chimera to Amisodorus. "Hesiod's "Theogony follows the Homeric description: he makes the Chimera the issue of "Echidna: "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." The author of the "Bibliotheca concurs: descriptions agree that she breathed "fire. The Chimera is generally considered to have been female (see the quotation from Hesiod above) despite the "mane adorning her head, the inclusion of a close mane often was depicted on lionesses, but the ears always were visible (that does not occur with depictions of male lions). Sighting the Chimera was an omen of "storms, "shipwrecks, and "natural disasters (particularly "volcanoes).
While there are different "genealogies, in one version the Chimera mated with her brother "Orthrus and was the mother of the "Sphinx and the "Nemean lion (others have Orthrus and their mother, Echidna, mating; most attribute all to Typhon and Echidna).
The Chimera finally was defeated by "Bellerophon with the help of "Pegasus, at the command of "King Iobates of "Lycia, after terrorizing Lycia and nearby lands. Since Pegasus could fly, Bellerophon shot the Chimera from the air, safe from her heads and breath. A "scholiast to Homer adds that he finished her off by equipping his spear with a lump of lead that melted when exposed to the Chimera's fiery breath and consequently killed her, an image drawn from metalworking.
The Chimera was situated in foreign Lycia, but her representation in the arts was wholly Greek. An autonomous tradition, one that did not rely on the written word, was represented in the visual repertory of the Greek vase-painters. The Chimera first appears at an early stage in the repertory of the "proto-Corinthian pottery-painters, providing some of the earliest identifiable mythological scenes that may be recognized in "Greek art. The Corinthian type is fixed, after some early hesitation, in the 670s BC; the variations in the pictorial representations suggests multiple origins to Marilyn Low Schmitt. The fascination with the monstrous devolved by the end of the seventh century into a decorative Chimera-motif in Corinth, while the motif of Bellerophon on Pegasus took on a separate existence alone. A separate Attic tradition, where the goats breathe fire and the animal's rear is serpent-like, begins with such confidence that Marilyn Low Schmitt is convinced there must be unrecognized or undiscovered local precursors. Two vase-painters employed the motif so consistently they are given the pseudonyms the Bellerophon Painter and the Chimaera Painter.
A fire-breathing lioness was one of the earliest of solar and war deities in "Ancient Egypt (representations from 3000 years prior to the Greek) and influences are feasible. The lioness represented the war goddess and protector of both cultures that would unite as Ancient Egypt. "Sekhmet was one of the dominant deities in upper Egypt and "Bast in lower Egypt. As "divine mother, and more especially as protector, for Lower Egypt, Bast became strongly associated with "Wadjet, the patron goddess of Lower Egypt.
In "Etruscan civilization, the Chimera appears in the "Orientalizing period that precedes Etruscan Archaic art; that is to say, very early indeed. The Chimera appears in Etruscan wall-paintings of the fourth century BC.
In "Medieval art, although the Chimera of antiquity was forgotten, chimerical figures appear as embodiments of the deceptive, even "satanic forces of raw nature. Provided with a human face and a scaly tail, as in "Dante's vision of "Geryon in "Inferno xvii.7–17, 25–27, hybrid monsters, more akin to the "Manticore of "Pliny's Natural History (viii.90), provided iconic representations of hypocrisy and fraud well into the seventeenth century, through an emblemmatic representation in "Cesare Ripa's Iconologia.
The myths of the Chimera may be found in the "Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus (book 1), the "Iliad (book 16) by "Homer, the Fabulae 57 and 151 by "Hyginus, the "Metamorphoses (book VI 339 by "Ovid; IX 648), and the "Theogony 319ff by "Hesiod.
"Pliny the Elder cited "Ctesias and quoted "Photius identifying the Chimera with an area of permanent gas vents that still may be found by hikers on the "Lycian Way in southwest "Turkey. Called in Turkish, "Yanartaş (flaming rock), the area contains some two dozen vents in the ground, grouped in two patches on the hillside above the Temple of "Hephaestus approximately 3 km north of "Çıralı, near ancient "Olympos, in "Lycia. The vents emit burning "methane thought to be of "metamorphic origin. The fires of these were landmarks in ancient times and used for navigation by sailors.
The Neo-Hittite Chimera from "Carchemish, dated to 850–750 BC, which is now housed in the "Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, is believed to be a basis for the Greek legend. It differs, however, from the Greek version in that a winged body of a lioness also has a human head rising from her shoulders.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2018)
Some western scholars of Chinese art, starting with "Victor Segalen, use the word "chimera" generically to refer to winged leonine or mixed species quadrupeds, such as "bixie, "tianlu, and even "qilin.
|Look up chimera in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chimera.|