The Origin of Sirens

So something that bothers me to no end is when people either casually or in the media depict Sirens as mermaids. Now I know that this is a weird hill to die on but as someone who studied Greek Mythology for years for a screenplay it is something that I am very passionate about. This entire video stems from a conversation and debate I had with my father a couple of years ago about the origins of Sirens because he, like many people of his generation, thinks he knows more than me by the simple nature of me being his child. But I don’t engage unless I’m right so here we are with the history of Sirens.

Ulysses (Odysseus) and the Sirens. Scene from the Greek Mythology. Wood engraving, published in 1880.

Most of the need to join together came from the original myth, women-animal hybrids that led sailors to their deaths. Really all people remembered was the sailors part of that, meaning that these creatures had to be on or in the sea. And with Christopher Columbus’ report of mermaids (supported by sailors’ delirium) these dangerous women of the seas were ghost stories told by sailors. They became a cautionary tale, the boogeyman for seaman. The two very separate are easily mergeable but the reality is that the original myth states that Sirens as their own entity are bird people, part woman, part bird no parts fish. Mermaids are a separate creature with their own history and mythology.

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