Cerberus, the three-headed dog, has its origin in Greek Mythology. The monstrous creature was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, which makes him the brother of the Lernaean Hydra, the Nemean Lion and the Chimera.
The name Cerberus is derived from Greek, which means meat eater or the demon of the pit. Besides, heaving three heads, Cerberus also had a serpent tail. The dog lived in the underworld and was responsible for protecting the gates which gave access to the kingdom of the Hades.
The Tartarus was found in the underworld, as well as the Asphodel Meadows and the Elysian Fields.
The three-headed dog, as one of his roles, the responsibility to welcome the soul of the dead, after showing his friendly manners, particularly if the cadaver of the dead is buried with an offspring of the dog. But everything changes when the spirit wanted to walk back. Cerberus presented himself as a horrible creature preventing the souls to return to the world of the living. But some mortal beings managed to deceive the Cerberus with some artifact. One of them was Orpheus, who descended to the underworld in search of his beloved Eurydice. Cerberus was enchanted by Orpheus’s lyre and fell asleep. Another hero who managed to surpass the hellish dog was the Trojan Aeneas, who escapes the monster after throwing him a honey cake with a stupefying substance.
One day, an unknown daring man entered the underworld, his name was Hercules, the greatest of all heroes. The last of his labors was to capture the underworld’s guardian’s dog. Hercules asked Hades to allow him to take the dog to the king Eurystheus. The god of the underworld allowed Hercules to capture the Hades, as long as he did not use any weapons. Hercules fights the animals with his own bare hands and managed to defeat the Cerberus and took him to king Eurystheus. After completing his last task, the Hercules was free from his obligation and the dog was able to return to the world of the dead.
Pirithous dared to kidnap Persephone, Hades’s wife. As punishment, he ended up as a meal for Cerberus. The figure of three-headed dog become very popular. It is possible to find it in the games, in the comics and movies like Harry Potter.
Despite being the fascinating figure, we all want to avoid the inevitable encounter with the guardian of the Underworld as much as we can.