The hideous Titan Typhon, both a god and a monster, was one of the deadliest creatures in Greek mythology. He possessed the torso of a man, with two huge coiled snakes for legs. As if that wasn't scary enough, Typhon sported 100 snake heads and was able to fly, breathe fire and control the wind.

Typhon was the son of Gaea and Tartarus, created by his parents to defeat the Olympians, who had imprisoned his older sibling Titans, and to free them from confinement. The serpentine giant and his wife Echidna, who was a hideous half woman and half snake, were responsible for giving birth to countless famous monsters.

Others say that Gaea and Tartarus, with the help of the goddess of Love, Aphrodite, created Typhon in anger at the Olympian gods for their destruction of her beloved offspring, the Giants. Typhon himself has often been misidentified as a Giant.

Sometimes Typhon is mentioned as being the offspring of Gaea alone ("earth born"), with no mention of Tartarus. On the other hand, the Greek poet Homer says that Hera was the mother of Typhon, whom she created because she was angry at Zeus for having birthed Athena himself.

Hera prayed to Gaea, Uranus and the Titans to give her a son who would be stronger than Zeus. She then slapped the ground and became pregnant, afterwards giving the infant Typhon to be raised by the serpent/dragon called Python.

According to the poet Hesiod, Typhon was terrible, abhorrent, appaling and lawless. He was immensely powerful, with one hundred snake heads, each emitting fire and a dreadful roar.

Echidna bore Typhon many fierce offspring, including:

Orthrus, the two-headed dog that guarded the cattle of Geryon.

Cerberus, the three-headed hound that guarded the gates of Hades, letting the dead in, but nobody out.

The Lamaean Hydra, the many-headed serpent that grew two heads when one was cut off.

The Chimaera, a fire breathing beast that was part lion, part goat, and had a tail with the head of a snake at the end.

The Caucasian Eagle, that ate the liver of Prometheus.

Ladon, the dragon that guarded the Golden Apples in the Garden of the Hesperides.

The Sphinx, that killed itself when Oedipus solved its riddle.

The Nemean Lion, a beast killed by the hero Theseus.

The Crommyonian Sow, also killed by Theseus.

Gorgon, alleged by some to be mother of the Medusa.

The Colchian Dragon, that guarded the Golden Fleece.

Scylla, of Scylla and Charybdis fame.

The Harpies, said by some to be the daughters of Typhon.

Destructive Storm Winds, fathered by a defeated Typhon.

Typhon failed in his attempt to overthrow Zeus for the supremacy of the world. The two fought an earth-shaking battle, in which Zeus finally prevailed with the aid of his fearsome thunderbolts, striking Typhon and hurling him to the ground.

Zeus then attacked Typhon with an adamantine sickle, but the monster wrestled it away from the god and managed to sever the sinews of his hands and feet, rendering Zeus helpless.

Carrying the disabled Zeus across the sea to the Corycian Cave in Cilicia, Typhon then assigned the monster Python to guard over Zeus and his severed sinews, which Typhon had hidden in a bearskin.

The Olympian god Hermes came to the aid of Zeus, along with Pan. They stole the sinews and returned them to a grateful Zeus. His strength restored, Zeus chased Typhon to Mount Nysa, then to Thrace, where Typhon threw mountains at Zeus, which the Olympian god repelled back by throwing thunderbolts at them.

Typhon finally fled to Sicily, where Zeus hurled Mount Etna on top of him, burying and decisively defeating him. It is said that the buried Typhon is the cause of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

But when Typhon first appeared at Olympus, the Olympian gods were so stunned and terrified by its horrific appearance that they transformed themselves into animals and fled to hide in Egypt.

Typhon had arrived hurling kindled rocks, attacking the gods with hissings and blood-curdling shouts, spouting a great jet of fire from its mouth.

Only brave Athena stood her ground, and with her stern words she admonished and shamed Zeus into battle with the trespassing monster.

If not for the quick and decisive reaction by Zeus, prompted by Athena, Typhon would have become the absolute ruler over both gods and mortals.

Zeus cast the defeated Typhon into the deepest depths of Tartarus in the Underworld, or buried him underneath Mount Etna by other accounts, as mentioned previously. Sometimes you can still hear Typhon there, rumbling and spouting fire and smoke. 



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