Myth Creatures 1: Mermaid & Merman

A mythological aquatic creature
with a female human head and torso and the tail of a fish.
Mermaids have a broad representation in folklore,
literature, and popular culture.
The word is a compound of mere,
the Old English word for "sea", and maid, a woman.
The male equivalent is a merman.

Much like sirens, mermaids sometimes sing to people
and gods and enchant them, distracting them
from their work and causing them
to walk off the deck or run their ships aground.

Other stories depict them squeezing the life out of drowning men
while attempting to rescue them.
They are also said to carry humans down
to their underwater kingdoms.

In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid,
it is said that they forget that humans cannot breathe underwater,
while others say they drown men out of spite.
The sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes
portrayed in later folklore as mermaid-like;
in fact, some languages use the same word for both bird and fish creatures,
such as the Maltese word 'sirena'.
Other related types of mythical or legendary creatures are water fairies
(e.g., various water nymphs)
and selkies, animals that can transform themselves from seals to humans
Little Mermaid
Ancient Near East
The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria,
ca. 1000 BC.
The goddess Atargatis,
mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis,
loved a mortal shepherd and unintentionally killed him.

Ashamed, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish,
but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty.
Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid
—human above the waist, fish below—

though the earliest representations of Atargatis
showed her as a fish with a human head and legs,
similar to the Babylonian Ea.

The Greeks recognized Atargatis under the name Derketo.
Prior to 546 BC, the Milesian philosopher Anaximander
proposed that mankind had sprung from an aquatic species of animal.
He thought that humans, with their extended infancy,
could not have survived otherwise.
This idea reappeared as the aquatic ape hypothesis in the twentieth century.

A popular Greek legend turns Alexander the Great's sister,
Thessalonike, into a mermaid after she died.
She lived, it was said, in the Aegean and when she encountered a ship,
she asked its sailors only one question:
"Is King Alexander alive?"
to which the correct answer was:
"He lives and reigns and conquers the world"
This answer pleased her
so she calmed the waters and wish the ship farewell.
Any other answer would spur her into a rage.
She would raise a terrible storm,
with certain doom for the ship and every sailor on board.

Lucian of Samosata in Syria (2nd century AD) in De Dea Syria
("Concerning the Syrian Goddess")
wrote of the Syrian temples he had visited:
"Among them - Now that is the traditional story
among them concerning the temple.
But other men swear that Semiramis of Babylonia,
whose deeds are many in Asia, also founded this site,
and not for Hera Atargatis but for her own Mother,
whose name was Derketo"

"I saw the likeness of Derketo in Phoenicia,
a strange marvel.
It is woman for half its length,
but the other half, from thighs to feet,
stretched out in a fish's tail.
But the image in the Holy City is entirely a woman,
and the grounds for their account are not very clear.
They consider fishes to be sacred,
and they never eat them;
and though they eat all other fowls,
they do not eat the dove,
for she is holy so they believe.
And these things are done, they believe,
because of Derketo and Semiramis,
the first because Derketo has the shape of a fish,
and the other because ultimately Semiramis turned into a dove.
Well, I may grant that the temple
was a work of Semiramis perhaps;
but that it belongs to Derketo
I do not believe in any way.
For among the Egyptians,
some people do not eat fish,
and that is not done to honor Derketo."
Arabian Nights
The One Thousand and One Nights
includes several tales featuring "Sea People",
such as Djullanar the Sea-girl.
Unlike the depiction in other mythologies,
these are anatomically identical to land-bound humans,
differing only in their ability to breathe and live underwater.
They can (and do) interbreed with land humans,
the children of such unions sharing in the ability to live underwater.

In another Arabian Nights tale,
"Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman",
the protagonist Abdullah the Fisherman gains the ability
to breathe underwater and discovers
an underwater submarine society
that is portrayed as an inverted reflection of society on land,
in that the underwater society follows a form of
primitive communism where concepts
like money and clothing do not exist.

Other Arabian Nights tales deal with lost ancient technologies,
advanced ancient civilizations that went astray,
and catastrophes which overwhelmed them.
In "The Adventures of Bulukiya",
the protagonist Bulukiya's quest for the herb of immortality
leads him to explore the seas, where he encounters societies of mermaids.

"Julnar the Sea-Born and Her Son King Badr Basim of Persia"
is yet another Arabian Nights tale about mermaids.
When sailors come the mermaids sing,
and some men are led straight to their doom.
If they follow the mermaids' lovely and beautiful voices,
they do not know what they are doing or where they're going.
British Isles
Mermaids were noted in British folklore as unlucky omens
both foretelling disaster and provoking it.
Several variants of the ballad Sir Patrick Spens
depict a mermaid speaking to the doomed ships;
in some, she tells them they will never see land again,
and in others, she claims they are near shore,
which they are wise enough to know means the same thing.
They can also be a sign of rough weather.

Some mermaids were described as monstrous in size,
up to 2,000 feet (610 m).
Mermaids could also swim up rivers to freshwater lakes.
One day, in a lake near his house,
the Laird of Lorntie went to aid a woman he thought drowning;
a servant of his pulled him back, warning that it was a mermaid,
and the mermaid screamed after
that she would have killed him if it were not for his servant.

On occasion, mermaids could be more beneficent,
teaching humans cures for disease.
Some tales raised the question of
whether mermaids had immortal souls answering in the negative.
The figure of Lí Ban appears as a sanctified mermaid,
but she was a human being transformed into a mermaid;
after three centuries, when Christianity had come to Ireland,
she came to be baptized.

Mermen were noted as wilder and uglier than mermaids,
but they were described as having little interest in humans.
In Scottish mythology,
there is a mermaid called the ceasg or "maid of the wave"
Warsaw Mermaid
The mermaid, or syrenka,
is the symbol of Warsaw.
Images of a mermaid symbolized
Warsaw on its crest since the middle of the 14th century.
Several legends associate Triton of mythology with the city,
which may have been the mermaid association's origin
Other Tales
Among the Neo-Taíno nations of the Caribbean
the mermaid is called Aycayia.
Her attributes relate to the goddess Jagua,
and the hibiscus flower of the majagua tree Hibiscus tiliaceus.

In the modern Caribbean the mermaid is found
as Haitian Vodou Lwa La Sirene (literally, 'the mermaid')
who is lwa of wealth and beauty and the orisha Yemaya.
Examples from other cultures are
the Mami Wata of West and Central Africa,
the Jengu of Cameroon,
the Merrow of Ireland and Scotland,
the Rusalkas of Russia and Ukraine,
the Iara from Brazil and the Greek Oceanids, Nereids, and Naiads.

One freshwater mermaid-like creature
from European folklore is Melusine,
who is sometimes depicted with two fish tails,
and other times with the lower body of a serpent.

It is said in Japan that eating the flesh of a ningyo
can grant unaging immortality.

In some European legends mermaids are said to be unlucky.
Mermaids and mermen are also characters of Philippine folklore,
where they are locally known as sirena and siyokoy, respectively.

The Javanese people believe that
the southern beach in Java is a home
of Javanese mermaid queen Nyi Roro Kidul

In some ancient fairytales of China,
mermaid is a special species whose tears can turn into priceless pearls.
What's more, mermaids can also knit
an extremely valuable material which is not only slight
but also beautiful and translucent.
Because of this, fishermen longed to catch them,
but it's difficult for them to survive
for mermaids' splendid singing can simply drag them to coma.
Actually, mermaid is a symbol of wonderful creatures in Ancient China.
They are deft,beautiful and versatile.
And the fishermen who want to catch mermaids
are a symbol of nagtive character.
Thailand Mermaid's Statue
UglyFish head and two legs?
Found in Malaysia
Is this for real?
Looks like a beggar-mermaid

~ Source above are from Wikipedia ~

Up till now, there's tons of movie related to mermaid & merman
I still think Christy Chung is the hottest mermaid i ever seen in movie
Ren Yu Chuan Shuo 1994
Of course, best merman will go to Brent Corrigan
Another Gay Sequels: Gays Gone Wild! 2008

6 who am I - questions:


November 24, 2010 at 9:37 AM

singapore got merlion, haha!


November 24, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Wonder if they are really real ?


November 24, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Merman and Mermaid sex should be quite boring.


November 24, 2010 at 9:07 PM

omg.. is this Levolutionary - L evolution dictionary??? hahahahaha...


November 25, 2010 at 10:39 PM

the last few photos showing proofs of mermaids are so FAKE..

  fatima mata

October 14, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Maybe all this is evidence that human kind is not the only living in this world. Proably our ignorence,arrogance have made us forget about this creature over centuries before cbrist. This might even indicate there might be other creature more powerful than humankind, inwhich society hasn't unseal. May there be other thing out there. Yes!