What is a Chimera?

Chimera (Chimaera or Khimaira) is a mythical creature which is believed to be formed of three different animals; a lioness, a goat and a snake.

Chimera’s head was that of a lioness while she had a goat’s head on her back and a snake’s head at the tip of her tail. According to the belief, she lived in Lycia (Likya in modern Turkey) in Anatolia.

It is considered that the myth regarding Chimera originated from Yanartaş (which means “the burning rock” in Turkish language ) in Turkey where there are vents releasing burning methane gas

As she was mostly referred to as a female creature it is safe to say Chimera is the “daughter” of Typhon and Echidna which makes the Lernean Hydra, Ladon and Cerberus her siblings.  She is also told to be the mother of Sphinx and the Nemean Lion in some myths.


chimera greek mythology
(c) JamesJKrause, DeviantArt


Both Homer in his work Illiad and Hesiod in Theogony mentioned Chimera as a creature breathing fire. According to the myth she laid waste on the land of Lycia killing cattle and creating fires all around.

Sent by King Iobates of Lycia for this impossible mission, Greek hero Bellerophon killed this mythical creature with the help of Pegasus. In some myths it is told that Bellerophon killed the three-headed monster by shooting it with arrows from above flying on Pegasus.

In the other version of the myth, it is stated that Bellerophon killed Chimera by thrusting a lance with lead on its tip into her throat which, later, melted and caused the beast to suffocate.

Seeing Chimera would be interpreted as a sign of natural disasters like storms to happen, volcano eruptions in particular.