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Mermaid Legends: Sirens of the Sea

Mermaid legends in the Mediterranean come from Greek mythology. The Greek god Poseidon was half man, half fish. He was the protector of seafarers. Mermaids on the other hand were called sirens and were considered dangerous. With their enchanting songs they lured sailors to their death on the rocks. In many ancient Greek art pieces the sirens are depicted as half bird, half woman. The legends eventually evolved into a half fish, half woman. In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses longs to hear the sirens song. He orders his men to stop their ears with wax and tie him to the mast. He tells them not to let him free no matter what he says. Though he hears the sirens song and begs to go to them, his men keep their word and don’t set him free. (photo "Ulysses and the Sirens" by H.J. Draper)

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