cerberus greek mythology spot humor
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cerberus greek mythology spot humor
Hercules battles Cerberus at the gates of Hell, Peter Paul Rubens, 1636. (Prado Museum, Public Domain)

A friend of mine recently sent me this hilarious bit from mythology, which reminds me that what we think we know about ancient stories, including in scripture, is not what we might think.

If you ever think mythology is boring …

Just remember that Cerberus, the hell-hound and guard dog of the Underworld, comes from the root Indo-European word ќerberos, which evolved into the same-spelled Greek word kerberos, which got changed to cerberus when it went from Greek to Latin. ќerberos means “spotted.”

That’s right.

Hades, Lord of the dead, literally named his pet dog Spot.

Often referred to in literature as the “hound of Hades” and the offspring of monsters, Cerberus is depicted in mythology as multi-headed, with a serpent for a tail and snakes protruding from its body. Cerberus’ job was to keep the dead from escaping Hell.

I will never look at a dog named Spot the same way again.

Image/Public Domain

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Rick Snedeker

Rick Snedeker is a retired American journalist/editor who now writes in various media and pens nonfiction books. He has received nine past top South Dakota state awards for newspaper column, editorial,...