There are few mythological creatures more recognizable than the Cerberus. This three-headed monster (also known as the Hound of Hades) first originated in Greek Mythology but has remained an iconic monster in various pieces of modern pop culture.
Cerberus has also become a popular tattoo in recent years, with several designs and meanings. If you want to know more about Cerberus and how it’s developed into a popular tattoo design, you’re in the right place!
What Is A Cerberus?
But first of all, what is a Cerberus? If you’re unfamiliar with the creature (or Greek mythology in general) you might not know everything about the Cerberus. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
In Greek mythology, the Cerberus was a terrifying monster. He was a massive three-headed dog, often depicted similarly to a rottweiler or some other large breed.
Many depictions of Cerberus also include a large snake instead of a tail, and snakes protruding from its fur. Cerberus guards the gates of the Underworld.
There are some different interpretations of Cerberus across Greek mythology, and sometimes he is described as having fewer or more heads, or other animal parts attached to his body.
According to myths, Cerberus kept watch over the gates of the Underworld, making sure no souls escaped back to the world of the living.
Cerberus is usually considered Hades’ pet or companion. He is one of the children of Typhon and Echidna and is one of several multi-headed monster siblings.
These siblings include the Hydra (who Heracles also defeats), and the chimera (a creature with three different creature’s heads).
One of the 12 Trials of Heracles was to capture Cerberus. Different versions of the story have certain inconsistencies between them. In some accounts, Heracles has to fight and subdue Cerberus. Others, meanwhile, have Heracles confront Hades.
He then either fights Hades or Cerberus and is then able to capture him.
Cerberus isn’t always depicted the same – while he is typically shown as guarding the gates of the Underworld, some stories see him taking a more active role in punishing souls for Hades.
In Popular Culture
Cerberus has featured in many aspects of pop culture in recent years and is still a popular mythological monster.
In Disney’s Hercules, Hades is seen feeding Cerberus, and Hercules intimidates Cerberus later in the film to confront Hades.
Cerberus is encountered several times in the Percy Jackson book series, which is heavily linked with Greek mythology.
Cerberus is also a feared monster in the game Dungeons and Dragons and various similar role-playing games. Additionally, the card game Magic: the Gathering has multiple creatures that are identical or similar to a Cerberus.
In the Harry Potter book and film series, the character Hagrid has a pet Cerberus, who he named “Fluffy”.
In many modern interpretations, Cerberus no longer exists as a singular creature – it is more of a classification of a monster than a particular individual. Despite this, the character is still as popular as ever, whichever symbolism it has adopted.
As mentioned earlier, Cerberus has become a popular subject for tattoos. This increase in tattoos has mostly been among men, though plenty of women is also getting tattoos of Cerberus.
There are many different designs and styles of these tattoos, and there isn’t a single set interpretation of Cerberus.
Some tattoo designs combine Cerberus with other mythical creatures, while others have the monster as the main focus of the piece. Cerberus tattoos are frequently quite realistic and depict it as a snarling three-headed monster.
That said, its various appearances in popular media make for a lot of material for more abstract styles.
While there isn’t anyone meaning to Cerberus tattoos, there are several shared interpretations of the symbol.
Many Cerberus tattoos are used to represent strength and power, as well as toughness, the inability to be restrained or to be intimidating.
Additionally, fans of Greek Mythology or how Cerberus appears in modern media may want to get a Cerberus tattoo to show their appreciation for the creature. Who wouldn’t love a three-headed dog, right?
There isn’t a wrong answer if you’re looking for a Cerberus tattoo design. Much like the creature itself, there isn’t anything holding you back, so feel free to come up with your own interpretation of the creature for a tattoo.
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