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by Archaeology Newsroom

Mermaids embodying the sea

“Is king Alexander still in the world?” Depending on the answer given to the fish woman’s question a calm passage or a storm is provided. The mermaid is a compound of mythical forms, one of them being the Gorgon whose head, once an object of aversion, in the person of the mermaid (gorgona) becomes seductive. The Seirenes annihilate mariners and their craft in the sea between Italy and Sicily. Scylla, who sinks their vessels in the sea lying between Sicily and Messene also has influence over mariners. On the Kymi two drachm coin (Southern Italy 440-420 BC) Scylla is shown with a fish tail and two dogs coming out of her shoulder blades.