Siren: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Funerary siren Louvre Myr148.jpg
Cast terracotta funerary siren made in Myrina, 1st century BC
Mythology Greek
Grouping Mythological
Sub grouping Water spirit
Habitat Seagirt meadow
Similar creatures Mermaid

In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were three dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses. Roman poets placed them on an island called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions the literal geography of the "flowery" island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa,[1] is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae.[2] All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks. Sailors who sailed near were compelled by the Sirens' enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast.

When the Sirens were given a parentage they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon (the Earth; in Euripides' Helen 167, Helen in her anguish calls upon "Winged maidens, daughters of the Earth"). Although they lured mariners, for the Greeks the Sirens in their "meadow starred with flowers" were not sea deities. Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys.[3]

Their number is variously reported as between two and five. In the Odyssey, Homer says nothing of their origin or names, but gives the number of the Sirens as two.[4] Later writers mention both their names and number: some state that there were three, Peisinoe, Aglaope, and Thelxiepeia (Tzetzes, ad Lycophron 7l2) or Parthenope, Ligeia, and Leucosia (Eustathius, loc. cit.; Strabo v. §246, 252 ; Servius' commentary on Virgil's Georgics iv. 562); Eustathius (Commentaries §1709) states that they were two, Aglaopheme and Thelxiepeia. Their individual names are variously rendered in the later sources as Thelxiepeia/Thelxiope/Thelxinoe, Molpe, Aglaophonos/Aglaope/Aglaopheme, Pisinoe/Peisinoë/Peisithoe, Parthenope, Ligeia, Leucosia, Raidne, and Teles.

The Sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed in later folklore as fully aquatic and mermaid-like; the facts that in Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Portuguese the word for mermaid is respectively Sirena, Sirène, Sirena, Syrena, Sirenă and Sereia, and that in biology the Sirenia comprise an order of fully aquatic mammals that includes the dugong and manatee, add to the visual confusion, so that Sirens are even represented as mermaids. However, "the sirens, though they sing to mariners, are not sea-maidens," Harrison had cautioned; "they dwell on an island in a flowery meadow."[5]

The Siren, by John William Waterhouse (circa 1900).


Sirens and death

According to Ovid (Metamorphoses V, 551), the Sirens were the companions of young Persephone and were given wings by Demeter[6] to search for Persephone when she was abducted. Their song is continually calling on Persephone. The term "siren song" refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result. Later writers have inferred that the Sirens were anthropophagous, based on Circe's description of them "lolling there in their meadow, round them heaps of corpses rotting away, rags of skin shriveling on their bones."[7]

As Jane Ellen Harrison notes of " The Ker as siren:" "It is strange and beautiful that Homer should make the Sirens appeal to the spirit, not to the flesh."[8] For the matter of the siren song is a promise to Odysseus of mantic truths; with a false promise that he will live to tell them, they sing,

Once he hears to his heart's content, sails on, a wiser man.
We know all the pains that the Greeks and Trojans once endured
on the spreading plain of Troy when the gods willed it so—
all that comes to pass on the fertile earth, we know it all![9]

"They are mantic creatures like the Sphinx with whom they have much in common, knowing both the past and the future," Harrison observed. "Their song takes effect at midday, in a windless calm. The end of that song is death."[10] That the sailors' flesh is rotting away, though, would suggest it has not been eaten. It has been suggested that, with their feathers stolen, their divine nature kept them alive, but unable to provide for their visitors, who starved to death by refusing to leave.[11]


Sirens combine women and birds in various ways. In early Greek art Sirens were represented as birds with large women's heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps. The tenth century Byzantine encyclopedia Suda[12] says that from their chests up Sirens had the form of sparrows, below they were women, or, alternatively, that they were little birds with women's faces. Birds were chosen because of their beautiful voices. Later Sirens were sometimes depicted as beautiful women, whose bodies, not only their voices, are seductive.

The first century Roman historian Pliny the Elder discounted Sirens as pure fable, "although Dinon, the father of Clearchus, a celebrated writer, asserts that they exist in India, and that they charm men by their song, and, having first lulled them to sleep, tear them to pieces."[13] In his notebooks Leonardo da Vinci wrote of the Siren, "The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners."

In 1917, Franz Kafka wrote in The Silence of the Sirens, "Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing never happened, it is still conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never."

The so-called "Siren of Canosa"[14] accompanied the deceased among grave goods in a burial and seems to have some psychopomp characteristics, guiding the dead on the after-life journey. The cast terracotta figure bears traces of its original white pigment. The woman bears the feet and the wings and tail of a bird. It is conserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, in Madrid.[15]

Encounters with the Sirens

Odysseus and the Sirens, eponymous vase of the Siren Painter, ca. 480-470 BC, (British Museum)

In Argonautica (4.891-919), Jason had been warned by Chiron that Orpheus would be necessary in his journey. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew out his lyre and played his music more beautifully than they, drowning out their voices. One of the crew, however, the sharp-eared hero Butes, heard the song and leapt into the sea, but he was caught up and carried safely away by the goddess Aphrodite.

Odysseus was curious as to what the Sirens sounded like, so, on Circe's advice, he had all his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. He ordered his men to leave him tied to the mast, no matter how much he would beg. When he heard their beautiful song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they bound him tighter. When they had passed out of earshot, Odysseus demonstrated with his frowns to be released.[16]

Some post-Homeric authors state that the Sirens were fated to die if someone heard their singing and escaped them, and that after Odysseus passed by they therefore flung themselves into the water and perished.[17] It is also said that Hera, queen of the gods, persuaded the Sirens to enter a singing contest with the Muses. The Muses won the competition and then plucked out all of the Sirens' feathers and made crowns out of them.[18]

Odysseus and the Sirens. An 1891 painting by John William Waterhouse.

Christian belief

The "Siren" of Canosa

By the fourth century, when pagan beliefs gave way to Christianity, belief in literal sirens was discouraged. Although Jerome, who produced the Latin Vulgate version of the Scriptures, used the word "sirens" to translate Hebrew tenim (jackals) in Isaiah 13:22, and also to translate a word for "owls" in Jeremiah 50:39, this was explained by Ambrose to be a mere symbol or allegory for worldly temptations, and not an endorsement of the Greek myth.[19]

Sirens continued to be used as a symbol for the dangerous temptation embodied by women regularly throughout Christian art of the medieval era; however, in the 17th century, some Jesuit writers began to assert their actual existence, including Cornelius a Lapide, who said of Woman, "her glance is that of the fabled basilisk, her voice a siren's voice—with her voice she enchants, with her beauty she deprives of reason—voice and sight alike deal destruction and death."[20] Antonio de Lorea also argued for their existence, and Athanasius Kircher argued that compartments must have been built for them aboard Noah's Ark.[21]

The Early Christian euhemerist interpretation of mythologized human beings received a long-lasting boost from Isidore's Etymologiae.[22] "They [the Greeks] imagine that 'there were three Sirens, part virgins, part birds,' with wings and claws. 'One of them sang, another played the flute, the third the lyre. They drew sailors, decoyed by song, to shipwreck. 31. According to the truth, however, they were prostitutes who led travelers down to poverty and were said to impose shipwreck on them.' They had wings and claws because Love flies and wounds. They are said to have stayed in the waves because a wave created Venus."

Charles Burney expounded c. 1789, in A General History of Music: "The name, according to Bochart, who derives it from the Phoenician, implies a songstress. Hence it is probable, that in ancient times there may have been excellent singers, but of corrupt morals, on the coast of Sicily, who by seducing voyagers, gave rise to this fable."[23] John Lemprière in his Classical Dictionary (1827) wrote, "Some suppose that the Sirens were a number of lascivious women in Sicily, who prostituted themselves to strangers, and made them forget their pursuits while drowned in unlawful pleasures. [The etymology of Bochart, who deduces the name from a Phoenician term denoting a songstress, favours the explanation given of the fable by Damm.[24] This distinguished critic makes the Sirens to have been excellent singers, and divesting the fables respecting them of all their terrific features, he supposes that by the charms of music and song they detained travellers, and made them altogether forgetful of their native land.]"[25]

Such euhemerist interpretations have been abandoned since the later 19th century.

See also


  1. ^ "We must steer clear of the Sirens, their enchanting song, their meadow starred with flowers" is Robert Fagles' rendering of lines in Odyssey XI.
  2. ^ Strabo i. 22 ; Eustathius of Thessalonica's Homeric commentaries §1709 ; Servius I.e.
  3. ^ Virgil. V. 846; Ovid XIV, 88.
  4. ^ Odyssey 12:52
  5. ^ Harrison 198f.
  6. ^ Ovid has asked rhetorically, "Whence came these feathers and these feet of birds?" "Ovid's aetiology is of course beside the mark," Jane Ellen Harrison observed; the Keres, the Sphinx and even archaic representations of Athena are winged; so is Eos and some Titans in the Gigantomachy reliefs on the Great Altar of Pergamon; Eros is often winged, and the Erotes.
  7. ^ Odyssey 12.45–6, Fagles' translation.
  8. ^ Harrison 198
  9. ^ Odyssey 12.188–91, Fagles' translation.
  10. ^ Harrison 199
  11. ^ liner notes to Fresh Aire VI by Jim Shey, Classics Department, University of Wisconsin
  12. ^ Suda on-line
  13. ^ Pliny's Natural History 10:70
  14. ^ Canosa di Puglia, a site in Apulia that was part of Magna Graecia.
  15. ^ Image of La Sirena de Canosa
  16. ^ Odyssey XII, 39
  17. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 141; Lycophron, Alexandra 712 ff.
  18. ^ Lemprière 768.
  19. ^ Ambrose, Exposition of the Christian Faith, Bk 3, Chap. 1, 4
  20. ^ Longworth, T. Clifton, and Paul Tice (2003). A Survey of Sex & Celibracy in Religion. San Diego: The Book Tree, 61. Originally published as The Devil a Monk Would Be: A Survey of Sex & Celibacy in Religion (1945).
  21. ^ Carlson, Patricia Ann (ed.) (1986). Literature and Lore of the Sea. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 270
  22. ^ Grant, Robert McQueen (1999). Early Christians and Animals. London: Routledge, 120. Translation of Isidore, Etymologiae (c. 600-636 A.D.)

    Book 11, On Man and Portents. Ch. 3: Portents. 30."

  23. ^ Austern, Linda Phyllis, and Inna Naroditskaya (eds.) (2006). Music of the Sirens. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press, 72
  24. ^ Damm, perhaps Mythologie der Griechen und Römer (ed. Leveiow). Berlin, 1820.
  25. ^ Lemprière 768. Brackets in the original.


  • Harrison, Jane Ellen (1922) (3rd ed.) Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. London: C.J. Clay and Sons.
  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • Lemprière, John (1827) (6th ed.). A Classical Dictionary;.... New York: Evert Duyckinck, Collins & Co., Collins & Hannay, G. & C. Carvill, and O. A. Roorbach.

Further reading

  • Siegfried de Rachewiltz, De Sirenibus: An Inquiry into Sirens from Homer to Shakespeare, 1987: chs: "Some notes on posthomeric sirens; Christian sirens; Boccaccio's siren and her legacy; The Sirens' mirror; The siren as emblem the emblem as siren; Shakespeare's siren tears; brief survey of siren scholarship; the siren in folklore; bibliography"

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SIREN, a name derived from the Greek Sirens (see below) for an acoustical signalling instrument specially used in lighthouses, &c. (see Lighthouse), and applied by analogy to certain other forms of whistle. In zoology the siren (Siren lacertina), or "mud-eel" of the Americans, one of the perennibranchiate tailed batrachians, is the type of the family Sirenidae, chiefly distinguished from the Proteidae by the structure of the jaws, which, instead of being beset with small teeth, are covered by a horny sheath like a beak; there are, however, rasp-like teeth on the palate, and a few on the inner side of the lower jaw, inserted on the splenial bone. The body is eel-like, black or blackish, and only the fore-limbs are present, but are feeble and furnished with four fingers. It grows to a length of three feet and inhabits marshes in North and South Carolina, Florida and Texas. A second closely-allied genus of this family is Pseudobranchus, differing in having a single branchial aperture on each side instead of three, and only three fingers. The only species, P. striatus, is a much smaller creature, growing to six inches only, and striated black and yellow; it inhabits Georgia and Florida.

As E. D. Cope has first shown, the siren must be regarded as a degenerate rather than a primitive type. He has observed that in young specimens of Siren lacertina (the larva is still unknown) the gills are rudimentary and functionless, and that it is only in large adult specimens that they are fully developed in structure and function; he therefore concludes that the sirens are the descendants of a terrestrial type of batrachians, which passed through a metamorphosis like the other members of their class, but that more recently they have adopted a permanently aquatic life, and have resumed their branchiae by reversion. From what we have said above about Proteus and similar forms, it is evident that the "perennibranchiates" do not constitute a natural group.

See E. D. Cope, "Batrachia of North America," Bull. U.S. Nat. Mus. No. 34 (1889), p. 223.

<< Sirdar

Sirenia >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:


Wikispecies has information on:





Proper noun


  1. (zoology) a zoological name for a genus in family Sirenidae - the sirens.



From Ancient Greek Σειρήν (seirēn).


Sīrēn f. (Sīrēnis)

  1. a Siren, a bird with the face of a virgin
  2. drone in a hive

Derived terms

  • Sīrēnius (of or pertaining to the Sirens, Siren-)
  • Sīrēnaeus (Siren-)
  • Sīrēnis (Sīrēnidis; of the Sirens)

See also

  • semipuella

Usage notes

  • Mainly used in the plural form Sīrēnes from Σειρῆνες.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Siren lacertina


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Amphibia
Subclassis: Lissamphibia
Ordo: Urodela
Subordo: Sirenoidea
Familia: Sirenidae
Genus: Siren
Species: S. intermedia - S. lacertina


Siren Österdam, 1766

Type species: Siren lacertina Österdam, 1766



  • Österdam, 1766, Siren Lacertina Diss. Acad.: 15.
  • Amphibian Species of the World 5.2 Siren access date 10 August 2008

Vernacular names

English: Sirens

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Box artwork for Siren.
Developer(s) SCE Japan Studio
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Designer(s) Keiichirō Toyama, Naoko Satō
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Survival horror, Stealth
System(s) PlayStation 2
Mode(s) Single player
CERO: Ages 15 and up
PEGI: Ages 16+
USK: Ages 16+
OFLC: Mature Accompanied & Restricted
ESRB: Mature

Siren (サイレン Sairen ?), known as Forbidden Siren in Europe and Australia, is a stealth-based survival horror video game developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's Japan Studio for the PlayStation 2 in 2003.

Rather than employ traditional facial animation methods with polygons, images of real human faces were captured from eight different angles and superimposed on the character models. This eerie effect is similar to projecting film onto the blank face of a mannequin, the same technique used to animate a severed head in Disney's Haunted Mansion attraction.

The most notable aspect of Siren's development is that it was co-conceived and directed by Keiichirō Toyama, who had previously directed the original Silent Hill. Other former members of Team Silent, Naoko Satō and Isao Takahashi, also had critical roles in Siren's creation.

Siren is set in a remote, rural Japanese mountain village named Hanuda (羽生蛇村 Hanyūda-mura ?), which is described as being very traditional and particularly xenophobic. Following the interruption of a ritual ceremony in the forest near midnight and a subsequent earthquake, the village teeters wildly between time and space, with an infinite sea of blood-red water in place of the usual surrounding mountains. The crux of the story focuses on the efforts of Hisako Yao, the leader of a strange local religion, to resurrect or re-awaken a being known as Datatsushi through an occult ceremony.

The siren of the title is the call of Datatsushi, summoning the residents of Hanuda to immerse themselves in the red water, thus creating an army of subordinates called shibito (屍人 shibito ?, lit. "corpse people"). The shibito then go about building a nest to house the corporeal form of Datatsushi once it is summoned, as well as killing and converting any living humans left in Hanuda. The story is told through the perspectives of ten survivors, some of whom are natives of Hanuda, and is presented out of chronological order over the three days in which the mystery takes place.

Table of Contents

Kyoya Suda
  • Yesterday
  • Day 1 - 02:00
  • Day 1 - 08:00
  • Day 2 - 01:00
  • Day 2 - 07:00
  • Day 2 - 20:00
  • Day 3 - 23:00
Tamon Takeuchi
  • Day 1 - 02:00
  • Day 1 - 22:00
  • Day 2 - 10:00
  • Day 2 - 18:00
  • Day 3 - 03:00
  • Day 3 - 22:00
Kei Makino
  • Day 1 - 05:00
  • Day 1 - 12:00
  • Day 3 - 12:00
  • Day 3 - 16:00
Shiro Miyata
  • Day 1 - 03:00
  • Day 1 - 07:00
  • Day 2 - 00:00
Risa Onda
  • Day 1 - 04:00
  • Day 1 - 22:00
Harumi Yomoda
  • Day 2 - 15:00
  • Day 3 - 0:00
Reiko Takato
  • Day 1 - 02:00
  • Day 1 - 23:00
Akira Shimura
  • Day 1 - 08:00
  • Day 1 - 16:00
Tomoko Maeda
  • Day 1 - 17:00
  • Day 2 - 06:00
Naoko Mihama
  • Day 1 - 19:00
  • Day 1 - 22:00

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Isa 13:22, a translation for Hebrew tán, which, indicates an animal dwelling in ruins, and may generally be rendered by jackal. No other resemblance than a verbal one should be sought between this tán and the fabulous being, famous by its allurements, called Siren by the ancient poets.

Simple English

This article is about mythological creatures. For the noise-making siren see siren (noisemaker)


A siren is a creature in Greek mythology. The sirens were living on an island surrounded by rocks. Sailors would try to go to them because of their singing, and their ships would get destroyed on the rocks, and they would drown.

Originally they looked like bird-women, but in modern time they are often shown to look like fish-women or mermaids. Many people said they were Naiads (spirits of the sea).

They also appear in Homer's Odyssey. There Odysseus and his ship have to pass the siren's island. Odysseus tells his men to put wax in their ears, so they will not hear the song of the sirens. He also tells his men to bind him to the ship's mast, so he cannot go to the sirens when he hears their song. When Odysseus and his men pass the Sirens, Odysseus wants to go towards them, but his men pull the rope tighter to hold him down. His men can then look at Odysseus and see when he cannot hear the sirens anymore, because he is calm again. Then they can take the wax out of their ears, and free Odysseus.

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address