Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Nightmare Fuel: Classical Mythology
  • Many of the monsters in these stories:
    • The Hydra (a serpent with nine heads, that can continually regenerate when injured)
    • The Chimera (a hideous amalgamation of a lion, a goat and a dragon)
    • Cerberus (a vicious three-headed dog that in some myths had a back covered in living serpents)
    • Orthrus (Cerberus's two-headed, serpent-tailed little brother), and various other creatures definitely count.
    • Perhaps the worst is Typhon — father of the above along with the Mother of All Monsters, Echidna — Typhon is described by some writers as being as tall as the sky itself, and having a hundred dragon-like heads, all of which screamed and breathed fire. It's not hard to see why almost all the gods had a collective Brown Note when he appeared, and fled Greece, leaving Zeus to face the creature by himself.
    • And then there's creatures like Scylla and, even worse, Charybdis, once beautiful women turned into eldritch things of pure horror. Scylla we at least know is horrifying to observe, looking like a giant, beautiful women from the waist up, with a scaled tail below, and the heads of six, rapid wolves snapping at her waist.
    • Medusa, whose face was apparently so frightening that anyone who saw her died in shock (and turned into stone, according to some accounts).
  • Prometheus' fate of being chained to a rock and having an eagle peck out his liver each day. He endured it for hundreds of years before being released.
    • Similarly the fate Cheiron the centaur faced before he sold his immortality: living forever, with the maddening poison of the Hydra eternally burning through his veins.
  • The fate of mortals unfortunate enough to piss off the Olympians.
    • Actaeon, a man who accidentally walked in on a bathing Artemis got himself turned into a deer and killed by his own dogs.
    • A man who chopped down one of Demeter's trees was infected with eternal hunger and eventually ate himself.
    • Athena transforming Arachne into a spider for being better at her in weaving.
    • That guy Jason and the Argonauts helped because he pissed off Zeus so he was punished by being attacked by Harpies every time he tried to eat.
    • One Gigante (anti-Ares) was peaceful and good friends with a farmer. Then the farmer gets eaten by a dragon. He kills the dragon. Neither his mom or dad was happy with that, so they send him to hell to kill that dragon every day, for all eternity.
    • So, you're friends with Aphrodite, and she want to marry you, eldest son of Nereus, old man of the sea. That's good, right? Well, Dad says no. You tell your girlfriend that, and even though it's not your fault, she turns you into a polyp.
  • The few tales of cannibalism (such as Tantalus and Atreus).
  • Zeus makes another woman pregnant, then hides her underground. She gives birth to a giant...dying of childbirth.
    • The same giant flirts with Artemis. He gets sent off to Tartarus to be forever eaten alive by eagles. This was not Prometheus, just some Casanova Wannabe.
  • Ephilatus and Otus tried invading Olympus. They eternally drown in the center of a waterfall, tied by snakes to a pillar, while Fate watches them as an owl. Ouch.
  • Some of the bandits whom Theseus defeated were known for their exceedingly barbaric cruelty such as Procrustes, who tied his victims to a bed and chopped body parts if they did not fit. Sinis was also pretty horrific: he bent down two pine trees with his great strength, tied the hands of passer-bys to the tips of the two trees, and then let go.
  • The minotaur's young victims were imprisoned in the labyrinth and force to run for their lives until the beast catches and devours them or they drop dead of exhaustion, hunger and thirst. It's like the first teen slasher flick.
  • The future Olympians were able to live and grow in Kronos's stomach how exactly? Squick indeed.
  • Antaeus the giant who was building a temple using human skulls.
  • The fate of the few mortals sent to Tartarus:
    • Ixion - bound to an ever spinning flaming wheel.
    • Sisyphus - forced to roll a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down.
    • Tantalus - chained to a pool from which he can never drink because the water recedes. There are fruit trees whose branches he can't reach because the breeze blows them away.
  • Oedipus: imagine marrying your own mother and unknowingly having intercourse with her! Horrible! Then, to the top it off: Oedipus gouged his own eyes out after he discovered all this.
  • King Diomedes who fed humans to his flesh eating horses, then in a Karmic Death and/or Ironic Death twist was fed to them himself.
  • The fate of Orestes who killed his mother to avenge his father. He is forever tormented by the Furies who were physical manifestations of madness.
  • Icarus, plummiting to his death after the wax of his wings melted from the heat of the sun.
  • Athena's birth. The clanging produced when Metis forged Athena's armor gave Zeus a massive headache, and he was willing to do anything to stop the headache...ANYTHING, including go to one of his least favorite people in the world, Hephaestus, and have him split his skull wide open. Then, Athena burst out of Zeus' bleeding skull, fully grown and armored, and letting out a battle cry.
    • And her mother, Metis, was fated to give birth to a son more powerful than Zeus. So he turns her into a fly and swallows her whole.
  • The Graeae. Dear Gods the Graeae! Spooky old witches who only had one eye and one tooth among them, shared both and even fought over both! Even worse, some versions say that they were half-human and half-swan.
  • One woman seduced a king, and his wife organized for the other woman's children to be killed. But the seducer changed the clothes, and the queen murdered her own kids. And when the two were discovered, they were tossed off a cliff and became sea gods.

Circle of MagicNightmareFuel/LiteratureCodex Alera

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy