If you missed my last Smite article, you can find it here.
Cerberus, as you may remember from school, is the hound of Hades that protects the gates to the Underworld. His job is to ensure that whoever enters the Underworld, stays in the Underworld. Living or dead, it makes no difference.
He is the second child of Typhon and Echidna. Echidna is a Greek monster that is half woman and half snake. Typhon is the son of Gaia and Tartarus and is a giant, deadly serpent. Cerberus’s siblings include Orthus, the Lernaean Hydra, the Sphinx, the Nemean Lion, the Caucasian Eagle, The Crommyonian Sow, Ladon, the Colchian Dragon, and The Chimaera. All of them have multiple heads. Depending on the version of myths you read, Cerberus can have anywhere from three to one hundred heads coming off his shoulders. Not to mention the snake tail he has. The tail has a snake head at the end.
The story which directly involves Cerberus is the twelfth labor of Hercules. Hercules was sent to the Underworld by Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns. Hercules was to bring Cerberus back to him. Tiryns had no desire to see Cerberus, Eurystheus wanted Hercules to fail. Hercules went directly to Hades and asked for Cerberus. Hades said sure if you can best him. Hercules had to not only fight Cerberus, he had to do it without his shield or weapons.
To complete his task, Hercules used the lion skin from the Nemean Lion, one of his other labors, and Cerberus’s brother, as a shield and bear-hugged him into submission. To bring Cerberus out of the Underworld, Hercules had to drag him out. Where he emerged with Cerberus is up for debate. Wherever he came out, he poisoned the ground and caused aconite to grow there.
A living mortal that got around Cerberus is Orpheus. Orpheus’s beloved Eurydice died and of course went to Hades. He wanted to bring her back to the land of the living. Orpheus played music for Cerberus and the hound let him pass uncontested. When Aeneas visited the Underworld, Sybil from Cumae gave Cerberus a drugged honey cake. Cerberus took a nap allowing Aeneas to sneak past.
Cerberus certainly is a scary dog in his own right. His family is terrifying too. With any luck, I will never meet Cerberus. If I end up in the Greek Underworld, I will keep in mind not to try to leave back to the land of the living. Is Cerberus a character you like to play in Smite? Let me know in the comments below. Until next week…
I don’t know the accuracy of this but just for a chuckle: