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Cerberus, the mythical guardian of River Styx has been immortalized through many works of ancient Greek literature, art and architecture. Cerberus is easily recognizable among the other members of the pantheon due to his three heads. Cerberus is believed to be the sibling of the Nemean Lion, Lernaean Hydra and the Chimaera. Cerberus' parents were the half-woman-half-serpent, Echidna, and the fire-breathing giant, Typhon. Greek mythology projects Typhon as the one who even the Olympian gods feared. Cerberus had a two-headed hell hound brother called Orthrus. Cerberus, in Greek mythology, is depicted as a creature with three heads, a serpent mane like that of Medusa, a dog-like body and a dragon's tail. He is believed to have the power to look into the past, present and future with his three heads. Another theory propounds that Cerberus' heads represent birth, adulthood and old age. Cerberus has been an important part of Greek classics such as Aeneid, The Labors of Hercules, Symposium and Iliad.

Hercules and Cerberus:

This mythical creature was believed to have an eternal longing for fresh meat. This was the reason behind his being given the primary responsibility of ensuring that the souls that entered Hades remained there for fear of being torn to pieces. Hades' loyal watchdog was supposedly presented to King Eurystheus by Hercules. The story highlights that the king had given Hercules the task of capturing the guardian of Hades alive, without the use of weapons. Hercules sought Eleusinian Mysteries to enter and exit Hades alive. He was helped by Hermes to get through the entrance, and by Hestia, to get past Charon. Hercules managed to earn an audience with Hades, the God of the Underworld, and sought permission to take Cerberus to the surface. Hades agreed, but like King Eurystheus, did not permit the use of weapons. However, empowered by the magical Eleusinian Mysteries, Hercules was able to subdue Cerberus and drag the creature out of Hades, to Eurystheus. But, the frightened king begged Hercules to return the monster to the Underworld and released the muscular hero from his labors.

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