Siren (mythology)

NAMA Sirène.jpg
Attic funerary statue of a Siren, playing on a tortoiseshell lyre, c. 370 BC
Similar creatures
ParentsAchelous and Calliope, Melpomene, or Terpsichore or Phorcys and Ceto
HabitatSeagirt meadow

In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands 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.

The Greek philosopher Plato says there were three kinds of sirens- the celestial, the generative, and the cathartic. The first were under the government of Zeus, the second under that of Poseidon, and the third of Hades. (A parallel might be intended here between the three planets, and the deities of the same name.) When the soul is in heaven the sirens seek, by harmonic motion, to unite it to the divine life of the celestial host; and when in Hades, to conform the soul to eternal infernal regimen; but when on earth their only job to "produce generation, of which the sea is emblematic".[3]


Archaic perfume vase in the shape of Siren, c. 540 BC

The etymology of the name is at present contested. Robert S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.[4] Others connect the name to σειρά (seirá "rope, cord") and εἴρω (eírō "to tie, join, fasten"), resulting in the meaning "binder, entangler",[5] i. e. one who binds or entangles through magic song. This could be connected to the famous scene of Odysseus being bound to the mast of his ship, in order to resist their song.[6]

Other Languages
asturianu: Serena
বাংলা: সাইরেন
башҡортса: Сиреналар
brezhoneg: Siren
català: Sirena
Ελληνικά: Σειρήνες
euskara: Sirena
فارسی: سیرن
한국어: 세이렌
հայերեն: Սիրեններ
hrvatski: Sirena
Bahasa Indonesia: Siren
íslenska: Sírenur
עברית: סירנה
Jawa: Siren
ქართული: სირინოზი
Latina: Sirenes
Malagasy: Sirène
മലയാളം: സിറെൻ
Bahasa Melayu: Siren
Nederlands: Sirene (halfgodin)
日本語: セイレーン
norsk nynorsk: Sirener
română: Sirenă
русский: Сирены
Simple English: Siren
slovenščina: Sirena
српски / srpski: Сирене
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sirena
suomi: Seireenit
svenska: Sirener
ไทย: ไซเรน
Türkçe: Siren
українська: Сирени
Tiếng Việt: Tiên chim
Winaray: Sirena
吴语: 塞壬
中文: 塞壬