Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Skylla (Scylla)


Greek Name




Latin Spelling



Tear, Rend (skullô)

Scylla | Paestan red-figure krater C4th B.C. | The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu
Scylla, Paestan red-figure krater C4th B.C., The J. Paul Getty Museum

SKYLLA (Scylla) was a sea-monster who haunted the rocks of a narrow strait opposite the whirlpool of Kharybdis (Charybdis). Ships who sailed too close to her rocks would lose six men to her ravenous, darting heads.

Homer describes Skylla as a creature with twelve dangling feet, six long necks and grisly heads lined with a triple row of sharp teeth. Her voice was likened to the yelping of dogs. This description of Skylla is probably derived from the imagery of words associated with her name--namely, "hermit-crab" (Greek skyllaros), "dog" and "dog-shark" (skylax), and "to rend" (skyllô). In classical art she was depicted as a fish-tailed sea-goddess with a cluster of canine fore-parts surrounding her waist.

According to late classical writers she was once a beautiful nymph loved by the sea-god Glaukos (Glaucus), but her jealous rival, the witch Kirke (Circe), employed magic to transform her into a monster. Older poets, however, envisaged Skylla as simply a monster born into a monstrous family.



[1.1] KRATAIIS (Homer Odyssey 12.125, Hyginus Fabulae 199, Pliny Natural History 3.73)
[1.2] PHORKYS & KRATAIIS (Apollodorus E7.20)
[1.3] PHORKYS & TRIENOS (Apollodorus E7.20)
[1.4] PHORKYS & KRATAIIS-HEKATE (Apollonius Rh. 4.828)
[1.5] PHORKYS & LAMIA (Stesichorus Frag 220, Scholiast on Apoll. Rhod.)
[1.6] POSEIDON & KRATAIIS (Eustathius on Hom. Od. 1714)
[1.7] TRITON (Eustathius on Hom. Od. 1714)
[2.1] TYPHOEUS & EKHIDNA (Hyginus Pref.& Fabulae 151)


SCYLLA (Skulla) and Charybdis, the names of two rocks between Italy and Sicily, and only a short distance from one another. In the midst of the one of these rocks which was nearest to Italy, there dwelt, according to Homer, Scylla, a daughter of Crataeis, a fearful monster, barking like a dog, with twelve feet, six long necks and mouths, each of which contained three rows of sharp teeth. The opposite rock, which was much lower, contained an immense fig-tree, under which there dwelt Charybdis, who thrice every day swallowed down the waters of the sea, and thrice threw them up again : both were formidable to the ships which had to pass between them (Hom. Od. xii. 73, &c., 235, &c.). Later traditions represent Scylla as a daughter of Phorcys or Phorbas, by Hecate Crataeis (Apollon. Rhod. iv. 828, &c., with the Scholiast), or by Lamia; while others make her a daughter of Triton, or Poseidon and Crataeis (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1714), or of Typhon and Echidna (Hygin. Fab. praef.). Some, again, describe her as a monster with six heads of different animals, or with only three heads (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 650 ; Eustath. l. c.). One tradition relates that Scylla originally was a beautiful maiden, who often played with the nymphs of the sea, and was beloved by the marine god Glaucus. He applied to Circe for means to make Scylla return his love; but Circe, jealous of the fair maiden, threw magic herbs into the well in which Scylla was wont to bathe, and by these herbs the maiden was metamorphosed in such a manner, that the upper part of her body remained that of a woman, while the lower part was changed into the tail of a fish or serpent, surrounded by dogs (Ov. Met. xiii. 732, &c., 905, xiv. 40, &c.; Tibull. iii. 4. 89). Another tradition related that Scylla was beloved by Poseidon, and that Amphitrite, from jealousy, metamorphosed her into a monster (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 45 ; Serv. ad Aen. iii. 420). Heracles is said to have killed her, because she had stolen some of the oxen of Geryon; but Phorcys is said to have restored her to life (Eustath., Tzetz., Hygin., l. c.). Virgil (Aen. vi. 286) speaks of several Scyllae, and places them in the lower world (comp. Lucret. v. 893).

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.



Scylla | Lucanian red-figure krater C5th B.C. | Musée du Louvre, Paris
Scylla, Lucanian red-figure krater C5th B.C., Musée du Louvre

Homer, Odyssey 12. 126 (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Invoke Krataiis (Crataeis); she is Skylla's (Scylla's) mother; it is she who bore her to plague mankind."

Stesichorus, Fragment 220 (from Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric III) (Greek lyric C7th to 6th B.C.) :
"Stesikhoros (Stesichorus) in his Skylla says that Skylla (Scylla) is the daughter of Lamia (the Shark).”

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E7. 20 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Skylla (Scylla), daughter of Krataiis (Crataeis, Of the Rocks) or Trienos (Three-Times) and Phorkos (Phorcus)."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 825 (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Ausonian Skylla (Scylla), the wicked monster borne to Phorkys (Phorcys) by night-wandering Hekate (Hecate), whom men call Kratais (Crataeis)."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 151 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Typhon the giant and Echidna were born . . . Scylla [in a list of monsters]."

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 3. 73 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"[In southern Italy] is the town of Scyllaeum and the river Crataeis, know in legend as the mother of Scylla."


Homer, Odyssey 12. 54 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Kirke (Circe) warns Odysseus of the dangers he will face on his journey :] ‘When your crew have rowed past the Seirenes (Sirens), I will not expressly say to you which of two ways you ought to take; you must follow your own counsel there; I will only give you knowledge of both. On the one side are overshadowing rocks against which dash the mighty billows of the goddess of blue-glancing seas. The blessed gods call these rocks the Wanderers . . . On the other side are a pair of cliffs. One of them with its jagged peak reaches up to the spreading sky, wreathed in dark cloud that never parts. There is no clear sky above this peak even in summer or harvest-time, nor could any mortal man climb up it or get a foothold on it, not if he had twenty hands and feet; so smooth is the stone, as if it were all burnished over. Half-way up the cliff is a murky cave, facing Erebos, and doubtless it is past this, Odysseus, that you and your men will steer your vessel. A strong man's arrow shot from a ship below would not reach the recesses of that cave. Inside lives Skylla (Scylla), yelping hideously; her voice is no deeper than a young puppy's but she herself is a fearsome monster; no one could see her and still be happy, not even a god if he went that way. She has twelve feet all dangling down, six long necks with a grisly head on each of them, and in each head a triple row of crowded and close-set teeth, fraught with black death. Sunk waist-deep in the cave's recesses, she still darts out her head from that frightening hollow, and there, groping greedily round the rock, she fishes for dolphins (delphines) and for sharks (kynes) and whatever beast (ketos) more huge than these she can seize upon from all the thousands that have their pasture from loud-moaning Amphitrite. No seaman ever, in any vessel, has boasted of sailing that way unharmed, for with every single head of hers she snatches and carries off a man from the dark-prowed ship. You will see that the other cliff lies lower, no more than an arrow's flight away. On this there grows a great leafy fig-tree; under it, awesome Kharybdis (Charybdis) sucks the dark water down . . . No, keep closer to Skylla's cliff, and row past that as quickly as may be; far better to lose six men and keep your ship than to lose your men one and all.’
So she spoke, and I answered her: ‘Yes, goddess, but tell me truly--could I somehow escape this dire Kharybdis and yet make a stand against the other when she sought to make my men her prey?’
So I spoke, and at once the queenly goddess answered : ‘Self-willed man , is your mind then set on further perils, fresh feats of war? Will you not bow to the deathless gods themselves? Skylla is not of mortal kind; she is a deathless monster, grim and baleful, savage, not to be wrestled with. Against her there is no defence, and the best path is the path of flight. If you pause to arm beside that rock, I fear that she may dart out again, seize again with as many heads and snatch as many men as before. No, row hard and invoke Krataiis (Crataeis); she is Skylla's mother; it is she who bore her to plague mankind; Krataiis will hold her from darting twice.’"

Homer, Odyssey 12. 210 - 259 :
"But the island [of the Seirenes (Sirens)] was hardly left behind when I [Odysseus] saw smoke above heavy breakers and heard a great noise . . .
[Odysseus addresses his crew :] ‘. . . And to you, steersman . . . keep the craft away from the smoke and breakers and rather make for the rock yonder, lest unawares you should let the ship drive the other way and should bring us all to ruin.’
So I spoke, and at once they obeyed my words. I had stopped short of mentioning Skylla (Scylla), an inexorable horror; the crew in fear might have left their oars and huddled down inside the hold. And here I let myself forget that irksome command of Kirke's (Circe's); she had told me not to arm at all, but I put my glorious armour on, took a long spear in either hand and strode up to the half-deck forward, since it was from there that I thought to catch the first glimpse of Skylla, that monster of the rock who was bringing doom to my companions. I could not as yet spy her anywhere, and my eyes grew tired as I peered this way and that toward the misty rock.
So with much lamenting we rowed on and into the strait; this side lay Skylla; that side in hideous fashion, fiendish Kharybdis (Charybdis) . . . We had looked her way with the fear of death upon us; and at that moment Skylla snatched up from inside my ship the six of my crew who were strongest of arm and sturdiest. When I turned back my gaze to the ship in search of my companions, I saw only their feet and hands as they were lifted up; they were calling to me in their heart's anguish, crying out my name for the last time. As when a fisherman on a promontory takes a long rod to snare little fishes with his bait and casts his ox-hair line down in to the sea below, then seizes the creatures one by one and throws them ashore still writhing; so Skylla swung my writhing companions up to the rocks, and there at the entrance began devouring them as they shrieked and held out heir hands to me in their extreme of agony. Many pitiful things have met my eyes in my toilings and searchings through the sea-paths, but this was most pitiful of all. When we had left the rocks behind us with Skylla and terrible Kharybdis, we came soon enough to the lovely island of the sun-god."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E7. 20 - 21 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Odysseus came to a divided passage. On one course lay the rocks called Planktai (Planctae), and on the other were two great cliffs, in one of which was Skylla (Scylla), daughter of Krataiis (Crataeis) and Trienos or Phorkos (Phorcus). She had the face and breast of a woman, but from her flanks grew six dog-heads and twelve dog-feet. On the other crag was Kharybdis (Charybdis) . . . Kirke (Circe) had warned Odysseys against taking the course by the Planktai, so he started instead past the cliff of Skylla, placing himself on the stern, armed to the teeth. But Skylla appeared, grabbed six comrades and gulped them down."

Lycophron, Alexandra 648 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Others [Odysseus] shall wander . . . the narrow meet of the Tyrrhenian Strait and the watching-place fatal to mariners of the hybrid monster [Skylla (Scylla)] that formerly died by the hand of Mekisteus [Herakles], the hide-clad Spademan, the Cattle-driver, and the rocks of the harpy-limbed nightingales [Seirenes, Sirens]. There, devoured raw, Hades [i.e. death], shall seize them all, torn with all manner of evil entreatment; and he shall leave but one [Odysseus] to tell of his slaughtered friends."

Lycophron, Alexandra 668 :
"What Kharybdis (Charybdis) shall not eat of his [Odysseus'] dead? What half-maiden Fury-hound [Skylla]?”

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 1. 13b (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to C3rd A.D.) :
"The poet [Homer] compares those companions of Odysseus who had been snatched up by Skylla (Scylla), to fish caught on a long pole and flung out upon the shore."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 125 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From there [the island of the Seirenes (Sirens)] he [Odysseus] came to Scylla, daughter of Typhon, who was woman above, but fish from the hips down, with six dogs joined to her body. She snatched and devoured six men from Ulysses' ship."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 44 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Scylla stayed there where she was and, when the first chance came to vent her rage and hate on Circe, robbed Ulixes [Odysseus] of his comrades."


Scylla | Apulian red-figure vase fragment C4th B.C. | The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu
Scylla, Apulian red-figure vase fragment C4th B.C., The J. Paul Getty Museum

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 786 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"[The goddess Hera addresses Thetis :] ‘I brought them [the Argonauts] safely through the Wandering Rocks, where fiery blasts rage and roar and the rollers break in foam on jagged reefs. But it still remains for them to pass the great cliff of Skylla (Scylla) and the gurgling whirlpool of Kharybdis (Charybdis).’"

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 825 :
"[Hera commands the sea-goddess Thetis to guide the Argonauts safely past Skylla (Scylla) :] ‘And do not let my friends [the Argonauts] be so unwary as to fall into Kharybdis (Charybdis), or at one gulp she will swallow them all. Nor let them go too near the hateful den of Ausonian Skylla (Scylla), the wicked monster borne to Phorkys by nigh-wandering Hekate (Hecate), whom men call Kratais (Crataeis)--or she may swoop down, take her pick and destroy them in her terrible jaws. What you must do is so to guide the ship that they escape disaster, if only by a hair's breadth.’"

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 921 ff :
"The Argonauts sailed on in gloom. The Seirenes (Sirens) were behind them, but worse perils lay ahead, at a place where two seas met and shipping came to grief. On one side the sheer cliff of Skylla (Scylla) hove in sight; on the other Kharybdis (Charybdis) seethed and roared incessantly; while beyond, great seas were booming on the Wandering Rocks.”

Ovid, Heroides 12. 123 ff (trans. Showerman) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Medea laments :] ‘Would [that] . . . Scylla the ravening submerged us [the Argonauts] in the deep to be devoured by her dogs--fit were it for Scylla to work woe to ingrate men! And she [Kharybdis (Charybdis)] who spews forth so many times the floods, and sucks them so many times back in again--would she had brought us, too, beneath the Trinacrian [Sicilian] wave!’"

Seneca, Medea 350 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"[On the voyage of the Argonauts :] What, when the maid [Skylla (Scylla)] of Sicilian Pelorus, her waist begirt with dogs, opened all her gaping throats together? Who did not shudder in every limb when that one monster howled with so many tongues?"


Virgil, Aeneid 3. 420 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Scylla guards the right shore, insatiable Charybdis the left . . . But Scylla lurks unseen in a cavernous lair, from which she pushes out her lips to drag ships onto the rocks. Her upper part is human--a girl's beautiful body down to the privates; below, she is a weird sea-monster, with dolphin's tail and a belly of wolverine sort. It's advisable to fetch a long compass, although it protracts the voyage, and sail right round the Sicilian cape of Pachynum, a southernmost mark, rather than to set eyes on that freakish Scylla within her cavern vast or the rocks where her sea-blue hounds are baying."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 44 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Scylla stayed there where she was and, when the first chance came to vent her rage and hate on Circe, robbed Ulixes [Odysseus] of his comrades. Later, too, she would have sunk the Trojan galleons, had she not been transformed before they came into a reef whose rocks rise up today, and sailors shun her still and steer away."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 14. 75 ff :
"Past Scylla's reef and ravening Charybdis the Troianae [Trojan] galleons had won their way and almost reached the shores of Ausonia [Italy]."


Lycophron, Alexandra 44 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"[Herakles] also slew the fierce hound [Skylla (Scylla)] that wached the narrow straits of the Ausonian sea, fishing over her cave, the bull-slaying lioness whom her father [Phorkys (Phorcys)] restored to life, burning her flesh with brands : she who feared not Leptynis [Persephone], goddess of the underworld."

Lycophron, Alexandra 648 ff :
"The hybrid monster [Skylla] that formerly died by the hand of Mekisteus [Herakles], the hide-clad Spademan, the Cattle-driver."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Scylla, who was woman above, but dog-forms below, whom Hercules killed."


Scylla | Apulian red-figure vase fragment C4th B.C.
Scylla, Apulian red-figure vase fragment C4th B.C.

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 199 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Scylla, daughter of the River Crataeis, is said to have been a most beautiful maiden. Glaucus loved her, but Circe, daughter of Sol [Helios the Sun], loved Glaucus. Since Scylla was accustomed to bathe in the sea, Circe, daughter of Sol, out of jealousy poisoned the water with drugs, and when Scylla went down into it, dogs sprang from her thighs, and she was made a monster. She avenged her injuries, for as Ulysses [Odysseus] sailed by, she robbed him of his companions."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 13. 729 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The fleet [of Aeneas] made land at evenfall on Zancle's shelving sand. Scylla infests the right-hand coast, the left restless Charybdis; one grasps passing ships and sucks them down to spew them up gain; the other ringed below her hell-black waist with raging dogs. She has a girl's sweet face, and if the tales the poets have passed down are not all false, she was a sweet girl once.
Many a suitor sought her hand, but she repulsed them all and went to the Sea-Nymphs (Nymphae Pelagi)--she was the Sea-Nymphae's favourite--and told how she'd eluded all the young men's love. Then Galatea letting Scylla comb her hair, heaved a deep sigh . . . [and tells her the tale of how she was wooed by the Kyklops (Cyclops) Polyphemos.]
Galatea ended and the group of Nereides dispersed and swam away across the placid waters of the bay. Scylla turned back; she dared not trust herself far out at sea. Along the thirsty sands she sauntered naked or, when she was tired, made for a little land-locked cove and in its sheltered waves enjoyed a cooling bathe. Suddenly, breaking the surface of the sea [the sea-god] Glaucus appeared . . . He saw the girl, and stopped, his heart transfixed, then spoke to her, spoke anything he thought might stay her flight. But Scylla fled (her terror gave her speed) and reached a cliff-top rising from the shore, a vast cliff by the strait, that towered up to one great peak and with its tree-clad height rose in a curve far out over the sea. The place was safe; she stopped; she could not tell if he were god or monster . . .
So much he [Glaukos (Glaucus)] said [trying to woe Skylla], and would have said more too, but Scylla fled. Enraged at his repulse, he made in fury for the magic halls of Circe . . .
[And Circe confessed her love for the sea-god :] ‘. . . I, Circe, pray that I be yours. Spurn her who spurns you; welcome one who wants you. By one act requite us both!’
But Glaucus answered: ‘Sooner shall green leaves grow in the sea or seaweed on the hills that I shall change my love while Scylla lives.’
Rage filled the goddess' heart. She had no power nor wish to wound him--for she loved him well--, so turned her anger on the girl he chose. In fury at his scorn, she ground together her ill-famed herbs, her herbs of ghastly juice, and, as she ground them, sang her demon spells . . .
There was a little bay, bent like a bow, a place of peace, where Scylla loved to laze, her refuge from the rage of sea and sky, when in mid heaven the sun with strongest power shone from his zenith and the shade lay least. Against her coming Circe had defiled this quiet bay with her deforming drugs, and after them had sprinkled essences of noxious roots; then with her witch's lips had muttered thrice nine times a baffling maze of magic incantations. Scylla came and waded in waist-deep, when round her lions she saw foul monstrous barking beasts. At first, not dreaming they were part of her, she fled and thrust in fear the bullying brutes away. But what she feared and fled, she fetched along, and looking for her thighs, her legs, her feet, found gaping jaws instead like Hades' vile hound [Kerberos (Cerberus)]. Poised on a pack of beasts! No legs! Below her midriff dogs, ringed in a raging row! Glaucus her lover, wept and fled the embrace of Circe who had used too cruelly the power of her magic. Scylla stayed there where she was and, when the first chance came to vent her rage and hate on Circe, robbed Ulixes [Odysseus] of his comrades. Later, too, she would have sunk the Trojan galleons, had she not been transformed before they came into a reef whose rocks rise up today, and sailors shun her still and steer away."


Nonnus, Dionysiaca 42. 409 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"He [Poseidon] slept with Skylla (Scylla), and made her a cliff in the water [i.e. he transformed her from the monstrous Nymphe into a rocky coastal cliff]."

According to the Greek and Roman scholia Tzetzes on Lycophron 650 & Servius on Aeneid 3.420 Skylla was loved by the god Poseidon and was transformed by his jealous wife Amphitrite into a sea-monster. Compare Ovid's story of Skylla, Glaukos (Glaucus) and Kirke (Circe) above.


Scylla | Greek bas-relief from Melos C5th B.C. | British Museum, London
Scylla, Greek bas-relief from Melos C5th B.C., British Museum

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 287 ff (trans. Fairclough) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Many monstrous forms besides of various beasts are stalled at the doors [of Hades], Centauri (Centaurs) and double-shaped Scyllae, and the hundredfold Briareus, and the beast of Lerna, hissing horribly, and the Chimaera armed with flame, Gorgones and Harpyiae (Harpies), and the shape of the three-bodied shade [Geryon]."

Statius, Thebaid 4. 536 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"Why should I tell thee of Erebus' [Haides'] monsters, of Scyllae, and the empty rage of Centauri (Centaurs), and the Gigantes' (Giants') twisted chains of solid adamant, and the diminished shade of hundredfold Aegaeon?"

Statius, Silvae 5. 3. 260 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"But do ye, O monarchs of the dead and thou, Ennean Juno [Persephone], if ye approve my prayer [provide a peaceful journey for the soul of my dead father] . . . let the warder of the gate [Kerberos (Cerberus)] make no fierce barking, let distant vales conceal the Centauri and Hydra's multitude and Scylla's monstrous horde [other monsters appointed guardians of Haides after their deaths]."


Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1232 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Such boldness has she [Klytaimnestra (Clytemnestra)], a woman to slay a man. What odious monster shall I fitly call her? An Amphisbaina? Or a Skylla (Scylla), tenanting the rocks, a pest to mariners, a raging, devil's mother (Haidou meter), breathing relentless war against her husband?"

Plato, Republic 588c (trans. Shorey) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"One of those natures that the ancient fables tell of, as that of the Khimaira (Chimera) or Skylla (Scylla) or Kerberos (Cerberus), and the numerous other examples that are told of many forms grown together in one."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 151 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Typhon [Typhoeus] the giant and Echidna were born . . . Scylla who was woman above but dog below, with six dog-forms sprung from her body."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7. 62 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"What of those strange tales of cliffs that clash in the open sea, Charbydis' whirling waves that suck and spew to sink the ships she hates, and greedy Scylla, girt with savage hounds baying beside the seas of Sicilia (Sicily)."

Ovid, Fasti 4. 499 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Zanclaean Charybdis, and you shipwreck monsters, dogs of Nisus [Skylla]."
[N.B. The monster Skylla is confounded here with Skylla daughter of King Nisos.]

Virgil, Aeneid 3. 184 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Yet [the Trojan prophet] Helenos had warned [the hero Aeneas] not to attempt the passage between Scylla and Charybdis, there being on either side so narrow a margin of safety."

Seneca, Hercules Furens 375 ff (trans. Miller) (Roman tragedy C1st A.D.) :
"Sooner shall . . . Scylla join the Sicilian and Ausonian shores [i.e. it will never happen]."

Seneca, Medea 407 ff :
"What ferocity of beasts, what Scylla, what Charybdis, sucking up the Ausonian and Sicilian waters, or what Aetna, resting heavily on panting Titan [Typhoeus], shall burn with such threats as I?"

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 3. 87 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"In these Straits [i.e. the Straits of Messina] is the rock of Scylla and also the whirlpool of Charybdis, both notoriously treacherous."

Statius, Silvae 3. 2. 85 (trans. Mozley) (Roman poetry C1st A.D.) :
"Whether eddying Charybdis be heaving or the maid [Scylla] that ravages the Sicilian deep."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18. 245 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The countenance . . . of Skylla with a marshalled regiment of thronging dogs' heads."

Suidas s.v. Skylla (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Skylla (Scylla) : The story used to be told that there is a monster in the Tyrrhenian Sea who has the form of a very beautiful woman as far as her eyes; she has six dog heads side by side; and for the rest a snaky body."

Thumbnail Scylla

P27.1 Scylla

Paestan Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Scylla

P27.2 Scylla

Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Scylla

P27.4 Scylla

Lucanian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Scylla

P27.3 Scylla

Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting C4th B.C.

Thumbnail Scylla

R41.1 Scylla

Greek Bas-Relief C5th B.C.

Thumbnail Scylla

R41.2 Scylla

Greco-Roman Bas-Relief A.D.






Other references not currently quoted here: Eustathius on Homer's Odyssey 1714, Tzetzes on Lycophron 45 650, Servius on Virgil's Aeneid 3.420.


A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.