What did Scylla look like? Homer gives her six heads armed with triple rows of teeth on her shoulders. Ovid gives her six dog’s heads at her waist and twelve dog’s legs. Neither of them mention the long mermaidy fish-tail that she’s usually depicted with in art (where she’s a sort of mermaid with a dog or two grafted to her waist).

So which is right? One or all of them? Rodney Matthews’ excellent illustration from The Usborne Book of Greek and Norse Legends (1987) bravely tries to include as much as possible.

All in a very alien sort of look. No twelve legs though.


  1. Considering the nature of the religion Scylla operates in (Hellenic Polytheism), I’d say all of them are correct. Plus, Scylla is a water spirit. Water is fluid so I imagine that Scylla can be fluid too (as in, Scylla can have many variants in form). Other marine divinities like Proteus seem to have this quality too


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s