In Greek mythology, Cerberus was the terrifying three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to the underworld. The offspring of the monsters Typhon and Echidna, Cerberus was also the brother of the serpent creature Hydra and the lion-headed beast Chimaera. He is often pictured with the tail of a snake or dragon and with snakes sprouting from his back. According to legend, his appearance was so fearsome that any living person who saw him turned to stone. The saliva that fell from his mouth produced a deadly poison.
underworld land of the dead
Cerberus prevented spirits of the dead from leaving Hades and living mortals from entering. Three humans, however, managed to overcome him. Orpheus* charmed him with music. An old woman named the Sibyl of Cumae put Cerberus to sleep by giving him a cake soaked in drugged wine to give the Roman hero Aeneas access to the underworld. Hercules* used his sheer strength to take Cerberus from the land of Hades to the kingdom of Mycenae and back again, the twelfth labor of Hercules.