The Sirens were female creatures from Greek mythology whose singing lured men to destruction. Descriptions of the Sirens vary from beautiful women to monsters with the bodies of birds and human heads.

The Sirens lived on an island where they enchanted passing sailors with their song. According to some sources, sailors died when their ships crashed on the rocks near the island. Others say that sailors stayed on the island and listened to the singing until they died.

Only on two occasions did the Sirens fail to enchant passing sailors. When Jason* and the Argonauts were searching for the Golden Fleece, Orpheus* sang so sweetly that none of the crew listened to the Sirens. In Homer's* epic the Odyssey, the hero Odysseus* made his men put wax in their ears so that they could not hear the Sirens. Wanting to hear their song, Odysseus had the crew tie him to the mast so that he could not steer the ship toward the island. Some stories say the Sirens were so enraged by Odysseus that they drowned themselves in the sea.

See also Argonauts ; Odyssey, The ; Orpheus .

epic long poem about legendary or historical Heroes, written in a grand style

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