Sirens and Mermaids --- Part of the SINFUL SIRENS BLOG HOP

Modern Siren - a femme fatale
You just KNEW I would find a paranormal side to the Sinful Sirens theme, didn't you?

In modern times we think of sirens as glamorous women who captivate men with their beauty, or deliberately lure and entice them into forgetting their own better judgement. Sirens might be innocent of the hearts they break but, more often, they are seductive temptresses who delight in using men for their own selfish purposes.

We get the term "siren" from good old Greek mythology, and from many stories in Greek literature. The Sirens were a group of women who were once handmaidens to Persephone. After she was kidnapped and taken to the underworld to marry the dark god Hades, Persephone's handmaidens were blamed for allowing this to happen to their mistress by her mother, the goddess Demeter.

The Mermaid
by John Waterhouse
Demeter marooned the hapless women on a beautiful island somewhere between Sicily and Italy, surrounded by treacherous rocks. Any ship that ventured too close to the island would be wrecked. Rescue was impossible.

However, merely banishing the women wasn't enough for the vengeful goddess. The women were changed into strange half-human creatures. Still alluringly beautiful, they often had bird's wings and feet, or in many versions of the story, they became the first mermaids.

In addition to their exotic appearance, Demeter (who obviously should have attended anger management classses) gave the women unearthly voices and commanded them to sing. Sailors in passing ships would hear the sirens' song, and steer the ship onto the rocks, or dive from the deck into the sea and drown.

Any man that managed to survive the ocean and the rocks would make his way to the beautiful island, but find it far from a paradise. So enchanted were they by the siren's songs that they would follow the women wherever they went --- forgetting everything else in the world. The hapless sailor would even forget to eat and eventually starve to death! In some accounts, the women ate the sailors, and the island became covered with bleached bones. From these, the Sirens were said to make their musical instruments!

Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper
Over the centuries, the Sirens were embittered by their unfair fate and began to take great pleasure in their cruel task of luring men to their doom. The stories tell that they would often sing passing sailors into a deep sleep. The sirens would then board the ship and kill all the men as they slept, feasting on them for days afterward and tossing their gnawed bones into the ocean!

One of the few men to hear the song of the Sirens and live to tell about it was Odysseus (also known as Ulysses). He filled the ears of his men with wax and bound their heads with cloth, so that they would be able to row directly past the deadly island yet be unaffected by the music. Odysseus himself, however, had not plugged his ears. Instead, he had his men tie him to the mast, so he could hear the alluring songs and see the beautiful women, but not be able to jump overboard or steer the ship into danger.

Predatory Mermaids from Pirates of the
Caribbean, On Stranger Tides
Demeter's magic had provided for the Sirens to live forever --- but only until the day came that a mortal was able to resist their song. After Odysseus's successful plan, the Sirens were said to have flung themselves into the sea and drowned.

Ever since, maritime superstition claimed that hearing the song of a mermaid is a sign of a particularly ferocious storm approaching, or even spelled certain disaster for the ship.

Strangely, despite cautionary tales of dangerous sirens and mermaids, it was also thought that the sight of a woman's naked bosom could settle an angry ocean. (Of course, all sailors were men at the time...) By the nineteenth century, most ships featured an amply-endowed female figurehead on the bow, breasts fully exposed to the salt sea air!

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SINFUL SIRENS 
BLOG HOP

Hosted by Guilty Pleasures and Under the Covers
The hop runs from 12:01 AM on May 15th through to 11:59 PM on May 20th, 2013.

Over 150 bloggers are participating --- that means LOTS OF GIVEAWAYS TO ENTER!

DANI'S GIVEAWAY is now CLOSED

CONGRATULATIONS 
TO KRISTA RAVEN
Her name was drawn from the big blue mixing bowl (the dog ate my pink one) as the winner of the drawing. She'll be receiving the following goodies:

In keeping with the seagoing siren theme, my prize is a DVD of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (not only do you get to enjoy Johnny Depp, but this  movie features some downright dangerous mermaids!). Also, I'm including a copy of Shana Abe's "The Last Mermaid", described as "three hauntingly beautiful tales connected by a legend, a locket, and a love beyond time". 

Giveaway is International.

Thanks to everyone for reading my post and commenting (I found out about some new books from you!) I hope you enjoyed the rest of the hop too! The Linky List of participating blogs is below if you want to check on their winners as well.





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37 comments:

  1. I have only read a couple YA books on mermaids. And I have Disney's the little mermaid. That is the extent of my mermaid knowledge. Sad, I know.
    Delivery. RN at Gmail dot com

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  2. ha! I didn't know why ships had a naked woman on the bow. Now I know :) thanks. Love your informative mythological posts.

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  3. I love mermaids! I think it goes back to my obsession w/ the Disney movie when I was 8 :) Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I've only read one book with mermaids and they were minor characters. It will be fun to see them played out as leads. Thank you.
    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. So that's why so many ships in historical movies have topless women on the bow! Men, any excuse! :-)

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  6. I am obsessed with sirens & mermaids! I just love books and movies featuring them!

    sassychassy333 at gmail dot com

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  7. What a fun giveaway! I haven't yet seen that one.

    I've loved mermaids since I was a little girl and read Hans Christian Anderson's the Little Mermaid. I later saw the Disney movie (when I was a teen) and loved it.

    kesummer69(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. i dont read a lot about mermaids, i think the typical referencee its the little mermaid, that is a really good movie!
    thanks for all the explanations!

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  9. Johnny Depp, Johnny Depp, Johnny Depp... does that count? ;)

    nomfreebies at hotmail dot com

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  10. I wish there were more smexy reads about mermaids!!

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  11. I haven't read about mermaids yet, but there were a few on selkie's which were smexy, but I don't remember the names. I loved Little Mermaid and if you like teenage mermaids H2O was a good series :) I saw it on netflix :)

    Thanks for the great giveaway :)
    Cassandra closkot at hotmail dot com

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  12. Great post! I remember reading a about mermaids, but I don't remember much about them now. I know that I watching movies that features mermaids and when I was younger I used to read about mermaids but not much reading about them now.

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  13. I do love mermaids with attitude!! The prows of ships used to be quite amazing.



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  14. I have yet to read Mermaid Romance, for adults at least but if one came along I would jump at the chance to read it! :D elvenspirit at gmail dot com
    Niina from For The Love of Reading ~Book Blog~

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  15. Haven't read any mermaid books yet

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  16. Hmmm and all this time I just thought there was a naked woman because well...they were men! lol. Learn something new everyday! I actually haven't ready many mermaid books, though I LOVE the Little Mermaid, does that count? Great post!

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  17. I still haven't read mermaid books yet, but i read a few books bout pirate :)

    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

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  18. I haven't read many mermaid books yet but I have always been fascinated by them! They sure are very attractive and intriguing :)

    Janhvi
    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

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  19. I haven't read any mermaid stories other than Hans Christian Andersen's version but I'd like to see more of them in UF. They do seem to be gaining popularity.

    baconnors at gmail dot com

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  20. MaryJanice Davidson has a mermaid series ---- Sleeping with the Fishes (Fred the Mermaid, #1), Swimming Without a Net (Fred the Mermaid, #2), Fish Out of Water (Fred the Mermaid, #3), and Underwater Love (#4)

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  21. I love mermaids. Andersen's Little Mermaid was one of my favorite fairy tales when I was a child; then Disney came along and gave her a happy ending, which made me happy, too ('cause I love my HEA's)!
    jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

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  22. Great Blog Post... I am also a huge fan of Paranormal HEAs and really great series... The Mermaid Series by MJD is an interesting take and pleasurable read on Mermaids. dee.c.owens@gmail.com

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  23. I don't think I've read any siren books, but I loved the Little Mermaid and that 4th Pirates of the Carraibean.

    alinutza4u2004[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk

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  24. I have read stories of mer-men by the Dirke and Steele series from Marjorie Liu. They were excellent stories being she is an excellent author. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

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  25. I recently have fallen in love with mermaids I just finished a middle grade mermaid book with my daughter, The Daughters of the Sea Series by Kathryn Lasky Hannah and then we finished May. They are great! I read Lies Beneath and loved that book as well! Cannot wait to read this... Thanks

    krista
    kristaraven1@aol.com

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    1. Congratulations Krista --- Your name was drawn as my winner. I'll be emailing you in a few minutes with details.

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  26. The Little Mermaid is the extent of my mermaid knowledge and Odysseus is the only story I have read about sirens. But I would love to read something more.

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  27. I will still always have a place in my heart for The Little Mermaid. My dad to me to see it when I was a little girl. I've always loved mermaids ever since. :)
    -Amber
    goodblinknpark(AT)yahoo(DOT)oom

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  28. I must be doing something wrong. I have tried to post 3 times. Maybe this time it will work.

    Hi Dani,

    I enjoyed your story about Mermaids and Sirens. Look forward to reading more of your books.

    Ann @ annmccambridge@hotmail.com

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  29. Well I haven't read a lot about Mermaids or sirens but I have always found mermaids so interesting! I remember watching Splash as a kid and thinking being a mermaid would be the coolest thing ever. Thank you for this great giveaway! esined615 at yahoo .com

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  30. oh gosh.. Thinking about it.. I cannot recall ever reading a mermaid book. No I started one, but it was just..not for me. Always looking for good ones though :) when I have time!

    lilypondreads at gmail dot com

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  31. The first book I thought of was The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle....even though it's about Selkies......but that's all I got...lol

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    GFC: BookAttict

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  32. A Mermaid's Kiss by Joey W. Hill
    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  33. I read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey in the 4th grade. Does that count? I have read so many books about fantasy, paranormal, mythology, etc... that it is hard to pinpoint a particular book to mention.I just think it is so awesome that you are doing this giveaway.
    laughingh2o@hotmail.com

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  34. Great article Dani ;) as with many of the others I haven't read many books with mermaids as the main characters but I am going to give the series you recommended in the comments a try!

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  35. Hey, great rundown on the mythology! I've always been fascinated by sea creatures, especially those in Greek myths. Even though most stories paint sirens and mermaids as bloodthirsty creatures, I'm still inclined to believe in my favorite fairytale of all, The Little Mermaid!! Ariel~ haha :D

    About books on mermaids... My favorite would DEFINITELY be The Mermaid's Knight by Jill Myles!! I'd recommend that to any mermaid romance fans! :)) anyhoo, thanks for the giveaway!

    CYP
    cypsays_hi @ hotmail.com

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Love your comments and read every one of them! Thanks for taking the time to write!