Saturday, October 10, 2009


                   A mermaid is a mythological aquatic creature with a human head and torso and the tail of an aquatic animal such as a fish. The word is a compound of mere, the Old English word for "sea," and maid, a woman. The male equivalent is a merman, however the term mermaid is sometimes used for males. Various cultures throughout the world have similar figures, typically depicted without clothing.

       Much like sirens, mermaids would sometimes sing to people and gods and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or run their ships aground. Other stories have them squeezing the life out of drowning men while attempting to rescue them. They are also said to take humans down to their underwater kingdoms.
       The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria, ca. 1000 BC. Atargatis, the mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, was a goddess who loved a mortal shepherd and in the process killed him. Ashamed, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty. Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid — human above the waist, fish below — though the earliest representations of Atargatis showed her as being a fish with a human head and legs, similar to the Babylonian Ea. The Greeks recognized Atargatis under the name Derketo. Prior to 546 BC, the Milesian philosopher Anaximander proposed that mankind had sprung from an aquatic species of animal. He thought that humans, with their extended infancy, could not have survived early on. This idea reappeared as the aquatic ape hypothesis in the twentieth century.
        Mermaids are said to be known for their vanity, but also for their innocence. They often fall in love with human men, and are willing to go to great extents to prove their love with humans (see mermaid problem). Unfortunately, especially with younger mermaids, they tend to forget humans cannot breathe underwater. Their male counterparts, mermen, are rarely interested in human issues, but in the Finnish mythology merpeople are able to grant wishes, heal sickness, lift curses, brew magic potions and sometimes can carry a trident. Mermaids share some of the same characteristics.


  1. Interesting mermaid mummies you've found. Are you sure they are real? Anyhow, if you are looking for a Halloween costume idea, I'm sure you will be happy to see our selection of Mermaid Costumes for all ages!