The nimph and the naiad: Messina, the legend of Scylla and Charybdis

Messina Legends: Scylla and CharybdisBetween Sicily and the Ulisse’s legends there is a special link, like in the case of Faraglioni dei Ciclopi and the Polyphemus cave in Milazzo. It’s a special connection that gives mystery to the town of Messina. Here, the legend of Scylla and Charybdis is alive.

The town has always been related to cult of Poseidon. The tradition says that in the past were three temples dedicated to the divinity: one in Capo Peloro, another one in Annunziata dei Catalani, the last one on the top of Peloritani mountains.

Poseidon was the father of Charybdis. At first she was a naiad who ate the holy oxen of Zeus. The last one, hit her with a lightning and transformed in a monster of the sea.

Scylla was a beautiful nymph. She fell in love with Glauco, Poseidon’s son, sea god half man and half fish. The witch Circe, jealous of Glauco, poured a poisonous potion into the sea where was Scylla. The nymph transformed in a monster without legs but with six heads on long, snaky necks. each head having a triple row of sharklike teeth, while her loins were girt with the heads of baying dogs. So, Scylla went to live in a cave near Charybdis.

Messina remembers this legend with a fountain: it represents Poseidon between Scylla and Charybdis chained.


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