This blog is created FOR and BY female artists and creators around the world.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

History of the Mermaid

Mermaids, myths and legends have existed since ancient civilizations and have now become embedded in popular culture and fairy tales capturing the imagination of many. The name "mermaid" came from the french words "mer" (sea) and "maid" (girl/young woman). They are often a thing of beauty and mystery, however past stories have often portrayed them as powerful and vengeful creatures who would bring misery to those who dare to cross the ocean, river or lakes.

The story of the mermaids starts in the ancient beliefs of the Babylonians. The goddess Atargatis is depicted as half female half fish and was the symbol of fertility and life.
Greek philosophers believed that the origin of life came from the sea with both goddesses Aphrodite (meaning "born from the sea foam") and Venus. They both symbolised the creation of life, love and fertility. They also however were seen as vengeful, jealous, cruel and proud.

Mermaids were seen as powerful beings that preyed on men. These beings were called sirens and soon most of Europe were hearing of these tales and these sirens became accepted as real beings. Christopher Columbus himself claimed to have seen a mermaid, though it was most likely to be a manatee or some other sea creature.

As the years went by, advancements in sea travel helped to reduce the numbers of deaths at sea. The image of the powerful, vengeful mermaid began to fade and were beginning to be seen as a more kind and good natured.
The 18th Century gave birth to the great author Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid".

Many countless individuals have been inspired by these mystical beings, bringing them to life through stories, paintings, music, theatre, fashion, jewellery etc. I myself find great inspiration in these mysterious creatures. It's hard to imagine a world, especially the art world without them.

This article was written by Admin - Samara Said

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