Angels are not the only so-called fantasy creatures (and I do
believe that angels are real), that sport wings. You will find a whole host of winged creatures.
Below you will find a list of mythical creatures that are portrayed as having wings.
Most of the creatures presented here come from Greek tradition, but there are a few that are found in other cultures.
Wings and birds are obviously closely related, so many of the qualities of birds are transferred to many mythical creatures.
One of the main characteristics of birds is their ability to fly. They are not completely bound to the Earth. So in a way, they are freer than sea and earth creatures. Wings also embody other concepts:
- Godlike qualities such as purity and beauty
- Belonging to the higher realms
- Lack of restraint
Of course, not all winged beings are of a heavenly nature. Many, like the gorgons, are quite hellish.
Winged Creatures in Ancient Greece
Greek mythology is filled with winged beings and deities. Here are some of the best-known winged fantasy creatures in Greek tradition:
Divine ideals and forces of nature
Boreas – This celestial being embodies the north wind and is often portrayed as a winged old man.
Hypnos – He represents sleep and it’s depicted as a naked young man with wings on his head.
Nike – This winged creature embodies victory and triumph.
Thanatos – Hypnos’ twin brother, Thanatos represents death and is portrayed as a winged boy.
Zephyrus – He represents the subtle west wind and the gentle summer breezes. He is also depicted as having wings.
Winged creatures and deities
These deities are depicted as having wings:
Eos – The goddess of dawn, she is portrayed as having two large white wings.
Eris – The Greek goddess of discord and chaos.
Eros (Cupid in Roman mythology) – He is the Greek god of erotic love.
Hermes (Mercury for the Romans) – He is the messenger of the gods. His sandals come equipped with tiny wings.
Iris – An embodiment of the Rainbow, Iris is the messenger to the goddess Hera.
Sirens – These fantasy creatures were bird-like women who seduced unsuspecting sailors with their bewitching songs.
Animals, monsters and other mythical creatures
Gorgons – Terrible winged monsters. Medusa is the best-known of the gorgons.
Griffins – These mythical creatures were portrayed as being half-lion, half eagle.
Halcyon – This is a sea bird in Greek tradition.
Harpies - In early versions, these creatures were described as beautiful winged young women. Later they became ugly winged monsters depicted with the face of old women and bird-like bodies.
Pegasus – This is the beautiful, winged, mythical horse. Pegasus is the son of Poseidon - the Greek god of the sea - and the gorgon Medusa. Pegasus was born out of Medusa’s neck after Perseus killed her.
Phoenix – This mythical fire bird, a symbol of rebirth, appears in the mythologies of different cultures including the Greek, the Roman and the Persian.
Sphinx - A winged creature in Greek mythology. It has the body of a lion and the head of a woman. This is a different depiction from the Egyptian version, which has the head of a man and the body of a lion (and no wings).
More winged fantasy creatures
Ahura Mazda - Winged deity in Zoroastrian belief.
Axex – A winged creature in Egyptian mythology, it is depicted as having the head of an eagle and the body of a four-legged animal.
Dragons – Fire-breathing, winged creatures. They appear in the mythology of different cultures.
Isis - Egyptian goddess, sometimes depicted as a winged being.
Sylphs (also known as Sylphids) – Mythical beings in Western lore, they were introduced by Paracelsus. Sylphs are spirits of the air and have huge wings.
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