Mythological Fire Creatures

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Creatures in Native American Mythology

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:33 Dragons
  • 1:16 The Chimera
  • 2:00 The Phoenix
  • 2:38 Salamanders
  • 3:27 Fire Giants
  • 4:07 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jason Waguespack

Jason has taught Political Science courses for college. He has a doctorate in Political Science.

In this lesson, we will discuss various creatures in world mythology that are associated with fire. We will explore some notable myths that tell of their origins, appearance, and adventures.

Mythical Creatures and Fire

Fire is one of the most exciting and dangerous elements known to man. The image of blazing orange flames can be both beautiful and horrifying. It's no surprise that in human mythology, fire creatures are some of the most famous. Some use it simply as a weapon. Others for greater destructive ends, like ending the world. In some cases, destruction by fire sets the stage for rebirth, whether of a creature or even the world itself. For this lesson, we're going to meet some of mythology's most famous fire denizens.


When people think of dragons, they usually imagine a large, wing-flapping reptilian creature with lots of teeth and breath that produces flames. Most cultures in the world have their own myths of dragons. The word 'dragon' has its roots in the Greek word drakonta, which means 'to look at' or 'to watch.' In many myths and legends, dragons are portrayed as guardians. In Greek mythology, a dragon guards the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. In British folklore, these creatures are frequently depicted as guarding great mountains of treasure. Dragons are also characterized as powerful entities that mythical heroes must slay or defeat. Apollo defeating the dragon Python in Greek myth and Marduk slaying Tiamat in Babylonian myth are two such examples.

The Chimera

The chimera is a fearsome, female creature from Greek mythology that is known for being a combination of three different creatures. Her bottom half is that of a dragon, her torso is a goat, and her head is a lion. However, in some works of art the chimera actually also has a goat and a dragon head. The chimera is also a fire breather; but even in Greek tradition where it has multiple heads, the dragon head almost never breathes fire. Frequently, it is the goat or lion head that breathes fire, although in one instance the chimera does shoot fire from all three heads. In spite of the all this, it is not invincible. According to Greek myth, the hero Bellerophon rode the winged horse Pegasus high enough to evade the Chimera's flames before killing the beast by thrusting his spear into the creature's mouth.

The Phoenix

The phoenix is a bird depicted in many mythologies. It first arose from Egyptian myth where it was shown as a heron, before the Greeks depicted it as an eagle or peacock. When the phoenix perceives that its death is imminent, it builds a nest made of aromatic wood. The bird then sets the nest ablaze and is engulfed in the fire. After three days, a new phoenix arises from the ashes. This story has made the phoenix a symbol of death, resurrection, and immortality. In the Roman Empire, the image of the phoenix was placed on mosaics and coins as a symbol of the empire's immortality. Also, Christian iconography identified the three-day rebirth of the phoenix with Christ's resurrection.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account