10 Major Difference Between Siren And Mermaid (With Comparison Table)

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What Are Sirens?

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on rocky coast of their islands. According to literature (Homer’s Ordysseus), the Sirens lived on an island near Scylla and Charybdis (traditionally located in the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily). The sirens are often cited as being fathered by the river God Achelous, with the mother usually cited as being one of the nine muses, they include: Calliope, Terpischore, Melpomene or Sterope.

Sirens were believed to look like a combination of women and birds in various different forms. In early Greek art, they were represented as birds with large women’s heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps and lyres. Eventually, they came to be depicted as only dangerous beautiful women with the wings of a bird. The story of Sirens has inspired writers, poets and artists for millennia. Many associate Sirens with hidden knowledge.

What You Need To Know About Siren

  • In Greek mythology, the Sirens were actually winged, half-human, half-bird creatures.
  • According to literature, the Sirens lived on an island near Scylla and Charybdis (traditionally located in the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily).
  • In most folklore, sirens have been shown singing songs.
  • In most Greek poet and tradition, the Sirens were depicted as beautiful maidens that would sit half-naked on rocky shores. They would then lure sailors to them using their beautiful singing voices; with the sailors following them not knowing that they are sailing into problems.
  • According to classical Greek poets and traditions, there are around seven named sirens, they include:Anglaope, Molpe, Peisinoe, Thelxiope, Leucosia, Pathenope and Ligeia.
  • The sirens are often cited as being fathered by the river God Achelous, with the mother usually being cited as being one of the nine muses, they include: Calliope, Terpischore, Melpomene or Sterope.
  • A famous Greek folktale claimed that the Sirens were fated to die if any mortal should hear them sing and live to tell the story.

What Are Mermaids?

In folklore, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide including the Near East, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drowning. In other folk traditions they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans. A famous Greek folktale claimed that Alexander the Great’s sister, Thessalonike was transformed into a mermaid upon her death in 295 BC and lived in the Aegean Sea.

In some ancient texts, Mermaids appear not alone but in a group of two or three and not only in the water but sitting on reefs waiting for the arrival of ships. Today the images that represent mermaids are the ones of ladies of waters, very beautiful and showing provocative gestures to those who glimpsed at them.

Historical accounts of mermaids, such as those written by Christopher Columbus during his exploration of the Caribbean, have been discountenanced by many scholars as sightings of similar aquatic mammals. Though there are few accounts here and there by some people of mermaid sightings that continue up to present day, there is no evidence that mermaids exist outside folklore.

What You Need To Know About Mermaid

  • In folklore, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.
  • Mermaids are present in almost every culture’s mythology, from Europe and the Americas, to the Near East, Africa and Asia.
  • In all folklores, mermaids are depicted as magical creatures that live and dwell under the sea with their own culture and customs. 
  • In many poets and traditions, mermaids are usually depicted as peaceful, non-violent creatures that try to live their lives away from human interference.
  • In some folklore, mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, and shipwrecks and drowning.
  • A famous Greek folktale claimed that Alexander the Great’s sister, Thessalonike was transformed into a mermaid upon her death in 295 BC and lived in the Aegean Sea.

Also Read: Difference Between Pixie And Fairy

Difference Between Siren And Mermaid In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON SIREN MERMAID
Synonyms Enchantress, charmer, sorceress or vamp. Water nymph, elf, kelpie or water deities.
Presence Only found in the Greek Mythology. They are found in the folklore and stories of all cultures and civilization.
Habitat The Siren is depicted to be an island creature. Mermaid is depicted as an aquatic creature.
Depiction The Sirens are depicted as beautiful and evil maidens. Mermaids are usually depicted as peaceful, non-violent creatures that try to live their lives away from human interference.
Body Structure The Sirens are actually winged, half-human, half-bird creatures. They have the head and the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.  
Use Siren mostly makes an appearance in art where negativity and horror is the theme. They are therefore not suitable for children. Mermaids have their representation in modern culture as beautiful and loving creatures. They are suitable for kids.
Attraction Sirens attract people with their voice. Mermaids show their love towards people. They also entice people with their beauty looks.
Luring Of Sailors In all folktales, the Sirens are known for luring sailors to their deaths. Mermaids are depicted differently in different cultural folklores, in some folklore they are depicted as gentle, benevolent and peace-loving while in other folklores they are shown to be luring sailors to their death. 
Famous Folklore A famous Greek folktale claimed that the Sirens were fated to die if any mortal should hear them sing and live to tell the story. A famous Greek folktale claimed that Alexander the Great’s sister, Thessalonike was transformed into a mermaid upon her death in 295 BC and lived in the Aegean Sea.