Chimera (mythology)

   In classical my­thology, the chimera was a fire-breathing monster. It had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the hinder parts of a dragon. It laid waste the fields of Lycia until slain by Bellerophon with the aid of his steed Pega­sus. The myth of the chimera seems to have originated in the mountainous regions of Asia Minor, and may have grown out of the storms and snows of winter that prevail till over­powered by the solar hero on the return of spring. The shape of the animal may have been suggested to a poetical people by a volcanic mountain in the region. The crater would account for the fire-breath­ing mouth. The other parts of the chi­mera are credited: the head, to the lions inhabiting the wooded heights; the body, to the goats on the pasture slopes; and the dragon, to the serpents at its foot. The term is now used for any scare conjured up by a heated and imaginative mind.