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In the most ancient layers of Greek mythology Echidna (ekhis, meaning "she viper") was called the "Mother of All Monsters". Echidna was described by Hesiod (Theogony) as a female monster, who mothered with Typhon every major monster in the entire Greek mythos. Usually considered offspring of Uranus and Gaia, or sometimes Ceto. She had the face of a beautiful woman but the body of a serpent (also see Lamia). When she and her mate, Typhon, attacked the Olympians, Zeus beat them back and punished Typhon by sealing him under Mount Etna. However, Zeus allowed Echidna and her children to live as a challenge to future heroes.

The offspring of Typhon and Echidna were:

Geryon
Nemean Lion
Cerberus
Ladon
Chimera
Sphinx
Lernean Hydra

According to Herodotus ((3, c. 108), Hercules had three children by her:

Agathyrsus
Gelonus
Scytha

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