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History of the Siren

Sirens have been depicted in Greek mythology as half-woman/half-birds who lure men to their death and by the movies as bad news babes wrapped up in a slinky dress.

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Some artists depict sirens with wings while others do not. They are often distractingly naked and beckoning seductively. 

Foremost in a siren’s bag of tricks is music. Her song is nearly irresistible to mortals. The hero Odysseus took the precaution of being bound to the mast of his ship so he would not fall prey to their seductive singing. Jason and his Argonauts took Orpheus along for the ride to play the lyre and drown out their music.

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By the 1920s, “exotic” Theda Bara had left Cincinnati for Hollywood to become the reigning “Siren of the Silver Screen.” Vamps Pola Negri and Mae Murray gave her some competition in the femme fatale department.

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Today, the seductive legend of the Siren lives on …. In DC Comics, videogames, a perfume from Paris Hilton and even a women’s football team.

Tom Sheeter
Tom Sheeter is a Los Angeles based writer and Account Manager at Superstock. He specializes in film and tv licensing and clearance issues.

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