THE SEIRENES (or Sirens) were three sea nymphs who drew sailors to the rocks by their enchanted singing, causing their ships to sink. They were formerly handmaidens of the goddess Persephone. When the girl was secretly abducted byHaides, Demeter eventually gave up and settled on the flowery island of Anthemoessa.
The Seirenes were later encountered by the Argonauts who passed by unharmed with the help of Orpheus, the poet drowing out their music with his song. The most famous myth is about Odysseus who also sailed by, bound tightly to the mast, with his men blocking their ears with wax. The Seirenes were so distressed to see a man hear their song and yet escape, that they threw themselves into the sea and drowned.
The Seirenes were depicted as birds with either the heads, or the entire upper bodies, of women.