Cerberus was one of the most terrifying greek myths. (Picture: Getty Images)
If you’re jetting off to Europe for a holiday soon, you might want to make sure you pack the sun cream, to say the least.
Europe is experiencing a heatwave that is so serious it’s been named after one of the most terrifying figures in Greek mythology, Cerberus.
Across the continent, some of the most popular holiday spots with UK tourists have been regularly hitting temperatures in the 40s, with Italy bearing the brunt, reportedly recording 48 degrees recently.
When temperatures hit above 40 degrees, heat exhaustion becomes increasingly likely, and the extreme heat can even prove fatal, with one 44-year-old Italian man collapsing in Lodi, southeast of Milan.
According to the Met Office, around 2000 people a year die in the UK due to extreme heat, and shocking statistics saw last year’s heatwave weather in Europe claimed the lives of an estimated 61,000 people during a record-breaking summer.
The Cerberus heatwave has seen Europe hit some extreme highs. (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
Fortunately, it looks like the UK will be spared the worst of the Cerberus heatwave, but what is the myth behind its name?
Here is what you need to know.
Who was Cerberus in Greek mythology?
In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed dog (though, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the seventh-century poet Hesiod said he had 50 heads), often depicted with a snake for a tail, who guards the entrance to the underworld.
It is said that he would only allow the dead to enter – but would never let someone leave, devouring anyone who was looking to escape the realm of Hades. It is also believed that Cerberus was so fierce that even the other gods feared him.
Despite his fearsome reputation, Cerberus was not invincible.
In Greek mythology, Cerberus is the three-headed dog – the Hound of Hades – which guards the gates to the Underworld in order to prevent the dead from leaving. (Picture: Getty Images)
In fact, he was subdued by the hero Heracles and bought up to the land of the living as one of his twelve labours before being returned to Hades. Orpheus also tricked Cerberus by using music to lull him to sleep.
Cerberus remains an iconic figure in Greek mythology and continues to inspire artists and writers to this day and was featured in Dante’s Inferno from the 14th-century epic poem ‘Divine Comedy’.
Follow Metro across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Share your views in the comments below