You do not know woman is the Chimera, but it is good that you should know it; for that monster was of three forms; its face was that of a radiant and noble lion, it had the filthy belly of a goat, and it was armed with the tail of a viper . . . a woman is beautiful to look upon, contaminating to the touch, and deadly to keep.
Chimera is both curious and horrifying. She’s a Greek monster, the daughter of a giant named Typhon and Echnida, the mother of monsters (Cereberus, Hydra, the Sphinx, and Scylla are among Chimera’s siblings, though some sources do say she is the mother of rather than the sister of the Sphinx).
Chimera is a hybrid creature. Some sources vary a bit, but she’s generally picture as three-headed with parts of a dragon, lion, and goat. Her appearance was considered an ill omen, and I suppose that make sense, considering her penchant for eating cattle and burning the land. Her fiery breath allies her closely with volcanoes, and she was considering a harbinger of a volcanic eruption. Mythic tradition suggests that she died after being struck through the stomach with a head-tipped spear thrown by a warrior named Bellerophon who was riding on the back of Pegasus.
Chimera came to stand as a symbol of the wickedness of women, especially in the medieval ages, when the quote in the above Malleus Maleficarum, a treatise against witchcraft, was written.
More recently, the name has been used to denote hybridity, as that is what makes Chimera so unique. But there’s an underlying fear to the term, as there always is with hybridity. We fear what we can’t classify.
And how do classify a creature like Chimera, really? We can’t. A chimera, a true chimera, is in its own category.