Mermaids have been around for a long, long time in folklore. They’ve been around for so long, that movies, operas, ballets, and art have been inspired by these mysterious creatures since the 1600s.
In celebration of the launch of our Mermaid Kitten Collection, we’ve compiled a list of the five most famous mermaids throughout history that deserve a shout out.
Hans Christian Andersen’s: The Little Mermaid
We can’t list famous mermaids in history without first mentioning the one that started it all – Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a little mermaid. Andersen’s mermaid is motivated to give up her life in the sea in exchange for a human soul – spoiler alert: the prince she falls in love with ends up marrying someone else. Ultimately, she has to choose between killing the prince to become a mermaid again or die. Yikes…
Even though Andersen’s version may not necessarily have a happily-ever-after ending, it inspired a ton of adaptations, from Disney’s animated version to Ponyo.
Famous mermaids don’t just exist in movies – just look at your coffee cup and see arguably one of the most famous mermaids staring back at you. Starbucks’ logo and packaging make it instantly recognizable throughout the world.
Founded in Seattle back in 1971, Starbucks sought to use a nautical theme in packaging and decided on a mermaid (also known as the Starbucks Siren) with two fins on their cups. While their first version of the mermaid was a bit more risqué and topless, their current logo was adopted in 2011 to better streamline their existing 1992 logo. While her double fin may not be as obvious as before, their plastic stirrers also have a mermaid on them.
Madison from Splash
Madison won over cinematic hearts (and Tom Hanks) in the 1984 movie, Splash. Nothing says awww more than Madison and Allen being connected since they were children, and him giving up his life on land to be with her – not to mention, her innocence was just far too adorable. Before Ariel knew what a Dinglehopper was, Madison cried watching “Bonanza” on tv and thought Allen’s gift to her was the packaging.
Ariel from Disney’s: The Little Mermaid
Although Hans Christian Andersen first came up with “The Little Mermaid” back in 1837, but it wasn’t until Disney gave her a name in 1989’s The Little Mermaid that Ariel became a famous mermaid. Her love of singing, Prince Eric, and fascination for all things human made for a captivating story. Her iconic red hair and green tail are things we’ll remember for years. Plus, who can’t resist singing along to Under the Sea or Part of Your World?
Sirens (The Odyssey)
Mermaids aren’t just known in folklore for saving men and having beautiful singing voices – sometimes they use their voices for … not so great things. Greek mythology portrays mermaids (though called Sirens) as hauntingly bewitching women who lure sailors to their deaths via shipwreck.
Although some Ancient Greek vases portray the Sirens as winged creatures, the alluring and seductive Sirens that lured Odysseus and his men to possible death in Homer’s The Odyssey have been depicted in later years as aquatic creatures who very closely resemble mermaids. These depictions may be what gave mermaids the premise of being great singers.
Did your favorite famous mermaid make the
splash cut? Let us know in the comments.