CHIMAERA, in Greek mythology, a fire-breathing female monster resembling a lion in the fore part, a goat in the middle, and a dragon behind (Iliad, vi. 179), with three heads corresponding. She devastated Caria and Lycia until she was finally slain by Bellerophon (see H.A. Fischer, Bellerophon, 1851). The origin of the myth was the volcanic nature of the soil of Lycia (Pliny, Nat. Hist. ii. 110; Servius on Aeneid, vi. 288), where works have been found containing representations of the Chimaera in the simple form of a lion. In modern art the Chimaera is usually represented as a lion, with a goat's head in the middle of the back, as in the bronze Chimaera of Arezzo (5th century). The word is now used generally to denote a fantastic idea or fiction of the imagination.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)