In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous and devious creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Odysseus was curious as to what the Sirens sung in their song to him, so, on Circe’s advice, he had all his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast,

no matter how much he would beg. When he heard their beautiful song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they bound him tighter. When they had passed out of earshot, Odysseus demonstrated with his frowns to be released.

Some post-Homeric authors state that the Sirens were fated to die if someone heard their singing and escaped them, and that after Odysseus passed by they therefore flung themselves into the water and perished. It is also said that Hera, queen of the gods, persuaded the Sirens to enter a singing contest with the Muses. The Muses won the competition and then plucked out all of the Sirens’ feathers and made crowns out of them. Out of their anguish from losing the competition, writes Stephanus of Byzantium, the Sirens turned white and fell into the sea at Aptera (“featherless”) where they formed the islands in the bay that were called Souda (modern Lefkai).