The oldest form of the mermaid in mermaid mythology is the goddess Atargatis from Syria. A famous statue of Atargatis shows her as a woman from the waist up and a fish from there down. All sea goddesses inherit the sea’s qualities. Just as the sea could be gentle and nurturing or violent and deadly, so could they. These are the same contradictory qualities we see in mermaids to this day: beautiful, cruel, tender, loving, destroying, etc. In a larger sense this is man’s view of nature. The mermaid is nature herself.