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Archangel, Rafflesia, & Siren

Archangel is an angel of high rank found in various religious traditions, particularly Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The names of archangels are also different in different traditions, but the commonly named archangels are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel.

The most influential proposition on Christian angelic hierarchy belongs to The Celestial Hierarchy by Pseudo-Dionysus (ca. 5th century). In this work, archangels belong to the 2nd lowest order of angels. The established hierarchy, in order of authority, is:
  1. Seraphim
  2. Cherubim
  3. Thrones
  4. Dominions
  5. Virtues
  6. Powers
  7. Principalities
  8. Archangels
  9. Angels
Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, also affirmed this angelic hierarchy.

Rafflesia is a type of parasitic flowering plant, first discovered in Indonesian rain forests and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1818. In some species, the flower may be over 100 cm (39 inches) in diameter and weigh over 10 kg (22 lb). The flower smells like rotting flesh, and is thus called "corpse flower". The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. It contains approximately 28 species, all found in Southeast Asia.

Siren is a bird-woman who lures sailors with enchanting voices to shipwreck on rocky coasts in Greek mythology. Roman poets placed them on an island called Sirenum Scopuli. Their number is variously reported as between two and five. Sirens combine women and birds in various ways. In early Greek art Sirens were represented as birds with large women's heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps. Later Sirens were sometimes depicted as beautiful women, whose bodies, not only their voices, are seductive.

The most famous story is related in Odyssey, commonly attributed to Homer. The Greek hero Odysseus was on a voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Odysseus instructed his crew to plug their ears with wax, and to tie him up on the mast. This allowed him to hear the siren's songs without being lured to his doom. Previously, the Argonauts got passed the Sirens due to the musician Orpheus drowning out their voices by making his own music with his lyre.