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In Greek mythology Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of a narrow channel of water, opposite its counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other—so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass too close to Scylla and vice versa.

Traditionally the strait has been associated with the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily. The idiom 'between Scylla and Charybdis' has come to mean being between two dangers, choosing either of which brings harm.

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