According to Greek legend the half-sister of Alexander the Great, Thessalonike, turned into a mermaid when she tried ending her life by jumping into the sea.   A mermaid statue on the Greek island of Thasos commemorates this legend.  ( map )

Mermaid statue of Thessalonike, sister of Alexander the Great

Mermaid statue of Thessalonike, sister of Alexander the Great. Photo by Duncan Hull.

The inscription is a poem by Greek poet Nikos Kazantzakis, and translates roughly as follows:

It was not an island
It was a beast lying
on the sea
It was the Mermaid
The sister of Alexander the Great
Who mourned
and made the sea rough

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thessalonike_of_Macedon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikos_Kazantzakis
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/3834936120/ 
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