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Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:26 am


by Micha F. Lindemans
A monstrous creature which inhabits the forests in Asia, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and India. The manticore, considered to be the most dangerous predator in these regions, has the body of a lion and a head with human resemblance. The mouth is filled with three rows of razor-sharp teeth and the scaled tail ends in a ball with poisonous darts. The monster stalks through the forest in search of humans. Upon an encounter with a human, the manticore fires a volley of darts at the victim, who dies immediately. This unfortunate person is devoured completely, even the bones and clothing, as well as the possessions this person carried, vanish. When a villager has completely disappeared, this is considered proof of the presence of a manticore.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The manticore is a mythical creature, a kind of chimera with the head of a man — often with horns, blue eyes, several rows of iron teeth, and/or a beautiful/self-harmonic voice — the body of a (sometimes red-furred) lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion, which may shoot out venomous spines or hairs to incapacitate prey (thus confusing its imagery with the cryptozoology of a porcupine, though real tarantulas do something similar with their hairs). Occasionally, a manticore will possess wings of some description. Size reports range from lion-sized up to horse-sized?
The manticore was of Persian origin, a man-eater (from the Persian "martya", "man", and "xvar", "to sleep"), apparently passing into European mythology first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the fourth century BCE, in his notes on India ("Indika"), which circulated among Greek writers on natural history, but have not survived.
The Romanized Greek Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, recalled strange animals he had seen at Rome, and mentioned

"The beast described by Ctesias in his Indian history, which he says is called "martichoras" by the Indians and "man-eater" by the Greeks, I am inclined to think is the tiger. But that it has three rows of teeth along each jaw and spikes at the tip of its tail with which it defends itself at close quarters, while it hurls them like an archer's arrows at more distant enemies; all this is, I think, a false story that the Indians pass on from one to another owing to their excessive dread of the beast.' (Description, xxi, 5)
Pliny the Elder did not share Pausanias' skepticism. He followed Aristotle's natural history by including the "martichoras" — mistranscribed as "manticorus" in his copy of Aristotle and thus passing into European languages — among his descriptions of animals in Naturalis Historia, c. 77 CE. Pliny's book was widely enjoyed and uncritically believed through the European Middle Ages, during which the manticore was sometimes illustrated in bestiaries. The manticore made a late appearance in heraldry, during the 16th century, and it influenced some Mannerist representations — sometimes in paintings but more often in the decorative schemes called 'grotteschi' — of the sin of Fraud, conceived as a monstrous chimera with a beautiful woman's face, and in this way it passed into the 17th and 18th century French conception of a sphinx.
Nowadays, the manticore is said to inhabit the forests of Asia, particularly Indonesia. The manticore can kill instantly with a bite or a scratch, and will then eat the victim entirely, bones and all. Whenever a person disappears completely, it is said that the locals consider it the work of the manticore. An authentic eastern manticore tradition would clearly have to refer to the creature as a "marticore".
The manticore is also known as the "manticora", the "mantichor", or by a folk etymology, even the "mantiger". Outside occultist circles, the manticore was still an arcane creature in the Western world when Gian Carlo Menotti wrote his ballet The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore in 1956.
The manticore was mentioned by Jorge Luis Borges in his Dictionary of Fantastic Zoology. [1]


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