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Mythical / Legendary creature

A legendary creature is an animal or part-human being described in non-historical stories that
sometimes involve the supernatural. In the classical era, monstrous creatures such as the Cyclops and
the Minotaur appear in heroic tales for the protagonist to destroy. Other creatures, such as the unicorn,
were claimed in accounts of natural history by various scholars of antiquity. Some legendary creatures
have their origin in traditional mythology and were believed to be real creatures, for
example dragons, griffins, and unicorns. Others were based on real encounters, originating in garbled
accounts of travelers' tales, such as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, which supposedly grew tethered to
the earth.

A mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the head and
upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.
Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide,
including the Near East, Europe, Africa and Asia. The first
stories appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the
goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of
shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are
sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods,
storms, shipwrecks and drownings. In other folk traditions (or
sometimes within the same tradition), they can be benevolent
or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with
The male equivalent of the mermaid is the merman, also a familiar figure in folklore and heraldry.
Although traditions about and sightings of mermen are less common than those of mermaids, they are
generally assumed to co-exist with their female counterparts.
Some of the attributes of mermaids may have been influenced by the Sirens of Greek mythology.
Historical accounts of mermaids, such as those reported by Christopher Columbus during his
exploration of the Caribbean, may have been inspired by manatees and similar aquatic mammals.
While there is no evidence that mermaids exist outside of folklore, reports of mermaid sightings
continue to the present day, including 21st century examples from Israel and Zimbabwe.
Mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature in recent centuries, such as in Hans
Christian Andersen's well-known fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" (1836). They have subsequently
been depicted in operas, paintings, books, films and comics.

The griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of
an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king
of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and
majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for
guarding treasure and priceless possessions. Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the
griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found
in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present-day southeastern Kazakhstan, or
in Mongolia, though this hypothesis has been strongly contested as it ignores pre-

a griffin can be seen in a cosmetic palette from Hierakonpolis. as for example. and was probably created in the 11th century in Al- Andaluz (Islamic Spain). 3300-3100 BC. witchcraft and secret slander". though it is of Islamic origin. in Alexander the Great. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine. at over three feet tall (42. the original is now in the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum). perhaps as an emblem of the kingdom of Macedon or a personal one of Alexander's successor Antipater. 1973:31 and notes p. In Central Asia.). Pisa. a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. which is dated to ca. in the 5th–4th centuries BC. Syria. The modern generalist calls it the lion-griffin. The Achaemenids considered the griffin "a protector from evil. as restored by Sir Arthur Evans. griffins appeared on cylinder seals from Susa as early as 3000 BC. the griffin appears about a thousand years after Bronze Age Crete. Phoenix (mythology) In Greek mythology. It is the largest bronze medieval Islamic sculpture known.Mycenaean accounts. From about 1100 it was placed on a column on the roof of Pisa Cathedral until replaced by a replica in 1832. Griffin depictions appear in the Levant. probably originating from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In Iran. History There is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Iranian and Ancient Egyptian art dating back to before 3000 BC.5 inches. It continued being a favored decorative theme in Archaic and Classical Greek art. In Egypt. who remarks a lion-griffin attacking a stag in a pebble mosaic Dartmouth College expedition at Pella. Early depictions of griffins in Ancient Greek art are found in the 15th century BC frescoes in the Throne Room of the Bronze Age Palace of Knossos.[11][12] dated at about 1950-1550 BC. known as the "Two Dog Palette". Robin Lane Fox. or 1.08 m. and Anatolia in the Middle Bronze Age. 506. The Pisa Griffin is a large bronze sculpture that has been in Pisa in Italy since the Middle Ages. .

consecration. Herodotus. Tacitus claims that its color made it stand out from all other birds. and Ezekiel the Dramatist compared it to a rooster. like Helios (the personified sun of Greek mythology). resurrection. Associated with the Sun. Lucan. the phoenix could live over 1. Pliny. Lactantius. virginity. which emphasizes the bird's connection with the Sun. the phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion. but Lactantius and Ezekiel the Dramatist both claim that the phoenix was larger. Christ.400 years before rebirth. and Philostratus describe the phoenix as similar in size to an eagle. Appearance The phoenix is sometimes pictured in ancient and medieval literature and medieval art as endowed with a nimbus. Pope Clement I. In the historical record. According to some sources. Mary. life in the heavenly Paradise. time. Solinus. a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Pliny the Elder also describes the bird as having a crest of feathers on its head. According to some texts. the Empire. Pliny the Elder. the exceptional man. and certain aspects of Christian life". Herodotus. Although the phoenix was generally believed to be colorful and vibrant. the phoenix "could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun. with Lactantius declaring that it was even larger than an ostrich. Pegasus . Some thought that the bird had peacock-like coloring. and Isidore of Seville are among those who have contributed to the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif. metempsychosis. Ovid. In the oldest images of phoenixes on record these nimbuses often have seven rays. although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again. there is no clear consensus about its coloration. and Herodotus' claim of red and yellow is popular in many versions of the story on record. but Lactantius said that its eyes were blue like sapphires and that its legs were covered in scales of yellow-gold with rose-colored talons. Ezekiel the Dramatist declared that the phoenix had red legs and striking yellow eyes.

He was captured by the Greek hero Bellerophon near the fountain Peirene with the help of Athena and Poseidon. His rider. A variation of this story holds that they were formed from the mingling of Medusa's blood. in his role as horse-god. He is a winged divine stallion also known as a horse usually depicted as pure white in color. Poseidon. Friend of the Muses. at the behest of Poseidon to prevent the mountain swelling with rapture at the song of the Muses. Zeus transformed him into the constellation Pegasus and placed him up in the sky. an inspiring spring burst forth. Hesiod's "springs of Oceanus. He was the brother of Chrysaor. another was at Troezen. Pegasus is the subject of a very rich iconography. In another version. especially through the ancient Greek pottery and paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance. where Perseus found Medusa: One is that they sprang from the blood issuing from Medusa's neck as Perseus was beheading her. however. implying that Poseidon had involvement . opened. the fountain on Mt. Pegasus allows the hero to ride him to defeat a monster. when Perseus beheaded Medusa. Hypotheses have been proposed regarding its relationship with the Muses. Greco-Roman poets write about his ascent to heaven after his birth and his obeisance to Zeus. One of these springs was upon the Muses' Mount Helicon. Hesiod relates how Pegasus was peacefully drinking from a spring when the hero Bellerophon captured him.Pegasus is one of the best known creatures in Greek mythology. The symbolism of Pegasus varies with time. king of the gods. the gods Athena. which encircles the inhabited earth. Antoninus Liberalis suggested. Zeus. the Chimera. Pegasus is the creator of Hippocrene. Apollo. fed by the Gorgon's blood. He was sired by Poseidon. pain and sea foam. who instructed him to bring lightning and thunder from Olympus. Pegasus and springs According to legend. particularly in the 19th century. Symbol of wisdom and especially of fame from the Middle Ages until the Renaissance. and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa. he became one symbol of the poetry and the creator of sources in which the poets come to draw inspiration. Helicon. Birth There are several versions of the birth of the winged stallion and his brother Chrysaor in the far distant place at the edge of Earth. everywhere the winged horse struck his hoof to the earth. falls off his back trying to reach Mount Olympus. born at a single birthing when his mother was decapitated by Perseus. before realizing many other exploits. Hesiod also says Pegasus carried thunderbolts for Zeus. the Hippocrene ("horse spring"). similar to the manner in which Athena was born from the head of Zeus. they were born of the Earth. and the hero Perseus.

trolls may be ugly and slow-witted. Troll A troll is a class of being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. The distinguished Swedish-speaking Finnish paleontologist Björn Kurtén has entertained and expanded this theory to determine that trolls are a distant memory of an encounter with Neanderthals by our Cro-Magnon ancestors some 40." It is in these laws that the word "troll" appeared for the first time. by altars. live together in small family units. beings described as trolls dwell in isolated rocks. or by grave mounds. Trolls are depicted in a variety of media in modern popular culture. Another explanation for the troll myth is that the trolls represent the remains of the forefather-cult which was ubiquitous in Scandinavia until the introduction of Christianity in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Trolls are sometimes associated with particular landmarks. or caves. mountains. to be wrestled with or otherwise laid to rest. such as Spanish paleoanthropologist Juan Luis Arsuaga. Later. where they live far from human habitation. their appearance varies greatly. and denounced the forefathers as evil. The problem with this theory is that neither Neanderthals nor Cro-Magnons existed in this part of Europe during the ice-age. The last version bears resemblance to Hesiod's account of the birth of Aphrodite from the foam created when Uranus's severed genitals were cast into the sea by Cronus. In this cult the forefathers were worshiped in sacred groves. according to Magnus Håkonsen's laws from 1276. the religious elite sought to demonize the pagan cult. This fits with the trolls in Norse sagas who are often the restless dead. Depending on the source. In Old Norse sources. which at times may be explained as formed from a troll exposed to sunlight. For instance. have theorized based on fossil evidence that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons occupied the same area of Europe at the same time. are not Christianized. it is illegal to attempt to wake the "mound- dwellers. in Scandinavian folklore. Origins Some scientists. trolls became beings in their own right. With the introduction of Christianity however. and are rarely helpful to human beings. with no particularly grotesque characteristic about them. . Most of Scandinavia was covered by a large glacier and the area was not occupied until much their making. or look and behave exactly like human beings. denoting something heathen and generally unfavorable. possibly in order to make contact with the deceased. and are considered dangerous to human beings. One of the customs associated with this practice was to sit on top of a grave mound at night.000 years ago during their migration into northern Europe.

It was. there may be more than one source. Similar creatures include brownies. and greedy. however. However. or merely mischievous. a dwarf is a small humanoid that dwells in mountains and in the earth. smithing. Aulë offered his creations to his father to do with as he would. outside of the exaggerated size. Therefore. The concept of the dwarf has had influence in modern popular culture and appears in a variety of media. whom they themselves call Mahal. mining. Dwarf In Germanic mythology.” Aulë was unwilling to wait for the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar.It is possible that both of these theories hold validity. They are almost always small and grotesque. the forefathers’ theory holds just as much validity . Like many such creatures. and is variously associated with wisdom. the term is more generic for those small creatures that . including their destruction. and as with determining any beliefs of ancient cultures. So when Aulë picked up a great hammer to smite the Seven Fathers and destroy his presumptuous creations. Goblin A goblin is a monstrous creature from European folklore. and crafting. there is no single version of a goblin. They are ascribed various and conflicting abilities. gnomes. They often have magical abilities similar to a fairy or demon. for he was impatient and desired to have someone to teach his lore and crafts. The physiology of trolls. they shrank back in fear and begged for mercy. often believed to be the evil. although some scholars have questioned whether this is a later development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings. Dwarfs are often also described as short and ugly. After being reprimanded by Ilúvatar and realizing his error. then it is possible that early man had some knowledge of Neanderthals and incorporated them into myth. Even as the offer was made. temperaments and appearances depending on the story and country of origin. especially for gold and jewelry. and kobolds. not within Aulë's power to create life. and he decreed that the Seven Fathers should sleep underground and should not come forth until the Firstborn had awakened. A goblin is a mythical creature of Germanic and British folklore. he made the first Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in secret in a hall under the mountains of Middle-earth. meaning “maker. Ilúvatar accepted and gave the Dwarves a life of their own. Since there have been assertions that legends of dragons were based on ancient cultures discovering dinosaur bones. imps. History The Dwarves were made by Aulë. first attested in stories from the Middle Ages. dwarves. mischievous or outright evil. opposite of the more benevolent faeries and spirits of lore. Ilúvatar was however not willing to suffer that the Dwarves should come before the Firstborn (Elves). does correlate to how Neanderthals probably looked.

much like the pixies of Great Britain. tip over pails of milk. . Various (sometimes conflicting) abilities and attributes have been given to them. and slightly high- pitched voice. hide small objects. goblins have been portrayed as green in color. crooked in dark places and cause trouble. Like many similar creatures. it is still widely known (althoug h how remains mysterious) what they look like underneath their invisibility. They are usually believed to be shorter than human beings. Goblins are often believed to be nomadic. they have the characteristics of spirits rather than beings existing in the physical world. or malevolent. and thus act as phantoms. depending upon the source. or even stealing human babies and replacing them with ugly goblin babies (changelings). However. While from a folkloric perspective their origin may not be known. raspy sounding. Goblins are often depicted as possessing a coarse. evil-doers dangerous to human beings. Despite local variations. but this is only a modern tradition. In recent depictions. their brow is fully covered with thick hair and their mouth is filled with yellowed. even in traditions where they are invisible. who steal horses to ride at night. Thus. weaving nightmares out of gossamer and inserting them into the ear of a sleeping human. They are either simply tricksters and mischievous. they share similarities with ghosts and and also with demons as associated with some Christian teachings and lore. never staying too long in one place. speaking human languages along with their own. Some believe that goblins are more malevolent. stealing human women and children and hiding them away underground. In some cultures. but in more recent years. they are more tricksters. they can either be stout or thin. like immature children. goblins have almost universally been described as troublemakers. and possessing a cunning intellect. and alter signposts. there were mythological tales that recount it: Description Goblins are grotesque fairies that can range from dwarf height to human height. the term has become more concentrated on green-creatures that live in caves and terrorize children. Many characteristics have been attributed to the generic term of goblin. A goblin smile is said to curdle blood and a laugh to sour milk and cause fruit to fall from trees. Some accounts claim they are mostly invisible to the human eye.

in his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft. but left at some point in history. abundant hair. however. and the jötnar of Norse mythology). saying they are both shy and reclusive. the villainous giants in The BFG. variants of ogres can be . kidnap. Shrek and Fiona from Shrek. along with Scottish bogles to all correspond with a caricature of the Sami people. Grendel from "Beowulf". giants are often given ogrish traits (such as the giants in "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Jack the Giant Killer". manlike being that eats ordinary human beings. who would then attack. They appear in many classic works of literature. unusually colored skin. Since goblins are similar to faeries and other spirits of Europe. and are most often associated in fairy tales and legend with a taste for infants. and in fiction. choose to show ogres in a somewhat brighter light. While commonly depicted as an unintelligent and clumsy enemy. ascribed gnomes. and a strong body. Sir Walter Scott. Goblins could possibly come from the belief that. kobolds. Ogres frequently feature in mythology. it is possible that they share a similar origin. The idea of the ogre has been used as a method of instilling good behavior in children by suggesting that bad behavior attracted and excited ogres. and the oni of Japanese folklore. or even eat the perpetrator. a voracious appetite. Other characters sometimes described as ogres include the title character from "Bluebeard". Ogres are closely linked with giants and with human cannibals in mythology.Origin There is no consensus on the origin of goblin myths. and fiction throughout the world. a mythical creature often found in fairy tales and folklore. especially the belief in nature spirits and magic. Ogre An ogre (feminine ogress) is a legendary monster usually depicted as a large. Polyphemus the Cyclops from Homer's Odyssey. the Giant Despair in The Pilgrim's Progress. hideous. along with virtuous pagans. Some authors. while ogres may be given giantish traits. especially infants and children. Many scholars believe that such creatures came out of an interest in Paganism and its mysticism. One of the most popular origin stories for Goblins states that they originated in France. and goblins. the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast". there were evil ones that became evil spirits. Famous examples of ogres in folklore include the ogre in Puss and Boots and the ogre in "Hop-o'-My-Thumb". spreading throughout all of Europe. In both folklore and fiction. An ogre (feminine: ogress) is a large and hideous humanoid monster. ogres are often depicted as inhumanly large and tall and having a disproportionately large head. folklore. the cyclops in "Sinbad the Sailor". it is dangerous in that it feeds on its human victims. In mythology. Today. in a cleft of the Pyrenees.

Origin The idea of the ogre often overlaps with that of giants and trolls. and denounced the all worship or respect for such "mound-dwelling" spirits as evil. Some scientists have suggested that these creatures may have been Neanderthals. as well as in popular fiction. With the introduction of Christianity however. the religious elite sought to demonize the pagan cult. fusing knowledge and imagination to suggest that trolls and ogres are a distant memory of an encounter with Neanderthals by Homo sapiens' Cro-Magnon ancestors some 40. This particularly applied to the "founding-father" of the estate. or near. has theorized. They believed that after death a person's spirit continued to live on.found in modern fantasy popular culture. respect. by altars. hence the idea that ogres ate children. the family farm. based on fossil evidence. so it is conceivable that all three mythical creatures have similar origins. was constructed. or burial mound. He resented the slightest liberty that might be taken on. an extinct species of hominids that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia. over whose body a large haugr. such as in video and role-playing games. This revered ancestor's spirit remained "living" in his mound. that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons occupied the same area of Europe at the same time. a guardian over the property. if not fearful. Children playing nearby would cause great outbursts. or near. . or by grave mounds. In this cult the forefathers were worshiped in sacred groves. [3] As new fossil evidence comes to light in Asia. it is conceivable that Asian beliefs in ogres could also be contributed to a collectively shared memory of human ancestors. Spanish paleoanthropologist Juan Luis Arsuaga. This guardian was treated with an awed. The distinguished Swedish-speaking Finnish paleontologist Björn Kurtén has also entertained this theory.000 years ago during their migration into northern Europe. Another explanation for the ogre myth is that the ogres represent the remains of the forefather-cult which was ubiquitous in Scandinavia until the introduction of Christianity in the tenth and eleventh centuries. his resting place.

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