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Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.

~Homer

A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Legendary creature, bestiary and bizzare people

Oni  are creatures from  Japanese folklore,  variously translated as demons, devils, ogres, or trolls. 

Depictions of oni vary widely but usually portray them as hideous, gigantic ogre-like creatures with sharp claws,  wild hair, and two long horns growing from their heads. They are humanoid for the most part, but occasionally, they are shown with unnatural features such as odd numbers of eyes or extra fingers and toes. Their skin may be any number of colors, but red and blue are particularly common.

The word "oni" is sometimes speculated to be derived from on, the on'yomi reading of a character  meaning to hide or conceal, as oni were originally invisible spirits or gods which caused disasters, disease, and other unpleasant things. These nebulous beings could also take on a variety of forms to deceive (and often devour) humans.
Some villages hold yearly ceremonies to drive away oni, particularly at the beginning of Spring. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oni



Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) Multi-eyed Oni




 Japanese Oni demon mask



Kyosai Kawanabe, 1864 depiction of an oni chanting a Buddhist prayer. The oni (ogre or demon) is dressed in the robes of a wandering Buddhist priest. He carries a gong, a striker, and a hogacho (Buddhist subscription list).

Kappa (river -child"), alternatively called Kawatarō ( "river-boy"),Komahiki (“horse puller”), or Kawako (, "river-child"), are legendary creatures,  a type of water  spirit found in Japanese folklore. . In Shinto they are considered to be one of many suijin (“water deity”). A hair-covered variation of a Kappa is called a Hyōsube.

Kappa are typically depicted as roughly humanoid in form, and about the size of a child. Their scaly, reptilian skin ranges in color from green to yellow or blue.Kappa supposedly inhabit the  ponds  and rivers of Japan and have various features to aid them in this environment, such as webbed hands and feet. They are sometimes said to smell like fish, and they can certainly swim like them.

Kappa are usually seen as mischievous troublemakers or trickster figures. Their pranks range from the relatively innocent, such as loudly passing gas or looking up women's kimonos, to the malevolent, such as drowning people and animals, kidnapping children, and raping women.
As water monsters, kappa have been frequently blamed for drownings, and are often said to try to lure people to the water and pull them in with their great skill at  wrestling. They are sometimes said to take their victims for the purpose of drinking their blood, eating their livers or gaining power by taking their shirikodama, a mythical ball said to contain their soul which is located inside the anus. Even today, signs warning about kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages. Kappa are also said to victimize animals, especially horses and cows; the motif of the kappa trying to drown horses is found all over Japan. In these stories, if a kappa is caught in the act, it can be made to apologize, sometimes in writing. This usually takes place in the stable where the kappa attempted to attack the horse, which is considered the place where the kappa is most vulnerable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_(folklore)

 Katsushika Hokusai , Kappa

 Kappa

 Kitagawa Utamaro

                                                                   Kappa

Tengu ("heavenly dog") in Japanese foloklore are one of the best known  yokai (monster-spirits) and are sometimes worshiped as Shinto kami (revered spirits or gods). Although they take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon ( Tiangou), the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey,  and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics. The earliest tengu were pictured with beaks, but this feature has often been humanized as an unnaturally long nose, which today is widely considered the tengu's defining characteristic in the popular imagination.

  Buddhism long held that the tengu were disruptive demons and harbingers of war. Their image gradually softened, however, into one of protective, if still dangerous,  spirits of the mountains and forests. Tengu are associated with the ascetic practice known as  Shugendo,  and they are usually depicted in the distinctive garb of its followers, the yamabushi.
The term tengu and the characters used to write it are borrowed from the name of a fierce demon from Chinese folklore called tiāngoǔ. Chinese literature assigns this creature a variety of descriptions, but most often it is a fierce and anthropophagous canine monster that resembles a shooting star or comet. It makes a noise like thunder and brings war wherever it falls.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengu


Katsushika Hokusai, Tengu

 Katsushika Hokusai

 Tengu  mask

  Kawanabe Kyosai, Tengu and a Buddhist monk



Katsushika Hokusai, A woman makes a cursing ritual ceremony

In  Buddhist mythology,  Yama (Sanskrit: यम) is a dharmapala (wrathful god) said to judge the dead and preside over the Narakes  ("Hells" or "Purgatories") and the cycle of reberth. In Hinduism,  Yama was the son of sun god Surya  and presided over  Naraka,  the Hindu underworld.
In Chinese mythology,  Yan  is the god of death and the ruler of Diyu. From  Vedic Sanskrit Yama Rājā ( "King Yama"), he is also known as Yanluowang . In both ancient and modern times, Yan is portrayed as a large man with a scowling red face, bulging eyes, and a long beard. He wears traditional robes and a judge's cap or a crown which bears the character 王, "king." He typically appears on Chinese hell money  in the position reserved for political figures on regular currency.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yama_%28Buddhism_and_Chinese_mythology%29

 Photo of Yamantaka Vajrabhairav taken at the British Museum

Diyu  is the realm of the dead or " hell" in Chinese mythology.  Diyu is typically depicted as an underground maze with various levels and chambers, to which souls are taken after death to atone for the sins they committed when they were alive. The exact number of levels in Diyu and their associated deities differ between Buddhist and Taoist interpretations. Some speak of three to four "courts"; others mention "Ten Courts of Hell", each of which is ruled by a judge (collectively known as the Ten Yama Kings); other Chinese legends speak of the "Eighteen Levels of Hell". Each court deals with a different aspect of atonement and different punishments; most legends claim that sinners are subjected to gruesome tortures until their "deaths", after which they are restored to their original state for the torture to be repeated again.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyu



Illustration from the  Jade Record: Sinners are being tortured in the sixth court of hell by hammering metal spikes into the body; skinning alive; sawing body in half; and having to kneel on metal filings.

It reminds me Botticelli's  and Blake's circle of hell.


 Sandro Botticelli, Chart of Hell

 William Blake - Arrangement of Circle of Hell

Ahriman is the Avestan name for one of the two twin-spirits created by Ahura Mazda, the Middle Persian name was  Angra Mainyu.  Ahriman is presented in  Avesta, the central collection of religious writings in the religion, as having chosen evil consciously, and by this act he created death. The central subject of Zoroastrian teaching and theology is the constant ongoing battle between Ahriman and Ahura Mazda.
The principal epithet of Ahriman was Druj, "The Lie". Druj was expressed by greed, wrath and envy. Ahriman created an army of demons  to promote the many forms of Druj. In Zoroastrianism, it is expected that Ahriman finally will be defeated, that his demons will slaughter one another and he will be killed.

http://i-cias.com/e.o/ahriman.htm



Bakeneko (" monster- cat"), in japanese folklore, refers to cat yokai (spiritual beings) with supernatural abilities akin to those of the kitsune (fox) or tanuki (raccoon dog). There are a number of superstitions that detail how ordinary cat may transform into a bakeneko. Bakeneko then haunt and menace their household.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakeneko


Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Apparition of the monstrous cat

  Bakeneko

 Bakeneko

Cats have been held in a very low esteem, might be that in some version recounting the death of the Buddha, they appear as the only animals not to weep. In Kuniyoshi's time, it was believed that when a girl visited a temple after dark, she took the risk of being greeted by an old woman who would offer her to stay the night. Once inside the house, the old woman would become a witch and devour her. Therefore, a cat around a temples could be the witch in a cat form.
Kitsune  is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of  Japanese folkore;  in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. Foremost among these is the ability to assume human form.  While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitsune



Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Prince Hanzoku terrorized by nine- tailed fox

 Katsushika Hokusai

In Irish mythtology, the Fomoire (or Fomorians) are a semi-divine race said to have inhabited ireland in ancient times. They may have once been believed to be the beings who preceded the gods, similar to the Greek  Titans.
They are sometimes said to have had the body of a man and the head of a  goat, according to an 11th century text in Lebor na hUidre(the Book of the Dun Cow), or to have had one eye, one arm and one leg, but some, for example Elatha,   the father of  Bre, were very beautiful. Bres himself carries the epithet "the Beautiful."

 The Fomorians, John Duncan's interpretation of the sea gods of Irish mythology

The hippocamp or hippocampus, also hippokampoi (plural: hippocamps or hippocampi; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, "horse" and κάμπος, "monster"), often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognized is purely Greek.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocamp

  William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Arion on a Sea Horse

Amphisbaena , a  Greek word, from amphis, meaning "both ways", and bainein, meaning "to go", also called the Mother of Ants, is a  mythological ant-eating serpent with a head at each end. According to  Greek mythology,  the amphisbaena was spawned from the blood that dripped from the gorgon Medusa's head as  Perseus flew over the Libyan Desert with it in his hand. Cato's army then encountered it along with other serpents on the march. Amphisbaenae fed off of the corpses left behind. The amphisbaena has been referred to by the poets,  such as nicander,  John Milton, Alexander Pope, Percy Bysshe, Shelley, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and A. E. Housman.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaena


Amphisbaena

This early description of the amphisbaena depicts a venomous, dual-headed snakelike creature. However,  Medival and later drawings often show it with two or more scaled feet, particularly chicken feet, and feathered wings. Some even depict it as a horned, dragon-like creature with a serpent-headed tail and small, round ears, while others have both "necks" of equal size so that it cannot be determined which is the rear head.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphisbaena


A 15th-century amphisbaena on a  misericied in Buckinghamshire

Simurgh, also spelled simorghsimurgsimoorg or simourv, also known as Angha, is the modern  Persian name for a benevolent, mythical flying creature. The figure can be found in all periods of  Greater Iranian art and literature, and is evident also in the iconography of medieval Armenia,the Byzantine empire  and other regions that were within the sphere of Persian cultural influence. The mythical bird is also found in the mythology of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia and is called KerkésSemrugSemurgSamran and Samruk.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simurgh

 Simurgh,  Sassanian Royal Symbol

 Sassanid silver plate of a simurgh (Sēnmurw), 7-8th c. CE Sassanid

The manticore ( Early Middle Persian Martyaxwar) is a Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark, and a  trumpet-like voice. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a  scorpion, and it may shoot poisonous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims. It devours its prey whole and leaves no clothes, bones, or possessions of the prey behind.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manticore


Manticore

Al-Burāq (Arabic: البُراق‎ al-Burāq "lightning") is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The most commonly told story is how in the 7th century, Al-Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad  from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the  Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is the title of one of the chapters  (sura), Al-Isra, of the  Qur'an.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buraq

 A Buraq seen on a reproduction of a 17th century Indian Mughal miniature
 
cockatrice is a mythical beast, essentially a two-legged dragon with a rooster's head. "An ornament in the drama and poetry of" the  Elizabethans", Laurence Breiner described it. It featured prominently in English thought and myth for centuries.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockatrice

 A cockatrice overdoor at  Belvedere Castle(1869) in New York's Central Park

Zahhāk or Zohhāk is an evil figure in Iranian mythology, evident in ancient Iranian folklore as Aži Dahāka, the name by which he also appears in the texts of the  Avesta. In Middle Persian he is called Dahāg or Bēvar-Asp, the latter meaning "[he who has] 10,000 horses". Within Zoroastrianism , Zahhak (going under the name Aži Dahāka) is considered the son of Angra Mainyu, the foe of  Ahura Mazda.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahhak


Ajdahak_Dream

Aži (nominative ažiš ) is Iranian avéstico for the word " serpiente" or " dragón". to Vedaic Sancrito is Compatible there of the word, " serpent ", and without a sinister implication. Azi and is remote There of  Greek ophis, and Latin anguis, that means " serpiente".
Aži Dahāka is the source of the modern Persian word azhdahā or ezhdehā اژدها (in Persian half Azdahag' ) That means " dragón", used often of a dragoon represented in a flag of the war.
http://www.myetymology.com/encyclopedia/Zahhak.html

Zakhhak is a demonic dragon in the lore of Ancient Persian and Zoroastrian mythology who is in the service of Angra Mainyu.he is the personification of evil. Born of an Arab ruler named Merdas and a women named Wadag who was a great sinner, she went on to take her son, Zahhak as a lover.
He was originally described as a monstrous dragon with six eyes, three heads (one of which is human) and three mouths: text later describe him as a human with a snake growing of each shoulder.
Theresa Bane, Encyclopedia of Demons
 http://books.google.ca/books?id=njDRfG6YVb8C&pg=PT1534&lpg=...


nasnas is a monstrous creature in Near Eastern folklore. According to Edward Lane, the 19th century translator of  Yhe Thousand and One Nights, a nasnas is "half a human being; having half a head, half a body, one arm, one leg, with which it hops with much agility". It was believed to be the offspring of a demon called a Shikk and a human being. A character in "The Story of the Sage and the Scholar", a tale from the collection, is turned into a nasnas after a magician applies kohl to one of his eyes. The nasnas is mentioned in Gustave Flaubert's The Temptation of St Anthony.  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasnas

It reminds me about  Grunewald and Bosch. 

Matthias GRÜNEWALD, The Temptation of St Anthony


 The Temptation of St Anthony (detail)

 The Temptation of St Anthony (detail)

 The Temptation of St Anthony (detail)

 The Temptation of St Anthony (detail)


Hieronymus BOSCH, Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (right wing)


 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

 Triptych of Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)

Ancient Greek and Roman writers filled the unexplored reaches of the world with fabulous and bizarre tribes of men. The most famous catalog of these is found in Pliny's Natural History, a book which inspired medieval bestiaries and the illustrators of old maps. The following collection of images is from the Nurenberg Chronicle of 1493.
http://www.theoi.com/greek-mythology/fabulous-tribes.html

The Nuremberg Chronicle is an illustrated Biblical paraphrase and world history that follows the story of human history related in the Bible; it includes the histories of a number of important Western cities. Written in Latin by Hartmann Schedel,  with a version in German translation by Georg Alt, it appeared in 1493. It is one of the best-documented early printed books—an incnabulum —and one of the first to successfully integrate illustrations and text.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Chronicle

THE SATYROI & AIGIPANES LIBYES were tribes of  Satyr- and Pan-like men or beasts believed to inhabit the Atlas Mountains of North-West Africa.
They were closely related to the  Satyroi Nesioi. The  Ethiopian Satyr encountered by Philostratus was probably also of the same breed.

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 6. 197 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Rising from the sea at the middle of the coast [of the Atlantic coast of Aithiopia (Africa)] is a mountain of great height which glows with eternal fires--its Greek name is the Chariot of the Gods; and four days' voyage from it is the cape called the Horn of the West, on the confine of Africa, adjacent to the Western Aethiopes [black Africans]. Some authorities also report hills of moderate height in this region, clad with agreeable shady thickets and belonging to Aegipanes and Satyri (Satyrs)."


 Aegipan from the Nurenburg Chronicle, 1493

THE ARIMASPOI (or Arimaspians) were a tribe of one-eyed men who lived at the foot of the Rhipaion Mountains (probably the Carpathians) in northern Skythia.
They were constantly at war with the gold-guarding, mountain-dwelling Grypes  (Griffins)--winged beasts with the heads of eagles and the bodies of lions.

 
Herodotus, Histories 3. 116. 1 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"But in the north of Europe there is by far the most gold. In this matter again I cannot say with assurance how the gold is produced, but it is said that one-eyed men called Arimaspoi (Arimaspians) steal it from Grypes (Griffins). The most outlying lands, though, as they enclose and wholly surround all the rest of the world, are likely to have those things which we think the finest and the rarest."


Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 24. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Grypas (Griffins), Aristeas of Prokonnesos [Greek poet C7th B.C.] says in his poem, fight for the gold with the Arimaspoi (Arimaspians) beyond the Issedones. The gold which the Grypas (Griffins) guard, he says, comes out of the earth; the Arimaspoi are men all born with one eye; Grypas are beasts like lions, but with the beak and wings of an eagle."


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 10 :
"Also a tribe is reported next to these [i.e. the tribes of Skythia], towards the North, not far from the actual quarter where Aquilo [Boreas the North Wind] rises and the cave that bears its name, the place called the Earth's Door-Bolt (Ges Clithron)--the Arimaspi whom we have spoke of already, people remarkable for having one yes in the centre of their forehead. Many authorities, the most distinguished being Herodotus [Greek historian C5th B.C.] and Aristeas of Proconnesus [Greek poet C7th B.C.], write that these people wage continual war with the Grypes (Griffins), a kind of wild beast with wings, as commonly reported, that digs gold out of mines, which the creatures guard and the Arimaspi try to take from them, both with remarkable covetousness."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Arimaspoi.html



Detail of a Skythian-Arimasp warrior battling a Gryps (Griffin).Period: Classical

THE BLEMMYAI or STERNOPHTHALMOI "chest-eyes" were a tribe tribe of headless men whose faces were set upon their chests. They were said to dwell in either Africa or India.
The Chest-Eyes were very popular in Medieval bestiaries and in the illustrations filling the Terra Incognita of old maps.


Herodotus, Histories 4. 191. 3 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"For the eastern region of Libya [i.e. North Africa], which the nomads inhabit, is low-lying and sandy as far as the Triton river; but the land west of this, where the farmers live, is exceedingly mountainous and wooded and full of wild beasts. In that country are the huge snakes and the lions, and the elephants and bears and asps, the horned asses, the Dog-Headed (Kynokephaloi) and the Headless (Akephaloi) men that have their eyes in their chests, as the Libyans say, and the wild men and women, besides many other creatures not fabulous."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Sternophthalmoi.html

Centaurs were a tribe of half man, half horse savages which inhabited the mountains and forests of Magnesia. They were a primitive race who made their homes in mountain caves, hunted wild animals for food and armed themselves with rocks and tree branches.
http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/KentauroiThessalioi.html



The condition of cynocephaly, having the head of a  dog — or of a jackal— is a widely attested mythical phenomenon existing in many different forms and contexts.
Cynocephaly was familiar to the Ancient Greeks from representations of the  Egyptian god Hapi (the son of Horus) and Anubis (the Egyptian god of the dead). The Greek word (Greek: κῠνοκέφᾰλοι) "dog-head" also identified a sacred Egyptian  baboon with the face of a dog.

Reports of dog-headed races can also be traced back to Greek antiquity. In the fifth century BC, the Greek physician  Ctesias wrote a detailed report on the existence of cynocephali in India. Similarly, the Greek traveler Megasthenes  claimed to know about dog-headed people in India who lived in the mountains, communicated through barking, wore the skins of wild animals and lived by hunting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynocephaly



 Traditional eastern depiction of a dog-headed Saint Christopher: an icon from the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens

 Cynocephali illustrated in the  Kievan Psalter, 1397

 Sebastian Münster, An engraving showing (from left to right) a monopod, or sciapod, a female cyclops, conjoined twins, a  blemmye, and a  cynocephaly.

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 40A (from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1358) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"[The Boreades pursued the Harpyiai (Harpies)] to the lands of the Massagetai and of the proud Hemikunes (Hemicynes) (Half-Dog men), of the Katoudaioi (Catoudaei) (Underground-folk) . . . Huge Gaia (Earth) bare these to Epaphos . . . Aithiopes (Ethiopians) and Libys [i.e. Gaia was the mother by Epaphos of all the African tribes].


Herodotus, Histories 4. 191. 3 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
"For the eastern region of Libya, which the Nomads inhabit, is low-lying and sandy as far as the Triton river; but the land west of this, where the farmers live, is exceedingly mountainous and wooded and full of wild beasts. In that country are the huge snakes and the lions, and the elephants and bears and asps, the horned asses, the Kunokephaloi (Cynocephali) (Dog-Headed) and the Headless Men that have their eyes in their chests, as the Libyans say, and the wild men and women, besides many other creatures not fabulous."


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 23 :
"Megasthenes [a Greek historian C4th B.C.] states that . . . [in the Indian] mountains there is a tribe of human beings with dogs' heads, who wear a covering of wild beasts skins, whose speech is a bark and who live on the produce of hunting and fowling, for which they sue their nails as weapons; he says that they numbered more than 120,000 when he published his work."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Kunokephaloi.html

THE GEGENEES were a  tribe of six-armed giants who fought the Argonauts on Bear Mountain in Mysia.


 Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"In the Propontis there is an island sloping steeply to the sea, close to the rich mainland of Phrygia, and parted from it only by a low isthmus barely raised above the waves. The isthmus, with its two shores, lies east of the River Aisepos (Aesepus); and the place itself is called Bear Mountain by the people round about. It is inhabited by a fierce and lawless tribe of aborigines, who present an astounding spectacle to their neighbors. Each of these earthborn monsters is equipped with six great arms, two springing from his shoulders, and four below from his prodigious flanks. But the isthmus and the plain belong to the Doliones, who had for king the noble Kyzikos (Cyzicus) . . . These people were never troubled by the fearsome aborigines: Poseidon, from whom they were descended, saw to that.

http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/GigantesGegenees.html

THE GORGADES were atribe inhabiting certain islands off the Atlantic coast of Africa whose woman folk were entirely covered in hair.


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 6. 200 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Opposite this cape [the Atlantic coast of Africa] also there are reported to be some islands, the Gorgades [perhaps the Canary Islands], which were formerly the habitation of the Gorgones, and which according to the account of Xenophon of Lampsacus are at a distance of two days' sail from the mainland. These islands were reached by the Carthaginian general Hanno, who reported that the women had hair all over their bodies, but that the men were so swift of foot that they got away; and he deposited the skins of two of the female natives in the Temple of Juno [i.e. the Carthaginian goddess equivalent to Juno] as proof of the truth of his story and as curiosities, where they were on show until Carthage was taken by Rome
Outside the Gorgades there are also said to be two Islands of the Hesperides; and the whole of the geography in this neighbourhood is so uncertain that Statius Sevosus has given the voyage along the coast from the Gorgones' Islands past Mount Atlas to the Isles of the Hesperides as forty days’ sail and from those islands to the Horn of the West as one day's sail."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Gorgades.html

THE HIPPOPODES were a tribe of horse-footed men who lived in the mythical islands of the far north.


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 4. 94 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Crossing the Ripaean Mountains [probably the Carpathians in central Europe] must coast to the left along the shore of the northern ocean until we reach Gadis. In this direction a number of islands are reported to exist [perhaps in the Baltic Sea] . . . [and] the Hippopodes on which people are born with horses' feet, which gives them their Greek name."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Hippopodes.html

THE MAKHLYES (or Machlyes) were Libyan tribe of hermaphrodites whose bodies were male on one side and female on the other.


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 15 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Beyond the Nasamones [of Libya] and adjacent to them Calliphanes records the Machlyes, who are androgynous and perform the function of either sex alternatively. Aristotle [Greek philosopher C4th B.C.] adds that their left breast is that of a man and their right breast that of a woman."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Makhlyes.html

THE NULOI (or Nuli) were a  tribe of Indian men with backward-facing, eight-toed feet.
The original Greek spelling of their name would hav been either Nuloi or Nouloi.


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 23 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Megasthenes [Greek historian C4th B.C.] states that on the [Indian] mountain named Nulus there are people with their feet turned backwards and with eight toes on each foot."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Nuloi.html

THE PANOTIOI (or Panotii) were a tribe giant-eared men who dwelt in the cold regions of the far north and who slept snuggled up inside the flaps of their gigantic ears. According to some, they also used these oversized appendages to fly.
Another tribe with gigantic ears were the Pandai or India.


Pliny the Elder, Natural History 4. 94 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"Crossing the Ripaean Mountains [probably the Carpathians in central Europe] must coast to the left along the shore of the northern ocean until we reach Gadis. In this direction a number of islands are reported to exist [perhaps in the Baltic Sea] . . . [and] the Hippopodes on which people are born with horses' feet, which gives them their Greek name; there are others called the Panotiorum (All-Ears Islands) in which the natives have very large ears covering the whole of their bodies, which are otherwise left naked."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Panotioi.html

THE PYGMAIOI (or Pygmies) were a diminutive African tribe who lived on the southern shores of the great earth-encircling  river Oceanus where they were engaged in an eternal war with flocks migrating cranes.
They were described as tiny, black-skinned men who grew to a height of one "pygme" tall, a "pygme" being the length from a man's elbow to nuckle bone (about 1 1/2 foot).
The Pygmies were variously located by the ancients in India (Eastern "Aithiopia") and sub-saharan Africa (Western "Aithiopia"), two realms which were believed to lie in the farthest south along the shore of the Ocean-stream.

 
Homer, The Iliad 3. 3 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"The clamour of cranes goes hight to the heavens, when the cranes escape the winter time and the rains unceasing and clamorously wing their way to streaming Okeanos (Oceanus), bringing the Pygmaioi (Pygmy) men bloodshed and destruction: at daybreak they bring on the baleful battle against them."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Pygmaioi.html

 The god of the river Nile reclining in the waters of his stream, rests his arm on the back of the Sphinx, beside a cornucopia (horn of plenty) brimming with fruit. He is covered with infant-like African Pygmies. period: Imperial Roman

PYGMIES IN LEGEND

The Pygmies was also described as an actual tribe in various ancient pseudo-historical accounts.

Ctesias, Indica (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 72) (trans. Freese) (Greek historian C4th B.C.) :
"In the middle of India there are black men, called Pygmaioi (Pygmies), who speak the same language as the other inhabitants of the country. They are very short, the tallest being only two cubits in height, most of them only one and a half. Their hair is very long, going down to the knees and even lower, and their beards are larger than those of any other men. When their beards are full grown they leave off wearing clothes and let the hair of their head fall down behind far below the knees, while their beard trails down to the feet in front. When their body is thus entirely covered with hair they fasten it round them with a girdle, so that it serves them for clothes. They are snubnosed and ugly. Their sheep are no bigger than lambs, their oxen, asses, horses, mules, and other beasts of burden about the size of rams. Being very skilful archers, 3000 of them attend on the king of India. They are very just and have the same laws as the Indians. They hunt the hare and the fox, not with dogs, but with ravens, kites, crows, and eagles."

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Pygmaioi.html

THE SKIAPODES (or Sciapods) were a tribe of one-legged Ethiopian or Indian men who had a single giant foot which they raised in the air to shade themselves against the hot southern sun.
The Skiapodes were also popular in Medieval bestiaries and map illustrations of the Terra Incognita.

 
Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 23 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"He [Ctesias, Greek historian C5th B.C.] also describes a tribe of men [in India or Ethiopia] called Monocoli who have only one leg, and who move in jumps with surprising speed; the same are called Sciapodes (Shadow-Foots) tribe, because in the hotter weather they lie on their backs on the ground and protect themselves with the shadow of their feet."


Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 45 - 47 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"[The C1st A.D. prophet Apollonios of Tyana asked the Indian sage Iarkhos] about the Men who live Underground (anthropoi hypogen) and the Pygmaioi (Pygmies) also and the Skiapodes (Sciapods) (Shadow-footed men); and larkhas answered his questions thus: ‘. . . As to men that are Skiapodes (Shadow-footed) or Makrokephaloi (Macrocephali) (Long-headed), and as to the other poetical fancies which the treatise of Skylax recounts about them, he said that they didn't live anywhere on the earth, and least of all in India.’"

http://www.theoi.com/Phylos/Skiapodes.html

More strange people from Nuremberg Chronicles page 11-20
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Nuremberg_Chronicle_illu...

 Four eyes people

 Straw Man


 Twelve Fingers People