The wyvern is a creature of legend, and a cousin to the dragon. Wyverns are winged, serpent-like creatures. Unlike dragons, wyverns have only two legs, a barbed tail, and cannot breathe fire. Wyverns are smaller than dragons.
The wyvern appears in some western folklore as a malign and violent predator with a fierce head, bat wings, and a tail. It is said to breathe poison. Other accounts tell that the wyvern's most deadly weapon is its poisonous tail stinger. The wyvern has the head of a serpent and the talons of an eagle.
Although they have the strength and ferocity of dragons, wyverns lack the grace and intelligence which are innate to dragons. Wyverns typically prey on deer, goats, and other such creatures. Unlike dragons, which can be sometimes good and sometimes evil, the wyvern is unambiguously malicious.
Wyverns are found often in heraldry. The wyvern represents war, envy, and pestilence, and is a sign of strength to those who bear it.
The origin of the word wyvern comes from thirteenth-century word wyver, which in turn is derived from the French wyvere, which means both "viper" and "life."
The wyvern is also similar to the basilisk and the cockatrice.
The name basilisk comes from the Greek basileus, which means king. The basilisk was the King of the snakes and the most poisonous creature on earth. His appearance has always been a matter of dispute since there is no way to see a basilisk and survive. Looking at it, according to legend, brings death.
The basilisk was depicted in a few illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages but appeared much more often as an ornamental detail in church architecture, adorning capitals and medallions. The best representation of the basilisk is found in the decorative field of heraldry where the basilisk had the head and legs of a cock, a snake-like tail, and a body like a bird’s. It seems that the wings could be depicted as either being covered with feathers or scales.
The antique Romans called him "regulus" or little king, not only because of his crown, but because he terrorized all other creatures with his deadly look and poison. His color was yellow, sometimes with a kind of blackish hue. Plinius mentioned a white spot on his head, which could be misinterpreted as a diadem or a crown. Others speak of three spikes on his forehead.
Regarding his dangerousness rural legends distinguishes three main types. All three had a deadly breath, which could even make rocks crumble.
The special characteristics of the Basilisk have led many to believe that the monster has arisen from nothing more than the tales of the Egyptian cobra, whose characteristics have, from oral transmission, been exaggerated. This cobra has a white marking on its head, powerful venom that he spits without the need to bite, and the ability to move with its head held upright. The mongoose, rather like a weasel, can kill cobras.
CockatriceEditA cockatrice is a legendary creature, essentially a two-legged dragon with a rooster's head. "An ornament in the drama and poetry of the Elizabethans", Laurence Breiner described it. "The cockatrice, which no one ever saw, was born by accident at the end of the twelfth century and died in the middle of the seventeenth, a victim of the new science."
The cockatrice was first described in its current form in the late twelfth century.
The Oxford English Dictionary gives a derivation from Old French cocatris, from medieval Latin calcatrix, a translation of the Greek ichneumon, meaning tracker. The twelfth century legend was based on a reference in Pliny's Natural History that the ichneumon lay in wait for the crocodile to open its jaws for the trochilus bird to enter and pick its teeth clean. An extended description of the cockatriz by the 15th-century Spanish traveler in Egypt, Pedro Tafur, makes it clear that the Nile crocodile is intended.
According to Alexander Neckam's De naturis rerum (ca 1180), the cockatrice was supposed to be born from an egg laid by a cock and incubated by a toad; a snake might be substituted in re-tellings. Cockatrice became seen as synonymous with basilisk when the basiliscus in Bartholomeus Anglicus' De proprietatibus rerum (ca 1260) was translated by John Trevisa as cockatrice (1397). A basilisk, however, is usually depicted without wings.
ts reputed magical abilities include turning people to stone or killing them by either looking at them—"the death-darting eye of Cockatrice"—touching them, or sometimes breathing on them.
It was repeated in the late-medieval bestiaries that the weasel is the only animal that is immune to the glance of a cockatrice. It was also thought that a cockatrice would die instantly upon hearing a rooster crow, and according to legend, having a cockatrice look itself in a mirror is one of the few sure-fire ways to kill it.The cockatrice was also able to fly with the set of wings affixed to its back.
Like the head of Medusa, the cockatrice's powers of petrification were thought still active after death.
Dragons are mythical creatures that appear in many different cultures and time periods. Dragons have been described as monsters, serpents, reptiles, or beasts. There is something magical about dragons that has kept our intrigue over many centuries.
Dragons are usually thought to have wings and breathe fire. They also are said to have scales and claws. Some also have horns. Almost always they are said to be venomous. Some dragons may have two or more heads. They may also have more than one tail. They may have two, four or even more legs; however, most are known to have four legs. Dragons are said to eat things such as rats, birds, snakes, bats, or even humans, especially children.Dragons are very intelligent creatures. They live in remote areas, far away from humans, in places that are dark, damp and secluded, such as caves. Dragons were first thought of as creatures who lived in water. Later they became associated with fire. Sea serpents may have been the first dragons, and may be the reason for this association. Almost all dragon stories portray the dragon as the villain from whom the hero must protect the city or the princess. But some dragons can take on the form of the protector. The biggest differences in dragons usually come from different cultures, especially the cultures of the East and the West. Each culture seems to have their own idea about dragons.
Dragons cannot be put all into one group, as there are so many dragons. Each culture seems to have their own type of dragon, and each of these dragons is usually very different. Some people have said that dragons once existed, maybe during the time of the dinosaurs. Others believe that dragons began around the same time the earth began. A few people even claim to have seen a dragon in their life time. Of these people who claim to have seen one, they usually agree that it was humans who finally defeated the dragons.
But most of all, dragons are fascinating, magical creatures who have captivated our attention for thousands of years. The many different kinds of dragons and the ability for us to use our imagination to create these creatures only adds to their appeal. Many stories have been told about these great beings and it seems like dragons are a part of our mythical history. Whether these creatures are or ever were real probably doesn't matter due to the fact that the imagination can create them in almost any situation.
Dragons have often been used in art work. Pictures or sculptures of dragons seem mysterious and magical. Fashion has found style in these magical creatures, especially in the Eastern dragons.
Sea serpents Edit
A sea serpent or sea dragon is a type of sea monster either wholly or partly serpentine.
Sightings of sea serpents have been reported for hundreds of years, and continue to be claimed today. Cryptozoologist Bruce Champagne identified more than 1,200 purported sea serpent sightings. It is currently believed that the sightings can be best explained as known animals such as oarfish and whales. Some cryptozoologists have suggested that the sea serpents are relict plesiosaurs, mosasaurs or other Mesozoic marine reptiles, an idea often associated with lake monsters such as the Loch Ness Monster.
In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr, or "Midgarðsormr" was a sea serpent so long that it encircled the entire world, Midgard. Some stories report of sailors mistaking its back for a chain of islands. Sea serpents also appear frequently in later Scandinavian folklore, particularly in that of Norway.
In 1028 AD, Saint Olaf killed and threw onto the mountain Syltefjellet in Valldal, Norway a sea serpent, the marks of which are still visible. In Swedish ecclesiastic and writer Olaus Magnus's Carta marina, many marine monsters of varied form, including an immense sea serpent, appear. Moreover, in his 1555 work History of the Northern Peoples, Magnus gives the following description of a Norwegian sea serpent: Those who sail up along the coast of Norway to trade or to fish, all tell the remarkable story of how a serpent of fearsome size, 200 feet long and 20 feet wide, resides in rifts and caves outside Bergen. On bright summer nights this serpent leaves the caves to eat calves, lambs and pigs, or it fares out to the sea and feeds on sea nettles, crabs and similar marine animals. It has ell-long hair hanging from its neck, sharp black scales and flaming red eyes. It attacks vessels, grabs and swallows people, as it lifts itself up like a column from the water. Sea serpents were known to sea-faring cultures in the Mediterranean and Near East, appearing in both mythology (the Babylonian Labbu) and in apparent eye-witness accounts (Aristotle's Historia Animalium). In the Aeneid, a pair of sea serpents killed Laocoön and his sons when Laocoön argued against bringing the Trojan Horse into Troy.
The Bible refers to Leviathan and Rahab, from the Hebrew Tanakh, although 'great creatures of the sea' (NIV) are also mentioned in Book of Genesis 1:21. In the Book of Amos 9:3 speaks of a serpent to bite the people who try to hide in the sea from God.
Hans Egede, the national saint of Greenland, gives an 18th century descriptions of a sea serpent. On 6 July 1734 his ship sailed past the coast of Greenland when suddenly those on board "saw a most terrible creature, resembling nothing they saw before. The monster lifted its head so high that it seemed to be higher than the crow's nest on the mainmast. The head was small and the body short and wrinkled. The unknown creature was using giant fins which propelled it through the water. Later the sailors saw its tail as well. The monster was longer than our whole ship", wrote Egede. (Mareš, 1997) Sea serpent sightings on the coast of New England, are documented beginning in 1638. An incident in August 1817 spawned a rather silly mix-up when a committee of the New England Linnaean Society went so far as to give a deformed terrestrial snake the name Scoliophis atlanticus, believing it was the juvenile form of a sea serpent that had recently been reported in Gloucester Harbor. The Gloucester Harbor serpent was claimed to have been seen by hundreds of New England residents, including the crews of four whaling boats that reportedly sought out the serpent in the harbor. Rife with political undertones, the serpent was known in the harbor region as "Embargo." Sworn statements made before a local Justice of the Peace and first published in 1818 were never recanted. After the Linnaean Society's misidentification was discovered, it was frequently cited by debunkers as evidence that the creature did not exist.
A particularly famous sea serpent sighting was made by the men and officers of HMS Daedalus in August 1848 during a voyage to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic; the creature they saw, some 60 feet (18 m) long, held a peculiar maned head above the water. The sighting caused quite a stir in the London papers, and Sir Richard Owen, the famous English biologist, proclaimed the beast an elephant seal. Other explanations for the sighting proposed that it was actually an upside-down canoe, or a posing giant squid.
Another sighting took place in 1905 off the coast of Brazil. The crew of the Valhalla and two naturalists, Michael J. Nicoll and E. G. B. Meade-Waldo, saw a long-necked, turtle headed creature, with a large dorsal fin. Based on its dorsal fin and the shape of its head, some (such as Heuvelmans) have suggested that the animal was some sort of marine mammal. A skeptical suggestion is that the sighting was of a posing giant squid, but this is hard to accept given that squids do not swim with their fins or arms protruding from the water.
On April 25, 1977, the Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru, sailing east of Christchurch, New Zealand, caught a strange, unknown creature in the trawl. Photographs and tissue specimens were taken. While initially identified as a prehistoric plesiosaur, analysis later indicated that the body was the carcass of a basking shark.Edit
Skeptics and debunkers have questioned the interpretation of sea serpent sightings, suggesting that reports of serpents are misidentifications of things such as cetaceans (whales and dolphins), sea snakes, eels, basking sharks, baleen whales, oarfish, large pinnipeds, seaweed, driftwood, flocks of birds, and giant squid.
While most cryptozoologists recognize that at least some reports are simple misidentifications, they claim that many of the creatures described by those who have seen them look nothing like the known species put forward by skeptics and claim that certain reports stick out. For their part, the skeptics remain unconvinced, pointing out that even in the absence of out-right hoaxes, imagination has a way of twisting and inflating the slightly out-of-the-ordinary until it becomes extraordinary.
A recent posting on the Centre of Fortean Zoology blog by Cryptozoologist Dale Drinnon notes his check of the categories in Heuvelmans' In The Wake of the Sea-Serpents, in which he extracted the mistaken observation categories as a control to check the Sea-serpent categories by using the reports he created identikits for the mistaken observations and enlarged them to possibly 126 of Heuvelmans' sightings, making the mistaken observations the largest section of Heuvelmans' reports. His identikits include oarfish, basking sharks, toothed whales, baleen whales, lines of large whales for the largest Sea-serpent "hump" sightings and trains of smaller cetaceans for the "Many-finned,elephant seals and manta rays. Each of these categories was given a percentage of the whole body of reports, ranging between 1% and 5% with the whales at an average 2.5%, figures which he considers comparable to the regular Sea-serpent categories of Super-eel and Marine Saurian (each of which he breaks into a larger and a smaller sized series following Heuvelmans' suggestion in In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents) Drinnon has also published in the 2010 CFZ yearbook in which he modifies Coleman's categories (below), adding a possible Giant otter category to the Giant Beavers and modifying several others, bringing the total to 17 categories to broaden the coverage. The broadened coverage allows more instances of conventional fishes such as sturgeons and catfishes, left off Coleman's list. In a separate and earlier CFZ blog, Drinnon reviewed Bruce Champagne's sea-serpent categories and identified several of them as known animals, and several whales in particular Drinnon basically recognises the Longneck, Marine Saurian and Super-eel categories in this blog as well, with the modification that the Marine Saurian as spoken of by Champagne is more likely a large crocodile akin to C. porosis and that there has been a suggestion that an eel-like animal is involved in certain "Many-finned" observations. The whale categories he identifies are: BC 2A-Possible Odobenocetops, BC2B, Atlantic gray whale or Scrag Whale, BC 4B, as being similar to an unidentified large-finned beaked whale otherwise reported in the Pacific, and BC 5, the large Father-of-All-the-Turtles, as a humpback whale turned turtle.
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra (Ancient Greek: Λερναία Ὕδρα) was an ancient serpent-like chthonic water beast, with reptilian traits (as its name evinces), that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly. The Hydra of Lerna was killed by Heracles as the second of his Twelve Labours. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, though archaeology has borne out the myth that the sacred site was older even than the Mycenaean city of Argos since Lerna was the site of the myth of the Danaids. Beneath the waters was an entrance to the Underworld, and the Hydra was its guardian.
The Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna (Theogony, 313), both of whom were noisome offspring of the earth goddess Gaia.