Manticore
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Source: Museum Meermanno - MMW, 10 B 25 facsimile Copyright 2004 Museum Meermanno Manuscript description Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25, Folio 13r


 

Manticore

Latin name: Manticora

Other names: Baricos

A composite beast with a man's face, a lion's body, and the stinger of a scorpion

 

 
General Attributes

The manticore is a composite beast from India, with a blood-colored lion's body, the face of a man with blue eyes, and a tail resembling the sting of a scorpion. It can leap great distances and is very active. It eats human flesh. Its voice is a whistle that sounds like a melody from pipes. Some say it can shoot spines from its tail.


Sources (chronological order)

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 30): Pliny quotes Ctesias as saying that the mantichora has the face and ears of a human being, grey eyes, a triple row of teeth that meet like the teeth of a comb, a lion's body of a blood-red color, and a voice like a pan-pipe blended with a trumpet. It stings with its tail like a scorpion. It is very fast and has a special appetite for human flesh.

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (De proprietatibus rerum, book 18): It is said, that in India is a beast wonderly shapen, and is like to the bear in body and in hair, and to a man in face. And hath a right red head, and a full great mouth, and an horrible, and in either jaw three rows of teeth distinguished atween. The outer limbs thereof be as it were the outer limbs of a lion, and his tail is like to a wild scorpion, with a sting, and smiteth with hard bristle pricks as a wild swine, and hath an horrible voice, as the voice of a trumpet, and he runneth full swiftly, and eateth men. And among all beasts of the earth is none found more cruel, nor more wonderly shape, as Avicenna saith. And this beast is called Baricos in Greek. (Mediaeval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus (London, 1893/1905) Steele edition of 1905)


Illustration

The shape of the manticore in illustrations varies, but they can be readily identified by their human faces.


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