Beast

Sources : Tiger

Lucan [1st century CE] (Pharsalia, book 1, verse 371-374): "As tigers in Hyrcanian woods / Wandering, or in the caves that saw their birth, / Once having lapped the blood of slaughtered kine, / Shall never cease from rage...". - [Ridley, 1919

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 25; 8, 61): [Book 8, 25] Hyrcania and India produce the tiger, an animal of terrific speed, which is most noticeable when the whole of its litter, which is always numerous, is being captured. The litter is taken by a man lying in wait with the swiftest horse obtainable, and is transferred successively to fresh horses. But when the mother tiger finds the lair empty (for the males do not look after their young) she rushes off at headlong speed, tracking them by scent. The captor when her roar approaches throws away one of the cubs. She snatches it up in her mouth, and returns and resumes the pursuit at even a faster pace owing to her burden, and so on in succession until the hunter has regained the ship and her ferocity rages vainly on the shore. [Book 8, 61] The Indians want hounds to be sired by tigers, and at the breeding season they tie up female dogs in the woods for this purpose. They think that the first and second litters are too fierce and they only rear the third one. - [Rackham translation]

Gaius Julius Solinus [3rd century CE] (De mirabilibus mundi / Polyhistor, Chapter 17.4-7): [Chapter 17.4] This people [Hyrcanians] possesses wild forests, which are abundant in savage beasts, and teem with tigers. [Chapter 17.5] Their remarkable speed and well-known spots have rendered this kind of beast famous. They shine with a tawny color. This tawniness in interspersed with strips of black, and on account of the contrast, the whole is most becoming. I do not know whether speed or endurance contributes more to the swiftness of their feet. No distance is so long that they will not traverse it in a short time; nothing can be so far ahead of them that they will not immediately overtake. [Chapter 17.6] The power of tigresses is especially shown when they are urged on by their maternal feelings, and they pursue those who steal their cubs. Although the thieves arrange to carry away the booty with infinite cunning, and organize a series of fresh horses for themselves, if the sea is not there for their succor, all their daring is in vain. [Chapter 17.7] Tigresses are very often observed to dive from the shore in impotent madness if ever they see the plunderers of their cubs sailing back again, as though castigating their own tardiness with voluntary ruin. However, from all the young, one is scarcely ever carried off. - [Arwen Apps translation, 2011]

Claudian [4th century CE] (The Rape of Proserpine, 3.273): ...the roaring of the Hyrcan tigress whose cubs the terrified horseman has carried off to be the playthings of Persia’s king. Speedier than the west wind that is her paramour rushes the tigress, anger blazing from her stripes, but just as she is about to engulf the terrified hunter in her capacious maw, she is checked by the mirrored image of her own form. - [Platnauer translation, 1922]

Saint Ambrose [4th century CE] (Hexameron, Book 6, 4.21): Nature checks for the moment the ferocity of the tigress and turns her aside as she is on the point of seizing her prey. The minute she discovers that her young have been taken, she sets out on the track of the despoiler. Although he may have the advantage of a fast horse, he is aware that he may be outdone in speed by the wild beast. In a situation where there is available no means of escape he has to resort to the following stratagem. When he perceives that he is being overtaken, he lets fall a glass ball. The [tigress] is deceived by her reflection, thinking that she sees there her young. After being retarded by the deceitful image, she once more expends all her strength in her effort to seize the horseman. Spurred on by rage, she comes closer and closer to her fleeing victim. Again he throws out the glass ball, thus slowing down his pursuer. Yet her remembrance of past deceits does not prevent her from complying with her maternal instincts. She keeps turning over the reflected image that deludes her and settles down on it as if to nurse her young. Thus, deceived by her own maternal solicitude, she suffers at once the forfeiture of her vengeance and the loss of her offspring. - [Savage translation, 1961]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 2:7; 12, 2.28): [Book 12, 2.7] The tiger [tigris] is so called because of its rapid flight, for this is what the Persians and Medes call an arrow. It is a beast distinguished by varied markings, amazing in its strength and speed. The river Tigris is called after the name of the animal, because it is the most rapid. [Book 12, 2.28] Also the Indians are accustomed to tie up female dogs in the forest at night, to expose them to wild tigers, and the tigers mount the dogs; from this mating are born dogs so fierce and strong that they overcome lions in combat. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]

Aberdeen Bestiary [circa 1200 CE] (folio 8r-8v): The tiger is named for its swiftness in flight; the Persians and Greeks call it 'arrow'. It is a beast distinguished by its varied markings, its courage and its extraordinary speed. The Tygris takes its name from the tiger, because it is the fastest-flowing of all rivers. is their main home. The tigress, when she finds her lair empty by the theft of a cub, follows the tracks of the thief at once. When the thief sees that, even though he rides a swift horse, he is outrun by her speed, and that there is no means of escape at hand, he devises the following deception. When he sees the tigress drawing close, he throws down a glass sphere. The tigress is deceived by her own image in the glass and thinks it is her stolen cub. She abandons the chase, eager to gather up her young. Delayed by the illusion, she tries once again with all her might to overtake the rider and, urged on by her anger, quickly threatens the fleeing man. Again he holds up her pursuit by throwing down a sphere. The memory of the trick does not banish the mother's devotion. She turns over the empty likeness and settles down as if she were about to suckle her cub. And thus, trapped by the intensity of her sense of duty, she loses both her revenge and her child.

Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] (Liber de natura rerum, Quadrupeds 4.6.): Tigers, as Solinus says, are wild beasts marked with spots, and they shine with yellow with variations of black. They are of incredible ferocity. They run with such speed that they seem to fly, and nothing is so distant that they do not reach it in a short time, or so far ahead that they do not overtake it at once. And this is especially proved when the captors steal their cubs: unless the mothers are in captivity, it is in vain for a man to dare to seize their cubs. But they are deceived in this way, as Pliny says: When a hunter has abducted the cubs, of which the mother has given birth to many, as soon as the mother finds the nest empty of cubs, she pursues the hunter immediately. As soon as the mother approaches, the abductor throws away one of the cubs, which the mother, comforted by that one alone, carries to her usual place; and returning more vigorously, when she again pursues the captor, she also receives a second cub, or sometimes a third, if the captor does not in the meantime reach his ship, leaving the tiger on the shore, angry and savage. Blessed Ambrose relates another thing: The kidnappers carry glass balls, and when they see the mother of the cubs behind them, they throw the balls which appear to show the images of the cubs The tigers see themselves in the balls and stop. At last, however, the tiger, breaking the glass ball with her feet, finds nothing. Seeing therefore that she is deceived, she pours out all her strength to seize the hunter, and with a spur of fury she threatens the fugitive faster. Again he throws down another glass ball, knowing the shortness of the mother's memory of the fraud: the image fools the tiger and she stops as if to nurse the cub. Thus, deceived by the desire of piety, she loses her revenge and her offspring. The river Tigris is called from the name of this animal, because it bursts forth with the fastest speed from Mount Caucasus, the highest of all mountains. The region of the Hyrcanians abounds most with these beasts. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]

Albertus Magnus [ca. 1200-1280 CE] (De animalibus, Book 22, 100): Tiger is an animal which lives in the lands of the Hyrcanians. It has remarkable speed and ferocity and grows at maturity to the size of a Laconian hound and even larger. The its paws are divided into a number of digits. The tigress gives birth to a large litter of cubs. When a hunter captures some of the cubs, he may find his only escape in a boat; even if he beaches the boat at a far distant point, he may encounter the tigress in full pursuit. To divert her attention he can cast one of the cubs into the path of the approaching mother; and while she is occupied with carrying the rescued cub back to her lair, he can proceed farther on with his prey. If the tigress returns a second time in pursuit of the hunter, he can release another one of the cubs to preoccupy her time; in the upshot he may succeed in capturing some of the litter. Some hunters carry glass balls with them to throw in the way of the pursuing tigress; when she gazes into the glass spheres, she sees miniature images of tigers, as in a mirror, and interprets these as being her cubs; in her attempt to fondle the imaginary cubs, she breaks the glass balls with her paws and discovers she has been deluded. After deceiving the tigress several times in this way, the hunter escapes to a stronghold or to a boat, and thus the female tiger loses her cubs. - [Scanlan]

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book18.103): Tigris is the most swiftest beast in flight, as it were an arrow, for ye Persians call an arrow Tigris & is a beast spotted with divers specks, & is wonderfull strong and swifte: and the River Tigris hath the name of this beast, for it is the most swiftest of all floudes. And in the more Hircania bréedeth manie beasts of this kinde. Huc usque Isid[ore] And Haec Tigris, dis, is the name of the river. Looke before De fluminibus. And Plinius speaketh of the Tigers & sayth: that beastes of that kinde come out of Hircania, and are beastes of dreadfull swiftnesse, and is namely knowen when he is taken, for the whelpe is all glemie and sinewie: and the Hunter lieth in awaite and taketh away the whelpes, & flyeth soone awaye, on the most swifte horse that he may have: and when the wilde beast commeth, and findeth the den bayd, & the whelps away, then he riseth headlong, and taketh the sore of footing of him that beareth the whelpes away, and followeth him by smell: and when the hunter heareth the grutching of that beast that runneth after him, hée throweth downe one of the whelpes, & the Tiger bitch taketh the whelpe in hir mouth, and beareth him into hir den, & layeth him therein, and runneth againe after the hunter: but in the meane time the hunter taketh a ship, and hath with him the other whelpes, and scapeth in that wise: and so she is beguiled, and hir fiercenesse standeth in no stéede. For as Plinius saieth lib. 6. cap. 19. the male careth not for the whelpes. And he that will bears away the whelps, leaveth in the way great mirrours, and the damme followeth and findeth the mirrours in the waye, and looketh on them, and séeth hir owne shaddowe and image therein, and thinketh that she séeth hir young therein, and is long occupied therefore to deliver hir whelpes out of the glasse, and so the Hunter hath time and space for to scape: and so she is beguiled with hir owne shadow, and she followeth no farther after the Hunter to delyver hir young. - [Batman]