Sources : Panther
Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 23): Panthers have small spots like eyes on a light ground. It is said that all four-footed animals are wonderfully attracted by their smell, but frightened by the savage appearance of their head; for which reason they catch them by hiding their head and enticing them to approach by their other attractions. Some authorities report that they have a mark on the shoulder resembling a moon, expanding into a circle and hollowed out in a similar manner. As it is, people use the name 'spotted ladies', and for the males 'pards', in the whole of this genus, which occurs most frequently in Africa and Syria; some persons distinguish panthers from these by their light color only, nor have I hitherto discovered any other difference. - [Rackham translation]
Gaius Julius Solinus [3rd century CE] (De mirabilibus mundi / Polyhistor, Chapter 17.8-10): [Chapter 17.8] Panthers are also considered to be in Hyrcania. On the tops of their bodies they are painted with small circles, and the ornaments of their backs may be thus decorated with eye-like circles of a yellow, dusky or white color. It is reported that cattle are marvelously affected by the smell and sight of panthers. [Chapter 17.9] Because of this, in order to safely lay waste the senseless herds which are lost in contemplation, the panthers hide their heads and present the rest of their bodies to view. But the Hyrcanians, as man is ever full of devices, kill them with poison more often than with steel. [Chapter 17.10] They smear flesh with aconite, and scatter it at the crossings of paths. This, when eaten, chokes the panthers. They therefore give the name of pardialanches to the plant. But the panthers devour human excrement to guard against the poison, resisting destruction by their own clever device. Their will to live is strong to such a degree that they delay dying a long time after their bowels have been extracted. - [Arwen Apps translation, 2011]
Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 2:8-9): [Book 12, 2:8] The panther is so called either because it is the friend of 'all' animals, except the dragon, or because it both rejoices in the society of its own kind and gives back whatever it receives in the same kind – for in Greek óla means 'all'. This beast is ornamented with tiny round spots, in such a way that it is marked with little round eyes, varying black and white against a tawny background. [Book 12, 2:9] It only gives birth once. The reason for this characteristic is obvious, for when the cubs grow in their mother’s womb and, as their powers mature, become strong enough to be born, they detest the delay in time so much that they tear with their claws at the laden womb since it is standing in the way of delivery. The mother gives birth to the cubs, or rather, driven by the pain, casts them out. Thus, afterwards, the generative seed, when it has been infused and received, does not adhere to the injured, scarred matrix of the womb, but recoils to no effect. Hence Pliny says that animals with sharp claws are unable to give birth many times, for they are injured by the cubs moving inside the womb. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]
Aberdeen Bestiary [circa 1200 CE] (folio 9r-9v): There is an animal called the panther, multi-colored, very beautiful and extremely gentle. Physiologus says of it, that it has only the dragon as an enemy. When it has fed and is full, it hides in its den and sleeps. After three days it awakes from its sleep and gives a great roar, and from its mouth comes a very sweet odor, as if it were a mixture of every perfume. When other animals hear its voice, they follow wherever it goes, because of the sweetness of its scent. Only the dragon, hearing its voice, is seized by fear and flees into the caves beneath the earth. There, unable to bear the scent, it grows numbed within itself and remains motionless, as if dead. Thus our Lord Jesus Christ, the true panther, descending from Heaven, snatched us from the power of the devil. ... The fact that the panther is a multi-colored animal, ... [and] is a beautiful animal ... [and] is a gentle animal [signifies Christ]... When the panther is full, it hides [in its den and sleeps. When Christ] was sated with the mocking of the Jews, the scourging, blows, insults, abuse, the crown of thorns, having been hung by his hands on the cross, transfixed with nails, forced to drink gall and vinegar, and pierced by a spear, falling asleep in death, he rested in the tomb and descended into hell, where he bound fast the great dragon. On the third day the panther rises from its sleep and gives a great cry, emitting a sweet odor, just like our Lord Jesus Christ, rising again from the dead... And just as the odor of sweetness comes out of the panther's mouth, and all the beasts which are near and those which come from afar follow it, so the Jews, who had at some time the disposition of beasts, but were close to Christ through their observance of the law, and those from afar, that is, the races who were without the law, hearing the voice of Christ, follow him... The panther is a beast dabbed all over with very small circular spots, so that it is distinguished by its black and white coloring with eye-shaped circles of yellow. The female [gives birth] once only...
Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] (Liber de natura rerum, Quadrupeds 4.89): The panther, as Solinus says, is an animal of various colors, exceedingly beautiful, painted with minute circles, so that the eyes shine out of yellow circles, and are distinguished into blue or white varieties. But this animal is very tame. The only enemy it has is the dragon. When the panther has eaten and been satisfied with various foods, it hides itself, as Physiologus says, in his cave and sleeps. Then after three days, rising from its sleep, it lets out a roar. As for the rest of the beasts, when they hear its voice, they gather together and follow the sweetness of the odor which proceeds from its mouth, but they are frightened by the darkness of his head. There are those who report that there is a spot on its arm similar to the moon, and that sometimes grows round, and changes according to the moon. This beast, as Isidore says, gives birth but once. For the fetuses, not waiting for the hour of due time, tear the mother with their claws, and thus render the mother barren. For, as Pliny says, animals with sharp claws cannot breed more than once; for they are inwardly harmed by the young that move themselves. The panther, being too fierce in his destructiveness, kills the buffalo [zubrones], which is the largest and strongest beast. For, leaping upon its back, it tears it with its claws, and feasted on its flesh. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]
Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book18.81): Panthera, as Isidore sayth, libro. 12. hath that name because hée is friende to all beastes save the Dragon, for him hée hateth full sore: Or because he hath joye and lyking of beastes of his owne kinde, and maketh all that hée taketh of one lykenesse. And Panthera is Gréeke, and is to understande, all. And is a Beast painted with small rounde speckles, so that all the skinne without seemeth full of eyen by diversitie of speckles blacke and white, and red, as he sayeth. And as Isidore saith, this beast whelpeth but once, and the cause thereof is openly knowen: for when the whelpes waxe strong in the dammes wombe, and be strong to come into the world, they hate the damme and rent her wombe with claws, as it were ye womb letted their whelping and comming into the worlde: and therefore the damme letteth passe and whelpeth them, constrayned and compelled by sore gréevance of the wombe. Therefore Plinius sayth, that beastes with sharpe clawes maye not oft whelpe, for the whelpes moove within and hurt the damme. Huc usque Isidore, libro. 12. Phisiologus speaketh of the Panther, and sayeth, that he hateth the Dragon, and the Dragon flieth him: And when he hath eaten inough at full, he hideth him in his denne, and sléepeth continuallye nigh three daies, and riseth after three dayes and crieth, & out of his mouth commeth right good aire & savour, and is passing measure sweete: and for the sweetnesse all beasts follow him. And only the Dragon is a feard when he heareth his voyce, and flyeth into a den, and may not suffer the smell thereof, and faileth in himselfe, and looseth his comfort. For he thinketh that his smell is verye venime. And libro. 8. cap. 18. Plinius speaketh of the Panthera, and sayth: that the Panthera and the Tigre bée most dressed with divers speckles and divers coulours: and some beastes joye of theyr owne coulours, as Lyons in Siria, that be blacke with white specks, and be like to Panthers. And all foure footed beasts have liking to beholde the diverse coulours of the Panthera and Tygres, but they be a fearde of the horriblenesse of theyr heads, and therfore they hide their heads, and toll the beastes to them with fayrenesse of the other deale of the body, and take them when they come so tolled and eate them: and though he be a right cruel beast, yet he is not unkind to them that helpe & succour him in anye wise, as Plinius setteth an ensample of one, that delyvered and holpe uppe a Panthers whelps, that were fallen into a ditch, and the Panther lead him out of the wildernesse with glad assemblance, and fawned on him, and thanked him right busily, as it séemed. - [Batman]