The Bestiary

A collaborative effort between Snoflake, Sir Alan, Sauron and Mytical

Editor's Note: EB stands for Encyclopedia Britannica, the main reference for this article.

Behemoth, in the Old Testament, a powerful grass-eating animal whose "bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron" (Job 40:18). Among various Jewish legends, one relates that the righteous will witness a spectacular battle between Behemoth and Leviathan in the messianic era and later feats up on their flesh. Some sources identify Behemoth, who dwells in the marsh and is not frightened by the turbulent river Jordan, as a hippopotamus and Leviathan as a crocodile, whale, or snake. -EB-

Berserker, norwegian BERSERK, Old Norse BESERKR ("bearskin"), in premedieval and medieval Norse and Germanic history and folklore, a member of unruly warrior gangs that worshipped Odin, the supreme Norse deity, and attached themselves to royal and noble courts as bodyguards and shock troops. 'The berserkers' savagery in battle and their animal-skin attire contributed to the development of the werewolf legend in Europe. It is unclear weather the berserker warriors wore bear and wolf skins into battle or fought naked; tapestries and other sources represent both possibilities. The berserkers were in the habit of raping and murdering at will in their host communities (thus going "berserk"), and indeed in the Norse sagas they were often portrayed as villains. Berserkers are known to have formed the household guard of Norway's king Harald 1 Fairhair (reigned 877-930). -EB-

Centaur, Greek KENTAUROS, in Greek mythology, a race of creatures, part horse and part man, dwelling in the mountains of Thessaly and Arcadia. Traditionally they were the offspring of Ixion, king of the neighbouring Laphits, and were best known for their fight (centauromachy) with the Laphits, which resulted from their attempt to carry off the bride of Pirithous, son and successor of Ixion. They lost the battle and were driven from Mt. Pelion. In later Greek times they were often represented drawing the chariot of the wine god Dionysus or bound and ridden by Eros, the god of love, in allusion to their drunken and amorous habits. Their general character was that of wild, lawless, and inhospitable beings, the slaves of their animal passions. They may be best explained as the creation of a folktale in which wild inhabitants of the mountains and savage spirits of the forests were combined in half-human, half-animal form. In early art they were portrayed as human beings in front, with the body and hindlegs of a horse attached to the back; later, they were men only as far as the waist. They fought using rough branches of trees as weapons. -EB-

Cyclops (Greek: Round eye), in Greek legend and literature, any of several one-eyed giants to whom they were ascribed a variety of histories and deeds. In Homer the Cyclopes were cannibals, living a rude pastoral life in a distant land (traditionally Sicily), and the Odyssey contains a well-known episode in which Odysseus escapes death by blinding Cyclops. In Hesiod the Cyclopes were three sons of Uranus and Gaea-Arges, Brontes, and Steropes (Bright, Thunderer, Lightener)- who forged the thunderbolts of Zeus. Later authors made them the workmen of Hephaestus and said that Apollo killed them for making the thunderbolt that slew Asclepius. The walls of several ancient cities (s.g., Tiryns) of Mycenaean architecture were sometimes said to have been built by Cyclopes. Hence in modern archaeology the term cyclopean is applied to walling of which the stones are not squared. -EB-

Devil (from Greek diabolos, "slanderer," or "accuser"), the spirit or power of evil. Though sometimes used for minor demonic spirits, the word devil generally refers to the prince of evil spirits and as such takes various forms in the religions of the world. In the monotheistic Western religions, the devil is viewed as a fallen angel who in pride has tried to usurp the position of the one and only God. In Judaism, and later Christianity, the devil was know as Satan. In the Old Testament, Satan is viewed as the prosecutor of Yahweh's court, as in Job, chapters 1 and 2, but he is not regarded as adversary of God. In post biblical Judaism and Christianity, however, Satan became known as the prince of devils, and assumed various names: Beelzebub (the Lord of Flies) in Matt. 12:24-27, often cited as Beelzebul (Lord of Dung), and Lucifer (the fallen angel of Light). In Christian theology the devil's main task is that of tempting man to reject the way of life and redemption and to accept the way of death and destruction. The leader of the angels who have fallen from heaven because of pride, Satan has as his main adversary in Christian thought, legend, and iconography the archangel Michael, leader of God's heavenly hosts. Islamic theology is rich in references to Iblis, the personal name of the devil, who is also known as ash-Shaytan (The Demon) and 'aduw Allah (Enemy of God). In the Qur'an, Iblis first appears in the story of the creation of the world. He alone of the angels refuses God's order to bow before Adam, the first man. He is then cursed by God; his punishment is to come on the Day of Judgement, but until then he is empowered to tempt the unfaithful (but not true believers). Iblis next appears as the tempter of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Islamic theology Iblis is described as an angel, a jinn (spiritual creature capable of good or ! evil), or an angel who was the leader of the jinni. The question of his sins of pride disobedience are especially important in the Sufi traditions, in which he is sometimes presented as a true monotheist who would bow only to God. The devil was also an important figure in the syncretic religions. In Gnosticism the devil was often called the Demiurge (the Creator) and in Manichaeism the Prince of Darkness, as well as other names. The devil, as the great power of evil, has been much depicted in religious and secular literature and art. At various intervals in history, devil worship becomes significant for certain individuals dissatisfied with existing religious institutions, and exorcism (the casting out of demons) is often consequently reinstated by these institutions. -EB-

Dwarf, see the separate article here.

Effreet, also spelled as: Ifrit, Ifreet and Afrit. Efreets are a kind of Jinn from arabic mythology. In common mythology, they are Jinns that are made of fire. They consider themselves superior to other races as they "came first". Wizards have found ways to control theme, but they still show an ironic and malicious attitude and try to subvert their master's orders every time they can. Efreet often appear as individuals of superhuman beauty and strength. But in fight, they will burn their enemies to bones.

Evil Eye, glance believed to have the ability to cause injury to those on whom br particularly susceptible. Belief in the evil eye is ancient and ubiquitous: it occurred in ancient Greece and Rome; is found in Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindi traditions and in folk cultures and preliterate societies; and has persisted throughout the world into modern times. In many traditions strangers, malformed individuals, and old women are most often accused of casting the evil eye. The power of evil eye is sometimes held to be involuntary; a Slavic folktale, for example, relates the story of a father afflicted with the evil eye who blinded him self in order to avoid injuring his own children. More frequently, however, malice toward and envy of prosperity and beauty are thought to be the cause. Thus, in medieval Europe-and in popular superstition today-it was considered unlucky to be praised or have one's possessions praised, so that some qualifying phrase such as "as Good will" or "God bless it" was commonly used. Measures taken to ward off the evil eye may vary among cultures. For example, some authorities suggest that the purpose of ritual cross-dressing -a practice that has been noted in the marriage ceremonies of parts of India- is to avert the evil eye. Asian children sometimes have their faces blackened, especially near the eyes, for protection. Among some Asian and African peoples the evil eye is particularly dreaded while eating and drinking, because the soul is thought to be more vulnerable when the mouth is open; thus, the ingestion of substances is either a solitary activity or takes place only with the immediate family and behind closed doors. Other means of protection, common to many traditions, include the wearing of sacred texts, amulets, charms and talismans (which may also be hung up on animals for their protection), certain gestures, and the display of ritual drawings or objects. -EB-

Gargoyle, in architecture, waterspout designed to drain water from the parapet gutter. Originally the term referred only to the carved lions of classic cornices or to terra-cotta spouts, such as those found frequently in Pompeii. The word later became restricted primarily to the grotesque, carved spouts of the Middle Ages. It is frequently, though incorrectly, applied to other grotesque beasts, such as the chimeres (chimeras) that decorate the parapets of Notre-Dame at Paris. The gargoyle of the developed Gothic period is usually a grotesque bird or beast sitting on its haunches on the back of a cornice molding and projected forward for several feet in order to throw the water far from the building. -EB-

Ghost, soul or spectre of a dead person, usually believed to inhabit the netherworld and to be capable of returning in some form to the world of the living. According to descriptions or depictions provided by believers a ghost may appear as a living being or as nebulous likeness of the deceased and, occasionally, in other forms. Belief in ghosts is based on the ancient notion that a human spirit is separable from the body and may maintain its existence after the body's death. In many societies funeral rituals are believed to prevent the ghost from haunting the living. A place that is haunted is thought to be associated by the haunting spirit with some strong emotion of the past-remorse, fear, or the terror of a violent death. Individuals who are haunted are believed to be responsible for, or associated with, the ghosts unhappy past experience (compare possession, spirit), The traditional visual manifestations of haunting including ghostly apparitions, the displacement of objects, or the appearance of strange lights; auditory signs include disembodied laughter and screams, footsteps, ringing bells, and the spontaneous emanation of sounds from musical instruments. Tales of specific ghosts are till common in living folklore worldwide. The telling of elaborate, grisly ghost stories, often in a setting enhanced by darkness or thunderstorm, is a popular pastime in many groups, particularly among children. See also: ghoul; kobold; poltergeist. -EB-

Gremlins are little mischievous spirits of tools and machinery. Every house has a gremlin that makes chaos in it (losing your things, accidents, etc.). But gremlins weren't such always. Originally, they were friendly to the mankind and helped theme with many inventions, but after humans claimed all credit for theme, this insult soured the gremlin attitude towards mankind. Their name came after World War I.

Gryphon/Griffin. The Griffin is a legendary creature with the head, back and wings of a eagle (they also had ears on their head), the body of a lion or some other big cat (tiger, leopard…) and sometimes with the tail of a scorpion or serpent. The long nails of Griffin claws are as big as oxen horns and can be used to make cups and their ribs can be used to make bows.

Its origin lies somewhere in the Middle East where it is found in the paintings and sculptures of the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Persians. Through the research of Greek and Roman mythology we can see that griffin just love gold and jewels and guard gold mines with great hostility. Griffins are also able to carry humans, horses and even elephants! The griffins' natural enemies are horses but sometimes male griffins mate with female horses and so produce hippogryphs (creature with the body of a horse and head, back and wings of a eagle). The griffins had mates for life and if one of theme died, the other would leave alone. The griffin was said to build a nest, like an eagle. Instead of eggs, it lays agates.

Gryphus significat sapientiam jungendam fortitudini,
sed sapientiam debere praeire, fortitudinem sequi

- The griffin represents wisdom joined to fortitude,
but wisdom should lead, and fortitude follow. ~ Alexander Nisbet

Harpy, in Greco-Roman classical mythology, a fabulous creature, probably a wind spirit. The presence of harpies as tomb figures, however, makes it possible that they were also conceived of as ghosts. In Homer's Odyssey they were winds that carried people away. Elsewhere, they were sometimes connected with the powers of the underworld. Homer mentions one Harpy, Podarge (Swiftfoot), who seems to have been of equine nature, because, according to the Iliad, she became by the west wind and the dam of Achilles' horses. Hesiod mentions two, Aello and Okypete (Stormswift and Swiftwing), daughters of Thaumas and of Electra, the daughter of Oceanus. These early Harpies were in no way disgusting. Later, however, especially in the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, they were represented as birds with the faces of women, horribly foul and loathsome. They were sent to the Thracian king Phin! eus for his ill-treatment of his children, but Calais and Zetes, the sons of Boreas, finally delivered him. Virgil imitated the episode in the Aeneid; he called the chief Harpy Celaeno (Dark). -EB-

Hydra, in Greek legend, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, a gigantic monster with nine heads (the number varies), the centre one immortal. The monster's haunt was the marshes of Lerna near Argos. The destruction of Hydre was one of the 12 Labours of Heracles, which he accomplished with the assistance of Iolaus. As one head was cut off, two grew in its place; therefore, they finally burned out the roots with firebrands and at last severed the immortal head from the body. The arrows dipped by Heracles in the poisonous blood or gall inflicted fatal wounds. -EB-

In pre-islamic mytology: Jinn, are firely spirits of vanished ancient peoples who acted during the night and disappeared with first light or dawn. They can make themselves invisible and change shapes into animals. They were responsible for diseases and manias. Types of Jinn include: Ghul (night shade, which can change shape), Sila (which can't change shape) and Efreet. Sometimes they appeared as beautiful women who visited men by night to copulate with theme by night until the men were exhausted from drawing energy from theme.

In Islam: Jiin are beings with free will, made by smokeless fire by God. Jinn have communities like humans. They eat, marry, sleep, die, etc. They are invisible to humans but they can see humans. Sometimes they accidentally come into view of humans. They can be either good or bad. They eat bones, and their animals' droppings. Jinn have abilities to change shapes into animals (mostly snakes) or humans. Jinn also can possess humans (which human own will or forcefully), have more power then they and live much longer then humans. Some people can control theme magically binding theme to objects such as oil lamp.

Lava and Magma Dragon - Dragons are creatures of the elements. Some say that before their were the dragons we know, that they exsisted in a more elemental state. The mighty red dragon, which laired in volcanos or similarly hot areas, was often associated with the element of fire. Their ancestors were believed to come from the volcanos which they made their lairs. Composed of the pure essence of magma and lava they, like fire itself, consumed everything in their path. Fire however, serves a dual perpose and so do the dragons. The scorch and burn the things arround them so that new may be formed. Thus they are not evil, but are designed to help cleanse and renew the earth.

Mermaid, masculine MERMAN, species of legendary being, half human, half fish, that inhabits the sea and some inland waters. Similar divine or semidivine beings appear in ancient mythologies (e.g., the Chaldean sea god Ea, or Oannes). In European folklore, mermaids (sometimes called sirens) and mermen were natural being who, like fairies, had magical and prophetic powers. They loved music and often sang. Though very long-lived, they were mortal and had no souls. In appearance they were human above the waist, fish below. Numerous folktales record marriages between mermaids (who might assume human form) and men. In most, the man steals the mermaids cap or belt, her comb or mirror. While the objects are hidden she lives with him; if she finds them returns at once to the sea. In some variants the marriage lasts while certain agreed conditions are fulfilled and ends when they are broken.

Though sometimes kindly, mermaids and mermen were usually dangerous to man. Their gifts brought misfortune; and, if offended, the beings caused floods or other disasters. To see one on a voyage was an omen of shipwreck. They sometimes lured mortals to death by drowning, as did the Lorelei of the Rhine, or enticed young people to live with them underwater, as did the mermaid whose image is carved on a bench in church of Zennor, Cornwall, England. Aquatic mammals, such as the dugong and manatee, that suckle their young in human fashion above water are considered by some to underlie these legends. -EB-

Minotaur, GREEK minotauros (Minos' Bull), in Greek mythology a fabulous monster of Crete, half man and half bull. It was the offspring of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos (q.v.), and a snow-white bull sent to Minos by the god Poseidon for sacrifice. Minos, instead of sacrificing it, kept it alive; Poseidon as a punishment made Pasiphae fall in love with it. Her chils by the bull was shut up in the Labyrinth created for Minos by Daedalus. A son of Minos, Androgeos, was later killed by the Athenians; to avenge his death, Minos demanded that seven Athenian youths and seven maidens should be sent every ninth year (or, according to another version every year) to be devoured by the minotaur. When the third time of sacrifice came, the Athenian hero Theseus volunteered to go, and with the help of Ariadne, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, he killed the monster. -EB-

Monk, man who separates himself from society and lives either alone (a hermit or anchorite) or in an organized community in order to devote himself full time to religious life. -EB-

Naga (sanskrit: "serpent": feminine nagi), in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, a class of semidivine beings, half human and half serpentine. They are considered to be a strong handsome race who can assume either human or wholly serpentine form, potentially dangerous, but in some ways superior to men. They live in an underground kingdom called Naga-loka, or Patala-loka, which is filled with resplendent palaces beautifully ornamented with precious gems. Brahma is said to have relegated the nagas to the nether regions when they became to populous on earth and to have commanded them to bite only the truly evil or those destined ti die prematurely. They are also associated with waters-rivers, lakes seas and wells-and are generally regarded as guardians of treasure. Three notable nagas are Sesa (or Anata), who in the Hindu myth of creation is said to support Vishnu-Narayana as he lies on the cosmic ocean and on whom the created world rests; Vasuki, who was used as a churning rope to churn the cosmic ocean of milk; and Taksaka, the tribal chief of the snakes. In modern Hinduism the birth of the serpents i celebrated on Naga-pancami in the month of Sravana (July-August). The nagis, according to tradition, are serpent princesses of striking beauty, and the dynasties of Manipur in northeastern India, the Pallavas in southern India, and the ruling family of Funan (ancient Indochina) are among those that traced their origin to the union of a human and a nagi. In Buddhism, nagas are often represented as door guardians or, as in Tibet, as minor deities. The snake king Mucalinda who sheltered the Buddha from rain for seven days while he was deep in meditation is beautifully depicted in the 9th-13th century Mon-Khmer Buddhas of Siam and Cambodia. In Jainism, the Tirthankara (Jaina Saviour) Parsvanatha is always shown with a canopy of snake hoods above his head. I! n art, nagas are represented in a fully zoomorphic form, as hooded cobras but with from one to seven or more heads; as human beings with a many-hooded snake canopy over their heads; or as half-human, with the lower part of the body below the navel coiled like a snake and a canopy of hoods over their heads. Often they are shown in postures of adoration looking on as one of the major gods or heroes is shown accomplishing some miraculous feat. -EB-

Nomadism, way of life of people who do not live continually in the same place but move cyclically or periodically. It is distinguished from migration, which is noncyclic and involves a total change og habitat. Nomadism does not imply unrestricted and undirected wandering but focuses on temporary centres whose stability depends on the availability of food supply and the technology for exploiting it. The term nomad covers three general types: nomadic hunters and gatherers, pastoral nomads, and tinker or trader nomads. Although hunting and gathering generally imposes a degree of nomadism on a people, it may range from daily movements, as among some Kalahari Bushmen, to monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual shifts or habitat. In areas where resources are abundant or where there are storage facilities, populations may be more or less stable. Nomadic hunters and gatherers are usually organized into small, isolated bands that move through a delimited territory where they know the water holes, the location of plants and the habits of game. Pastoral nomads, who depend on domesticated livestock, migrate in an established territory to find pasturage for their animals. Most groups have focal sites that they occupy for considerable periods of th year. Pastoralists may depend entirely on heir herds or may also hunt or gather, practice some agriculture, or trade with agricultural peoples for grain and other goods. Some seminomadic groups in Southwest Asia and North Africa cultivate crops between seasonal moves. The patterns of pastoral nomadism are many, often depending on the type of livestock, the topography and the climate. See also transhumance. Some nomadic groups are associated with a larger society but maintain their mobile way of life. These include tinker or trade nomads, who may also make and sell simple products, hunt or hire as out as labourers. The diverse groups loosely termed Gypsies are the best known example of this type of nomadism. Other nomadic peoples practice a limited kind of agriculture, moving periodically from place to place in order to find new areas in which to raise their crops. They often combine agriculture with hunting and gathering. Anthropologists may refer to such groups as horticultural peoples, to distinguish them from settled agricultural peoples. Nomadism has declined in the 20th century for economic and political reasons, including the spread of systematic agriculture, the growth of industry, and the policies of governments that view nomadism as incompatible with modern life. -EB-

Peasantry, subculture of small-scale agricultural producers. The peasant differs form other rural cultivators in being subject to the governance of outside power holders. This integration into a larger society is often considered the criterion for defining a peasantry, although some writers have stressed other features, such as self-sufficient agriculture or small-scale production. In peasant society, ultimate control of the means of production is usually not in the hands of the primary producers. Goods and services, rather than being exchanged directly, are supplied to a centre where they are redistributed. Surpluses tend to be transferred to rulers and other non-farmers. This power relationship is also expressed in the payment of rent in the form of labour, produce, or money. The power is often, though not always, concentrated in an urban centre. The peasant economy genera! lly has a relatively simple technology and a division of labour by age and sex. The unit of production is the family or household, which has many nonproductive concern, such as consumption, rearing of children, and religious an other ceremonial observances. The economic system is not governed solely by prices and profits. A piece of land, for example, is not merely a factor of production but an object of symbolic value as well. Peasant culture has been characterized as the "little tradition" in contrast to the "great tradition" of the centres of civilization. Ideas and artifacts from the great tradition, including religious and beliefs and practices, dress, furnishings, linguistic features, and forms of social organization, filter down to the peasant community and are integrated in the little tradition, usually in a modified or simplified form and after a considerable passage of time. Cultural elements also flow from the little tradition to the city, but to a lesser extent. -EB-

Pegasus is the white horse with, sometimes, golden wings. He was fathered by Poseidon and with Medusa. When Perseus killed Medusa, Pegasus sprang forth from her body. His galloping created the well Hippocrene on the Helicon.

Athene gave Pegasus to Bellerophon. Together, they fought Amazons and killed Chimaera. But when Bellerophon tried to get to Mount Olympus, Zeus sent a gadfly to sting the horse, and it threw Bellerophon off its back. Pegasus went alone to Olympus where he was used by Zeus to carry his thunderbolts. Bellerophon wandered about the Earth for the rest of his life, blind, lame, and shunned by man, until dying of old age. On Olympus, Pegasus found a wife, Euippe (or Ocyrrhoe). They had a child, Celeris. Pegasus was eventually turned into constellation.

Pike, ancient and medieval infantry weapon consisting of a long, metal-pointed spear with a heavy wooden shaft 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 metres) long. Its use among the Swiss foot soldiers in the 14th century contributed to the decline of the feudal knights. The pike disappeared from land warfare with the introduction f the bayonet, though it was retained as a naval boarding weapon through the 19th century. A variety of pike is used by the picador in bullfighting. -EB-

Medusa, in Greek mythology, the most famous of the Gorgons, usually represented as a winged creature having the form of a young woman, with a head of hair consisting of snakes. Medusa was the only one of the Gorgons who was mortal; hence Perseus was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon. The head, which had the power of turning into stone all who looked upon it, was given to Athena, who placed it in her shield; according to another account, Perseus buried it in the marketplace of Argos. Heracles (Hercules) is said to have obtained a lock of Medusa's hair (which possessed the same powers as the head) from Athena and given it to Sterope, the daughter of Cepheus, as a protection for the town of Tegea against attack; when exposed to view, the lock was supposed to bring on a storm, which put the enemy to flight. -EB-

The Mummy: body embalmed or treated for burial with preservatives after the manner of the ancient Egyptians. The process varied from age to age in Egypt, but it always involved removing the internal organs (though in a late period they were replaced, after treatment), treating the body with resin, and wrapping it in linen bandages. Among the may other peoples who practiced mummification were the Guanches of the Canary Islands; the people living along the Torres strait, between new Guinea and Australia; and the Incas of South America. There was a widespread belief that Egyptian mummies were prepared with bitumen (the word comes from the Arabic word mumiyah, "bitumen"), which was supposed to have medicinal value. Throughout the Middleages "mummy", made by pounding mummified bodies, was a standard product of apothecary shops. In course of time it was forgotten that the virtue of mummy lay in the bitumen, and spurious "mummy" was made from the bodies of felons and suicides. The traffic in mummy continued in Europe until the 18th century. -EB-

Phoenix, in Greek mythology, son of Amyntor, king of Thessalian Hellas. After a violent quarrel Amyntor cursed him with childlessness, and Phoenix escaped to Peleus (King of the Myrmidons in Thessaly), who made him responsible for the upbringing of his son Achilles. Phoenix accompanied the young Achilles to Troy and he was one of the envoys who tried to reconcile him with Agamemnon, chief commander of the Greek forces, after Agamemnon and Achilles had quarreled. In another version of the story, Amyntor blinded his son, whose sight was later restored by Chiron.

phoenix, in ancient Egypt and in classical antiquity, a fabulous bird associated with the worship of the sun. The Egyptian phoenix was said to be as large as an eagle, with brilliant scarlet and gold plumage and a melodious cry. Only one phoenix existed at any time, and it was very long-lived - no ancient authority gave it a life span of less than 500 years. As its end approached, the phoenix fashioned a nest of aromatic boughs and spices, set it on fire, and was consumed in the flames. From the pyre miraculously sprang a new phoenix, which, after embalming its father's ashes in an egg of myrrh, flew with the ashes to Heliopolis ("City of the sun") in Egypt, where it deposited them on the altar in the temple of the Egyptian god of the sun, Re. A variant of the story made the dying phoenix fly to Heliopolis and immolate itself in the altar of fire, from which the young Phoenix then rose.

The bennu, a heron, was traditionally associated with sun worship in Egypt, appearing on monuments as a symbol of the rising sun and of the life after death. But despite the common religious associations, the phoenix as described in literature did not all resemble a heron in appearance, and its home was not in Egypt but nearer the rising sun (normally in Arabia or India, where spices for the nest and egg were plentiful). Probably the phoenix story originated in the Orient and was assimilated to Egyptian sun worship by the priests of Heliopolis. The adoption of the myth to an Egyptian environment helped to bring about the connection between the phoenix and the palm tree (also called phoinix in Greek), which was long associated with sun worship in Egypt. The Egyptians associated the phoenix with immortality, and that symbolism had a widespread appeal in late undying Rome, and it appears on the coinage of the late Roman Empire as a symbol of the Eternal City. It was also widely interpreted as an allegory resurrection and life after death-ideas which also appealed to emergent Christianity. In Islamic mythology the phoenix was identified with the 'anqã' (Persian s~imorgh), a huge mysterious bird (probably a heron) that was originally created by God with all perfections but had thereafter become a plague and was killed. -EB-

Raksha. In modern fantasy, they look like tigers (or some other beast) on two legs and often wear cloth. Their fingernails are poisonous and they feed on human flesh and spoiled food. By ancient Hindu, Raksha are evil spirits who can sometimes be friendly. They often battle the gods and hurt people at night. They are led by Ravana, their king, and are eternal enemies of Vishu. Many Raksha's were wicked human sin their former incarnations. They often disturb sacrifices, desecrate graves, are harassing priests, possess human beings and other evil doings. They are also shapechangers and magicians.. They can shapechange in anything they can imagine, but mostly appear as dogs or birds with fat body, but even like humans.

Thane - A dwarven elder who had a lot of sway on dwarven clans. There was generally 1 thane for each clan, with a High Thane over them. The Thanes would gather to decide things like taxes, trades, and similar things. In times of war they were regarded as generals and usually were very knowledgable and wise. Since dwarves lived a long time, and thanes were also elders, they had seen much in their lives.

Thunderbird, in North American Indian mythology, a powerful spirit in the form of a bird; by its work the earth was watered and vegetation grew. Lightning was believed to flash from its beak, and the beating of its wings was thought to represent the rolling of thunder. It was often portrayed with an extra head on its abdomen. The thunderbird was frequently accompanied by lesser bird spirits, often in the form of eagles or falcons. Although it is best known from North America, evidence of similar figures has been found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe (where it is associated with the woodpecker). -EB-

Thunderbird, a mythical bird believed by American Indians to cause lightning and thunder that is frequently a supernatural eagle conceived as the spirit or god of thunder and rain. b: a figure of a bird with outstretched wings common in aboriginal No. American art. -Websters3rd-

Titans were a race of powerful deities that ruled the world during the so-called Golden Age. Originally, titans numbered twelve and were associated with various concepts such as Ocean or Law. Later, they gave birth to other titans. They were led by the youngest first-generation Titan, Cronus, who overthrow their father Uranus at urgings of their mother Gaia. Titans were overthrown by the Olympic gods led by Zeus in Titanomachy ("War of the Titans"). Many of theme were imprisoned in Tartarus. Some of the better-known titans:

  • Zelus: personification of zeal or emulation. He is the son of Styx and the titan Pallas, brother of Nike, Cratos and bia. He is constant companion of Zeus.
  • Hyperion: son of Uranus and Gaia. He is married to his sister Theia. His children are: Helios, Selene and Eos. His name means: "He who goes before the sun.". He was sometimes thought as sun.
  • Asteria: daughter of titan Coeus and Pheobe. She was abducted by Zeus, but hurled herself into the sea and became the island with the same name.
  • Mnemosyne: she is titan god of memory and the inventor of words, daughter of Uranus and Gaia. She is one of three elder muses. By Zeus, she is the mother of nine younger muses.

Unicorn is a (ussualy white) horse with one horn, billy-goat beard, lion tail and cloven hoofs. Their horn is white is white at the begining, black in the midle and red at tip. and half-meter long. It is told that his horn can be used to neutralize poison and heal wounds so that rulers of India used it to avoid being assasinated. Unicorn can see if woman is a virgin. Unicorns often appeared before virgins that sited naked near the tree. Only virgins are able to tame unicorns. Tough unicorns aren't agresive, they can be dangerous when offended. Thats why hunting unicorns was a challenge. There were two methods of hunting theme. One was to bring a virgin which will bring him into a trap, and other was to angry it and make it strike the tree when it would fall unconcious.

Unicorns can't be found in Greek mythology, but in Greek Natural History, for Greek writers believed that unicorns existed in India. In Bible, it said that God has the power of a unicorn: [Num 23:22 & 24:8]; The warlike fierceness of the unicorn is referred to when Ephraim and Manasseh are described as being like the horns of unicorns. [Deu 33:17]; The terrifying destruction of Idumea is completed when God sends unicorns and wild bulls to attack the people. [Isa 34:8 see also Psa. 92:10 & Psa 22:21]. In medieval times, unicorns were often presented as a sign of Christ. With the rise of humanism, unicorn also acquired positive meaning, including chaste love and faithful marriage. In Scotland, unicorn motif was on the national arms and coins, and in Denmark, the trone was told to be made of unicorn horns. Also, cups and goblets were made of unicorn hornes. Year 1663., a unicorn skeleton was supposedly found at "Unicorn Cave" (translated) in Germany. P.T. Barnum once exhibited a unicorn skeleton that was exposed as a hoax.

Vampire, in popular legend, a bloodsucking creature, supposedly the restless soul of a heretic, criminal, or suicide, that leaves its burial place at night, often in the form of a bat, to drink the blood of humans. It must return to its grave or to a coffin filled with its native earth by daybreak. Its victims become vampires after death. Although the belief is widespread over Asia and Europe, it is primarily a Slavic legend, with reports proliferating in Hungary from 1730 to 1735. Among the various demons of ancient folk tradition, the vampire has enjoyed the most conspicuous and continual literary success in the 20th century, due largely to the popularity of the Gothic novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. Count Dracula, its "undead" villain, became the representative type of vampire. The novel and a popular series of films, which developed from 1931, made vampires lore common currency. Methods for recognizing vampires (they cast no shadow and are not reflected in mirrors) or for warding the off (by displaying a crucifix, or sleeping with a wreath of garlic around the neck) are known to every schoolchild. Vampires can be put to final rest by driving a stake through their hearts or by destroying their daytime hiding places. -EB-

1:a bloodsucking ghost or reanimated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave and wander about by night sucking the blood of persons asleep causing their death 2 a: one who lies by preying mercilessly on others: EXTORTIONER, BLOODSUCKER b: a mercenary unscrupulous woman who seduces, exploits, and ruins her lover: as (1) : a stage character of his kind (2) : an actress playing such roles. -W3rd-