Legendary creature

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A legendary, and mythological creature, also called a fabulous creature and fabulous beast, is a supernatural animal, generally a hybrid, sometimes part human, whose existence has not or cannot be proved and that is described in folklore but also in historical accounts before history became a science. Legendary creature_sentence_0

In the classical era, monstrous creatures such as the cyclops and the Minotaur appear in heroic tales for the protagonist to destroy. Legendary creature_sentence_1

Other creatures, such as the unicorn, were claimed in accounts of natural history by various scholars of antiquity. Legendary creature_sentence_2

Some legendary creatures have their origin in traditional mythology and were believed to be real creatures, for example dragons, griffins, and unicorns. Legendary creature_sentence_3

Others were based on real encounters, originating in garbled accounts of travelers' tales, such as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, which supposedly grew tethered to the earth. Legendary creature_sentence_4

Creatures Legendary creature_section_0

Further information: List of legendary creatures by type and List of Greek mythological creatures Legendary creature_sentence_5

A variety of mythical animals appear in the art and stories of the Classical era. Legendary creature_sentence_6

For example, in the Odyssey, monstrous creatures include the Cyclops, Scylla and Charybdis for the hero Odysseus to confront. Legendary creature_sentence_7

In other tales there appear the Medusa to be defeated by Perseus, the (human/bull) Minotaur to be destroyed by Theseus, and the Hydra to be killed by Heracles, while Aeneas battles with the harpies. Legendary creature_sentence_8

These monsters thus have the basic function of emphasizing the greatness of the heroes involved. Legendary creature_sentence_9

Some classical era creatures, such as the (horse/human) centaur, chimaera, Triton and the flying horse, are found also in Indian art. Legendary creature_sentence_10

Similarly, sphinxes appear as winged lions in Indian art and the Piasa Bird of North America. Legendary creature_sentence_11

In medieval art, animals, both real and mythical, played important roles. Legendary creature_sentence_12

These included decorative forms as in medieval jewellery, sometimes with their limbs intricately interlaced. Legendary creature_sentence_13

Animal forms were used to add humor or majesty to objects. Legendary creature_sentence_14

In Christian art, animals carried symbolic meanings, where for example the lamb symbolized Christ, a dove indicated the Holy Spirit, and the classical griffin represented a guardian of the dead. Legendary creature_sentence_15

Medieval bestiaries included animals regardless of biological reality; the basilisk represented the devil, while the manticore symbolised temptation. Legendary creature_sentence_16

Allegory Legendary creature_section_1

Further information: Allegory Legendary creature_sentence_17

One function of mythical animals in the Middle Ages was allegory. Legendary creature_sentence_18

Unicorns, for example, were described as extraordinarily swift and uncatchable by traditional methods. Legendary creature_sentence_19

It was believed that the only way for one to catch this beast was to lead a virgin to its dwelling. Legendary creature_sentence_20

Then, the unicorn was supposed to leap into her lap and go to sleep, at which point a hunter could finally capture it. Legendary creature_sentence_21

In terms of symbolism, the unicorn was a metaphor for Christ. Legendary creature_sentence_22

Unicorns represented the idea of innocence and purity. Legendary creature_sentence_23

In the King James Bible, Psalm 92:10 states, "My horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn." Legendary creature_sentence_24

This is because the translators of the King James erroneously translated the Hebrew word re'em as unicorn. Legendary creature_sentence_25

Later versions translate this as wild ox. Legendary creature_sentence_26

The unicorn's small size signifies the humility of Christ. Legendary creature_sentence_27

Another common legendary creature which served allegorical functions within the Middle Ages was the dragon. Legendary creature_sentence_28

Dragons were identified with serpents, though their attributes were greatly intensified. Legendary creature_sentence_29

The dragon was supposed to have been larger than all other animals. Legendary creature_sentence_30

It was believed that the dragon had no harmful poison but was able to slay anything it embraced without any need for venom. Legendary creature_sentence_31

Biblical scriptures speak of the dragon in reference to the devil, and they were used to denote sin in general during the Middle Ages. Legendary creature_sentence_32

Dragons were said to have dwelled in places like Ethiopia and India, based on the idea that there was always heat present in these locations. Legendary creature_sentence_33

Physical detail was not the central focus of the artists depicting such animals, and medieval bestiaries were not conceived as biological categorizations. Legendary creature_sentence_34

Creatures like the unicorn and griffin were not categorized in a separate "mythological" section in medieval bestiaries, as the symbolic implications were of primary importance. Legendary creature_sentence_35

Animals we know to have existed were still presented with a fantastical approach. Legendary creature_sentence_36

It seems the religious and moral implications of animals were far more significant than matching a physical likeness in these renderings. Legendary creature_sentence_37

Nona C. Flores explains, "By the tenth century, artists were increasingly bound by allegorical interpretation, and abandoned naturalistic depictions." Legendary creature_sentence_38

See also Legendary creature_section_2

Legendary creature_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legendary creature.