manticoreall about manticores

    A summary of information I've gathered over the years. Provenance of the quotations is given, but not bibliographical information; if interested, it's easy enough to find. Or you can email me.
    Editorial notes written by me appear in [square brackets.]

    If the subject of leonic beings interests you, have a look at "The Kingdom of Lions: The Lion as a God or Monster."

 

From "The Canadian Oxford Dictionary" (2001)
"manticore n. 1 a fabulous monster having the body of a lion, the head of a man, porcupine's quills, and the tail or sting of a scorpion. 2 Heraldry a monster represented with the body of a beast of prey, the head of a man, sometimes with spiral or curved horns, and sometimes the feet of a dragon. [Latin manticora representing Greek mantikhoras, corrupt reading in Aristotle for martikhoras from an old Persian word for 'man-eater']"
 
From "Webster's Third New International Dictionary" (1981)
"man-ti-core \\also man-ti-cho-ra or man-ti-co-ra \\ or man-tiger \\ n -s [ME manticore, mantichora, fr. L mantichora, fr. Gk mantichoras, martichoras, of Iranian origin; akin to OPer martiya man, and to OPer khvar- to eat, Av khwar-]: a legendary animal having the head of a man often with horns, the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion"
 
From "WWWebster Dictionary"
    http://www.m-w.com/
"Main Entry: man-ti-core
Pronunciation: 'man-ti-"kOr, -"kor
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin mantichora, from Greek mantichOras
Date: 14th century
: a legendary animal with the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion"
 
From WordNet (r) 1.6
"manticore
    n : a mythical monster having the head of man (with horns) and the body of a lion and the tail of a scorpion
    (syn: {mantichora}, {manticora}, {mantiger})"
 
From Britannica Online
    http://www.britannica.com/
"manticore
    "also spelled MANTICHORA, MANTICORA, or MANTIGER a legendary animal having the head of a man (often with horns), the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion. The earliest Greek report of the creature is probably a greatly distorted description of the Caspian tiger, a hypothesis that accords well with the presumed source of the Greek word, an Old Iranian compound meaning "man-eater." Medieval writers used the manticore as a symbol of the devil. In Canadian author Robertson Davies's The Manticore (1972), the protagonist dreams of a sibyl leading a manticore and examines his dream under Jungian analysis."
 
From "The Encyclopedia Mythica"
    http://www.pantheon.org/
and "The Heathen's Place"
    http://home4.swipnet.se/~w-48250/
"Manticore
    "A monstrous creature which inhabits the forests in Asia, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and India. The manticore, considered to be the most dangerous predator in these regions, has the body of a lion and a head with human resemblances. The mouth is filled with three rows of razor-sharp teeth and the scaled tail ends in a ball with poisonous darts. The monster stalks through the forest in search of humans. Upon an encounter with a human, the manticore fires a volley of darts at the victim, who dies immediately. This unfortunate person is devoured completely; even the bones and clothing, as well as the possessions this person carried, vanish. When a villager has completely disappeared, this is considered proof of the presence of a manticore."
 
From "Monstrous"
    http://www.monstrous.com/
"Description
    "Physically, the manticore was know as having the body of a red lion, human face, ears and blue eyes, three rows of teeth in each jaw, a fatal sting like a scorpion's in the end of his tail, and poisoned spines along the tail which could be shot, like arrows in any direction. The manticore was also attributed with having a voice that was the mixture of pipes and a trumpet. The beast is very swift and has very powerful leaps. The manticore is reputed to roam in the jungles of India, and is known to have an appetite for humans. Like it's cousin, the Sphinx, it would often challenge it's prey with riddles before killing.
    "The earliest accounts seem to be from Persian legend. The name itself is from the old Persian martikhoras meaning 'man-eater'. The earliest accounts of the existence of the manticore come from the Persian courts in the fifth century B.C. documented by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court. Greek and Roman authors (Aristotle, Pliny) described the beast the same way the Persians had.
"Symbol
    "In the middle ages, the manticore was the emblem for the profit [sic] Jeremiah because the manticore lives in the depths of the earth and Jeremiah had been thrown into a dung pit. At the same time, the manticore became the symbol of tyranny, disparagement and envy, and ultimately the embodiment of evil. As late as the 1930s it was still considered by the peasants of Spain, to be a beast of ill omen."
 
From the alt.fan.dragons FAQ
    "Manticore: Creature with the head of a man, body of a lion and tail of a dragon or scorpion. Often has wings."

 
From "LE BESTIAIRE FANTASTIQUE"
    http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shire/5714/bestiaire.html
    "LA MANTICORE : La manticore habite les jungles d'Extrême-Orient et possède un corps de lion surmonté d'une tête humanoide. Sa queue était prolongée par un dard de scorpion. Sa bouche s'ouvrait sur une triple rangée de dents semblables à celles d'un requin, mais encore plus aiguisées. Ces dents pouvaient déchiqueter à peu près n'importe quoi. Cette bête se nourissait surtout d'humains dont elle rafolait (paraît qu'on a un goût de poulet ;-))))"
    [Trans: THE MANTICORE : The manticore lived the jungles of the Far East and had the body of a lion surmounted by a humanoid head. The end of its tail had a scorpion's stinger. Its mouth opened on triple row of teeth like those of a shark, but sharper. These teeth could shred almost anything. This beast fed particularly on humans which it adored (and which apparently taste like chicken. ;-)]
 
From "Consine's Fantastical Creatures Page"
    http://members.fortunecity.com/consine/fantasy.html
"The Manticore
    "The manticore, which lived in India, had a lion's body with a man's head. The manticore craved human flesh. No hunter was ever safe from its poison tipped, barbed tail or its triple rows of teeth."
 
From "Mythical Creatures" (now offline)
    http://members.dencity.com/MythicalCreatures/noframes/
"Manticore - Manticora - Man-Tiger
    "Creature with the head of a man, the body of a lion or a tiger, and the tail of a scorpion or dragon. It was said to eat men and could shoot poisonous darts from its tail. It could not be defeated by any creature except by the lion."
 
From "Occultopedia"
    http://www.occultopedia.com/
"Manticore
    "Sometimes also called Manticora. Reputed to prowl the jungles of India, the fearsome manticore had the body of a lion, the face of a man, and the stinging tail of a scorpion.
"The Manticore's voice was like the mingling of a flute and a trumpet, parodying the human voice. It was vermilion in color and had blue eyes. Its huge jaws, however, were unique: They held three rows of razor-sharp teeth, upper and lower, that interlocked like the teeth of a comb when the beast closed its mouth. The teeth could slash nearly anything to ribbons, and the manticore was said to relish feasting on humans. The monster was dangerous from afar as well. With its strangely segmented tail, it could fire lethal stingers that traveled as much as a hundred feet.
    "This cruel, vicious creature lived in the depths of the earth and could defeat all animals except the lion. The earliest account of the manticora is by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court in the fifth century BC; its name derives from the Persian martya (man) and xvar (to eat).
    "In his monumental Historia Naturalis, Pliny the Elder devotes a number of books to the cataloguing and description of animals world-wide. This is how he described the Manticore:
    "'The fabulous beast is a hybrid, half-human half-animal, with three rows of teeth which intertwine like the teeth of a comb, the face and the ears of a human being, blue eyes, the purplish body of a lion and a tail which ends with a sting, like a scorpion. It runs very fast and human flesh is its favorite dish; its voice sounds like the flute and the trumpet mixed together.'"
    [Note: At the bottom of the above are references to this site. :)]
 
A description from the Web page of Frederik Andersen (which seems to have changed substantially.)
    "The Manticore is roaming the wilderness of Ethiopia. Characteristically, the fabulous beast is a hybrid, half-human half-animal, with three rows of teeth which entertwine like the teeth of a comb, the face and the ears of a human being, blue eyes, the purplish body of a lion and a tail which ends with a sting, like a scorpio. It runs very fast and human flesh is its favourite dish. Its voice sounds like the flute and the trumpet mixed together."
    [Note that this description is largely that of Pliny's, as quoted above.]
 
From "The History of Four-footed Beafts and Serpents"
    by Edward Topsell
    excerpts available at http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/university/222/topsel/top_int.html
"Of the Mantichora (Manticore)
    "This beast or rather Monster... is bred among the Indians, having a treble row of teeth beneath and above, whose greatness, roughness, and feet are like a Lyons, his face and ears unto like a mans; his eyes gray, his colour red, his tail like the tail of a Scorpion, of the earth, armed with a sting, casting forth sharp pointed quils; his voyce like the voyce of a small Trumpet or Pipe, being in course as swift as a Hart; his wildness such as can never be tamed, and his appetite is especially to the flesh of man. His body is like the body of a Lyon, being very apt both to leap and to run, so as no distance or space doth hinder him."
    The Manticore's mouth reaches "both sides to its ears"
    "... although India be full of divers ravening Beasts, yet none of them are titled with a title of Anthropophagi, that is to say Man-eaters: except only this Mantichora."
    "... When the Indians take a Whelp of this Beast, they all to bruise the Buttocks and tail thereof, that so it may never be fit to bring sharp quils, afterwards it is tamed without peril."
 
From "Animals with Human Faces: a Guide to Animal Symbolism"
    by Beryl Rowland
"Manticore
    "... A similar description to that of Topsell's is given by Brunetto Latini and other medieval writers, as well as by the early natural historians, who name Ctesias' Indica as their source. In terms of medieval Christian symbolism, the manticore was the Devil."
 
From "Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore"
    by Alison Jones
"manticore
    "Fabulous creature, having the head of a man, the body of a lion, the tail of a scorpion and the quills of a porcupine. First mentioned by Ctesias in the early fourth century BC, it featured prominently in medieval bestiaries as a representation of the Devil."
 
From the "Dictionary of Symbolic and Mythological Animals"
    by J.C. Cooper
"Marticoras
    "The marticoras is a lion-like monster having a man's head and a scorpion's tail. It is capable of shooting barbs from its tail. Vermilion in colour, with blue eyes, it is derived from the Persian Mardkhora, a man-slayer."
 
From "A Dictionary of Fabulous Beasts"
    by Richard Barber & Anne Riches
"Mantichora, Manticory, Marticoras (also Memecoleous, Maricomorion, Mantiserra)
    "From the Persian mardkhora, man-slayer; it is probably a man-eating tiger, as Pausanias recognised. Aristotle quoted Ctesias, Alexander's physician, whose own works are now lost: 'He assures us that the Indian wild beast called the "marticoras" has a triple row of teeth in both upper and lower jaw; that it is as big as a lion and equally hairy, and that its feet resemble those of the lion; that it resembles man in its face and ears; that its eyes are blue, and its colour vermilion; that its tail is like that of the land-scorpion; that it has a sting in the tail, and has the faculty of shooting off arrow-wise the spines that are attached to the tail; that the sound of its voice is something between the sound of a pan-pipe and that of a trumpet; that it can run swiftly as a deer, and that it is as savage as a man-eater.' In modern Spanish folklore, the manticore is a kind of werewolf who eats children. This terrifying creature was a particular favourite with sixteenth- and seventeenth-century illustrators."
 
From "An illustrated dictionary of Words used in Art and Archaeology"
    by Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington
"also Manicora, Manicore, Chr. In Christian iconography, the manicora is a hybrid animal with a human head, and a globular body ending in a serpent. It is symbol of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil."
 
From "The Book of Beasts"
    by T.H. White
    "A beast is born in the Indies called a MANTICORA. It has a threefold row of teeth meeting alternately: the face of a man, with gleaming, blood-red eyes: a lion's body: a tail like the sting of a scorpion, and a shrill voice which is so sibilant that it resembles the notes of flutes. It hankers after human flesh most ravenously. It is so strong in the foot, so powerful with its leaps, that not the most extensive space nor the most lofty obstacle can contain it. *"
    "*When Skelton cursed the cat which had killed poor Phyllyp Sparrow, he expressed the wish that
        'The mantycors of the montaynes
         Might fede them on thy braynes.'
    "The name is derived from an old Persian word meaning 'man-eater', and some have suggested that the Manticora is simply a man-eating tiger... Another suggestion is man-tiger, i.e. an uncanny creature like the Werewolf. In Haiti at the present day there is a voodoo animal called the Cigouave, which resembles the Manticora, and, since the Bestiaries are connected with an African origin, it is just within the distant bounds of possibility that the Manticore may have had some similar supernatural ancestry. The beast is probably an ancient hieroglyphic, or god, or piece of sculpture like the man-headed bulls of Assyria, or a combination of all of these and others also, which has found its way into natural history with the Griffin.
    "Whatever the Manticora was, it is not extinct. Mr. David Garnett informs the present translator that his friend Mr. Richard Strachey was mistaken for one by the villagers of Ugijar, Andalusia, in 1930, who mobbed him on that hypothesis.
    "... There is... a Mantiserra in a Will of 1494 at Somerset House..."

 
From "The Beastiary of Christ"
    by Louis Charbonneau-Lassay
    "Its birth in the world of legend goes back quite far ...Ctesias asserts that there is a very powerful animal in Asia that resembles a great lion and has three rows of teeth, which is called Marticoras or Manticoras, that is, one who devours men. (Aelian, De natura animalium)
    "...Dante's teacher Brunetto Latini described the fabulous creature this way: 'The Manticore is a beast in this land (of India), which has a man's face and a blood-red complexion, yellow eyes, a lion's body, and a scorpion's tail...' (Latini, Li Livres dou tresor)
    "And Rabelais completes this frightful portrait by telling us that 'Mantichores are very strange beasts: they have a body like a lion, red skin, face and ears like a man, three rows of teeth each one running inside the others as if you interlaced your fingers; in the tail they have a barb with which they sting as scorpions do, and they have an extremely melodious voice.' (Rabelais, Pantagruel)"
 
From "The Book of Imaginary Beings"
    by Jorge Luis Borges, Margarita Guerrero, Norman Thomas di Giovanni
"The Manticore
     "Pliny (VIII, 30) informs us that according to Ctesias, the Greek physician of Artaxerxes Mnemon, among the Ethiopians
    "'there is an animal found, which he calls the mantichora; it has a triple row of teeth, which fit into each other like those of a comb, the face and ears of a man, and azure eyes, is of the color of blood, has the body of the lion, and a tail ending in a sting, like that of the scorpion. Its voice resembles the union of the sound of the flute and the trumpet; it is of excessive swiftness, and is particularly fond of human flesh.'
    "Flaubert has improved upon this description, and in the last pages of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, we read:
    "'THE MANTICORE is a gigantic red lion with a human face and three rows of teeth.
    "'"The iridescence of my scarlet hide blends into the shimmering brightness of the desert sands. Through my nostrils I exhale the horror of the lonely places of the earth. I spit out pestilence. I consume armies when they venture into the desert.
    "'"My nails are twisted into talons, like drills, and my teeth are cut like those of a saw; my restless tail prickles with darts, which I shoot left and right, before me, behind. Watch!'
    "'The Manticore shoots the quills of his tail, which spread out like arrows on every hand. Drops of blood drip down, spattering the leaves of the trees.'"

 
From Martine Dutheil's notes on Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses'
    "... As Rushdie himself informs us, the Manticore is a man-tiger with three rows of teeth escaped from Jorge Luis Borges and Margarita Guerrero's Manual de Zoologma Fantastica. The entry cites Pliny's original description, followed by Flaubert's reworking of it in the last pages of La tentation de Saint Antoine. In his monumental Historia Naturalis, Pliny the Elder devotes a number of books to the cataloguing and description of animals world-wide...
    "The Manticore is mentioned 'multaque alia monstri similia' roaming the wilderness of Ethiopia. Characteristically, the fabulous beast is a hybrid, half-human half-animal, with 'three rows of teeth which intertwine like the teeth of a comb, the face and the ears of a human being, blue eyes, the purplish body of a lion and a tail which ends with a sting, like a scorpio. It runs very fast and human flesh is its favourite dish; its voice sounds like the flute and the trumpet mixed together.'"
    [Note: An analysis of the way in which Rushdie uses the manticore symbolically, as Robertson Davies does, may be read here.]
 
From "Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were: Creatures, Places and People"
    by Michael Page and Robert Inkpen
"Manticore
    "This monster of the Asian forests, especially those of India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, is the most dangerous predator of the tropical regions. It has the body of a lion and a head with some resemblance to that of a human male, except that the awful gaping mouth is filled with three rows of razor-sharp teeth. The tail is as scaly as a snake and tipped with a ball of poison darts, possibly envenomed with the juice of the upas tree.
    "The manticore stalks humans through the forest and creeps near enough to fire a volley of poison darts at a victim. Death is immediate and the manticore then uses its terrible teeth to crunch up every fragment of its meal. Skull, bones, clothing, and even such items as gourds carried by women when going for water, all vanish down the manticore's voracious gullet. The total disappearance of a human from a forest village is proof positive of the presence of a manticore."
    [Note: see description from "The Encyclopedia Mythica" and "The Heathen's Place" above.]
 
From "The Enchanted World: Magical Beasts"
    ed. Daniel Stashower
"The manticore and mermecolion
    "Among the leonine race were two oddities, one terrible, one piteous. In India lived the manticore, which had a lion's body, a manlike head, and an appetite for humans. No hunter was safe from the poisoned barbs of its tail or its triple rows of teeth..."
 
From "Mysteries of the Unknown - Mysterious Creatures"
    ed. Janet Cave and Jane N. Coughran
"The Man-Faced Manticore
    "Reputed to prowl the jungles of India, the fearsom manticore had the body of a lion, the face of a man, and the stinging tail of a scorpion. Its huge jaws, however, were unique. They held three rows of razor-sharp teeth, upper and lower, that interlocked like the teeth of a comb when the beast closed its mouth. The teeth could slash nearly anything to ribbons, and the manticore was said to relish feasting on humans. The monster was dangerous from afar as well. With its strangeley segmented tail, it could fire lethal stingers that travelled as much as a hundred feet."
 
From the introduction to "The Books of Magic: Bindings"
    written by Jane Yolen
    "The manticore is a nasty Persian invention, with threefold row of teeth. Its name in Persian means - literally - 'Man eater' and it savors human flesh. The Bestiaries say it is so powerful a leaper, neither the 'most extensive space nor the most lofty obstacle' can contain it."
 
From: "The Creature Catalog"
    by Michael Berenstain
"Manticore (MAN-ti-core). This creature from India had a lion's body, a scorpion's tail, and the head of a man with triple rows of sharp teeth."
 
From "Eric Carle's DRAGONS DRAGONS & other creatures that never were"
    compiled by Laura Whipple
"Manticore
    "Middle Eastern - a powerful creature with the body of a lion, the head of a man, a tail with the spikes of a scorpion's stinger, and an oversized mouth with three rows of shark-sharp teeth. It especially liked to eat humans. The manticore could not be fenced or walled in since it could jump to great heights.
    "... No glossary can paint a precise picture of the likes of chimeras and dragons and basilisks. These marvelous creations can never be described definitively. Accounts of their appearance vary from source to source and tale to tale. It is appropriate that their images shift slightly in our minds with the storytelling of the moment."
 
From "The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter"
    by David Colbert
    "Carol Rose, an expert in magical creatures, says in the Middle Ages that the manticore was thought to be a representative of the prophet Jeremiah. This connection derived from the belief that the manticore lived deep in the Earth. Jeremiah had been imprisoned in a dungeon."
    [Note: I hope to be able to quote Ms. Rose directly in the near future.]
 
From "The Book of Fabulous Beasts: A Treasury of Writings from Ancient Times to the Present"
    by Joseph Nigg
    "There is in India a wild beast, powerful, daring, as big as the largest lion, of a red color like cinnabar, shaggy like a dog, and in the language of India is called a Martichoras. Its face however is not that of a wild beast but of a man, and it has three rows of teeth set in its upper jaw and three in the lower; these are exceedingly sharp and larger than the fangs of a hound. Its ears also resemble a man's, except that they are larger and shaggy; its eyes are blue-grey and they too are like a man's, but its feet and claws, you must know, are those of a lion.
    "To the end of its tail is attached the sting of a scorpion, and this might be over a cubit [eighteen inches] in length; and the tail has stings at intervals on either side. But the tip of the tail gives a fatal sting to anyone who encounters it, and death is immediate.
    "If one pursues the beast it lets fly its stings, like arrows, sideways, and it can shoot a great distance; and when it discharges its stings straight ahead it bends its tail back; if however it shoots in a backward direction, then it stretches its tail to its full extent. And creature that the missle hits it kills; the elephant alone it does not kill. these stings which it shoots are a foot long and thickness of a bulrush. One writer asserts (and he says that the Indians confirm his words) that in the places where those stings have been let fly others spring up, so that this evil produces a crop.
    "According to this same writer the Manticore devours human beings; indeed it will slaughter a great number; and it lies in wait not for a single man but would set upon two or even three men, and alone overcomes even that number.
    "The Indians hunt the young of these animals while they are still without stings in their tails, which they then crush with a stone to prevent them from growing stings. The sound of their voice is as near as possible that of a trumpet."
    [Note: in the source material available to me at this writing, the author of the above is not identified but is probably Aelian.]
 
From: "Mythical and Fabulous Creatures: A Source Book and Research Guide"
    by David R. Cheney
    ed. Malcolm South

    "Human-Animal Composites - The Manticora

    "The manticora is perhaps the most fearsome and ferocious monster ever imagined. It has a red lion's body; a human face, ears and blue eyes; and a voice like the mingling of panpipes and trumpet. But the distinctive and terrible features are three rows of teeth in each jaw, a fatal sting like a scorpion's in the end of the tail, and poisoned spines along the tail which may be shot like arrows in any direction. It is exceedingly swift, with leaps so powerful that the loftiest objects and largest spaces cannot hold it. Finally, it is a man-eater.
    "The manticora has over three dozen different names deriving ultimately from the Old Persian martikhoras, meaning 'man-eater,' or marticoras, a corrupt reading in Aristotle. Indeed, most of the changes have been rung on 'manti,' 'manty,' 'mard,' 'marti,' and 'merdi' of the first part of the name and 'chora,' 'chore,' 'chors,' 'cor,' 'cora,' 'core,' 'cors,' 'khor,' and 'khora' of the second part. In addition, it has been called mantiserra, manticero, and man-tiger...
    "... Of the ancients, Aelian, in the second century AD, gave the fullest account of the manticora. He did not add anything new to Ctesias' description, but he did elaborate on several points. For example, he said that 'the tip of the tail gives a fatal sting to anyone who encounters it,' that the darts in its tail are 'a foot long and the thickness of a bulrush,' and that it defeats all animals but the lion...
    "... in the fifteenth century the manticora appeared in William Caxton's Mirrour of the World, which was translated from a French version of an early Latin original. The account included two notable variation: the three rows of teeth became 'thre huge grete teeth in his throte' and the voice like panpipes and trumpets became 'the voys of a serpente in suche wyse that by his swete songe he draweth to hym the peple and deuoureth them' (e viii)...
    "Throughout the history of the beast, the basic description, as far as written accounts are concerned, has been adhered to closely with only an occasional variation. For example, Pliny says its eyes are grey instead of blue (8.30.75), Bartholomaeus Anglicus says the beast is 'like to the bear in body and in hair' (Steele 139), and the rare heraldic figure has curved or spiral horns and sometimes dragon's wings and feet (Oxford English Dictionary; Franklyn and Tanner 215)...
    "... the manticora has been equated with the fabulous Indian beast called the makara, [a curious assertion, as the makara more closely resembles the astrological sign of Capricorn than anything else] and has been said to be an uncanny creature like the werewolf...
    "... in Menotti's madrigal fable The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore, the manticora really loves mankind. It is only out of its loneliness and shyness and feeling unloved that it bites sometimes the hand it really meant to kiss. Dorothy Spicer has contributed further to its domestication by writing a tale for children called 'The Manticore of North Cerney.' Her manticora, a man to the waist and the rest a lion, is a gentle, freedom-loving, joyful, sensitive creature (116-17)..."
    [Note: The above article includes an extensive bibliography; I hope to be able to transcribe it here eventually.]

 
From: "Wikipedia"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manticore
"... The Romanized Greek Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, recalled strange animals he had seen at Rome, and mentioned
"The beast described by Ctesias in his Indian history, which he says is called "martichoras" by the Indians and "man-eater" by the Greeks, I am inclined to think is the tiger. But that it has three rows of teeth along each jaw and spikes at the tip of its tail with which it defends itself at close quarters, while it hurls them like an archer's arrows at more distant enemies; all this is, I think, a false story that the Indians pass on from one to another owing to their excessive dread of the beast.' (Description, xxi, 5)
"Pliny the Elder did not share Pausanias' skepticism. He followed Aristotle's natural history by including the "martichoras" - mistranscribed as "manticorus" in his copy of Aristotle and thus passing into European languages - among his descriptions of animals in Naturalis Historia, c. 77 CE. Pliny's book was widely enjoyed and uncritically believed through the European Middle Ages, during which the manticore was sometimes illustrated in bestiaries. The manticore made a late appearance in heraldry, during the 16th century, and it influenced some Mannerist representations - sometimes in paintings but more often in the decorative schemes called 'grotteschi' - of the sin of Fraud, conceived as a monstrous chimera with a beautiful woman's face, and in this way it passed into the 17th and 18th century French conception of a sphinx."
 
From "Shield and Crest; an account of the art and science of Heraldry"
    by Julian Franklyn, C.L.J., M.M.C.M.
    "A heraldic tygre having the horned head of an old man is named manticora, montegre, or simply man-tygre."
 
From the "Clan Dark Angel website
    http://www.clandarkangel.com/
"Le manticore entra dans la mythologie grecque depuis la Perse et provenait probablement de légendes exotiques indiennes. L'animal avait un corps de lion et une tête d'homme (avec des yeux bleus et des oreilles), trois rangées de dents, une queue venimeuse parcourue d'épines vénéneuses, qui pouvaient tirer dans toutes les directions. Sa voix était un mélange de tuyaux et de trompettes. Il était rapide et capable d'effectuer de grands bonds. On impute les disparitions de villageois à la manticore"
    [Trans: The Manticore came into Greek mythology from Persia and probably originated in legends about exotic India. The animal had the body of a lion and a human head (with blue eyes and human ears), three rows of teeth, a stinging tail lined with poisonous spines that could be fired in any direction. Its voice was like a mixture of pipes and trumpets. It was fast and able to make great leaps. The disappearance of villagers was blamed on the manticore.]
 
http://www.archangelcastle.com/mythologie/creatures/manticoreindex.php summarises much of the above information in French - and credits it to someone else. It is a part of a site discussing the computer game 'Heroes of Might and Magic III,' in which manticores can be used as fighters.

More about manticores
Manticore art

The other white meat

Entry added January 24, 2005