Alternatively named Manticora, Mantichora, Manticory, Martikora, Mantiserra, Mancomorion, Memecoleous and Satyral (alternative name for the one reputed to prowl the jungles of India).
A hybrid humanoid monster in the legends of ancient Asia, medieval Europe and Mesopotamia, the fearsome Manticore was said to be exceptionally fast, having the body of a lion, the face of a man with a red mouth, and the stinging tail of a scorpion — sometimes described as ending in a bony conglomerate of poisoned spikes.
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 of King Artaxerxes Mnemon in the fifth century BC; its name derives from the Persian martya (man) and xvar (to eat).
In his monumental Historia Naturalis (AD 77), 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."
During medieval times the Manticore was frequently present in bestiaries, still retaining the same depiction given by Pliny over a thousand years earlier. In later Spanish folk tales, the Manticore developed into a child snatching type Werewolf.
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Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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