Fascinating Mythological Creatures – Various Civilizations
Mythological creatures, also known as legendary creatures, are fabulous mystical animals and supernatural beings, almost always a hybrid form of humans and animals. These creatures’ existence has not proven scientifically but by the description of folklore and historians. From place to place, the presence of the mythological creatures varies. Numerous civilizations existed and practised various cultures around the world. Each society and culture has its native heroic tales and legendary creatures.
We have made a list of a few mythical creatures from various cultures. Readers can give suggestions below in the comment section for mythological creatures to add to the list.
Pegasus is one of the favourite mythological creatures among people worldwide. A white horse with wings is a divine symbol once ridden by a Greek hero. Bellerophon knew as “the greatest hero and slayer of monsters”. He rode to Mount Olympus and defeat Chimera, a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia, a geographical region in Anatolia. With the help of a Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare, Athena, Bellerophon captured Pegasus.
One of the greatest Greek poets Hesiod lived around the same time as Homer between 750 and 650 BC. Moreover, Homer, author of Iliad and Odyssey. In a word, Hesiod presents Pegasus’s name who carried thunderbolts for Zeus (The King of Gods in Greek mythology). Bellerophon rode Pegasus to Olympus but fell off from Pegasus. Afterwards, Pegasus, along with Athena, reached Olympus, where he had stabled and given the task to carry Zeus’s thunderbolts. For his years of devoted service, Zeus transformed him into a constellation.
According to Greek mythology, Pegasus along with his brother Chrysaor sprang out from the blood drops of Medusa. During, a Greek hero Perseus beheaded her blood drops from her neck. Medusa, one of the three monstrous Gorgons, winged female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Pegasus and Chrysaor formed by the composition of Medusa’s blood, pain and seafoam. Also with Poseidon’s involvement in it becoming offspring of God of the sea.
In some versions of the text, Pegasus flew towards the origin of thunder and lightning soon after it was born, then Athena suppressed him and gave Pegasus to Perseus. Perseus flew to Ethiopia with Pegasus to help Andromeda, chained to a rock to sacrifice the monster.
Mythological creatures with parts of a lion, parts of an elephant and a part of a horse combined, can found in numerous South Indian (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka) temples as stone sculptures and paintings along with Tamil culture. Tamil culture has predominantly found in the southern states of the Indian sub-continent. Especially in Tamil Nadu and in a small population of the other south Indian states. The Tamil culture expands all along the south and south-east Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore etc. They have a rich tradition of temple architecture and stone sculptures depicting various mythological creatures.
Yali, the mythological creature could have a lion face, its paws (and claws) and tail, fangs of a snake, body, hind legs and trunk of an elephant. Sometimes referred to as Vyalas, they have known for their ferociousness, speed, and strength. It possesses the male aggression and masculinity of the Lion, grace of the snake and intelligence of an elephant. As a trans-mutated animal, a Yali is said to be stronger than a lion or an elephant combined and for this reason, it was used as a mount during wars. In this era of gene modification, it makes me wonder if the Yalis were created as a fighting force or did such creatures naturally existed? And more importantly, did they actually exist and over a period of time become extinct.
One of the oldest civilizations in the world Indus Valley civilization depicted the figures of Yali in Mohenjo-Daro. Sometimes, the Tamil god Lord Murugan, a warrior god who protects the heavenly realms said to be the rider of Yali. This depiction of Yali tradition continues from ancient civilization to the present culture and this co-relation proves the migration of the ancient civilization and their settlements patterns.
(Chinese Mythological Creatures)
Loong or Long or Lung has commonly known as the Chinese Dragon a legendary mythical creature from long-lasting Chinese culture. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in East Asian culture.
Chinese Dragons historically symbolizes or represents Imperial power and associated with the Emperor of China wore robes with motifs depicting the Dragon as a symbol of Imperials. The ancient Chinese self-identified as “The Gods of the Dragon” because the Chinese dragon is an imagined reptile that represents the evolution from the ancestors and qi energy (a vital force forming part of any living energy).
The European Dragons typically depicted as a large, fire-breathing, scaly, horned, lizard-like creature; the creature also has leathery, bat-like wings, four legs, and a long, muscular prehensile tail. Some depictions show dragons with one or more feathered wings, crests, ear frills, fiery manes, ivory spikes running down their spine, and various exotic decorations that are entirely different from Chinese dragons.
(Greek Mythological Creatures)
Cyclops as one-eyed giants in Greek mythology, described by numerous Greek historians in Greek literature. Cyclopes can distinguish into three groups. In Hesiod’s Theogony, the Cyclopes are the three brothers Brontes, Steropes, and Arges, who made for Zeus (Sky and Thunder God in ancient Greek religion) his weapon the thunderbolt were sons of Uranus (personification of the sky), a primal Greek God and Gaia (personification of the earth). In Homer’s Odyssey, Cyclops are an uncivilized group of shepherds, the brethren of Polyphemus encountered by Odysseus. Cyclopes were also famous as the builders of the Cyclopean walls of Mycenae, Tiryns and Argos.
Hesiod and Homer are ancient Greek poets around the same time who made the foundational works for ancient Greek literature.
Palaeontologist Othenio Abel in 1914 proposed that the origin of cyclops into the Greek literature might be from the fossil skulls of Pleistocene dwarf elephants (have a large central nasal cavity in the skull) commonly found in coastal caves of Italy and Greece.
(Egyptian Mythological Creatures)
Egyptian mythical creature, Sphinx have a human head and lion body sculpted in various parts of Egypt. Sphinx has a male human head (sometimes the head might be of a Pharaoh) with a body of a large cat or a lion and viewed as a kind-hearted creature unlike Greek sphinx having the head of a woman, the haunches of a lion, and the wings of a bird being malevolent version.
Sun God – Sphinx
The Great Giza Sphinx represents the most powerful sun god, Ra-Horakhty protects the temple doors. Specifically, Giza Sphinx, the oldest and longest stone sculpture from the Old Kingdom (2575-2134 B.C). Indeed, the third to sixth dynasties of Pharaonic periods. The Great Giza Sphinx had carved out of a natural limestone outcrop. The Sphinx is 19.8 metres (65 feet) high and 73.2 metres (240 feet) long. It is located a short distance from the Great Pyramid.
During the eighteenth dynasty (The first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Pharaonic periods) spanned from 1550 to 1292 B.C, it was called “Horus of the Horizon” and “Horus of the Necropolis”, the sun god that stands above the horizon. In later times, many sphinx images were carved in smaller sizes or in cameos with the faces of the reigning monarchs. The face of the Great Sphinx is believed to be that of Chephren (The fourth-dynasty pharaoh) who built the second-largest pyramid in the Giza triad. In the image of the Sphinx, the pharaoh had seen as a powerful god.
Sphinx depictions are generally associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. The other famous Egyptian Sphinxes are one bearing the head of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in granite, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the alabaster Sphinx of Memphis, currently located within the open-air museum at that site. Nine hundred sphinxes with ram heads (Criosphinxes), believed to represent Amon, were built in Thebes, where his cult was strongest.
Norse mythology’s fearsome sea monster has a cephalopod-like appearance (bilaterally symmetrical body with a prominent head and set of tentacles). These mythological creatures have gigantic body sizes commonly known as Kraken. According to Scandinavian Folklore Kraken resides on the coasts of Norway and Greenland, terrorizing the sailors passing North Atlantic.
Kraken had depicted by various authors in numerous ways since the 18th century. Moreover, predominantly a large octopus-like creature and has spikes on its suckers. Contradictorily in earlier descriptions, Kraken had depicted as a Crab like monster possessing the traits associated with a large whale. An ancient giant cephalopod resembling the legendary Kraken have proposed as responsible for the deaths of ichthyosaurs during the Triassic Period.
The old Norwegian author in his work Konungs skuggsjá described the physical attributes of the sea monster and its feeding behaviour. The author proposed two monsters wandering around the Greenland Sea of the same region. Erik Pontoppidan (1698 – 1764) was a Danish author who proposed that a specimen of the monster, “perhaps a young and careless one”, was washed ashore and died at Alstahaug, Nordland county, Norway in 1680. The modern authors over the years have postulated that the legend may have originated from sightings of giant squids that may grow to 13-15 meters (40-50 feet) in length.
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4 thoughts on “Fascinating Mythological Creatures – Various Civilizations”
Yali seems to be more interesting, these found in various countries being eye opening.
An amazing topic to know. Great article.
After reading this article, I came to know about the Tamil mythology creature, Yali.
Loong seems to be something different from western dragons.