Each entry includes easy-to-follow text, maps and information boxes describing the background to the myth. Gerrie McCall is a graduate from the University of Houston and now works as a freelance writer Gerrie McCall is a graduate from the University of Houston and now works as a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. Mythical Monsters Chris McNab Gerrie McCall Werewolves and vampires, dragons and gorgons, giants and goblins — since ancient times man has invented strange creatures to explain the unknown or caution children.
Read more Read less Werewolves and vampires, dragons and gorgons, giants and goblins — since ancient times man has invented strange creatures to explain the unknown or caution children. There is no Amber trade print edition currently available. Buy now: eBook iBooks. You might also like Quick Buy. These battles between centaurs and gods or heroes — known as centauromachy — appear regularly in ancient Greek art, adorning pottery and temples. In more modern literature, however, centaurs are often depicted as supporting forces of good. Although they can still be dangerous and mysterious, they also step up as allies.
Centaurs, though perhaps the most recognizable, are not the only part-human hybrid creature of ancient Greek origin. Mythical beasts and beings have roots all over the world. Click to learn more about just a few of the many.
These inhabitants of rivers, ponds and swamps can be both dangerous and playful, either attacking unlucky swimmers or challenging them to sumo wrestling matches. Stories of Anansi are believed to have originated in Ghana with the Ashanti tribe, later spreading across west Africa to the Caribbean. In these folktales, Anansi typically takes the shape of a spider, although in some stories he can also appear as human. This mischievous sprite or fairy is generally depicted as grotesque and short in stature.
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Stories tell of trows being nocturnal creatures, emerging from their mounds only at night and breaking into homes as the owners sleep. According to German folklore, kobolds are domestic spirits that can assist with household chores but are also mischievous, often hiding things and knocking people over. In other stories, kobolds are gnomes who live underground in mines and caves.
In Greek folklore, mermaids, sometimes called sirens, often lured sailors to their deaths with their mesmerizing melodies. In the west, the word dragon conjures up images of a formidable, winged, fire-breathing reptile — one that a hero typically tries to defeat. In Nordic folklore, this fearsome, giant squid-like sea monster would capsize entire ships by wrapping its powerful tentacles around it.
Known as the king of serpents, the basilisk is said to have the power to kill any living creature with its fatal gaze and wither vegetation using only its breath. In Chinese mythology, the rare appearance of this peaceful, one-horned creature usually coincided with the birth or death of a benevolent or sage ruler. The beast is sometimes called a Chinese unicorn and symbolizes prosperity and good fortune.
Described as a giant horned snake measuring up to feet long, the yacumama can suck up any prey within nearly feet, so best to stay far, far away. This mythical creature hails from Aboriginal folklore and calls the swamps and lagoons of Australia home.
Some accounts describe the bunyip as having a face resembling a dog and clawed flippers, with an appetite for human flesh. The windigo, often spelled wendigo, is a cannibalistic spirit originating from Algonquian mythology, believed to have an insatiable appetite for human flesh.
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As the story goes, one becomes this horrifying, man-eating creature after engaging in taboo exploits like resorting to cannibalism due to starvation. In this period story, set in a Victorian fantasy world, beings including faeries, fauns and trows become refugees after humans invade their own magical homelands.
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Now living on Carnival Row, these beings are far from free. But there is light in the darkness in the form of human detective Rycroft Philostrate Orlando Bloom , who vows to safeguard his illicit love — a faerie named Vignette Stonemoss Cara Delevingne — and those who cannot protect themselves.
This intent — that is, offering up a mirror to society and conveying meaningful lessons — has been woven into storytelling and folklore throughout the ages. Each generation also creates its own narratives. Sources: Britannica.
Paid content About Paid content is paid for and controlled by an advertiser and produced by the Guardian Labs team. Learn more about Guardian Labs content. Paid for by Artboard 1. Trolls, fairies and centaurs, oh, my!
A brief history of the world’s most storied legendary creatures
A primer on three of the most recognizable creatures of legend Every culture has its own gaggle of monsters and beings residing in traditional tales. Creatures across cultures Mythical beasts and beings have roots all over the world. Origin: multiple — ancient Babylon, ancient Greece, far east region.
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