Honestly, I wouldn’t want to run into any of the creatures in this bestiary, but the next guy on our list is very near the top of my don’t-want-to-run-into list.
With a blood colored lion body, a human face, and a scorpion-like tail, the Manticore is one of the most feared beasts in known mythology.
This ancient creature has roots in Persian mythology but has also played its role in several other lores as humanity evolved.
The Greek historian Ctesias was one of the first to mention the Manticore in writing, as he did in his book “Indica.”
In his book, Description of Greece, the geographer Pausanias recalled hearing about the Manticore myth in Ctesias’s work.
“The beast described by Ctesias in his Indian history, which he says is called martichoras by the Indians and “man-eater” [androphagos] 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, 9.21.4)
Another note about the Manticore made by a Greek writer was made by Flavius Philostratus in The Life of Apollonius of Tyana Greek.
“And in as much as the following conversation also has been recorded by Damis as having been held upon this occasion with regard to the mythological animals and fountains and men met with in India, I must not leave it out, for there is much to be gained by neither believing nor yet disbelieving everything. Accordingly Apollonius asked the question, whether there was there an animal called the man-eater (martichoras); and Iarchas replied: “And what have you heard about the make of this animal? For it is probable that there is some account given of its shape.” “There are,” replied Apollonius, “tall stories current which I cannot believe; for they say that the creature has four feet, and that his head resembles that of a man, but that in size it is comparable to a lion; while the tail of this animal puts out hairs a cubit long and sharp as thorns, which it shoots like arrows at those who hunt it.”
Long-story short, this is a lion with a man’s face and a scorpion’s tail that can shoot spikes out of that tail.
In more recent history, the Manticore has made its presence known throughout many of our mass-media specters.
Both Marvel and DC have their representations of the beast. DC had four characters take the mantle of Manticore so far. Three of them were bad guys who lined with an organization named Jihad and the fourth is a metahuman who is a member of the Global Guardians.
On the Marvel Universe, the only Manticore was a villain who picked a fight with the wrong people.
In a more recent spin, there was a Manticore portrayed in Game of Thrones. Unlike the original Persian myth, the creature that appears in Essos is entirely different in a few aspects. First of all in size, as instead of having a lion’s body and a man’s face, the Essos Manticore is indeed a scorpion.
I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but people who watch the show will find out that even though this Manticore lacks in size, it has deadly venom.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this quick look at another mythical beast and learned a little about it. As always, if I forgot something don’t hesitate to point it out in the comments or shoot me an email at email@example.com. Also, let me know of any creatures you’d want to learn more about!