Connecting the Monsters of the Middle Ages

Our work this week is all about exploring the wonderful monsters of the Middle Ages. We started with a thoughtful overview of medieval monstrosity and its understanding, and then took a close look at the monsters found on a variety of premodern maps. For Thursday (2/1), we will take a look at a variety of monsters from a variety of contexts – travel writing, literary manuscripts, bestiaries, and different kinds of statuaries (gargoyles and Sheela-Na-gigs). Thus, I thought it would be useful and interesting to do some comparing/contrasting of some of these monsters, and see what comes out of it.  For, it is a truism of comparative analysis that by comparing different things, it enables the viewer to see these things in a different and more nuanced light. It is in that spirit that I want you to complete your comparisons for this blog post.

In general, I want you to complete two separate comparisons for this assignment.  For the first, you should compare the monsters of medieval maps to some form of monstrosity assigned for class on Thursday. Try and be as specific as you can here, perhaps even identifying a specific monster from a specific map (as opposed to some other, specific creature assigned for class) so that you can really hone in on the details and their implications. For your second comparison, I’d like you to compare a monster from Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’ with a monstrous beast (from the medieval bestiary), gargoyle, or Sheela-Na-Gig. Again, try and be as specific as you can in your comparisons. Whatever monstrous entities you choose to compare, your analysis should amount to at least two in-depth paragraphs in which you explain your comparison, offer some observations about the monstrous entities you have selected, and then attempt to draw some conclusions about them.

43 thoughts on “Connecting the Monsters of the Middle Ages

  1. For the first section of the blog post I’d like to focus on the Griffins that were briefly mentioned in the Manuscript of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and what I can only infer is a “horsemaid” or the half fish/half horse creature that is shown in map six in the Maps Document. Obviously the main comparison is that they have the same structure in creation, half Lion (or Horse) and half Eagle (or Fish). They also both seem to be a mesh of two conflicting elements, meaning that the Griffin is a mix of land and sky (or earth and air) and the Horse Fish is mix of land and ocean (or earth and water). This might add to their monstrosity in the sense that their two components conflict with each other and add to their obscurity, making them harder to understand and therefore more monstrous. These two creatures are also interesting when thinking about the thought process of those who made them. It almost feels as though when these cartographers or historians are faced with an unknown creature, instead of accepting them as a whole, they think of them as two halves of animals that they already know, using prior knowledge to try and understand the element of our world that they can’t understand.

    When focusing on comparing a beast with one of the monsters featured in Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’, I’d like to show off the Wolf that talked with the Priest and the Caladrius (or the bird which can tell if a sick man will die, and can cure disease). What I find interesting about these two monsters is that their forms are not inherently monstrous. While the wolves were once humans, which makes them to be a bit more monstrous when compared to their former bodies, it’s still not something that’s completely out of the norm or unknown to us. Both wolves and birds are very common place and so I feel they are almost out of place when compared to other creatures in their categories. Their actions also aren’t inherently monstrous either, with the wolves still having human speech and traits and the bird even lives in the king’s house while healing certain people of illnesses, and I wonder if this is showing that with time these beasts gain a sense of unity with humans that they previously hadn’t had before, or at least with beasts that they can connect with (as with the human wolves) or that they can use (as with the healing bird). I find it interesting that the idea of monsters and beasts were at one point exiled to foreign places, and now we see them interacting and even helping human beings.

    • 1. For the first part of this blog post I will be comparing the man that was half ox and an ox that was half man from the History and Topography of Ireland with the monster that is pictured on Item 4 of the Medieval Maps and Monsters. The two monsters have very similar characters based on the pictures provided. Both have the head and legs of a human, but the other main attributes of the animal are focused on more in the monsters, for example their feet and hands, the amount of hair they have throughout their body and their facial structure (nose, eyes, ears). Both stand tall like a human, giving them the strong appeal to stand out from those around them and scare away anyone that may encounter them. The story behind the half man/ half ox gives confirmation that the beast lived amongst both creatures and humans and was treated justly when with both, but there is no story for the monster on Item 4 of the maps which leaves our imaginations to run free. And from what history has told us about monsters, it is hard to believe that the people of the town of the half man/half ox treated him fair and right.
      2. For the second part of this blog post I will be referring to gargoyles and the cocks in Ireland. The gargoyles are related to numbers whereas the cocks are related to time. They both are an apparent figure in their land and are seen and heard from almost anywhere. The gargoyle is seen on the tops of churches mostly and during that time churches were a huge part of life, so they were seen everywhere and by everyone due to Christianity being the predominant religion of the time. The cocks were seen at the tops of buildings as they crowed to signal sunrise and the beginning of the morning. The next aspect I will bring up is both a similarity and difference because both are viewed in a different light in other countries, and those differences is what draws the two apart from one another. For instance, the cock crows differently in other countries and the gargoyle is viewed differently in different countries and is also used as a gutter system for the churches at which they sit on top of. The gargoyle is also a symbol of protection against evil for the churches. The cock is a symbol of the distinguishing night from day.

  2. For the first section of this blog I would like to focus in on medieval map number thirteen. The map shows a boat that is crashed on-top of a wales back. The wale in my opinion represents an island because of the plants growing on its back and the campfire set up with a person cooking. The boat looks like it crashed onto the wale back and maybe this is a map of a certain ocean where wales were very prevalent and boats could have crashed into a certain type of wale or giant rocks. These wales could be seen as monstrous because of their massive size and being recently discovered raised questions to the danger they could potentially present. Other maps can be compared because of the all the sea monster illustrations in map number 6. These creatures are drawn maybe because people of the middle ages probably only caught a quick look at a big mysterious animal and jumped to conclusions about that certain creature. Other maps could be contrasted with this like map 2 for example is just a depiction of the world with closely packed island, as opposed to all these mysterious monster sightings.
    For the second section my blog I will be focusing on comparing a beast with one of the gargoyle (from the medieval bestiary). The gargoyle came around between the eleventh and thirteenth century and had two purposes, to scare away the wicked, and draw away lots of water from church roofs.The gargoyle seems very monstrous and strange almost like a giant bat morphed with an animal. The word Gargoyle stems from the old French word “Gargouille” meaning “Throat”; Ironically these sculptures had long necks. What is cool with gargoyles is they had different meanings for different places because some artist would glorify a friend by sculpting his or her face into this rock. Where other artist would make dragons or animal or mixtures gargoyles. This can finally be compared back to the cocks on page 58 featured in Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’. It says how the cocks in Ireland crow differently than those in other countries. These cocks may not be monstrous in physical appearance to contrast the two but when you compare them, you can see that gargoyles are different in other countries like a gargoyle in china might be consisted of a dragon or animal, as opposed to a human gargoyle sculpted to represent someone dear in Europe in medieval times.

  3. For the first part of this blog post, I am going to compare Map 5 from the medieval map worksheet to dragons from the Medieval Bestiaries. In the Medieval Bestiaries, it talks about dragons and says that the strongest part of the dragon is its tail, not its teeth. In the map, it doesn’t even look like the dragons have any teeth. It just looks like their tails are extremely long to show off that they are the dragon’s greatest attribute. Also, it says that the enemy of the dragon is the elephant, which I find very interesting because in the map it shows dragons who look rather scary, and it appears that they are racing toward an elephant, ready to suffocate it. The dragons in this map do not have legs and they almost look more like snakes rather than dragons. Although, the Medieval Bestiaries states that dragons are very serpent-like and that they use their tails to coil up the elephants and suffocate them, which explains why they look this way.
    For the second part, I am going to compare the Centaur from Medieval Bestiaries to the man that was half ox from “History and Topography of Ireland.” The ox man had all the parts of a human except for his hands and feet, which were instead hooves. The centaur is half a man and half a horse. Although, with the centaur the upper part of its body is human and the lower part of its body is a horse. Both of these monsters are part human and part animal.

  4. If you look on map number six and seven, you see many different types of monsters that were on the outer parts of the countries. Some are hyrbids, some are made up creatures and some are representations of creatures that are around in today’s time. The Manticore, a beast that is a hybrid between a man, a lion and a scorpion can be compared to the monster on map six, the hybrid between horse and a fish, almost like a mermaid’s tail another creature that can be talked about at another time. Both hybrids are very different but the basic concept of combining 2 or more creatures together to make one monstrous beast is very similar no matter the time period or who actually described the beast. A question comes up for me in why did the people choose the specific creatures to combine? With the creatures being separated, they are not considered monstrous such as a fish, a horse, or a scorpion, but combining them makes them into this scary beast.
    The two monsters I choose to compare were from Gerald of wales was the domestic cock and Basilisk, the beast that can kill you with its odor, voice, or look. Basilisk is described to be a crested snake or a cock with a snake’s tail. This monstrous beast is very deadly to all living things except a weasel. The main similarity is that both “monsters’ are cocks or in the form of one. In Gerald of Wales, there is no mention of the domestic cocks being harmful to others; it simply crows the same whether it is in Ireland or Britain. People may have different opinions on the look or the sound of the cock though. That is the main difference, one can kill you and the other will not. It is interesting to view how the same form of animal has different interruptions depending on the time period and place. The first mention of Basilisk was in the 1st century by Lucan then again by Pliny the Elder with the domestic cocks being in a different time period.

  5. Despite the several distinctions that each monster may have, there are plenty of similarities in which each monster can definitely relate. In particular, there are animals that can be viewed as monsters and there can be monstrous humans that can be viewed as any ordinary person. In this specific example, I want to focus on a human looking figure from It is a creature with an extra ligament of what looks like a snake that is initially attached to the head and then wrapped around the body. This creature is comparable to the monkey-looking human figure in item four of the medieval maps selection. For instance, the monstrous snake-human has two legs, two arms, two hands and facial features just like any other human being would have attached to their body and the monkey-looking human has all those features too. Their feet are even similar in the fact that they are quite long and bendy. In order words, these similar features prove that monstrosity is definitely based on history and science because, before humankind, we were once other creatures too. Humans were once monkey-looking beasts and slowly over long periods of time, we have evolved into our natural form.
    In the Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’ article, there is a monstrous animal that they describe to be a cow that was partly stag. This cow was originally considered a normal cow that resides on a farm; therefore it is very similar to other farm animals, such as a goat. In the broad variety selection of images in the medieval maps document, there is a goat-looking animal from item four that is detailed with the same features of a regular goat. Even though these two animals are totally different creatures, they both hone in on the fact that they were initially animals that stayed with a herd, rather than exploring as wild monstrous beasts. Therefore, their line of descendants must have followed in their footsteps to where we are today, where farmers still frequently herd their animals. Also, both of the animals are relatable in on the fact that they both have horns on the top of their heads, which makes a great defense mechanism just in case of danger and they both have four legs and short stubby tails. There are several features that could make a monster unique, however, there are definitely overlapping features that make them very similar.

  6. For my first analysis, I am going to compare a unicorn from the medieval bestiaries and the horned-creature towards the middle left of the “Nordic Carta Marina” map by Olaus Magnus. First and most obviously, both creatures have large horns on the top of their heads. Besides this, the only other similarity is that both creatures resemble another “real” animal (Unicorn-Horse/Horned creature-fish). Those are the only two similarities I found but, nonetheless, I found it very interesting that both of these creatures resemble one another, but one is strictly a land animal with four legs while the other is fish-like and can only swim. The most intriguing fact, however, is the vast difference in time periods these creatures are created. For instance, Unicorns date back to the Bible, while these monstrous maps were created in medieval times, long after Christ. Therefore, it is interesting to see how the Bible honors the horned horse as being a symbol of Christ and representing his humility, while later on in time, a creature similar to the Unicorn is feared and deemed “scary”.
    For my second analysis, the Centaur from the medieval bestiaries will be compared to the ox-man on page 73 of “The History and Topography of Ireland”. The creatures are eerily similar since the Centaur is half man-half horse while the other was half man-half ox. Even though both were part human/part animal, the Centaur had a top half of a human and bottom half of a horse, while the man-ox’s animal and human features were mixed all over his body. For example, he had arms and legs but also hooves, a flat face but with big, ox nostrils, and could not speak. Centaurs usually could speak human language and they are able to pass off as human far more likely than the ox-man. In the “History and Topography of Ireland”, the ox-man tried very eagerly to be accepted into normal society but he was made fun of and eventually murdered, while Centaurs are described as “fabulous” in the medieval bestiaries. This is quite interesting to say the least. Both creatures were half human/half animal, but since the Centaur appeared more “human”, he/they were more accepted, while the ox-man was murdered for seeming more “animal-like”.

  7. 1. For my first analysis I would like to compare the Manticore and the monster from Image 4. The specific monster from Image 4 is the man with a dog head. Thecorese two monsters are similar because they are a composite of different species. The Manticore is has the body of a lion, head of a human, and a tail of scorpion. Compared to the dog head beast, it has the head of a dog and the body of a human. They are both well known among the population. The dog-head species was originally known as a tribe of ‘baboons.’ The Manticore is identified by it’s distinctive human face. Both creatures have a specific liking of meat. The Manticore preys on human flesh, as the dog-head has the hunger for raw meat.
    2. For the second part I would like to compare the unicorn to the man that was half ox half man. They were both magnificent creatures with unique distinctives. They were both targeted by humans. They were both creatures of the good. They did not intend to harm humans. While the unicorn was much more fierce, it still was not in the wrong. The ox-man was teased for his ugly figure. Unfortunately, they both end up being killed in the end, undeserving of their fate.

  8. For the first section of this blog post, I will be comparing the dog-headed people (the Cynocephales) from “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville” and the dog headed humans from Africa from item four on the medieval maps document. While looking at the maps document, it gives a brief description of the creature. Ancient Greek and Roman writers called these creatures “a race of monstrous people in Africa who walked like men do…” These dog-men were believed to live off of raw meat. When we take a look at the brief description from Mandeville, we see a similar situation. While it does not specifically say where these creatures are from, the image does reveal to us that these dog-men killed humans and appeared to be taking over the castle/building the humans were guarding. It may be possible that after the humans were killed, the Cynocephales ate the remains; however, it is not clear. If that were to be the case, it would be very similar to what the Greeks and Romans believed about these creatures.

    For the second half of this blog post, I will be comparing the story of the priest and wolf from “The History and Topography of Ireland” and the dog from “The Medieval Bestiary” website. The story of both these creatures was rather interesting. Both were not only depicted as non- monstrous, but they also both dealt with religion in one way or another. With the story of the wolf, a priest was asked to do a final ceremony for a dying she-wolf. Because both wolves were human at some point, the priest was pressured into performing communion on the wolf. The wolves in this story do not appear violent whatsoever. The same could be said for the dog. It is said that a young dog is bound to a patient and cures internal wounds. What I found most interesting was the allegory/moral that was provided. It talks about how dogs healing their own wounds through licking represents how sins can be cured through confession. Both creatures deal with religion in one way or another.

  9. As Chet Van Duzer’s stated during his book conference:
    “The creatures look purely fantastic. They all look like they were just made up. But, in fact, a lot of them come from what were considered, at the time, scientific sources.”
    Many of these creatures that are depicted on medieval maps are not as foreign and unfamiliar as they appear to be. Many of beings are based on off the likeliness of real animals in our society today. For this exercise, I am going to use the comparison of the “dog-headed” creatures discussed in the Manuscript of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and the image on the top left of item 4, illustrating an individual with the body of a man and the head of a dog. Both of these beings have the same outer physical appearances. They are described as cannibalistic, which is the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of its own kind. Although the descriptions are very brief for both of these creatures, their likelihood and similarities are uncanny.
    Secondly, I would like to draw attention back to my first statement in paragraph one. Many of the creatures depicted as monster during this era, are very familiar creatures that we see in our everyday life. Near Chester in Britain, a cow and stag conceived a hybrid of the two and birthed out a half cow half stag. Although it’s outer appearance would be considered “weird” or “monstrous” to many , it is seen connected to its herd and is accepted within it’s family. Same for the image on the medieval maps of the hybrid of the head of a goat attached to a humans body. Both the hybrids can be seen in today’s time, with both of them having similar animal-like features. However, the hybrid of the half cow / half stag would be considered more acceptable to society because it was conceived between two animals; rather than an “abomination” or a half goat/ half man. One will more likely be condemned than the other.

  10. As we learn about many of the different monsters from the medieval past we see that however different they appear, they still share some of the most important distinctions. The primary comparison I will make is between the “Pygmies” mentioned by Pliny the Elder, and the dancing/fighting Ethiopians from the map of Africa. Pliny describes the Pygmies as small dark men with their strange culture, including hair braiding along with taking care of micro-cows. The other “beast” is from the map of Africa(World Portolan), which did not come with a description, but the intent does seem implied. Just as Pliny demonstrated when describing the Pygmies, the author of the map is demonstrating his ignorance or fear of these unknown people by turning them into wild monsters. Most of these stories and illustrations are coming from third, fourth, or even fifth hand accounts of what was seen. It seems very possible that through exaggeration of the story, even just a little bit, four times over could lead to an author documenting these unknowns as fact.
    For this second comparison I will compare the Sheela-Na-Gig with the lion from the story “A Lion that Loved a Woman” from Gerald of Wales. From what I have learned, the Sheela-Na-Gig is a strange figurine, most commonly found in Ireland, which depicts the peculiar act of a woman spreading open her genitals. The story of the lion talks about a foolish woman who has beastly sex with the lion. When the lion gets angry it takes the touch of the woman to sooth the beast back down. These “monsters” obviously share a very sexual comparison. The people of the medieval era must have had an extreme interest in sex and any kind of sexual behavior. Although I could not find hard evidence for the exact meaning behind the Sheela-Na-Gig, I can infer that the lion story may have had a more religious theme or warning. They state in the end of the story that Leviticus says the woman and the beast should be killed if they engage in intercourse. Therefor, this story could be for the religious purpose of convincing people not to sin.

  11. For the first part of this blog post, I am going to focus my comparison on the creature from the website This creature seems to have the regular body of a man but it also looks to me like he has longer looking ears. In viewing this detailed picture longer, it seems to look like it is some type of snake. This snake comes around his body and looks almost as if it is a pet and maybe attached to him in some way. In trying to compare this creature to something else we have looked at, I would have to say it looks the most like the man/lion creature. He has the body of a regular man, but the feet and hands of a lion. Also, his head and features on his face look the most like the animal. As some believe that man came from animals in history, I would say these creatures very well could have been real. No one can really tell if these creatures once walked this earth or not, but it is very interesting to see pictures that like something humans once could have looked like.
    For the second part of my blog post, I will compare the Basilisk from the ‘Medieval Bestiary’ and the Domestic Cocks from ‘Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’. These two beasts not only seem to look the same, but sound like they would be in the same category of beast. The Basilisk can kill you by not only his look or voice, but by his odor as well. This beast is described as a snake and sometimes a cock with a snake’s tail. The Domestic Cock is also a bird looking animal. The fact that they look alike is the only similarity of the two. The main difference the two of these animals have, is that one can kill you and one cannot. Even though these two creatures are in the same animal family, it seems kind of amusing that one creature can kill just by a look and the other could not, even if it had tried.

  12. For my first response, I would like to focus on map #13 “Ship landing on a whale (from a bestiary, ca. 1230)” from the illustration you can derive a certain type of monstrosity as the fish is seen almost as a monster due to its size and massiveness compared to the boat. The people on top in the boat seem to be scared in a sense almost as if scrambling to get the boat back onto the water to continue sailing. There is a man making a fire and boiling a pot on the back of the fish and I would like to relate that to the idea of “the cocks in Ireland crow differently from those in other countries” in Gerald of Wales piece on “The history and Topography of Ireland”. In my opinion Gerald talks about there is a difference in the idea of cocks from Ireland are distinctly different in their crow and the way they are than cocks elsewhere he states. Relating back to the idea of the man on the fish cooking while the sailors scavenge to get their ship back to sail the man may see the fish as a sacred or safe place while the sailors may be in unchartered waters and see the fish as monster or a creature who is malicious when in fact that might not be the case, in some eyes the fish may be food for villages or towns and provide good and not bad incentives.

    For the second response, I want to focus on the Gargoyles and “A lion that loved a woman” from Gerald of Wales. The gargoyles were sometimes symbolized as “sexual themes” in the pagan religious beliefs but in a way of fertility and sexual anxiety. I believe that the idea of a lion who loved a woman was a type of sexual anxiety as they were both shamed for the soothing and calming of each other, the idea wasn’t and actual lion it may have been a man who was deemed a lion or a form of a lion to make him look monstrous and scary and that he should not be in love with the women, which is an idea of sexual anxiety. The gargoyles represented sexual anxiety. In society, we have a sense of who should be with who or have ideas of what “love” is supposed to look like.

  13. The monsters of the Middle Ages as disgust in this passage are of irregular beings of what is not the norm for the teller. It is as one he isn’t formilier with and describes as ” monstrous” in nature because it doesn’t fit into society of its day. It is an outcast for many reasons and will not be acceptepted because of its infirmities with the general public and not accepted at this time.

    The “Monster” is put to the side even though if he/she makes sense in what they know because of their appearance and not their knowledge of the subject.
    The majority takes a stand and goes with the person who looks like they may be correct, but doesn’t know the correct answer. Just because the ” Monster” looks different doesn’t mean he wrong and should be outcasted from the society.

  14. For the first part of the blog post, I will be comparing the amphiptere depicted in item 5 of medieval maps and monsters, and the medieval bestiaries known as amphisbaena. The amphiptere are described and depicted as dragons with wings but no legs. Meanwhile, the amphisbaena is described as a serpent with two heads, one on each end. While the amphiptere is described as a dragon, it has no legs so it essentially is a serpent like the other monster. Many of these monsters and creatures have attributes that are scary and intimidating. The amphiptere in the map looks as though it is eating some animal and is generally scary looking. Similarly, the amphisbaena is said to be able to run in both directions and has eyes that shine like lamps and it does not fear the cold. Both depictions of such similar animals, work to instill the same idea of fear within readers or viewers.
    For the second part of the blog post, i will be comparing the man that was half ox from Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’ with the centaur from the medieval bestiary. The man who was half ox had a human body except for he had hooves, was bald, had huge eyes, no nose, and could not speak. All of these being attributes of an ox. Meanwhile, the centaur has the lower body of a horse and the upper body of a human. Both of these monsters have parts of a human and parts of an animal. They claim that the centaur was created while seeing a man riding a horse, which made it appear as though they were one. So whether or not these beasts were created out of intrigue and fascination or to provoke fear is up to interpretation.

  15. For my first comparison, I am comparing the art of the goat (I believe the drawing says Capre de India) and the goat from the History and Topography of Ireland. I thought it was very interesting to see something like the goat grouped in with other animals and creature that are considered majestic/exotic in present day. The goats are pictured along with a creature that very much looks like a giraffe, some lizards or salamanders, a camel, and a unicorn. From what I can gather, the camel seems to fit into the picture by means that they are useful to other sort of monstrous humans or people. Did people in medieval times find goats to be of some great importance, or rare in general? Although the drawing from the History and Topography of Ireland seem to be pretty similar, the goat in this reading is shown standing on its hind legs, and this is because the goat was written to have intercourse with a human woman. It seems that goats may have been considered some sort of rare creature, as the king was in possession of this special one. It is also very interesting to see that this goat seemed to be able to have some sort of communication with the woman he was involved with and abusing, and I wonder if all goats were able to have this sort of connection.
    For the second comparison, I want to compare the wolf to talked to the priest from the History and Topography of Ireland, and the picture of the 13th gargoyle from the top underneath the Gargoyles and Grotesques Around the World headline. The wolf in the History and Topography reading does not look much like a wolf, as it reminds me more of a big cat. Since this was the first reading that I took a look at, I actually thought it was a gargoyle at first sight. The picture of the gargoyle I chose also looks very much like a big cat. Both pieces have a specific detailing the fur that looks very similar, with a sort of curling to it. I also thought that it was very interesting that both have a sort of religious background, with the story of the wolf coming to talk to the priest and members of the town, and gargoyles often being present outside of churches as a sign of protection.

  16. For the first part of my blog post, I am going to focus my comparison on the dog-headed humans from Africa in item 4 and the mermaid from the Medieval Bestiary. I found them both interesting because they are both half human. The mermaids possess the upper body of a woman but below the waist is a tail of a fish. The dog-men possessed the body of a man with the head of a dog. They both are relatively normal. The dog-men are said to eat raw meat, but it does not say they attack humans so we can make the assumption they hunt animals. It is said that the dog-men were most likely baboons and it has been said that mermaids are most likely manatees mistaken for women by sailors who have spent countless days at sea.
    For the second part of my blog post, I will compare the “half-man, half-ox” from the History and Topography of Ireland to the centaur (half-man, half-horse) in the Medieval Bestiary. The half-man, half-ox was said to be non-threatening and ate what he was given to eat instead of feasting on people. The centaur is said to be a “fabulous beast” which gives the impression that he did not hunt humans either, but rather befriended them. Even though the half-man, half-ox was not dangerous, he was murdered in envy by the Irish Natives.

  17. For my first comparison, I am going to be comparing map eleven in the maps document to the pictures 3 and 4 in the Travels of Sir John Mandeville article. Pictures 3 and 4 in the travels article show very odd beings. In picture 3 it shows a person with horns on its head and hoofs. Then in picture 4 it’s the people that have eyes on its shoulders. Why I think these two beings are connected to map eleven is because in the map it seems that there are some very odd looking people in the top right corner. The people in the map may not have the same looking features as the two in the travels article. But I saw the map said Ethiopia and I wondered how people saw and thought about that foreign country thirteenth century. Explorers or even map markers back then didn’t know much about the world or even what inhabited it. So when the explorers or map makers heard or saw something their eyes never seen before. It kind of scared them and they probably didn’t know what to do or even how they would react. All they thought back then was if it looked normal then it’s a person but if it has one small difference then it’s a monster or a beast. That’s why with the goat person and eyes on shoulders person were depicted the wrong way by other people cause they looked different. Just like the people in map eleven, they were obviously normal people who lived in a harsh environment and did what they had to do in order to survive. Or it even could have been an exotic looking animal and the map maker drew it down as a monster. Because someone like him who is used to seeing normal things everyday never saw anything exotic like that and drew it down as some monster that inhabits that territory.

    For my second comparison, I am going to use the woman with a bread and a mane on her back from the History of Ireland text. Compared to the Gargoyles in the History of Gargoyle and Grotesques text. What these two beings have in common is their physical features or design. While I was exploring the History of Gargoyles text I notice some interesting things. First was that it must have been really tough to make the Gargoyles cause some of them were sitting or standing on the ledge of the church. Second was that was were used as a drain system from the rain but also to ward off evil. Then third was the way the Gargoyles were designed, a lot of them had a bunch different features. But as I was looking at the article a few images caught my eye. Their features were sort of like a lion, they had manes around their face and going down their back. I even notice some of them having tails. I started thinking this seems a lot similar to the story of the woman with the bread and the mane. Both those types of Gargoyles and the woman from the Ireland history text had the same features. They both had either a bread or some type of hair around their face. Then they had a mane on the top of their head that ran all the way down each others back. Another thing they had in common was people probably thought of them in the wrong way. With the Woman, she was probably a nice person with a great heart. But her physical features didn’t help her show that, so people probably thought she was this evil monster. The same would go for the Gargoyles, people would think their scary and that they are from hell. Even though they are pretty creepy, they were still there to ward off evil in order to save the people of the city or town from anything bad.

  18. For the first part of this week’s blog post I am going to compare and contrast two amazing monsters that instantly caught my attention the second I read about them. The two monsters that I am going to compare and contrast will be the dog head man from the Medieval Map of Monsters article and the dog head man from The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. The first monster I am going to talk about is from the Medieval Map of Monsters article. The monster that I loved in this section was the man with the dog head. I found this monster particularly interesting because he has the head of a dog but all the body parts of a man. This monster’s would have the walk of man, bark like a dog, and live on the consumption of raw meat. Scholars say that this description done by the Greek and Roman writers is none other than a baboon which were mistaken for a tribe of humans. To compare and contrast, the second monster that I found interesting was as a head of a dog and body of a man, I found the article The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. This monster also like the one found in the Medieval Map of Monsters has a head like a dog and body of a man. Unlike the dog headed monster in the Medieval Map of Monsters, the dog headed man found in this article’s only source of nourishment was the smell of apples. Also the dog head mean in the Medieval Map of Monsters was discovered in Africa, where as the dog head man in The Travels of Sir John Mandeville was found in Africa as well, but was also found in Asia and Europe.

    For the second part of this week’s blog post I will also compare and contrast two more monsters for this week’s readings. The first creature I will talk about will be the lion and the woman from Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’ and the second will be a Sheela-na-gigs Kilsarkan Church) Kerry. To compare these two creatures, the woman is being touched by the lion, the woman and the lion are told to be making love and intercourse together. With the Kilsarkan Sheela, it is always being touched by who walks by it. It’s legs are wide open so people touch the inside of her legs. To contrast these two, the Sheela is a statue where as the lion and the woman are actual creatures. Both of these creatures enjoyed being pleasured and touched.

  19. Looking at the second map at the edge of the upper right there is what appears to be half man and a half goat creature. This half goat half man creature seems to be similar to the half ox half man creature that Giraldus describes in his History and Topography of Ireland. Both are depicted to have hooves for hands and feet as well as flat faces. Furthermore, they both seem to be unclothed and therefore more in tune with their beastly nature than their humanity.

    Two creature s that seem similar from two separate texts are the bearded lady and the gargoyles. There is a certain style of the gargoyle that is neither male nor female while having the characteristics of both. This is similar to the bearded lady; while definitely female (and not a hermaphrodite) she does have the traditionally male beard. Additionally, both the unclear sex gargoyles and the Bearded ladies were thought to be grotesque and were used to evoke emotions of disgust and wonder. Thus, indicating that crossing or breaking gender norms is something that societies of all kinds share the same anxieties.

  20. The first section of the blog post will be focused on excerpts from Medieval Maps and Monsters, and John Mandeville. “John Mandeville” really an anonymous writer had a larger interest in illustrating gory like monsters. Including cannibalism and sacrifices. This is comparable to item four of the Medieval Maps and Monsters excerpt. Both having images of dog-headed people, Mandeville calling them the ‘Cynocephales’. What is interesting is that Mandeville was said to set off to the Holy Land and Africa and Asia in 1322 which is the mid 14th century. The Medieval map was a while after this though, also showing Asia Africa, and even Europe making it different in some ways. It was written approximately 100 plus years later in the late 1400’s. Looking at both illustrations give you a lot of animal depictions, and men with strange body deformities. These are both very similar looking illustrations, just the medieval maps pictures seemed to be more toned down from the Mandeville ones. As time goes on, less gore is added to the people of the unknown and more normal curiosity. With looking just as the Cynocephales you can really tell how it is depicted differently in both readings. Mandeville is bloody and more cynical, showing many men with dog heads acting savage, while as the medieval maps are less out there but still looking monstrous. They are seen eating raw meat, and their language sounding different. Scholars believe that they were illustrating baboons. The time difference is important, because illustrations became more recognizable as time went on.

    In this next section of the blog post I will be focusing on excerpts from History and Topography of Ireland and Medieval Bestiary. The beast that was interesting to me in the Ireland excerpt was a man that was half an ox and an ox that was half a man. He had the parts of the human body except the extremities, these were ones from the ox. He had no hair on his head. He had a flat face and huge eyes. He also had no nose just two holes, and could not speak at all. The Irish natives secretly killed him in envy and malice. It was said that people had intercourse with a cow, and gave birth to a man-calf in the mountains by Glendalough. In the Medieval Bestiary it talks about the Centaurs which are half horse/beast and half man. Centaurs are usually seen holding a bow and arrow in their hands. These creatures were seen more as heroic beasts than monsters. The big difference between these two creatures was that the half ox half man was seen as a monster. Centaurs are pictured killing monsters, and fighting while as the poor ox man was murdered by the people. What is similar is that both the ox man and Centaur can be placed in Ireland. Centaurs are sculptured on the bases of the crosses at Monasterboice and Sells in Ireland. These beasts are very similar body wise. They both share half of an animal of similar size. The ox man could not speak, which in those times was somewhat a monstrous trait to have. They didn’t look up to him the way Centaurs are looked up to. The Irish natives killed the ox man, but sculpted the Centaurs out of praise.

  21. The first two monster that I will be comparing is the hairy woman in map three from the medieval maps and Duvenaldus’ woman in “The History and Topography of Ireland”. These two monsters are similar for obvious reasons, the two beasts are females but have hair grow on certain parts of the body that women usually do not have. Duvenaldus’ woman, has a beard down to her waist and hair growing down her spine. In addition, the woman in map three has a certain birth defect that is called Hypertrichosis. This causes people to grow thick hair throughout their body just like the bearded woman has hair growing down her spine.
    For the second part, I am going to compare the cow that was partly a stag from “The History and Topography of Ireland” and the parandrus from “The Medieval Bestiary.” These two monsters compare with their physical appearance. The parandrus and the cow that was partly stag both have body parts of a stag. The parandrus has the head of a stag and the the cow/stag has the thighs, tail, hind legs and feet that are the same as a stag. The pictures from the readings show the monsters have horns on top of their heads. Also, the parandrus is the size of an ox and looks like one too, while the cow/stag was more like a cow and looked like a cow. To me, an ox and cow are two very similar animals, just like the parandrus and the cow/stag.

  22. The first comparison I would like to make is between the half lion half man from the medieval maps and the half ox half man from Girald of Wales writings. The first main difference to point out is the obvious: The half ox man is half man and contains the features of an ox, the extremities to be specific. The Lion man, on the other hand, seems to have a Lions head as well as deformed extremities (Not necessarily Lion parts). The ox mans existence is rather benign as he functions with human morals and is treated partly as human. The Lion man likewise seems to have a human spirit as he is seen carrying a cane of sorts as well as having a rope around a camel, showing domestication.

    The next pair I will compare is the Human inside a wolfs body creature from Giralds writing with that of the Gargoyle. The story of the wolf is apparently that he is a divine entity inside the body of a “beast”. The wolf speaks to a priest and begs him to deliver last rights to his now dying “she-wolf” counterpart. The Wolf is obviously a religious figure. The Gargoyle on the other hand is also a religious figure as their history has them perched outside of churches in order to ward of evil spirits. Another similarity between the two creatures is their relevancy today. Gargoyles are still works of art perched outside of buildings in order to give a sense of awe when viewing architecture, while the half wolf man story still persists in the modern era with horror stories of the werewolf and other half breed creatures.

  23. Gog vs. Woman with beard and mane on her back

    The Gog is a creature found in the T-O medieval map and is the evil king of Magog. He looks like he has horns similar to a goat and possibly the hair. He’s depicted in the map holding a man’s arm (unattached) that I think it’s safe to assume he ripped off. He is violent, mean, and scary looking. The bearded woman is similar in looks with a good amount of hair but she has no horns and she isn’t violent. She is paraded around by the King of Limerick and laughed at as some strange trophy.

    Sheela-na-gigs vs. Wolf “Gerald of Wales”

    I found both of these creatures rather fascinating, first because both were based around religion in some way and second because of how bizarre they are. Sheela-na-gigs are exhibitionist statues that have been found in churches in Ireland and England . It is thought to be depicting the pain of miscarriage, stillbirths, or death in labour. In the story of Gerald of Wales the wolf is not actually a wolf at all he’s human stuck in a wolf’s body but he never truly acts like one. Stuck in a curse for seven years and if they survive they get to change back to human and then someone else takes on the curse. He is empathetic and kind and wants only to help his female companion. Both wolves are christians and seek the priests help in the tale. Sheela-na-gigs and the wolves are similar in that both focus around human suffering.

  24. For my first comparison, I would like to compare the image from “The Travels of Sir John Mandeville,” to item 4 from the medieval maps and monsters. A few of the 6 drawings are directly on the drawing of item 4. The man with the dog head was one of them. This one is interesting because even though it had the body of a man, it acted like a dog. It ate raw meat and barked, so in reality it did not do anything human like. Another one I found interesting was the man with his face on his chest. Even though he is human, people considered him a monster. It is sad because some people consider others that have mutations or illnesses today monsters. But at the end of the day are they monsters or is the mutation a monster. We cannot mix that up because when we do we are downgrading those people; making them feel less than what they are and that is not fair. I would also like to note that these images are not ugly, but exotic ans some are beautiful to the eye. An everyday person would not even believe some of them are considered monsters. I know before I took this course I would have never believed unicorns and mermaids were monsters. There is a stereotype that all monsters are ugly and evil like, but in reality monsters could be the complete opposite.

    Secondly, I will be comparing the story “the lion loved a women” from Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’ to the gargoyle. The most common gargoyle was a lion. The lion that loved the women or any animal that has intercourse with a women was to be killed, they were looked down on.. The lions that were gargoyles were almost praised. They were symbolic where as the lion having intercourse was looked at in disgust. The gargoyle was to keep away evil, while the lion was evil and when it was angry the only way to calm him down was Johanna. If she was not there to calm him down this lion would be the evil. Comparing these two shows us how similar things could be look wise, but could be the complete opposite in how they act and are viewed by the public. There are still gargoyle on buildings and churches, but as far as I know, especially in the USA, there is no intercourse between animals and humans. From both stories, there are lions that are completely different. One is a real lion while the other is a statue with symbolism .

  25. One of the more interesting monsters from The Travels of Sir John Mandeville is the monster in the third frame. This monster appears to be a combination of a human and a goat. It has the legs and hooves of a goat, the torso and arms of a human, and a head that appears to be a cross between the two. With the horns ands the scruffy facial hair, you can see the goat, but with the face itself you can see the human. This is vaguely similar to another ungulate-human hybrid depicted in one of the maps we previously looked at. On Item 3, the fourth monster down on the left hand side depicts what appears to be some type of centaur, meaning that the creature is half-horse and half-man. Other than them both being human-like creatures, these monsters also have a few other distinct similarities. Ironically, both monsters seem to have a look of innocence about them. Instead of call them monsters, I would refer to them as creatures because the word monster has a pretty negative or frightening connotation to it. It is interesting to see how the artists of the two creatures took two different directions with their interpretation of the beast. In his depiction of the centaur, the map artist clearly draws the line between beast and man by keeping the horse qualities on the lower body and the human qualities on the upper body. The artist of the goat-man blurs the line between the goat and the human by combining the traits of both and not making the drawing as linear.

    One of the most intriguing monsters from the bestiary was the manticore. A lot of the beasts in the bestiary get plenty of attention in movies and art, like dragons, mermaids, and unicorns. The manticore, on the other hand, pretty much flies under the radar, which is not fair because it is a very intriguing monster. The manticore is a beast with the face of a human, the body of a lion, and the tail/stinger of a scorpion. For some reason, the description of the manticore reminded me of the cow that was partly a stag from The History and Topography of Ireland by Gerald of Wales. Like the manticore, the cow-stag was a mix of a few different creatures, those being a cow and a stag. However, one interesting difference between the two beasts was the difference in temperament and personality. Both monsters can be seen as part-wild and part-domesticated. In the cow-stag, the stag represents the wild side while the cow represents domestication. In the manticore, the lion obviously represents the wild and the human is the domestic side. Despite having the wildness of the stag, the cow-stag acts like a regular domesticated cow by staying with the herd. The manticore, on the other hand, has almost none of the humanity one might expect it to have. It instead acts as a total savage, with a particular taste for human flesh. I found it interesting that despite the fact that both animals possess tame parts, humanity only triumphs in the cow-stag, especially considering that the manticore has a human head. It surprised me that humans would paint something as a monster even if it had such a strong resemblance to their own kind.

  26. The two monsters I’m going to compare is the dog head people and the people turned into wolves. The dog head people looked mostly like people but talked and acted like dogs. The wolf turned people on the other hand looked completely wolf like, but talked and acted like people. It’s interesting to see how two different monsters are escentually the opposite of the other, but both still considered monsters.
    Once again I am going to use the human wolf from Ireland as an example. This time however I am going to use the wolf’s entry from the medieval bestiary. It’s interesting see a real creature listed among beasts such as manticore and mermaid. Back in the time it was written it probably was considered a monster and even today might be considered a monster by some people today.
    A comparison of the two is also interesting. In the bestiary they are compared to the devil. One of their key traits is they can’t move their neck, which is apparently an allegory for how the devil can’t repent. Yet the man wolves do beleave in God and even want to go to heaven. If I had to compare them I’d say the man wolves represent how even a monster like a wolf can be saved, so there is hope for everyone.

  27. For my first comparison, I wanted to analyze the medieval map’s, “dog-headed man” and the wolf from Gerald of Wales’ collection. Both of the monsters have similar external features such as their heads both resembling canine features and fur lining their skin. Based upon the dog-headed man’s description, it can be assumed that the map-maker’s were trying to identify our modern day wolf. The main differences lie within their story line, showing the wolf speaking like a human and the dog-headed men barking like dogs. Researchers have guessed that the dog-headed man is potentially our modern day baboon, which could lead to another key difference in the species of each animal. While the wolf in this story does not take this form all of the time as the act wears off in seven years, they are a combination of man and wolf just as the other creature is described.
    As for my second comparison, I chose to compare the gargoyles and the lion who loved the woman as both have extremely similar sexual implications. To begin, gargoyles have been shown to signify damned hearts just as the lion and the woman were presented to have. Being that an animal and a human falling in love is damned among itself, the lion was still given the opportunity to be comforted by the woman. This is similar to gargoyles in the sense both were considered to be evil ideals in the eyes of society but still able to continue. The difference between the two lies within the reasoning of the idea to be considered damned. The gargoyle presents a religious aspect in which it was used to showcase outsiders the monsterous act of going against beliefs of the church and the woman and the lion went against a moral code created by the society around them.

  28. The first comparison I am going to make is the baslik and the monster on map 6. This is because the monster on this map has the snake like body like the baslik and wings like it too. They do have some differences though because the monster on map 6 has the head of a horse and the baslik has the head of a rooster. I think they are similar the monsters in map 6 were based on real animals that were misunderstood by scientists during that time. I feel the baslik is also based on a real animal that was simply misunderstood by scientists as well and that’s why these monsters have heads of animals that are real.
    The second comparison I’m making is the wolf in “The History and Topography of Ireland” to gargoyles. I’m comparing these two because the wolf in the topography was seen as a threat, but the wolf spoke to the people telling them not to fear and spoke of God. This relates to gargoyles because gargoyles are seen to protect the church, but they were also a risk to the church. There are also gargoyles that look like the lion in the topography which makes me think that the topography was based on these gargoyles because the lion ones in specific were used before Christianity.

  29. On the Carta Marina map by Olaus Magnus we see a representation of the Nordic lands of Europe surrounded at all sides by monster infested waters. According to this map, the north Atlantic is rife with large, hostile creatures in a variety of horrific forms. This region appears to be in a constant state of chaos and violence as opposed to the land which, in regards to the more well-known and populated regions, is peaceful. An example of this would be the red serpent that stands out just off the western coast of Norway as it attacks a sail boat. The land is not without its monsters as the more remote regions of the map have their own population of monsters that inhabit them alongside people. One thing that stands out is how is how chaotic the ocean is, even when compared to the remote regions. Almost everything in the north Atlantic region is involved in some form of conflict. In my eyes, this looks like an attempt to label this region of the world as dangerous and mysterious. I would compare these sea creatures to the Parandrus found in the bestiary. This monster is said to be found in Ethiopia and is known for its ability to change its appearance and hide in its surroundings, allowing it to hide itself anywhere without much trouble. Knowledge of this monster would create a sense of fear and paranoia about travelling to far off lands like Ethiopia because it creates the idea that danger can come from anywhere. Seeing the depictions of the sea monsters would create a similar effect on one’s opinion on sailing in the north Atlantic.

    The passage that stood out to me in “The History and Topography of Ireland” was the story of the man that was half an ox. What seemed different in this story was the fact that Gerald of Wales appeared to be sympathetic to the ox man rather than see him as an abomination. Gerald was more critical of the Irish natives that killed him rather than the existence of such a man. Gerald mentions that the man was the result of an Irish native and a cow mating, an act of which he condemns several times in other passages afterwards. He states that the ox man, due to his nature being more man-like than beast-like, found himself in human society rather than in the herd of cows and oxen. This passage indicates that Gerald, and likely Medieval culture in general, placed a large importance on a being’s composition. Because the ox man was “more man than beast” he was able to associate himself with human society. This focus on composition and hybridity can be seen with the manticore. The manticore combined the tail of a scorpion, the body of a lion, and the face of a human into one creature. What separates the ox man from the manticore is their relationship to society. The ox man, a larger part of him consisting of man than the manticore, was considered a man rather than a beast and lived in the castle in human society while the manticore is a wild beast that hungers for human flesh. Since the manticore is composed of more beast than human, with parts aligned with dangerous animals, it is considered a bloodthirsty beast rather that a man.

  30. The first comparison I am going to make is with the Unicorn in the Medieval Bestiary to a unicorn-esque creature in Item 8: Map by Gerard de Jode which is in the Medieval Maps and Monsters document. According to the Medieval Bestiary the unicorn is described as a small goat or horse with a a single spiraling horn in the middle of its head. The monster in the map (which is located to the left between a ship and the mainland) shows the head of a horse with the spiraling horn but instead of the body of a horse there is a tail similar to a mermaid appearing at the other end. This is probably due to the fact that it is depicted in water in the map and needs a mean of swimming. The unicorn is said to be a lightning fast creature that can’t be captured by hunters but only by a virgin girl being placed in its path. I assume that there might have been a misconception about unicorns and the artist of this map mistook the creature similarly to a lot of people who had different misconceptions of monsters due to word of mouth.
    My second comparison I am drawing is between A woman with a beard and a mane on her back and a gargoyle. In the story of the women it is said that she was not a hermaphrodite and feminine. In the gargoyle text there are 5 reoccurring styles listed. The third style talks about how gargoyles had an unclear sex and how those types were called “grotesque”. Both the woman and the gargoyle share an unclear sex due to the woman’s hairiness and both are found to be grotesque. It is stated in the woman’s story that she was “provoking laughs as well as wonder”. We fantasize what we fear which means that although it was astounding that she had the hair they clearly thought of her as grotesque due to this oddness.

  31. During the medieval times anything that was unknown or out of the norm was deemed monstrous. As we went through some of the maps on Monday we saw that in the areas that they did not know much about, they were filled with monsters. For Thursday we were to look through and see if we could find any monsters that could compare to the ones on the map. In item 4 in the lower right-hand corner there is a beast that seems almost human like because it stands on two feet but the face, claws, and tell quickly remind you that it is not. Upon looking at the description of the various beast I noticed one that fit perfectly. A manticore is described as “a composite beast with a mans face a lions body and the stinger of a scorpion. During these times if there was an unknown area they would populate the area with “monsters” which were usually combination of animals that they already knew of.
    In “The history and topography of Ireland” I am going to focus on the half man half ox and compare him to a centaur. Now although they stem from two different animals (ox & horse) they consist of the same concept. In both of these creatures regardless of where they go they do not fit in. On one hand for the human world they are too animal and in the animal world they are too human. They are not able to have a place to call their own. Not only are the monstrous for not being able to fit in and being outcast, but their makeup is monstrous because we want to keep the humans and animals separate. The description and photo of the half man half ox gave me the impression that he was a mixture of the two. While the centaur was split down the middle. The would make the centaur more tolerable because although he is half animal you can distinguish parts that belongs to. The half man half ox however was both at the same time which lead to his death because he was different. This shows how much of a “monster” we can handle in someone especially the hybrids.

  32. For my first comparison, I am taking the winged creatures that can be found on the top left corner of the map. These creatures appear to share the same biome as the elephants, so I am assuming they were believed to be in Africa. This seemed odd to me because flying serpents are some what mythical, especially on land. They are described to be called, Amphitere and are dragons with wings and no legs. This reminds me of earlier readings where it was described that elephants and these dragons fought each other at watering holes. These dragons were said to be able to kill elephants, but many were killed in this process, and other myths were told that these dragons would drink the blood of the elephants and leave just a shriveled corpse. I believe the second myth might have stemmed from explorers finding a corpse of an elephant in the hot climate and saw it partially decomposed, they believed that the elephants were monstrous and only another monster could kill it. In comparison from the Bestiary is the Jaculus. The Jaculus is described as a flying serpent that that hides in trees and falls on its prey to kill it with its weight. I believe this create might have been mistaken when explorers found jungle snakes. It is known that some snakes jump from tree to tree to avoid predators on the ground, so it is possible that someone saw a snake jump from tree to tree and assumed that it was flying.
    For my second comparison I will be examining the ox-man from the “History and Topography of Ireland”. This man was said to have all the parts of the human body except for his extremities which were that of an ox. He was completely bald, and his eyes were huge. It was believed that another man that was half ox half man was born before the English arrived at the Irish island, it spent time with its mother and then was rehabilitated into society of man. I believe that the centaur is a close comparison to the ox-man, while the ox-man was a weird mix of the two creatures, a centaur is a clean cut of half man half horse, with the upper part being human and the lower half being a horse. Many believe that the idea of a centaur came from horseback riders in battle because they seemed as one being. These monsters are close enough to resemble man kind that we allow them into our society, like the ox-man. But in the same sense we know that there is something not natural about them which is why the first ox-man was bullied and eventually killed out of vice and spite. These monsters are relatable because they physically resemble a normal human being but have just enough of a difference to set them a part and make them “monstrous”.

  33. For the first comparison, I would like to focus on Item Eleven: World Portolan (1550, Pierre Descalliers) from The Medieval Maps and Monsters. The map depicts many monsters but one in particular is the man with no head. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville mentions and even contains an image of the “people with eyes in their shoulders” that are drawn on the map. It is believed that Sir John Mandeville did not even exist, and the mapmakers back then did not usually venture far from their homes, relying on these stories to put the monsters in their proper locations. These monsters had human bodies but no head, their face was on their chest. For all we actually know, the people in this location may just have looked different to people from another location, creating confusion and chaos. These monsters have been mentioned since the beginning of the semester making it clear that people in this time, especially the map makers, believed these beings to actually exist.
    In “Gerald of Wales’ History and Topography of Ireland” there is mention of a man that was also half ox. The monster is vividly described as having “the joinings of the hands with the arms and the feet with the legs, he had hooves the same as an ox… his face was flat… instead of a nose he had two nostrils… he could not speak at all.” This monster is very similar to a Centaur. The Medieval Bestiary defines a Centaur as “A beast part man and part horse” similar to the half man half ox. The man described in the Gerald of Wales is half of an ox, not making him a Centaur but they are similar in appearance. Centaurs usually are able to speak unlike the beast mentioned in the story.

  34. The first part of the bog I would like to focus on the Travels of Sir John Mandeville and the way that the people during that time saw other people from different parts of the world. The physiognomical analysis was the traits that use to describe the kinds of physical signs. Examples would be the body size, the strength in bones, sides, and extremities, broad and flat stomach and the overly fleshy and the dry skin and sharp forehead. To see that people who have more hair or have darker skin that they are seen as a monstrosity and not have the human. The Greeks and even the Romans would see that anyone that was not civil and was normal that they were considered to be barbarians and outcasts to everyone else.

    When talking about the maps fro, the medieval maps compared to the history and topography of Ireland with the monstrous beasts that were shown on the map that the monsters to show not the map in the medieval maps that they are more combined with other animals. They show them to have different animals parts that they are showing them attacking ships and are in areas where they don’t have a lot of knowledge. Compared to the history and topography of Ireland that the monsters are more about the good and evil and show more of religious images on the maps with the demons and monsters. This can be compared to how that mankind can be monsters that they are able to do terrible things to others and other living creatures

  35. 1.For my first comparison I would like to to focus on item four from the medieval maps and the travels of Sir John Mandeville. In item four on the top left corner there is a man featured with a dog head. This monstrous creature walks like a man but barks like a a dog and its form of nutrition is raw meat. Sir John Mandeville describes of another species that is quite the same. He describes them of having human bodies with heads of dogs. They’re the same in appearance but when it comes to their lifestyles and ways they rome the earth can be different depending what area they are in.

    2.The monster from Gerald of Wales’ that i’d like to talk about is the ox man. He had all human body parts besides his hands and feet which were hooves. The ox man had no hair, leaving him bald. He also had eyes of an ox, large and wide. This creature was a mixture of man an ox. On the flip side a centaur like the one from Medieval Bestiaries distinctly half man and half horse. Its upper body is human but its bottom half is of a horse. Both of these creatures show the different ways a human and animal mix can be represented.

  36. For the first section of this blog post, I am going to compare the Manticore from the medieval bestiaries to the one monster from the Medieval Maps and Monsters document: image four, the one on the right, in the bottom right. These two came to mind instantly when thinking about comparison because they both have features that are found in a lion. I cannot make out what the monster’s name is, but it looks like a human body with a lion’s head and a monkey’s feet and tail. The monster is also shown to be holding what I see as a walking stick. The Manticore has the body of a lion and the face of a man. It also has a tail that is supposed to resemble a scorpion’s, but the two tails look extremely similar. These two monsters take opposite sides of the lion. The monster that is from the document seems to hold more than two different creatures in itself though. I do not know any information regarding the qualities of the unknown monster, but the Manticore, “eats human flesh. . . Some say it can shoot spines from its tail” (

    For the second section of this blog post, I am going to compare the woman with a beard and a mane on her back shown in The History and Topography of Ireland to the Mermaid from the medieval bestiary. I find these two intriguing especially when side-by-side. The woman with a beard had hair down her spine as well. The Mermaid is a woman from head to waist and a fish from waist to feet. These two are alike in the fact that they are both women, but past that their similarities end. Mermaids are usually regarded as overly feminine in all forms of media while the woman with the beard has traits that are regarded as masculine in society. The species that is mermaids also has a male counterpart while the woman with a beard has no male counterpart. Mermaids are also said to be focused on themselves to the point of being labeled vain while the woman with a beard seems to be more concentrated on other people and even follows a court around, making them laugh. Both of these comparisons interested me because they have similar traits, but are so far from one another.

  37. My comparison is the Dog-Headed People on the map image to the Wolf from the entry of Sir John Mandeville. I find it interesting how the people of that time regarded the Dog-Headed People as monstrous and evil when they more closely appeared like humans from a distance. Yet the talking wolf that asked for repentance was seen almost as a wonder to behold, something that admirable. Both are connected to canines in appearance, and both are apparently known for ruthlessness. But since there was such a spiritual movement during the Middle Ages, I feel that people preferred a safe story about wolf people in the woods rather than a document claiming people with dog heads that eat raw meat and bark to communicate. Nowadays, we can assume that they were referring to baboons, and that the supposed author of the Wolf story is probably fictional. The line drawn between monstrous creatures and wonderful creatures seems to have been thin in the Middle Ages.
    My second comparison is of the lion that loved a woman and the Manticore. There seems to be a fascination with half human/ half beast creatures in all of these writings, and also in lions as a strong predator. In the account of the lion that loved a woman, a lion is only calmed by the presence of one woman. Of course their relations were taboo even back then, but it didn’t stop people from telling their story and creating others like it. With the Manticore, a creature with a human face, lions body, and scorpion tail, another creature is created with some kind of human likeness. Obviously this isn’t a real creature, but the fascination that these stories stirred was enough for us to be reading about it today. I suppose that these human/ animal crosses were their way of solidifying their belief system with examples.

  38. For my first comparison, I would like to compare one of the sea monsters on item six of the medieval maps to the centaur. Looking at item six, there are many different monsters but I would like to focus in on the yellow monster that looks to be a hybrid of a horse and a fish; the head and front of its body being a horse while its backside containing fins and other fish-like structures. The centaur also happens to be a hybrid of a horse but with a human accounting for the front half of its body. While these two monsters have formations of three completely normal animals, mixing these attributes together is unlike any animal we consider to be “normal.” They cannot be stuck to one category. In fact, they would be perfect examples of Cohen’s third theory that the monster is a harbinger of category crisis. They are disturbing hybrids that are not easily comprehended. Therefore, they are seen as monstrous.
    For my second analysis, I would like to view two more monstrous beings. The first are the domestic cocks from Ireland discussed in Gerald of Wales’ “History and Topography of Ireland.” These cocks are not too out of the ordinary, except for the fact that they do not follow the crowing pattern that is normally followed by other crows. Although there is not a visual deformity like most beings considered to be monsters, the fact that it does not follow the norms makes it a bit monstrous. This beasty crow can be compared to the Bonnacon from the medieval bestiaries. The Bonnacon is a somewhat normal looking bull. The only deformity it has is its horns face towards each other—making it impossible to use them as a defense mechanism. Instead, it uses its own fecal matter as its weapon. It can fling it up to two acres and it burns anything that comes in contact with it. The Bonnacon, similar to the cock does not follow the norms of the other animals similar to it. Since they do not abide by the same rules as others, they are seen as monsters.

  39. After analyzing the medieval maps and trying to see similarities in a different text on monstrosity I noticed quite a few. For the map portion I chose item six on the top left of the map, next to the tree with a man shooting an arrow, is two bird like snakes. I compared these creatures with the Basilisk from The Medieval Bestiary reading our class had to complete. These two creatures are visually similar, as described in the paragraph under the photo, the creatures on the map were thought of as winged dragons with no legs. The Basilisk creature is described as having the front of a cock, the tail of a snake, and breathes fire. These creatures are both different and alike. I thought it was interesting because the Basilisk, which was supposed to be the front of a cock breathed fire rather than the winged dragon with no legs.

    For part the second section of this blog, I have chosen to write about the wolf that talked with the priest from ‘Gerald of Wales’ and comparing that excerpt to the Gargoyles article. Although there are differences in both monsters, I saw quite a few similarities. In the story about the wolf talking to the priest, he was initially scared of the wolf. The wolf said he was religious and requested assistance for a dying female wolf from the priest. The Gargoyle was found around churches and thought to fight off evil. The author of the article on Gargoyles also mentioned that they show that it is better inside the church rather than on the outside because of the disturbing sculptures. The Gargoyle does not have one set appearance, rather the sculptures use many different monsters. Also, the Gargoyle does not really have a story behind it compared to the wolf, it mainly stands for safety in religion. Interestingly both monsters were considered better on the inside than outside and in a way their religiousness ensured that. The monsters are different because one is a wolf and the other is a sculpture of many diverse forms of monsters.

  40. 1) I will be comparing the dragons from Medieval Bestiaries to map number 5. In the reading it states that the dragons greatest attribute is its tail rather than its teeth. In map 5 the dragon’s seem to have no teeth, but have an extremely long tail. Suggesting that in fact the tail is the greatest attribute of the dragon. One thing that was different between the two pieces was that the Medieval Bestiaries states that the dragons enemy is the elephant, but it doesn’t not look like so in the map. The dragon’s do not seem to be scared of the elephant in the map. In fact the dragon’s seem to be charging the elephant as if they are going to attack it. Another similarity I found was that the dragons in the map look more like snakes or serpents rather than a dragon. In Medieval Bestiaries it does state that the dragons look more like a serpent than the image you imagine of a dragon. It seems from reading Medieval Bestiaries that the more they look like serpents the better. I think this because serpents usually have longer tails and the longer the tail they have the better because they use their tails to wrap around the elephants and then suffocates them. This way of killing is very familiar to how snakes attack so it makes some sense that the dragons look more like serpents.
    2) For the second comparison I will be looking at the domestic cocks from Ireland from Gerald of Wales “History and Topography of Ireland” and the Bonnacon from the Medieval Bestiaries. The domestic cocks are not truly monsters. The thing that got them labeled as monsters was the fact that they do not crow in the same pattern as other crows do. The fact that the they did not crow like everyone else puts them outside of the norm and if you are out of the norm you were a monster back then. The Bonnacon could also be considered not a true monster because the only thing that makes it different is its horns. The Bonnacon is a bull that instead of its horns facing out they face each other. Due to the horns facing together makes it impossible for them to use them as their defense. So due to the fact the horns can not be used as a defense they use their fecal as a defense or weapon. The Bonnacon can fling their fecal up to two acres and when they fecal makes contact with something it burns the object. Thus making this ox definitely not in the norm of other ox’s. That is the thing these “monsters” have in common, they do not conform to the normal of animals like them so they are labeled monsters.

  41. The medieval map show monsters of different kinds, many of which are hybrids. For the first part of the assignment I am comparing the man hybrid on the fourth map that is holding onto the camel to the woman with a beard and mane on her back from the Gerald of Wales reading. Although the woman was not necessarily considered a hybrid, she had characteristics that were consistent with a lion, similar to the man on the medieval map. The woman had a beard so long that it reached her waist, and a crest from her neck down her spine. The man is hairy, particularly around his head, and has a long tail.
    For the second part of the assignment I have chosen the man that was half an ox and an ox that was half a man from the Gerald of Wales reading and the centaur from the medieval bestiary. These two monsters are not very noticeably similar but they do share some characteristics such as both are hybrids. The man that is half an ox has the body of a man but the extremities of an ox, so he had hooves as hands and feet, similarly the centaur had hooves as feet. The idea of the man that is half an ox was created from a man having relations with a cow and so the cow gave birth to a man that is half ox. The idea of the centaur was created from men riding horses during battle and they looked as if they were one.

  42. On Map 6, multiple large fish-monsters can be observed. They served as a warning to sailors that the waters were treacherous and that danger lay ahead. For this specific comparison I will be referencing the very ugly fish-monster in the bottom left corner. This monster is both similar and different from the Leucrota, found in the Medieval Bestiary. Both the Leucrota and the fish monster are four-legged and have a wide, terrifying mouth. They also both have tails and are a combination of different animals/monsters. Tales were told about both monsters, and they were greatly feared but in reality they were both simply animals that were mislabeled. The fish-monster could easily be an alligator or a crocodile and the Leucrota is most likely just one animal that someone exaggerated.
    In Gerald of Wales’ ‘History and Topography of Ireland’ a wolf that talked with a priest is discussed. This wolf is apparently a man transformed into a wolf, which now would be referred to as a werewolf. Within the Medieval Bestiary there is a creature called the Ant-Lion and has the face of a lion and the body of an ant. Both creatures are a mix of two different animals and suffer as a result of this mixture. The ant-lion cannot survive as lions need meat and ants eat grains so it starves. The man-wolf does not die but is put at a disadvantage, exiled from his people and in the body of a wolf. Both creatures are miserable and suffer throughout their existence.

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