Tag Archives: mythological beast

Mythological Beasts And Spirits: Alphyn

Leonid, with eagle's talons, wingless, though, with knotted tail, Through the mist, an Alphyn sentry stared them down and gave them hail. From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III
Leonid, with eagle’s talons, wingless, though, with knotted tail,
Through the mist, an Alphyn sentry stared them down and gave them hail.
From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III

 

The Alphyn combines various characteristics of a lion, a dragon, an eagle and a wolf, so it is a type of chimera. It has a long, knotted tail. For my poem, The Staff in the Tree, I chose to interpret it as a lion with eagle’s feet, but historically only the forelimbs are those of an eagle. In heraldry, it was sometimes used as a symbol for judgment, and it appeared on various coats of arms.

Coat of arms for the Alphyn Union, a Caldavakian alliance.
Coat of arms for the Alphyn Union, a Caldavakian alliance.

Below is a more modern rendition by William O’ Connor, a well known fantasy artist who specializes in mythological creatures.

From Dracopedia: The Bestiary by William O' Connor.
From Dracopedia: The Bestiary by William O’ Connor.

My first drawing is a bit cartoonish (actually, I have a hard time escaping this), so let’s try again…

"Turn around," the Alphyn ordered, "or your lives will soon be through." Said the leader in defiance, "I see only one of you." From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III
“Turn around,” the Alphyn ordered, “or your lives will soon be through.”
Said the leader in defiance, “I see only one of you.”
From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III

Next post: another week, another creature.

Mythological Beasts And Spirits: Enfield

Said the wily, flitting Enfield, auburn fox with wings of gray, "Have you seen the Spirit Father? What, exactly, did he say?" From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III
Said the wily, flitting Enfield, auburn fox with wings of gray,
“Have you seen the Spirit Father? What, exactly, did he say?”
From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III

 

The Enfield is a type of chimera which combines the features of a fox, an eagle, a lion, a greyhound, and a wolf. In heraldry, it stood for subtlety, cunning, fierceness, and fortitude. It appeared on coats of arms.

An Enfield is on the right side and on the shield in the coat of arms for the Borough of London.
An Enfield is on the right side and on the shield in the coat of arms for the Borough of London.

Here is an interesting interpretation by famed fantasy artist, William O’ Connor:

From Dracopedia: The Bestiary by William O' Connor.
From Dracopedia: The Bestiary by William O’ Connor.

In the drawing at the top of the page, I simply portrayed the Enfield as a winged fox. It afforded me an easier rhyme, and it was something I felt I could actually draw with more skill.

Another chimeric cutie will be featured next week.

Mythological Beasts And Spirits: Shedu

Padded paws and feathered wingspan, lion's mane, and all of white, Softly silent, pale and ghostly, stalked the Shedu in the night. From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III
Padded paws and feathered wingspan, lion’s mane, and all of white,
Softly silent, pale and ghostly, stalked the Shedu in the night.
From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III

In ancient Mesopotamia (Assyria), the Shedu (alternate name Lamassu)  was a winged animal (usually a bull or a lion) with the head of a man.

shedu1

On a visit to London, I saw some of these relief sculptures at the British Museum, and they are impressive.

In later European heraldry, the Shedu is a winged lion. It is sometimes used as a symbol for Christian saints or concepts. One interesting application is that of the winged lion with its paw on an open book. This is a symbol of peace.

shedu2

Below are some more representations of this mythological beast.

shedu3

I like the above sculpture by Scott Eaton of a Shedu doing battle with Wyverns. It’s easier to see if you click on the image to enlarge it.

Here is an interesting composition by Ezra Tucker:

shedu

shedu4

The colors and relatively simple lines in the above illustration by Synnabar work for me, too.

As the image at the beginning of this post indicates, I have used the Shedu as a character for my “epic” story poem, The Staff in the Tree.

More next week…