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December 19 – Salamander

While salamanders are real creatures (lizards), within folklore they have been endowed with remarkable attributes, mainly their ability to withstand fire. The image of a salamander was often used within […]

19 December 2019Special Collections

December 18 – Kelpies

The kelpie, or water-horse, is a shape-shifting water spirit from Scottish legend. Included in the Robert Burns poem ‘Address to the Deil’ (1786), the kelpie is said to lure travellers […]

18 December 2019Special Collections

December 17 – Basilisk

Known as the king of the serpents, the basilisk (from ‘basiliskos’ meaning little king) is a legendary reptile known to be able to kill with just a glance. The basilisk […]

17 December 2019Special Collections

December 16 – Kraken

The kraken is a giant sea monster from Scandinavian folklore, said to plague sailors. Olaus Magnus, a Swedish author most well known for his Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (A Description […]

16 December 2019Special Collections

December 15 – Blemmye

Though perhaps not strictly a fantastic beast, we had to include the unusual blemmye in this calendar. The blemmye or mythical headless man has been known by various names and […]

15 December 2019Special Collections

December 14 – Cerberus

Cerberus, the ‘hound of Hades’, is a three headed dog with the tail of a serpent, which according to mythology, guards the gates of the underworld. Cerberus appears in many […]

14 December 2019Special Collections

December 13 – Dragons in manuscripts

From our wonderful manuscripts, we have four depictions of dragons to share with you. A dragon in our 17th-18th century manuscript copy of “The Book of Wonders of the Age” […]

13 December 2019Special Collections

December 12 – Dragons in print

The dragon is perhaps the most iconic of the fantastic beasts. This winged legendary creature, known for its fire breathing abilities is common to most cultures around the world, and […]

12 December 2019Special Collections

December 11 – Hippogriff

Probably most well known now as a character in Harry Potter, the hippogriff is a legendary creature which is half eagle and half horse. This depiction is from Ludovico Ariosto’s […]

11 December 2019Special Collections

December 10 – Griffin

The griffin, griffen or gryphon has the body, legs and tail of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion is the king of the […]

10 December 2019Special Collections

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