Sketchbook Page 41: H is for Hippopodes

February 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hippopodes (note roman-style footwear)

Hippopodes (note roman-style footwear)

Bones from a Bestiary part 8: H is for Hippopodes

This is the eighth in a series of chimerical creatures; the aim is to create an alphabet of fabulous beasts over the coming months.

With recent advances in genetic engineering it should be possible to manufacture such creatures in the laboratory; although the results will not always be practical (or, indeed, humane) …

In A.D. 77-79, the classical writer Pliny the Elder published his thirty-seven volumes of encyclopedic works known as the Natural History, containing numerous entries cataloguing real and imaginary creatures.

Many of these creatures featured subsequently in the Medieval bestiaries – illustrated volumes that described various animals, birds and even rocks.

In the Natural History, Pliny writes about a strange race of people known as The Hippopodes – a race of humanoids with horses’ hooves. They were believed to live on an island off Scythia known as All-Ears Island. The Hippopodes shared this island  with two other legendary races: the Panotti and Oenae.

The Panotti were described as having bizarrely large ears – so huge that they were used in lieu of clothing and as blankets to shield their bodies against the chills of the night.

The Oeonae or Oönæ were said to subsist exclusively on birds’ eggs and oats.




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