Friday, January 16, 2009

sea monk

The sea monk, or sometimes monk-fish, was the name given to a sea animal found off the coast of Denmark almost certainly in 1546.[1] At this time it was regarded to be a sea monster and described as a "fish" that looked superficially like a monk. It was mentioned and pictured in the fourth volume of Conrad Gesner's famous Historia Animalium. Gesner also referenced a similar monster found in the Firth of Forth, according to Boethius, and a sighting off the coast of Poland in 1531.

Sea Ape

The Sea Ape is a marine animal known from a single sighting by explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller, on August 10, 1741, in waters off the Shumagin Islands, Alaska.[1] This is the only animal described by Steller that has not been corroborated by physical evidence or other witnesses.

Steller described the animal as about 5 ft (~1.5 m) long, with a head similar to that of a dog. It had large eyes, pointed erect ears, and long whiskers. Its tail resembled that of a shark, but it had no forefeet nor forefins. Its body was covered with thick grayish hair, but its abdomen was reddish-white.[1] Steller recalled that it resembled an animal illustrated by Gesner which had been called Simia marina Latin for "sea ape".[2]
Steller wrote that the animal rose its front end out of the water to observe the ship, and engaged in an amusing juggling behavior with a piece of seaweed.[3]
Steller attempted to shoot the animal with a gun, but missed. He claimed the creature was seen several more times in various places.
The ship's log did not note the sea ape encounter, and Steller's 1742 governmental report made no mention of it, but he included a description of the creature in his The Beasts of the Sea.

Cirein cròin

Cirein cròin is a sea serpent in Scottish mythology. It is believed to be the largest of all living creatures. It is said that seven whales are an easy meal for it. According to local folklore this serpent is able to take the shape of a little, silver fish when fishermen come into its territory. In this way, the monster avoids being sighted by them. Other versions say this monster becomes the small silver fish to attract the fishermen and make them catch it. It would then return to its original shape, eating the fishermen.

Ayia Napa Sea Monster

The Ayia Napa Sea Monster is a cryptid, claimed to inhabit the coast off of Ayia Napa in Cyprus, a popular tourist resort in the Mediterranean. Most sightings occur around Cape Greko (Cavo Greko). It is known by the local fishermen as "to filiko teras" [1], which translates to "the friendly monster". There have been no reports of it causing any harm, although it has been reported at times to rip and drag away fishing nets.
There is no evidence that the monster actually exists, except in folklore and through various sightings by tourists and locals alike. There exists little photographic evidence, except unverified short-films and pictures.
Many believers of the myth of the Ayia Napa Sea Monster like to link it with the common mythical sea monster of Greek mythology called Skylla, which is depicted in the mosaics that remain in the House of Dionysus, a Roman villa from the 3rd century AD in Paphos, Cyprus[2]. Many ancient authorities describe it as a monstrous form of a giant maiden in torso, with a serpent for its lower body, having six snarling dog-heads issuing from its midriff, including their twelve forelimbs. This is the form described by Hyginus, Apollodorus and the Suida, among so many others, and it is this form most often depicted on vase paintings.
Regardless of the fact that its existence has not been scientifically proven, the hope of spotting the Ayia Napa Sea Monster remains a highlight for many tourists on boating day-trips. Many hotels boast to being in close proximity of sightings.


According to the tradition of the Physiologus and medieval bestiaries, the aspidochelone is a fabled sea creature, variously described as a large whale or sea turtle, that is as large as an island. The name aspidochelone appears to be a compound word combining Greek aspis, the asp, and chelone, the turtle. It rises to the surface from the depths of the sea, and entices unwitting sailors to make landfall on its huge shell. In Old English literature, in the poem The Whale, the creature appears under the name Fastitocalon, apparently a variant of aspidochelone. In the moralistic allegory of the Physiologus and bestiary tradition, the aspidochelone represents Satan, who deceives those whom he seeks to devour.


The sea bishop or bishop-fish was a type of sea monster reported in the 16th century. According to legend, it was taken to the King of Poland, who wished to keep it. It was also shown to a group of Catholic bishops, to whom the bishop-fish gestured, appealing to be released. They granted its wish, at which point it made the sign of the cross and disappeared into the sea. It was supposedly captured in the ocean near Germany in 1531. It refused to eat and died after three days. It was described and pictured in the fourth volume of Conrad Gesner's famous Historiae animalium.


In Greek mythology, Achelous (English, pronounced /ækɨˈloʊəs/; Greek: Ἀχελῷος (Achelōos)) was the patron deity of the "silver-swirling"[1] Acheloos River, which is the largest river of Greece, and thus the chief of all river deities, every river having its own river spirit. His name is pre-Greek, its meaning unknown. The Greeks invented etymologies to associate it with Greek word roots (one such popular etymology translates the name as "he who washes away care"). However, these are etymologically unsound and of much later origin than the name itself.

Some sources say that he was the son of Gaia and Helios,[2] or Gaia and Oceanus.[3] However, ancient Greeks generally believed with Hesiod[4] that Tethys and Oceanus were the parents of all three thousand river gods. Homer placed Achelous above all, the origin of all the world's fresh water.[5] By Roman times, Homer's reference was interpreted as making Achelous "prince of rivers".[6]
Others derived the legends about Achelous from Egypt, and describe him as a second Nilus. But however this may be, he was from the earliest times considered to be a great divinity throughout Greece,[7] and was invoked in prayers, sacrifices, on taking oaths, &c.,[8] and the Dodonean Zeus usually added to each oracle he gave, the command to offer sacrifices to Achelous.[9] This wide extent of the worship of Achelous also accounts for his being regarded as the repre­sentative of sweet water in general, that is, as the source of all nourishment.

Mythological tradition
Achelous was a suitor for Deianeira, daughter of Oeneus king of Calydon, but was defeated by Heracles, who wed her himself. Sophocles pictures a mortal woman's terror at being courted by a chthonic river god:
'My suitor was the river Achelóüs,
who took three forms to ask me of my father:
a rambling bull once, then a writhing snake
of gleaming colors, then again a man
with ox-like face: and from his beard's dark shadows
stream upon stream of water tumbled down.
Such was my suitor.' (Sophocles, Trachiniae)
The contest of Achelous with Heracles was represented on the throne of Amyclae,[12] and in the treasury of the Megarians at Olympia there was a statue of him made by Dontas of cedarwood and gold.[13] On several coins of Acarnania the god is represented as a bull with the head of an old man.[14]
The sacred bull the serpent and the Minotaur are all creatures associated with the Earth goddess Gaia. Achelous was most often depicted as a gray-haired old man or a vigorous bearded man in his prime, with a horned head and a serpent-like body. When he battled Heracles over the river nymph Deianeira, Achelous turned himself into a bull. Heracles tore off one of his horns and forced the god to surrender. Achelous had to trade the goat horn of Amalthea to get it back.[15] Heracles gave it to the Naiads, who transformed it into the cornucopia. Achelous relates the bitter episode afterwards to Theseus in Ovid's Metamorphoses.[16] Sophocles makes Deianeira relate these occurrences in a some­what different manner.[17]
The mouth of the Achelous river was the spot where Alcmaeon finally found peace from the Erinyes. Achelous offered him Callirhoe, his daughter, in marriage if Alcmaeon would retrieve the clothing and jewelry his mother Eriphyle had been wearing when she sent her husband Amphiaraus to his death. Alcmaeon had to retrieve the clothes from King Phegeus, who sent his sons to kill Alcmaeon.
Ovid in his Metamorphoses provided a descriptive interlude when Theseus is the guest of Achelous, waiting for the river's raging flood to subside: "He entered the dark building, made of spongy pumice, and rough tuff. The floor was moist with soft moss, and the ceiling banded with freshwater mussel and oyster shells."[18] In sixteenth-century Italy, an aspect of the revival of Antiquity was the desire to recreate Classical spaces as extensions of the revived villa. Ovid's description of the cave of Achelous provided some specific inspiration to patrons in France as well as Italy for the Mannerist garden grotto, with its cool dampness, tuff vaulting and shellwork walls. The banquet served by Ovid's Achelous offered a prototype for Italian midday feasts in the fountain-cooled shade of garden grottoes.
At the mouth of the Achelous River lie the Echinades Islands. According to Ovid's pretty myth-making in the same Metamorphoses episode, the Echinades Islands were once five nymphs. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to honor Achelous in their festivities, and the god was so angry about this slight that he turned them into the islands.
Achelous was sometimes the father of the Sirens by Terpsichore, or in a later version, they are from the blood he shed where Heracles broke off his horn.[19]
In another mythic context, the Achelous was said to be formed by the tears of Niobe, who fled to Mount Sipylon after the deaths of her husband and children.
In Hellenistic and Roman contexts, the river god was often reduced to a mask and used decoratively as an emblem of water, "his uncut hair wreathed with reeds".[20] The feature survived in Romanesque carved details and flowered duruing the Middle Ages as one of the Classical prototypes of the Green Man.