Skip to main content

Hippocampus

Hippokampoi pulling Poseidon's Chariot
The Hippocampus is also known as the Sea-Horse, and these half horse/half fish creatures are found in Green, Phoenician, and Etruscan mythology.

These aquatic equines are depicted as having the bodies of horses, but the long, scaly tails of fish or serpents.   They were even sometimes drawn having fin-like manes. Some ancient people believed them to be the adult forms of actual seahorses, rather than a separate creature altogether.

17th Century Depiction
Interestingly, one of the first depictions of the Hippokampoi (the plural) was found within the hotly contested Lydian Hoard, a collection of 7th century BCE artifacts from Turkey that were once owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A small golden Hippocampus was a part of this collection, though it was stolen around 2007 and has not yet been recovered.

Hippokampoi were the mounts of the sea nymphs and the steeds that pulled Poseidon's chariot (he usually used four of them). They have appeared in these roles through countless works of art spanning centuries. They were popular in bathhouse mosaics, they were used in heraldry during Medieval times by maritime families, and they continued to be painted and sculpted in the Renaissance and beyond. Winged Hippokampoi are even found in the famed 17th century Trevi Fountain of Rome.

Comments

  1. The gold hippocampus from the Lydian Hoard was just found a few months ago, actually. See this post for more information: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/21761

    Thank you for the link. :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

Binturong

The Binturong ( Arctictis binturong ) also has an equally awesome alternate common name, the Bearcat! However, it really isn't much of a bear OR a cat. While it is true that it is part of the Feliforma suborder, it is not a member of family Felidae. Binturongs are a part of their own family, Viverridae, which is shared with Civets, Linsangs, and Genets. There are six subspecies of Binturong, all of which have slight differences based upon location and habitat. Binturongs range in body size from 60-100cm in length, (not including their tail which has roughly the same length) and weigh between 20 and 30lbs. Binturongs are nocturnal animals native to the rain forests of South East Asia. The species range spans through several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are tree dwelling mammals, and have fully prehensile tails that basically double their body length and can be used to cling to the trees or to grasp food. Binturongs are phe