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Hippalectryon

an unknown creature

This is the hippalectryon, with the head and forequarters of a horse and the wings, tail, and hindquarters of a rooster.

The hippalectryon is odd in that it does not seem to have a story attached to it. Instead, it shows up in ancient Greek black-figure pottery and coins.

Sometimes it is depicted with a rider, and often this is a small boy. Some scholars argue that this is an alternative representation of Pegasus, or else that the creature is based on early, changing representations of its more famous cousin.

It is an awkward combination of horse and cockerel, somehow able to attain flight even with a rider despite having the wings of domesticated fowl. Without any story, it is difficult to determine anything about the beast’s behavior for certain.

It is possible that the properties attributed to the two animals that make up the hippalectryon are present in the beast. Roosters were thought to ward off evil spirits with their crowing, while horses were often funerary symbols, escorting the dead to the afterlife.

Because it is intentionally ridiculous, it is possible that the creature is designed to protect against evil by inducing laughter.

[1]

Sources

[1] "The Bestiary Project"




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