Fantastic creatures from the Middle Ages


I was in central London today browsing through an excellent second hand book market when I came across a sixteenth century print – a genuine one of course.  What it shows is a map of Asia but more to the point – the horrific creatures that were believed to lurk at the fringes of the known world, in the terra incognita that terrified the medieval mind.

These included the ‘dogheads’ – creatures with the bodies of humans but the heads of canines that were believed to live much closer by, in forests for example.  It may seem bizarre to know that Saint Christopher – the saint who bore child Jesus across a stream without realising the identity of the young one – was himself reputed to be a doghead.

I couldn’t afford the print – but I was allowed to take some snaps (non copyright of course).

The world in the mind of a sixteenth century cartographer
A Doghead - just like Saint Christopher
People with heads in their chests
One giant leg - at least you could run away!
This looks suspiciously cannibalistic
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