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Caladrius, according to the Roman mythology, is a snow-white bird that lives in kings' houses. Supposedly, the bird refuses to look at any patient that is not going to make a full recovery. Caladrius existed in the Greek mythology under the name Dhalion.
It is said to also be able to take the sickness into itself and then fly away, dispersing the sickness and healing both itself and the sick person.
This is said to be analogous to Jesus Christ, whose crucifixion is said to have drawn out "the sickness" (sin, see Biblical sin-sickness analogy) and, through his "flight" from the grave, saved the sinner.
Basis of origin
There are numerous theories as to where the myth of the Caladrius was started. One of them would be that it is merely the product of some overactive imaginations or that it was created purely as an analogy.
Another is that the Caladrius is based on a real bird. According to the descriptions of its being completely white with no black on it, it is possible that it was based on the dove, or possibly some sort of water bird such as the heron. Louis Reau believes it was most likely a white plover.
Use in popular culture
In the Saturday Night Live sketch, "Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber", the title character (played by Steve Martin), uses a Caladrius bird (portrayed by a live bird, most likely some form of dove or pigeon) in an attempt to diagnose a patient. The difficulties of using live animals on live television provided most of the humor for the few seconds of the bird's appearance.
In Age of Mythology: The Titans, a myth unit available to the Atlanteans was the "Caladria," which served as a flying scout and a healer, though it more closely resembled an angel than a bird.
A song dedicated to the Caladrius ("Pasărea Calandrinon") appears on the album "Cantafabule", released in 1975 by Romanian rock group Transsylvania Phoenix.
- Louis Réau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien, 6 vols. (Paris, 1955-59)