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The manticore (Early Middle Persian Martyaxwar) is a Persian legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), and a trumpet-like voice. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion, and it may shoot poisonous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims. It devours its prey whole and leaves no clothes, bones, or possessions of the prey behind.
The manticore myth was of Persian origin, where its name was "man-eater" (from early Middle Persian مارتیا martya "man" (as in human) and خوار xwar- "to eat"). The English term "manticore" was borrowed from Latin mantichora, itself derived from the Greek rendering of the Persian name, μαρτιχώρα, martichora. It passed into European folklore first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the fourth century BC, in his notes on India ("Indika"), which circulated among Greek writers on natural history but have not survived. The Romanised Greek Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, recalled strange animals he had seen at Rome and commented,
The beast described by Ctesias in his Indian history, which he says is called martichora by the Indians and "man-eater" (androphagos) by the Greeks, I am inclined to think is the tiger. But that it has three rows of teeth along each jaw and spikes at the tip of its tail with which it defends itself at close quarters, while it hurls them like an archer's arrows at more distant enemies; all this is, I think, a false story that the Indians pass on from one to another owing to their excessive dread of the beast. (Description, xxi, 5)
Pliny the Elder did not share Pausanias' skepticism. He followed Aristotle's natural history by including the martichoras—mistranscribed as manticorus in his copy of Aristotle and thus passing into European languages—among his descriptions of animals in Naturalis Historia, c. 77 AD.
Later, in The Life of Apollonius of Tyana Greek writer Flavius Philostratus (c. 170–247) wrote:
And inasmuch as the following conversation also has been recorded by Damis as having been held upon this occasion with regard to the mythological animals and fountains and men met with in India, I must not leave it out, for there is much to be gained by neither believing nor yet disbelieving everything. Accordingly Apollonius asked the question, whether there was there an animal called the man-eater (martichoras); and Iarchas replied: "And what have you heard about the make of this animal ? For it is probable that there is some account given of its shape." "There are," replied Apollonius, "tall stories current which I cannot believe; for they say that the creature has four feet, and that his head resembles that of a man, but that in size it is comparable to a lion; while the tail of this animal puts out hairs a cubit long and sharp as thorns, which it shoots like arrows at those who hunt it."
Pliny's book was widely enjoyed and uncritically believed through the European Middle Ages, during which the manticore was sometimes illustrated in bestiaries. The manticore made a late appearance in heraldry, during the 16th century, and it influenced some Mannerist representations, as in Bronzino's allegory The Exposure of Luxury, (National Gallery, London)— but more often in the decorative schemes called "grotteschi"— of the sin of Fraud, conceived as a monstrous chimera with a beautiful woman's face, and in this way it passed by means of Cesare Ripa's Iconologia into the seventeenth and eighteenth century French conception of a sphinx.
In art and literature 
- In the Divine Comedy, Geryon is depicted as a manticore-like demon that dwells at the deep barrier between the circles of violence and fraud.
- Canadian writer Robertson Davies wrote a novel titled The Manticore, published in 1972. It is the second volume of his Deptford Trilogy.
- The Manticore and Other Horrors is the tenth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth.
- A manticore is depicted on the cover of The Return Of The Manticore, a 4-disc retrospective album by progressive rock musical ensemble Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP).
- "The Worm Ouroboros" by E. R. Eddison has an account of a victorious fight against a manticore by Lord Juss and Brandoch Daha.
- Canadian heavy metal band 3 Inches of Blood has a bonus track on their second album titled "Quest for the Manticore", about hunting the mythical beast.
- Author Madeleine L'Engle features manticores as background characters in her book Many Waters, set in the Antediluvian Near East
- While Harry, Ron, and Hermione are researching legal precedents for Buckbeak's defence in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, they find a case where a manticore savaged someone in 1296, and was acquitted because nobody dared to approach it.
- Rubeus Hagrid somehow managed to acquire Manticores, and got them to breed with fire crabs, creating the hybrid Blast-Ended Skrewts.
- Manticores appear in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, though in his universe, live manticores are scorpion-like insects with markings resembling a human face on their carapace, valued for their venom, which is lethal and incurable, making it a favourite poison. The mythical creature in its traditional form also appears as a heraldic device.
- A Manticore appeared in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series book three by Rick Riordan, in this series the manticore is protrayed as a French military school teacher that shifts into a manticore that he really is.
- Manticore are favoured mounts of Dark Elf generals in Warhammer, being popular because of their power and aggressive nature.
- In God Of War: Ascension, the Manticore appears as a boss. The protagonist, Kratos, must defeat the beast in battle to proceed with the game.
- In the BBC Television show: Merlin the Manticore is depicted as a small creature with a lions body, legs and mane, a humans head, bat wings and a scorpions tail.
- Flavius Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, translated by F. C. Conybeare, volume I, book III. Chapter XLV, pp. 327-329.
- John F. Moffitt, "An Exemplary Humanist Hybrid: Vasari's "Fraude" with Reference to Bronzino's 'Sphinx'" Renaissance Quarterly 49.2 (Summer 1996), pp. 303-333, traces the chimeric image of Fraud backwards from Bronzino.
- Surawicz B, Jacobson B (2009). Doctors in Fiction: Lessons from Literature. Radcliffe Publishing. p. 125. ISBN 1-84619-328-1.
Manticores are in Percy Jackson book 3, when Dr. Thorn is.
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