Peryton

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Artist's impression of a peryton.

The Peryton is a mythological hybrid animal combining the physical features of a stag and a bird. The Peryton was created and described by Jorge Luis Borges in his Book of Imaginary Beings, using a supposedly long-lost medieval manuscript as a source.

Mythology[edit]

The Peryton is said to have the head, neck, forelegs and antlers of a stag, combined with the plumage, wings and hindquarters of a large bird, although some interpretations portray the Peryton as a deer in all but coloration and bird's wings.

According to Borges, Perytons lived in Atlantis until an earthquake destroyed the civilization and the creatures escaped by flight. A Peryton casts the shadow of a man until it kills one during its lifetime, at which time it starts to cast its own shadow. A Sibyl once prophesied that the Perytons would lead to the downfall of Rome.[1]

In Borges' original Spanish edition, the word is given as peritio so the presumptive Latin original would be peritius, which happens to be the Latin name of the fourth month on the ancient Macedonian calendar,[2] (Peritios, moon of January). The connection of this, if any, to the peryton is unclear.

Popular culture[edit]

  • A Peryton closely matching Borges's original description is a minor villain in The Cinnabar Box, a fantasy novel by Ilil Arbel. Uniquely, this incarnation of the monster can use and understand human speech.[3]
  • The Peryton is included among the bestiary of the game Dungeons and Dragons. Like the creature in Borges' book, it has the hindquarters of a large bird.
  • In the manga MÄR, the Peryton is a Guardian ÄRM that is owned by Ian. It has a monstrous form and it can shoot a beam out of its mouth similar to the Gargoyle form of Babbo.
  • The creatures also appear in Darkwell, a book in the Moonshae Trilogy, where a flock of Perytons are among an army of evil monsters summoned by the book's main antagonist.[4]
  • The Peryton is included in the "Monsters of the Mind" subsection in the trading card game Weird and Wild Creatures.
  • A murderous Peryton named Orfeo is a major villain in the fantasy novel Whiskey and Water by Elizabeth Bear.
  • Swarms of cat-sized Perytons are natural enemies of the unicorns in Peter S. Beagle's fantasy novel The Unicorn Sonata.
  • In the defunct Robotech storyline The Sentinels, Peryton is the homeworld of a race of horned, mutant energy-wizards called Perytonians. The species is humanoid with cone-shaped heads, horns, and two thumbs on each hand.
  • In the Kendra Kandlestar children's book series, Perytons are somewhat arrogant and keep to themselves. They refer to earth-bound beings as "underlings," but are herbivorous and pose no threat to humans or other creatures.
  • In the book So You Want to Be a Wizard, Perytons are said to resemble large wolves. They were once humans so filled with hatred that they allowed themselves to become creatures of darkness. To be caught by one would cause a fate worse than death.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nigg, Joseph (2002). The Book of Dragons & Other Mythical Beasts (1st ed.). Hauppauge, NY: Barron's. p. 91. ISBN 9780764155109. 
  2. ^ Περίτιος
  3. ^ Arbel, Ilil (2003-09-01). "The Cinnabar Box". ISBN 9781589394698. 
  4. ^ ASIN 0786935669
  5. ^ Sarah Burke-Spolaor; Matthew Bailes; Ronald Ekers; Jean-Pierre Macquart; Fronefield Crawford III (2010). "Radio Bursts with Extragalactic Spectral Characteristics Show Terrestrial Origins". arXiv:1009.5392 [astro-ph.CO].
  6. ^ Kelly, Charles (26 January 2011). "Hollow Earth - A Great Read and Brilliant Promotion for Cumbrae". S1millport.com. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  7. ^ http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer/Warhammer_Monsters/PREYTON.html
  8. ^ "Hazy Flame Peryton". Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game - Card Database. Konami. Retrieved March 9, 2013.