The Official Collection of Fantastical Creature Information--Updated Randomly

For all your fantastical creature needs! This is the beginning of my encyclopedia, and I'm collecting as much information as I can on various fantasy creatures. Most of my stuff can be found on wikipedia. However, no source is perfect, so the stuff that is my input is often italicized. Help me by sending me more information at Questkid13@gmail.com

Side Note: There have been concerns about my using Wikipedia because it is not a reliable resource. I am well aware of wikipedia's unreliable nature--but that's exactly why I use it. Fantasy creatures are available to all, and everyone should have a chance to add their "discoveries." This website is supposed to be a fun collection of fantastical creature information with fun images to go with. I am not a reliable source--I'm just a collector. Though at this point, I am flattered that people are concerned with the validity of my site. :)

!!!!This is NOT a forum. Comments are to be informative and generally helpful. Clean humor is acceptable, but NOT if it detracts from the entry. This site is to help people find out more about fantastical creatures!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Salamander

In one of the earliest surviving descriptions of a salamander, the creature is "an animal like a lizard in shape and with a body starred all over; it never comes out except during heavy showers and disappears the moment the weather becomes clear." It's fiery being is a symbol of both creation and destruction. Creation of flames and life, for fire can provide both light and warmth, but it also destroys.

The Salamander is associated with protective qualities and courage. It is said that no fire can ever be lit without the help of the fire spirits and that within each flame in every fire and candle there is a Salamander.

History
Of all the traits ascribed to salamanders, the ones relating to fire have stood out most prominently in salamander lore. This connection probably originates from a behavior common to many species of salamander, hibernating in and under rotting logs. When wood was brought indoors and put on the fire, the creatures "mysteriously" appeared from the flames. The milky substance that a salamander exudes when frightened and which makes its skin very moist gave rise to the idea that the salamander could withstand any heat and even put out fires.

The salamander is mentioned in the Talmud as a creature that is a product of fire, and anyone who is smeared with its blood will be immune to harm from fire. Rashi, the primary commentator on the Talmud, describes the salamander as one which is produced by burning a fire in the same place for seven years. According to Sahih Bukhari, Muhammad said that salamanders are "mischief-doers" and "should be killed".

Leonardo da Vinci wrote the following on the salamander: "This has no digestive organs, and gets no food but from the fire, in which it constantly renews its scaly skin. The salamander, which renews its scaly skin in the fire,—for virtue."

Early travelers to China were shown garments supposedly woven from salamander hair or wool; the cloth was completely unharmed by fire. According to T. H. White, Prester John had a robe made from it; the "Emperor of India" possessed a suit made from a thousand skins; and Pope Alexander III had a tunic which he valued highly.

William Caxton wrote: "This Salemandre berithe wulle, of which is made cloth and gyrdles that may not brenne in the fyre." Holme (1688) wrote: "...I have several times put [salamander hair] in the Fire and made it red hot and after taken it out, which being cold, yet remained perfect wool."

Heraldry, symbolism, and allusion
In early heraldry, the salamander was depicted as a lizard or a natural salamander, but still amidst flames. In the arms of Le Clei shown as vomissant des flammes ("vomiting flames") as well. It is often tinctured vert (green) but can be of any other colour or metal.

The salamander became a symbol of enduring faith which triumphs over the fires of passion. It was the badge of Francis I of France, with the motto, "I nourish [the good] and extinguish [the bad]." It appears in the arms of Le Havre, Fontainebleau, and others.

The salamander became the traditional emblem of the smith, and thus appears in a number of civic arms to symbolise local metal-working industries. It appears in the arms of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, as well as the old County Borough Council. In the crest of the arms of Spennymoor Town Council, the Shafto family's salamander also holds a sword to represent the local steel industry. Some insurance companies use the salamander in their arms, a clear reference to its fire-fighting attributes.

A special thanks to Wikipedia and to Stardragonwings of Deviantart.com for this slightly stolen image.

And to Ryce for the inspiration! :D

However, this entry is definitely lacking in general information about this awesome species. How do they live? Where do they go? Help contribute!

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