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!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Roc


A roc or rukh (from the Arabic and Persian رخ rokh, asserted by Louis Charles Casartelli to be an abbreviated form of Persian simurgh) is an enormous legendary bird of prey, often white, reputed to have been able to carry off and eat elephants, and its shadow is said to be large enough to block the sun.
Description
"A bird of enormous size, bulky body and wide wings, flying in the air; and it was this that concealed the body of the sun and veiled it from the sun."

In the account of Marko Polo the wingspan of the roc was 16 yards and the feathers 8 yards, its feathers were as big as palm leaves. The wind was the rush of its wings and its flight was lightning. The bird is usually described as being white. The egg of the roc is said to be over 50 yards in circumference. The Roc could carry an elephant in its claws which it would kill by flying to a great height then dropping the unfortunate creature to crash to its death on the rocks below.

According to Arabic tradition, the Roc never lands on earth, only on the mountain Qaf, the center of the world.

Western expansion
In the 13th century, Marco Polo stated "It was for all the world like an eagle, but one indeed of enormous size; so big in fact that its quills were twelve paces long and thick in proportion. And it is so strong that it will seize an elephant in its talons and carry him high into the air and drop him so that he is smashed to pieces; having so killed him, the bird swoops down on him and eats him at leisure". Marco Polo explicitly distinguishes the bird from a griffin.

In Pigafetta's account the home grounds of the roc were the China Seas.

Illustrators such as Johannes Stradanus ca 1590 or Theodor de Bry in 1594 showed an elephant being carried off in the roc's talons, or showed the roc destroying entire ships in revenge for destruction of its giant egg. Tomasso Aldrovandini's Ornithologia included a woodcut of a roc with a somewhat pig-like elephant in its talons.

Eastern origins
The roc had its origins, according to Rudolph Wittkower, in the fight between the Indian solar bird Garuda and the chthonic serpent Naga, a word that A. de Gubernatis asserted signified 'elephant' as well as 'snake'. The mytheme of Garuda carrying off an elephant that was battling a tortoise appears in two Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The roc appears in Arabic geographies and natural history, popularized in Arabian sailors' folklore. Ibn Battuta tells of a mountain hovering in air over the China Seas, which was the roc.

Other accounts
In addition to Marco Polo's account of the rukh in 1298, Chou Ch'ű-fei (Zhōu Qùfēi 周去飞) in 1178 told of a large island off Africa with birds large enough to use their quills as water reservoirs.

Roc's feathers may have been brought to Kublai Khan as a gift.

A stump of a roc's quill was said to have been brought to Spain by a merchant from the China seas.

Roc in literary tradition
The legend of the roc, popularized in the West in the travels of Marco Polo and later in the 1001 Nights' tales, of Abd al-Rahman and Sinbad the Sailor, was widespread in the East. Through the sixteenth century the existence of the roc was accepted by Europeans. In 1604 Michael Drayton envisaged the rocs being taken aboard the ark:
All feathered things yet ever knowne to men,
From the huge Rucke, unto the little Wren;
From Forrest, Fields, from Rivers and from Pons,
All that have webs, or cloven-footed ones;
To the Grand Arke, together friendly came,
Whose severall species were too long to name.

A Special Thanks to Wikipedia, and to Genzoman of Deviantart for this awesome, but slightly stolen image!

And to http://monsters.monstrous.com/roc.htm for the extra information :)

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