The catoblepas is described in Roman texts
from the ﬁrst century C.E.as an imaginary animal that appears one thing like a bullor bison with a big, heavy head and alongside, shaggy mane. These creatures are additionally listed in medieval bestiaries, the encyclopedic collections of each actual and imaginary animals.
The weight of its large head is what stored the catoblepas from having the ability to look upwith its bloodshot, crimson eyes. Its identify meant “that which looks downward” in Greek. Once it was in a position to elevate its head, nonetheless, thecatoblepas’s look was lethal. Since it atemostly toxic vegetation, its breath was additionally deadly.
The Roman historian and naturalist Pliny the Elder talked about the creature in his Natural History. Pliny claimed that the house vary of the catoblepas was close to a spring in Ethiopia that was the supply of the Nile River. It was Pliny who ﬁrst claimed that the gaze of the catoblepas was lethal.
The writings of one other Roman writer, Claudius Aelianus, present a fuller description of the catoblepas than Pliny’s work. In On the Nature of Animals, Aelianus claimed that the creature was in regards to the measurement of a home bull, with a heavy mane, slim, bloodshot or crimson eyes, and shaggy eyebrows. In Aelianus’s description, the animal’s gaze was not deadly. It was on this account that the catoblepas was described to have poisoned breath.
Descriptions of the catoblepas make it sound both like a gnu, the massive African antelope with a head resembling that of an ox, or a North American bison. There are North American tribal tales about why the bison by no means appears to be like up, most of which heart on a curse placed on it by the trickster hero Coyote. But the comparability ends there. Neither gnus nor bison possess the toxic look or breath of the catoblepas.