Before science fiction, people tended to fantasize about the future -- not unlike the way they imagined distant places, peopled by dog-headed Cynocephali
, surly one-eyed Cyclopes and one-legged Unipeds.
29), and the hairy faunos giants and cynocephali
('dog-headed men,' pp.
appellantureo quodcanina habeant, quosque ipse latratus magis bestias quam homines confiteur.
What distinguishes The Mythic Bestiary is that equal time is given not only to well-known fantasy monsters like the dragon, minotaur, phoenix, and so forth, but also many more obscure creatures of worldwide legends, from the winged shedu & lammasu spirits of ancient mesopotamia and persia, to the tupilak devil-dolls of the arctic circle, to the cynocephali
dog-headed people of medieval legend, and much more.
Interestingly, in the Middle Ages Saracens commenced to be visualized as cynocephali
in art, which confirmed their position of the monstrous other in the popular imagination (Strickland 2003: 160).
Interest in dog-headed people or cynocephali
in general, and in Saint Christopher in particular, seems to have been expressed in Celtic countries throughout the medieval period (Orchard, 1995:15).
On his voyage, Herzog Ernst encounters cynocephali
, beings with the lower body of a human being but the neck and head of a crane.