The Library of History

Page 100

Page 100 if it were with a Sword; and by this means his Enemy bleeds to death, and thus he destroys many of them. But if the Elephant prevent him from coming under his Belly, he catches the Rhinoceros up in his Trunk, and easily overcomes him, being far stronger in Body, and wounding deeper with the Stroaks of his Tushes.

Sphinges are bred near to the Troglodites in Ethiopia, not much unlike those which the Limners draw, save that they differ only in being rough. They are of a gentle nature, very docible, apt to learn any thing presently that is taught them.

Those that are call'd Cynocephales, resemble ugly fac'd Men, and are continually snarling and grumbling. This Creature is exceeding curst, never to be tam'd, and from his Eye-brows looks with a most surly Countenance. The Females are extraordinary remarkable, for having their Privy Parts continually hanging down out of their Body.

The Beast call'd Cepus, so nam'd from the beauty of his Body, and the comliness of Proportion. He has the Face of a Lion, and in all other Parts is like to a Panther, except that for his bigness he is as large as a Deer. Of all these strange Beasts none's so fierce as the Wild Bull, which Feeds upon Flesh, and is altogether invincible: he's larger than any tame Bull, and as Swift as any Horse, and his Mouth is Wide even up to his Eyes: He's exceeding red, his Eyes grayer than a Lions, and Sparkling in the Night like Fire. His Horns have a wonderful property, for he can move 'em as well as his Ears, and when he Fights keeps them fast and immovable. His Hair contrary to all other Beasts, stands on end, He's so exceeding Fierce that he'll set upon the strongest Creature whatsoever, and Feeds upon the Flesh of such as he destroys. He destroys the Flocks and Herds of the Inhabitants, and in a terrible manner Fights with Troops of Shepherds and whole Armies of Dogs at once. It's said his Skin is impenetrable; and therefore tho many have attempted to Kill him, yet none were ever able to efect it. If he fall into a Pit, or be taken any other way by Snares or Ginns laid for him, he Choaks and Stiffles himself with his unrully Rage, and will not suffer any Man to come near him tho never so gently: And therefore the Troglodites justly account this Beast the strongest of all other; to whom Nature has given the stoutness of a Lion, the swiftness of a Horse, and the strength of a Bull; and which cannot be conquer'd with the Sword, which subdues all other things.

There's another Creature among the Ethopians call'd a Crocut, of a mixt nature, between a Dog and a Wolf, more fierce than them both, and exceeding all others for his Tearing and Biting. Let the Bones be never so great, he presently grashes them in Pieces and digests them immediatly as soon as they come into his Stomach. Some Historians (who love to tell strange things) report that this Beast will imitate the Voice and Speech of a Man, which we cannot in the least credit.

The Inhabitants bordering upon the Deserts, say that there are in these Parts divers sorts of Serpents of an incredible bigness; for those that say they have seen some a hundred Cubits long, are lookt upon to be Liers, not only by me, but by every one else. But to gain the more credit to their fabulous Relation, they add a Story far more absurd and impropable. For they say, that when these vast Creatures lye rould up in a Round in the open Plain, every Circle lying one upon another, they seem like Hills to them that are at a distance. But who can easily believe there are any such monstrous Creatures?

But we shall say something of the greatest Serpents (that ever were seen) which were brought to Alexandria in Nets, discoursing by the way of the manner of the hunting and taking them.

For Ptolemy the Second being very much given to the hunting of Elephants, for that purpose incourag'd with great Rewards many that were skilful Hunters of the strongest wild Beasts, and not sparing Costs (in gratifying the pleasure he took in this kind) he got together great multitudes of Elephants, which he train'd up for his Wars; by which means many strange Beasts which were never seen before, became known to the Grecians.

Upon these Considerations some of the Huntsmen, knowing the generosity and bounty of the King in his Rewards for things of this nature, agreed together with the hazard of their Lives to bring if it were but one of these monstrous Serpents,

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books