One of the many kinds of monster found in the margins of illuminated MSS or in cathedrals. Blemmyae were creatures somewhat like human beings, except they lacked heads: their eyes and mouths were on the chest. The name is taken from a people of Nubia, known to the Romans in the 3c and later. Fable and ignorance transformed them into acephalous creatures.

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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  • Blemmyes — 1) (Blemmyä, a. Geogr.), Volk in Nieder–Äthiopien, nach dem Arabischen Meerbusen zu; nach der Sage waren sie kopflose Ungeheuer, die Augen, Mund u. Nase auf der Brust hätten Später machten sie häufige Einfälle in Süd–Ägypten, wurden unter Kaiser… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Babewyn — Any of the ugly or demonic creatures which populate medieval artwork; many are to be found cut in *cathedral stone, tucked away from first gaze. [< OldFr. babuin = grimace, baboon; MdEngl. babywynrie = something monstrous] Cf. Babery; Bagwyn;… …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Bestiary — The illustrated bestiary, depicting real and imagined creatures, is a distinctive medieval construct. Bestiaries first appeared in England in the 12c and were derived ultimately from a Greek text, the Physiologus, from 4c Alexandria. They display …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Gargoyle — A grotesque figure, e.g. on the gutter of a roof, through whose mouth rainwater spouts; a distinctive feature of *Gothic architecture. [< OldFr. gargouille = throat; thus the passage of water from the mouth] Cf. Babery; Blemmya …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Gryllus — A fantastic monster of unusually awkward anatomy: its face was between its legs. [Lat. gryllus = grasshopper] Cf. Babewyn; Bestiary; Blemmya; Cynocephalus …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

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