Greco-Roman Bronze Chimera’s Foot, 2nd Century BC/AD
This impressive fragment of a foot was probably part of a monumental bronze statue of a Chimera, a most monstrous creature in Classical art. Greek mythology imagined the beast as a full lion’s body with the tail which ends with the snake’s head and the additional goat head arising from its back. Homer described the Chimera as “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire” (Iliad 6, 179-182). At the command of King Iobates of Lycia, Bellerophon, the Corinthian hero, with the help of the winged horse, Pegasus, defeated the Chimera. Since Pegasus could fly, Bellerophon shot the Chimera from the air, safe from her heads and breath.
It may well be that the sculpture was not a single figure but made part of the group which included Chimera, Bellerophon and Pegasus. Examples from Greek vase painting, mosaic, engraved gems and terracotta reliefs help to visualize two major variants of the composition: Bellerophon opposing the attacking Chimera or the hero on the horseback smashing the squat beast. As it seems, the sharply bent bronze leg corresponds better to the last variant.
Etruscan bronze sculpture of the Chimera (known as the “Chimera of Arezzo”). Artist unknown; ca. 400 BCE. Found at Arezzo, Italy; now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence. Photo credit: Sailko/Wikimedia Commons.
Tried to fuse the lion and goat heads, both animals sharing the same eyes and the horns of the goat making the lion’s fangs. Not sure how well it really worked but I’m sure it can’t be much fun to be the goat head.
Guys, here in Germany we don’t have that many cryptids, even though I love them.
But we have the Wolpertinger, which is from Bavaria. The guy looks like this
It’s a hybrid and there are other variations of the creature too, like a squirrel with a duck’s beak, though the rabbit is more common.
They are said to be very retiring and eat smaller animals, herbs and roots. There are different rules on how to hunt and catch an Wolpertinger. One is that only beautiful women can spot them at twilight on a full moon at certain areas at the edge of the woods.
They are so well known because there a tons of them taxidermied. Like the one in the photo above. No one really knows why it started but in the 19th century people began to make them to fool naive tourists and sell them.
Where I come from we have a mountain, which there are also some legends about, from where you can look over the whole area. When I was a kid we used to hike up to it a lot and look from it’s tall tower. There is also an old looking tavern next to the tower. They had some of of the Wolpertinger in there, placed on racks.
And because I was causally told the name of these things and there were, you know, taxidermied irl versions of them in front of me, there was a time as a kiddo I thought it was just a fact that these things exist somewhere in the woods.