zaterdag 7 juli 2012

Mythological creatures: Bestiarum vocabulum meets Linnaeus

While designing the Otherworld Tales, I suddenly found myself with a menagerie of mythological creatures, plants, half-breeds and things. The necessity arose to get some order in all that and good thing I remembered  the categorisation from biology class and the bestiaries from history. The system developed by natural scientist Linnaeus was a good way of categorising biological entities but it wasn't designed in the perspective of including mythology. The Bestiarum vocabulum from the medieval time on the other hand wasn't orderly enough to be practical. I had to find a bit of a middle way so I took a more scientific approach to the animals, trying to imagine what science would do if things were real (no I didn't dissect a unicorn to see how its insides look). I know others have done this before me (for example the Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges) but where's the fun in using that. So I'm just going to show you a creature from my private wikipedia and what better example than the unicorn? (mlp fans start cheering)

The hunt of the Equus Ferus Cornicae
"The unicorn or Equus Ferus Cornicae is a magical horse breed from many legends such as the several hunts of the unicorn (see tapestry image).
Related to the common horse breeds, a unicorn is slightly larger than the horse, has split hooves and a spiralling horn like a Narwhal on its head. It is extremely fast, strong and untameable except by virgin maidens and people of pure intentions.
By grinding the horn, alicorn is won, a powder which can cure most poisons and can also detect them. Alchemists will pay a great price for alicorn as it's a powerful magical component.
Because it is so difficult to trap and tame a unicorn, they are often seen as prized steeds. One who rides a unicorn must be great indeed."
-The Otherworld Tales private wiki
(when quoting please make reference to this blog)

Every creature in my wiki has a Latin name that either fits perfectly or would seemingly fit in the lists of Linnaeus. I also spend adequate time on the differences that make it a different species compared to others (in this case, the common horse) and I offer a surplus of scientific information that is considered part of the original legend (alicorn and virgin maidens). Sometimes I add "fictional" scientific information to this that isn't part of the lore and of course sometimes a plant or animal is entirely fictional, so there's no lore to go on.

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