Cryptozoology, Heraldic Folklore, Mythological Creature Archive, Writing prompt

Mythological Creature; Amphiptere, a European hybrid-snake and bat or bird with comparisons from other cultures- With Guest Writing Prompt about snakes

According to an Amphiptere is a hybrid from European heraldry. It is part snake and part bird or bat. Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armory or armor, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology (flag design,) together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Throughout Europe, the amphiptere was widely feared, so all who displayed it on their coat of arms would be perceived as particularly fearsome in battle.

Despite the origin of the word, amphipteres can be found all over the world predating the European counterpart. For example, Ancient Egypt had many amphipteres, and the Mesoamerican Plumed Serpent Quetzalcoatl takes the form of the amphiptere.

According to Mexico Unexplained, By the time of the Spanish Conquest, Quetzalcoatl had become known as the plumed serpent god who came from a long tradition of similar representations.  The earliest reference to the feathered serpent deity in ancient Mexico appears in the Olmec times, around 900 BC at the city of La Venta in the modern-day Mexican state of Tabasco.  While not as “fleshed out” as the later representations of Quetzalcoatl, the Olmec plumed serpent shows that the iconography of feathered snakes dates back thousands of years.  The first major civilization in ancient Mexico to adopt on a widespread basis what has been commonly recognized as Quetzalcoatl was Teotihuacán.  The massive ancient city with its Avenue of the Dead, its gigantic pyramids of the Sun and Moon also had a temple dedicated to the feathered serpent god.  The iconic heads sticking out of stone abutments are easily recognizable.  As this city-state had no writing system and Teotihuacán collapsed about a thousand years before the arrival of the Spanish, archaeologists and ethno-historians know very little about the feathered serpent god and how it fit into this civilization.  It is unclear whether or not this plumed snake deity at Teotihuacán had many or any of the attributes of the later god known as Quetzalcoatl found in other parts of Mexico.

Photo Credit: A golden wyvern is believed to have been the symbol of the medieval kingdom of Wessex

According to Wikipedia, Amphipteres generally were said to have greenish-yellow feathers, a serpentine body similar to a lindworm, bat-like green wings with feathered bone, and an arrow-tipped tail much like a wyvern‘s. Others are described as entirely covered in feathers with a spiked tail, bird-like wings, and a beak-like snout. Uncommon however, is the description of an Amphiptere with legs.

Pop Culture

Wikipedia documents Amphitheres as being featured in the Dragonology series of books, which employ a conceit that dragons are real. It also appears in Dracopedia: A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World.

Guest Writing Prompt from Charity Hume

This writing prompt was featured on Cultural Weekly ***follow them on twitter @CulturalWeekly find Charity Hume’s blog here.

In Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford gets a laugh when, after riding through Amazonian rapids, stealing a grave idol, fighting off warriors and flying through the air like Tarzan, he then confesses that he’s mortally afraid of snakes. We may not all be Indiana, but many can identify with his squeamish fear.

In this exercise, list the creatures or settings that especially scare you.  My list includes both situations and objects:  heights, snakes, dentist appointments… (I could go on!) When you look down that list, one of the entries will have a particular charge of energy. Circle that one and commit to writing about that phobia for today.

Once you’ve chosen it, stick with it and don’t waffle.

Write for a page about this fear, and associate to every time you can remember any physical encounter with this object: the day you stepped on a jellyfish, the time your mother insisted you eat okra. As you write, don’t worry if there are several different memories crowding in your mind. Let them lead you to different experiences and fully explore them all as you give yourself permission to remember them in detail. Use every sense you can as you communicate the details. Once you’re done, you will have interesting footage. From here, you can consider a story or poem that uses your imagery and feelings. Try to be specific and realistic, as you tell the story of the cockroach you saw your first night in the Brooklyn apartment, the opossum on the road, the barn spider that first week in Canada. You can also create a fictional character who shares your phobia. Let your character explain the fear to another character, or write a character’s “interior monologue.” Use your “footage” freely and give this fictional character a human weakness.

If you find this fun and interesting and decide to expand on this story- let me know how this story continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!

9 thoughts on “Mythological Creature; Amphiptere, a European hybrid-snake and bat or bird with comparisons from other cultures- With Guest Writing Prompt about snakes”

  1. is symbol(i don’t know) of any thing in China.may be symbol of India,state of Laddakh’s peoples celebrate their festivals with long puppets of this Dragon.

    Liked by 1 person

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