Cynocephali

Both East and West seems to have a rich culture of dog headed creature.  Europe, China and India have a story of the Cynocephali on their local myths.  The term Cynocephali was derived from the Latin word Cynocephalus which means dog head.  The creature was believed to have the ability to change its form into a human or a wolf.  But whenever he tried to take the form of a human, a part of him would always retain the physical appearance of an animal such as its head.

Based on the Chinese lore, the Cynocephali originally came from Tibet and Persia.  Marco Polo also has an account of this creature and said that they were found in the small island of Andaman.  He said:
 "You may take it for a fact that all the men of the island have heads like dogs, and teeth and eyes like dogs; for I assure you that the whole aspect of their faces is that of big mastiffs. They are a very cruel race: whenever they can get a hold of a man who is not one of their kind, they devour him." 

Sir John Mandeville, on the other hand, believes that they were located in an unknown island called Macumeran.  The king has a necklace with a huge ruby that he usually wore around its neck and they were said to be a worshipers of the ox.

On the Ancient times, Cynocephali was a depiction of Hapi, an Egyptian God which is believed to be the son of Horus.  He is also depicted as the god of the dead which is an Anubis that is always described as a creature with a head of the jackal.  This influence has reached the ancient Greece, when Ctesias, a respectable Greek physician, wrote an account of Cynocephali who lived in India.  Megasthenes, also wrote that these Cynocephali who lived in India, barks as a form of their communication.

In Christian, St. Christopher’s icon was pictured out as a creature with the head of the dog.  St. Christopher was said to be a giant dog-headed creature that devour on human flesh.  He allegedly met Christ and repented on his behaviour.  The Lord baptized him and gave him the appearance of a human.  After that he devoted his entire life in serving God.

Indica Fragment by Ctesias

"On these [the Indian] mountains there live men with the head of a dog, whose clothing is the skin of wild beasts. They speak no language, but bark like dogs, and in this manner make themselves understood by each other. Their teeth are larger than those of dogs, their nails like those of these animals, but longer and rounder. They inhabit the mountains as far as the river Indos. Their complexion is swarthy. They are extremely just, like the rest of the Indians with whom they associate. They understand the Indian language but are unable to converse, only barking or making signs with their hands and fingers by way of reply, like the deaf and dumb. They are called by the Indians Kalystrii, in Greek Kynocephaloi (dog-headed). They live on raw meat and number about 120,000 . . . The Kynokephaloi living on the mountains do not practise any trade but live by hunting. When they have killed an animal they roast it in the sun. They also rear numbers of sheep, goats, and asses, drinking the milk of the sheep and whey made from it. They eat the fruit of the Siptakhora, whence amber is procured, since it is sweet. They also dry it and keep it in baskets, as the Greeks keep their dried grapes. They make rafts which they load with this fruit together with well-cleaned purple flowers and 260 talents of amber, with the same quantity of the purple dye, and 1000 additional talents of amber, which they send annually to the king of India. They exchange the rest for bread, flour, and cotton stuffs with the Indians, from whom they also buy swords for hunting wild beasts, bows, and arrows, being very skilful in drawing the bow and hurling the spear. They cannot be defeated in war, since they inhabit lofty and inaccessible mountains. Every five years the king sends them a present of 300,000 bows, as many spears, 120,000 shields, and 50,000 swords.

They do not live in houses, but in caves. They set out for the chase with bows and spears, and as they are very swift of foot, they pursue and soon overtake their quarry. The women have a bath once a month, the men do not have a bath at all, but only wash their hands. They anoint themselves three times a month with oil made from milk and wipe themselves with skins. The clothes of men and women alike are not skins with the hair on, but skins tanned and very fine. The richest wear linen clothes, but they are few in number. They have no beds, but sleep on leaves or grass. He who possesses the greatest number of sheep is considered the richest, and so in regard to their other possessions. All, both men and women, have tails above their hips, like dogs, but longer and more hairy. They are just, and live longer than any other men, 170, sometimes 200 years."

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