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The ancient Greeks and Romans (like other contemporary Mediterranean peoples)
had little concept of what a real whale actually looked like. So the Greek
word 'ketos' was equivalent to 'sea monster' back then, and was only later
adapted to mean 'whale'.
Greek and Roman restorations of 'ketos' (such as the constellation of that
name) often show a sea creature that has very little resemblance to a modern
whale, with various parts often being very serpent-like or horse-like (or
both). Even into the Christian era, illustrations of Jonah being swallowed by
a whale typically feature a long-bodied, serpentine sea creature.
The 'ketos' had a recurring role in Greek mythology whenever a beautiful
princess needed to be sacrificed to the sea in atonement for the misdeeds of
her parents. Andromeda was one such princess; she is described as 'Ethiopian'
in Greek myth, even though she lived in Ioppa (Jaffa; in modern-day Israel).
Hesione, a Trojan princess, was another.
Alas, the poor sea monster (ketos) didn't come out of these episodes too well:
in both cases, the princess was rescued by the hero, who slew the sea monster.
Andromeda was rescued by Perseus, Hesione by Heracles. Luckily, the sea was
well-stocked with sea monsters - though there is no mention of what constituted
their natural diet (aside from Mediterranean princesses).
--- On Sun, 7/3/10, Jaime Headden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: Jaime Headden <email@example.com>
> Subject: RE: Krakenology
> To: "Tom Holtz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Dinosaur Mailing List" <email@example.com>
> Received: Sunday, 7 March, 2010, 12:35 AM
> According to the myth of Andromeda, it was a great sea
> monster, Cetus, rather than a "kraken" or Typhon (a Titan)
> that was set against her city as vengeance for Cassipeia's
> braggart attitude.
> Jaime A. Headden
> "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B.
> Medawar (1969)
> "Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability
> to learn
> from the experience of o
isinclination to do so." --- Douglas Adams (Last Chance to
> "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with
> different language and a new way of looking at things, the
> human race
> has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his
> language or
> his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan
> (Beast With a Billion Backs)
> > Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2010 09:59:26 -0500
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > To: MKIRKALDY@aol.com
> > CC: email@example.com
> > Subject: Re: Krakenology
> > MKIRKALDY@aol.com
> >> What is the Kraken in the new Clash of the Titans
> supposed to be? Great
> >> look at its jaws, teeth and eyes in the poster,
> and it roars in the
> >> trailer.
> >> Doesn't look much like a giant squid but maybe a
> T. rex-squid hybrid?
> > It is supposed to look like parts of the monster Ymir
> from the planet
> > Venus with tentacles attached.
> > Really.
> > The original Kraken model used in the 1981 Clash of
> the Titans movie was
> > bits of Harryhausen's Ymir model with tentacles.
> > I always wondered why they used the Nordic "kraken"
> name, and not the
> > Greek Typhon.
> > --
> > Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> > Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Phone: 301-405-4084
> > Office: Centreville 1216
> > Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
> > Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
> > http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
> > Fax: 301-314-9661
> > Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program,
> College Park Scholars
> > http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/
> > Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program,
> College Park Scholars
> > http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
> > Fax: 301-314-9843
> > Mailing Address: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> > Department of Geology
> > Building 237, Room 1117
> > University of Maryland
> > College Park, MD 20742 USA
> Hotmail: Powerful Free em