Merman, Legendary Creature, 16th Century

Merman, Legendary Creature, 16th Century

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Caption: Woodcut of a marine monster having a human torso from Des Monstres et prodiges by Ambroise Para, 1573. Des Monstres is filled with unsubstantiated accounts of sea devils, marine sows, and monstrous animals with human faces. With its extensive discussion of reproduction and illustrations of birth defects, the book invited accusations of pornography. Mermen are mythical male equivalents and counterparts of mermaids, legendary creatures who have the form of a male human from the waist up and are fish-like from the waist down, having scaly fish tails in place of legs. The actions and behaviour of mermen can vary wildly depending on the source and time period of the stories. They have been said to sink ships by summoning great storms, but also said to be wise teachers, according to earlier mythology. Mermen, just like mermaids, can lure and attract female humans with their enchantingly beautiful, soft melodic and seductive siren-like singing voices.

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