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Dog-headed man, 'Hortus Sanitatis' (1491)

Dog-headed man, 'Hortus Sanitatis' (1491)

C028/9795

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Dog-headed man, 'Hortus Sanitatis' (1491). Woodblock illustration of a dog-headed man or Cyanocephalus, from Ortus (Hortus) Sanitatis, translated from the Latin as 'Garden of Health'. The cyanocephalii were a fierce tribe of dog-headed men reported to live in the East by explorers since the time of Alexander the Great. Saint Christopher was said to be a dog-headed man in early accounts. They were described as living in caves in mountains. They were swift of foot, soon overtaking their quarry. They could understand the Indian language but could only bark, so their replies were by gestures. The Hortus was the first printed natural history encyclopaedia and was published by Jacob Meydenbach in Mainz, Germany in 1491. He describes plants and animals (both real and mythical) together with minerals and various trades, with their medicinal value and method of preparation.

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