Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Roc

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

I guess I'm on a monster/creature roll with this mythology stuff!

On this lovely Tuesday, I'd like to introduce you to Roc, the legendary HUGE bird. Interestingly, many cultures all around the world have monstrous bird myths. Here in the St. Louis area, for example, the myth of the Piasa Bird is quite famous.

But Roc is from Arabia. And this giant bird has been known to carry off elephants for dinner. Marco Polo, while traveling along the African island near Madagascar, reported: "This It was for all the world like an eagle, but one indeed of enormous size; so big in fact that its quills were twelve paces long and thick in proportion. And it is so strong that it will seize an elephant in its talons and carry him high into the air and drop him so that he is smashed to pieces; having so killed him, the bird swoops down on him and eats him at leisure."


They brought the Roc's feather to Kublai Kahn, which was probably a tropical tree palm. Oops.

In the world of stories and myth, the Roc was most famous for having grabbed Sinbad up to the mountains.

Theories trying to explain the countless reports throughout the Middle East and Asian of a giant winged bird have varied between it being just a giant eagle to maybe some sort of African ostrich.

36 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If only ostriches flew though...

Jay Noel said...

You'd think they'd know the difference!

Haneen I. Adam said...

Oh! oh! A creature from the Arab Island I’m so happy :D of course I know about the Roc (pronounced rukh in Arabic) yes it did flew with Sinbad, there are so many stories about it and a very long but magnificent poem telling the story by Sudanese writer Abul Allah Al Tayb. I’ve always liked Rocs but poor elephants :(

Pat Hatt said...

That is one bird the cat would avoid haha

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I love myths about giant birds. I am going to write about the Simurgh tomorrow... And I also love the stories of Sindbad.

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Chrys Fey said...

I love also love myths about giant birds. Wouldn't it be something to see a bird like Roc flying in the sky?

Pat Dilloway said...

And I thought Roc was just some kind of skin care cream.

Anne Marie Schlueter said...

Would love to find that in my backyard. Joking.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Okay, so the guy who took the palm frond off the tree and sold it as a giant bird feather- his ancestors may be used car salesman today.

Cherie Reich said...

Rocs are so cool! I first came across them while playing Age of Mythology.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think there are so many legends because despite their grace in the air, there's something cold and creepy in the eyes of birds. Hitchcock had the right idea.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

That's crazy. Here I was worried that an eagle or owl would carry Millie off. I need to look to the skies for myself. :)

Denise Dobkowski Hammond said...

If there's a three-letter bird clue in a crossword it is usually roc.

Jo said...

I only ever knew of the Roc because of Sinbad. Didn't know there were any other stories about it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Do you realize how big it would have to be to lift an elephant?

Maurice Mitchell said...

Oddly enough I've never heard of the Roc although the idea of a mythical giant bird is fairly common. It'd make a great movie.

Cynthia said...

A bird that can carry an elephant away for dinner must have wings of steel.

Cynthia said...

A bird that can carry an elephant away for dinner must have wings of steel.

Patricia Lynne said...

That's a big bird if it can pick up an elephant. Although, one could argue they don't say if it was an adult elephant, but even then, a baby elephant would need a big bird too.

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Fee said...

Another wonderful post! I first encountered the Roc in Storm Constantine's 'Calenture'. A fascinating creature.

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