The Peryton is a legendary creature said from the lost continent of Atlantis. Often depicted as a winged deer, the Peryton was said to have the head, neck, forelegs and antlers of a deer and the plumage, wings and hindquarters of a large bird. Though these physical characteristics may seem strange legend has it that the Peryton’s shadow was even stranger. The shadow was that of a winged deer as the physical characteristics would suggest but instead appeared in the form of a man. This strange shadow led many scholars of the time to speculate at the Peryton were the spiritual manifestations of travels that perished far from the shores of home, the souls of murders trapped in bestial bodies or the ghosts of long dead sailors.
Though the Peryton gave the outward appearance of a herbivore it was far from a peaceful grass eater, in fact it was said that the Peryton had a ravenous taste for human flesh and in some cases was believed to have played an instrumental role in the fall of Rome. In one account, chronicled by an unnamed rabbi in Fez during the 16th century, states that Roman statesmen and general Publius Cornelius Scipio encountered the Peryton near the Strait of Gibraltar sometime between 237 and 183 BC.
According to the Rabbi, Scipio and his soldiers were attacked by a group, or flock, of these creatures. Seemingly impervious to weapons the Peryton’s descended upon the ships, attacking the sailors, tearing their flesh with sharp talons and wallowing in their blood. The story goes on to state that upon completing this gruesome ritual, the Peryton’s shadow would become free and would fly away, living the rest of its life in peace. Luckily for the sailors who survived the slaughter was limited as each Peryton only had to kill one man before its soul would be set free.
The earliest verifiable account of the Peryton occurs in Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, in which he refers a manuscript, now lost in the sands of time, as his source. In more recent years the Peryton became more widely known because of its inclusion in the first edition Monster Manual from the popular role playing game Dungeons and Dragons.
To date no physical evidence has been found to support the existence of the Peryton.
Outside of the encounter by Roman statesmen and General Publius Cornelius Scipio and his sailors sometime between 237 and 183 BC no documented sightings of the Peryton could be found at this time.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Hybrid / Other
• Size: Roughly that of a deer
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Carnivorous
• Location: Greece and Italy
• Movement: Winged flight and four legged walking
• Environment: Unknown