Web Theoi
SKIAPODES
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Σκιαπους
Σκιαποδες
Skiapous
Skiapodes
Sciapod
Sciapods
Shadow-Foots
(skia, pous)
Androgyne from the Nurenburg Chronicle 1493
Sciapod from the Nurenburg Chronicle of 1493

THE SKIAPODES (or Sciapods) were a tribe of one-legged Ethiopian or Indian men who had a single giant foot which they raised in the air to shade themselves against the hot southern sun.

The Skiapodes were also popular in Medieval bestiaries and map illustrations of the Terra Incognita.


Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 45 - 47 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"[The C1st A.D. prophet Apollonios of Tyana asked the Indian sage Iarkhos] about the Men who live Underground (anthropoi hypogen) and the Pygmaioi (Pygmies) also and the Skiapodes (Sciapods) (Shadow-footed men); and larkhas answered his questions thus: ‘. . . As to men that are Skiapodes (Shadow-footed) or Makrokephaloi (Macrocephali) (Long-headed), and as to the other poetical fancies which the treatise of Skylax recounts about them, he said that they didn't live anywhere on the earth, and least of all in India.’"

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 23 - 25 :
"The Nasamones and the Androphagoi (Man-Eaters) and the Pygmaioi (Pygmies) and Skiapodes (Sciapods) (Shadow-Foots) people are also tribes of Aithiopia (Ethiopia), and they extend as far as the Okeanos Aithiopos (the Ethiopian Ocean), which no mariners ever enter except as castaways who do so against their will."

Eusebius, Treatise Against Hierocles 21 (trans. Jones) (Greek rhetorician C4th A.D.) :
"He [Apollonios of Tyana] also asked them [the Brahmans of India] about Men who live underground (anthropoi hypergen), and about others called Pygmaioi (Pygmies), and Skiapodes (Sciapods) (Shadow-footed men), and . . . the Martikhora (Manticores) . . . Such then were the questions which Apollonios put to the sages, and Iarkhas instructed him about the Pygmaioi . . . but as to the other things which he asked about, Iarkhas said that they never had existed at all."

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7. 23 (trans. Rackham) (Roman encyclopedia C1st A.D.) :
"He [Ctesias, Greek historian C5th B.C.] also describes a tribe of men [in India or Ethiopia] called Monocoli who have only one leg, and who move in jumps with surprising speed; the same are called Sciapodes (Shadow-Foots) tribe, because in the hotter weather they lie on their backs on the ground and protect themselves with the shadow of their feet."

Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Μονοκωλος
Μονοκωλοι
Monokôlos
Monokôloi
Monocolus
Monocoli
One-Legged
(monos, kôlon)

Sources:

  • Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Greek Biography C2nd A.D.
  • Pliny the Elder, Natural History - Latin Encyclopedia C1st A.D.
  • Eusebius, Treatise Against Hierocles - Greek Rhetoric C4th A.D.

Other references not currently quoted here: Gellius 9.4; Tert. Apol. 8; Aug. Civ. Dei 16