Web Theoi
HIPPALEKTRYON
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Ἱππαλκετρυων Hippalektryôn Hippalectryon Cock-Horse
(hippos, alektryôn)
Hippalectryon | Athenian black-figure kylix C6th B.C. | Harvard University Art Museums

Hippalectryon, Athenian black-figure kylix
C6th B.C., Harvard University Art Museums

THE HIPPALEKTRYON was a beast with the foreparts of a horse and the tail, wings and hind-legs of a rooster.

The creature occurs only in early Athenian vase painting, and may be based on an early artistic rendering of the winged horse Pegasos.


Aeschylus, Fragment 61 Myrmidones (from Scholiast on Aristophanes, Peace 1177) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[The figure of an hippalektryon is here described attached to the ship of Protesilaos :] The buff Hippalektryon (horse-cock) fastened thereon, the laborious work of outpoured paints."

Aristophanes, Peace 1175 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
"A damned lieutenant with three plumes and military cloak of crimson, very livid indeed; he calls it the real Sardian purple, but if he ever has to fight in this cloak he'll dye it another colour, the real Kyzicene yellow, he the first to run away, shaking his plumes like a buff Hippalektryon."

Aristophanes, Birds 800 ff :
"Is it not the most priceless gift of all, to be winged? Look at Diitrephes! His wings were only wicker-work ones, and yet he got himself chosen Phylarkhos and then Hipparkhos; from being nobody, he has risen to be famous; he's now the finest gilded Hippalektryon of his tribe."

Aristophanes, Frogs 929 ff :
"Euripides : 'Twas all Skamandros, moated camps, and Grypaietoi (Griffin-Eagles) flashing in burnished copper on the shields . . .
Dionysos : Aye, by the Powers, and full many a sleepless night have spent in anxious thought, because I'd find the tawny Hippalektryon (Cock-Horse) out, what sort of bird it was!
Aiskhylos : It was a sign, you stupid dolt, engraved the ships upon . . .
Euripides : No Hippalektryon (Cock-Horse) in my plays, by Zeus, no Tragelaphos (Goat-Stag) there you'll see."


Hippalectryon | Greek vase painting
P34.2 HIPPALEKTRYON
Hippalectryon | Greek vase painting
P34.1 HIPPALEKTRYON
Hippalectryon | Greek vase painting
P34.3 HIPPALEKTRYON
 

Sources:

  • Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aristophanes, Peace - Greek Comedy C5th-4th B.C.
  • Aristophanes, Frogs - Greek Comedy C5th-4th B.C.
  • Aristophanes, Birds - Greek Comedy C5th-4th B.C.