THE HIPPALEKTRYON (Hippalectryon) was a creaturewith the forequarters of a horse, and the wings, tail and back-legs of a rooster. Hippalektryon means "cock-horse" or "rooster-horse" from the Greek words alektryôn and hippos.
The creature only appears in early Athenian vase painting and may be an early artistic representation of the winged horse Pegasos.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Aeschylus, Fragment 61 Myrmidones (from Scholiast on Aristophanes, Peace 1177) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"[An Hippalektryon (Hippalectryon) painted on the ship of the hero 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 (Hippalectryon)."
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 (Phylarchus) and then Hipparkhos (Hipparchus); from being nobody, he has risen to be famous; he's now the finest gilded Hippalektryon (Hippalectryon) of his tribe."
Aristophanes, Frogs 929 ff :
"Euripides : 'Twas all Skamandros (Scamander), 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 (Aeschylus) : 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."
ANCIENT GREEK ART
- Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aristophanes, Birds - Greek Comedy C5th - 4th B.C.
- Aristophanes, Frogs - Greek Comedy C5th - 4th B.C.
- Aristophanes, Peace - Greek Comedy C5th - 4th B.C.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.