Bestiary #012: Jesus Breath

2015-09-15-Heraldic Panther Color

Name(s): Heraldic Panther

Country of Origin: England


Here for your enjoyment, the Panther Incensed. A piece of heraldry that is just the tip of the iceberg of “Fun things you didn’t know were on shields”. For as silly as a polka-dotted panther looks, this actually has a pretty bad butt origin.

So all Bestiaries are fun to read (hence…this entire project) but there are some entries that are really interesting because it’s an animal we recognize, and the description for it’s behavior is very, very, wrong. Like, did you know giraffes (or camelopardus) are just a cross between a camel and a leopard? That’s modern science at work, guys. If you lived a millennia ago. Very cutting edge.

Our panther here has a better story than just being a cross between other known creatures. In the 13th century, this here was the only creature in nature that could take down a dragon. It roars a breath or fire so sweet, that it attracts all animals to it. Save for the dragon, which is repelled by it’s natural enemy, and so plays dead in its cavern. This purple fire, and the whole deal with slaying serpents – there’s your Jesus allegory. A figure whom everyone wants to hear its roar/breath/fire? Gather round heathens, a panther Jesus is here to address you all.

Bonus fun fact from Pliny – clawed creatures rarely give birth more than once. Near birth, the children start tearing at the womb from the inside.

Gotta love bestiaries.


Badke, David. “Panther”. The Medieval Bestiary. The Medieval Bestiary. 15 Jan. 2011. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.

Barber, Richard. “Panther”. Bestiary. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1999. Print.

Thanks for stopping!