The Hircocervus: An Elusive Mythological Beast

The Hircocervus is an interesting creature found throughout medieval folklore, that is represented as half Stag half Goat. Although tales of the Hircocervus are found in medieval folklore, it was referenced to by Aristotle in his work De Interpretatione, as an example of a thing that was knowable even though it didn’t exist.

The first appearance of the Hircocervus in the English language, is in a manuscript of 1398 which is now held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

As far as mythological beasts go, this wasn’t one to be feared. It held no negative significance.

The Hircocervus appeared in medieval bestiaries, but there no specific tales about them. It’s a well known creature, but not a lot is well know about it, and only a few references to it can be found.

A Hircocervus is depicted in a wall-painting entitled The Trusty Servant, by John Hoskins in 1579. It can be found hanging on the wall outside the kitchen of Winchester College in Hampshire, England.

The creature is shown with a padlock on it’s mouth, and various other pieces of equipment in his hands and on his person, which symbolize different character traits.