A Collection of Beasts From The First Voyage Around The World

Join us on a journey to find out about the beasts and creatures that filled the imaginations of the sailors who took part in the first circumnavigation of the world.

By Seville City Council

Ayuntamiento de Sevilla

Mantícore (2017) by Angie SuárezSeville City Council

For this Compendium of Beasts, a select group of illustrators have imagined the creatures (some imaginary, some real) that inhabited the imaginations of the Europeans who lived 500 years ago.

A collection of fantastical images based on mythical views of a world that only began to take shape with the journey undertaken by Magellan and Elcano.

Basilisk (2017) by David RendoSeville City Council

The Basilisk

The lethal glare and venomous breath of this creature led St. Isidore of Seville to crown it king of serpents.

Blemmyae (2017) by Ale RojasSeville City Council


According to Roman folklore, the Blemmyes were headless people whose eyes and mouths were located on their chests.

Griffin (2017) by Carmen CanteroSeville City Council

The Griffin

The griffin is a creature originating in Persian and Babylonian mythology, which is a mixture of an eagle and a lion.

Amazon (2017) by Jesús EscuderoSeville City Council


The Amazons were a tribe consisting entirely of warrior women. Some discoverers believed that they lived in the newly discovered Americas.

Siren (2017) by Aurora VillaviejasSeville City Council


According to Bartolomé de las Casas, Christopher Columbus himself claimed to have seen three sirens on the journey in which he discovered America.

Unicorn (2017) by Andrés DomenechSeville City Council

The Unicorn

The myth of this creature is believed to have originated with the Indian rhinoceros. As a mythological creature, it was popular in the Middle Ages.

Patagonian (2017) by Carlos OrtizSeville City Council


When the fleet of ships that set sail in search of the Spice Islands reached the southern tip of what is now Argentina, they found the Aónikenk people. These indigenous people were very tall and had large feet, and the Europeans named them Patagonians after a mythical race of giants believed to be living in that part of the world.

Dwarf (2017) by Pablo MárquezSeville City Council


In his account of Magellan and Elcano's voyage, Pigafetta described some dwarfs whose ears were so large that they could cover their entire body.

Kraken (2017) by Javier MonsalvettSeville City Council

The Kraken

The kraken is a giant octopus in Scandinavian folklore.

Cinocephalus (2017) by Sergio MoraSeville City Council

The Cynocephalus

The origins of this human-bodied, dog-headed creature date back to the Roman empire.

St. Christopher was originally from the part of the world in which this myth had its roots and was sometimes portrayed with the head of a dog.

Sciapoda (2017) by Nacho TenorioSeville City Council


Originating in Greek mythology, these creatures have just one giant foot.

Shark (2017) by Leticia MorgadoSeville City Council

The Shark

"Following in the wake of our caravels were several large fish, called sharks, who have terrible teeth, and on finding a man in the sea, will devour him. We caught several with harpoons, although they are not good to eat, save the smaller ones, and even they are not especially worthwhile."

This quote is from the journal of Antonio Pigafetta, who recorded the expedition that first circumnavigated the world.

Marine Dragon (2017) by Manuel DíazSeville City Council

The Sea Dragon

The sea dragon or sea snake has been described by several sailors from all over the world, on numerous different occasions. Descriptions of this creature span from ancient history to the 18th century.

Aspidochelone (2017) by Nicola MarrasSeville City Council

The Aspidochelone

The aspidochelone is a giant sea monster, sometimes described as a turtle and sometimes as a whale. It is said to be so large that it could be mistaken for an island.

Mantícore (2017) by Angie SuárezSeville City Council

The Manticore

The origins of this creature lie in Persian folklore, and its name means Devourer of People. It was a symbol of evil and of tyranny.

Marine Snake (2017) by MeikSeville City Council

The Leviathan

Giant, snake-like sea creatures such as the leviathan were even described in the Bible.

Credits: Story

These illustrations were included as a supplement to the comic The Adventure of the First Circumnavigation of the World (La Aventura de la Iª Vuelta al Mundo), published by the city councils of Seville and Sanlúcar de Barrameda and the Regional Government of Andalusia.

This exhibition is part of the First Voyage Around the World project.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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