Panther (legendary creature)

Ancient Greek art depicting Dionysus riding a panther

A Panther is a creature out of ancient myth that resembles a big cat with a multicoloured hide.

Under medieval belief, after feasting, the panther will sleep in a cave for a total of three days. After this period ends, the panther roars, in the process emitting a sweet smelling odor. This odor draws in any creatures who smell it (the dragon being the only creature immune), they are eaten by the panther, and the cycle begins again.

The ancient Greeks believed the panther was one of the favored mounts of the god Dionysus.

Other names for this creature are pantera, pantere, and love cervere.


Heraldry from Raglan Castle, Wales, United Kingdom, featuring an example of a non-feline panther

Mostly drawn as a type of cat, the panther was at times depicted in other forms. It was depicted as a donkey, as a composite creature with a horned head, long neck and a horse's body, and as a host of other forms. (The word "panther", in Greek, could be interpreted as "every wild beast", supporting the idea of a composite creature.) This was mostly because those involved did not know what a panther should look like; but, in some instances, this was due to cultural influences. In Germany in particular, the panther is often depicted in heraldry as a creature with four horns, cow's ears and a fiery red tongue. An example of the former is the coat-of-arms of the city of Cres, Croatia. [1]


A panther dog cat as described in medieval bestiaries and used in heraldry.

In heraldry the panther is commonly used in a form known as the Panther Incensed. In this form the panther is depicted with flames coming from its mouth and ears, representing the panther's sweet odor. The heraldic panther is usually shown with coloured spots (semée of Roundels), which are frequently blue and red. The arms of the Worshipful Company of Dyers, however, have as supporters two panthers "...incensed Gules crowned Or and semée of Roundels Gules, Azure, Vert, Purpure and Sable" (with red flames, a gold crown and red, blue, green, purple and black spots). The panther was used by King Henry VI as his badge and by other members of the House of Lancaster.