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Part of the Here Lies the Truth Project Witness of a Greek Historian

Witness of a Greek Historian

Herodotus was a Greek historian who lived between 484 BC-425 BC. He has been called the "Father of History" since he was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative.

(Before continuing it should be noted that the words dragon and serpent were used routinely in all the ancient accounts relating to the sighting of strange and monstrous creatures. This practice continued into the mid nineteenth century. The word “dinosaur” was first introduced in 1842 by the founder of the Natural History Museum Richard Owen)

He writes:

‘I went once to a certain place in Arabia, almost exactly opposite the city of Buto, to make inquiries concerning the winged serpents. On my arrival I saw the back-bones and ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is impossible to describe: of the ribs there were a multitude of heaps, some great, some small, some middle-sized. The place where the bones lie is at the entrance of a narrow gorge between steep mountains, which there open upon a spacious plain communicating with the great plain of Egypt.

The story goes that with the spring the winged snakes come flying from Arabia towards Egypt, but are met in this gorge by the birds called ibises, which forbid their entrance and destroy them all. The Arabians assert, and the Egyptians also admit, that it is on account of the service thus rendered that the Egyptians hold the ibis in so much reverence. The winged serpent is shaped like the water-snake. Its wings are not feathered, but resemble very closely those of the bat. And thus I conclude the subject of the sacred animals.’

The History of Herodotus Provided by the Internet Classics Archive. online/ Translated by George Rawlinson Chapter XIIII.

So what might these creatures have looked like? Maybe something like the pterodactyl like creature illustrated below.

It is called Ramphorhynchus. The largest of these are thought to be four feet long and have a wingspan of six feet. The smallest had a wingspan of 290 millimetres. They were predatory and had twenty teeth in their upper jaws and fourteen in the lower. There are a number of accounts of creatures like these. And in attack mode they must looked like incoming darts.

The witness of Herodotus is confirmed by the first-century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus.

He wrote about Moses and the Israelites having a difficult time passing through a particular region because of the presence of flying reptiles.