March 22nd, 2007

prester john

Dear Ether...

sovay, I'm mainly asking you, but any other classicists are welcome to chime in.

I'm looking to reverse-engineer these animal-names from the Letter of Prester John. So far as I can tell, the Letter is the only surviving usage of these guys, and so no one seems to have any idea what they are. I could be wrong--I have not made it down to the big library yet. So--what do you think the latin parts would be? What would you suspect would be the etymology of the following words, knowing they are the names of fantastic animal species (they come in a long list of animals, most of which do not occur in the real world), how would you parse them, what do you think they might mean?

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