Sea Horse – Hippocampus
Historical Description by the Artist:
Oberon Zell’s Sea Horse The mythical Sea-Horse or Hippocampus (meaning “horselike water monster” in Greek) has the head and forequarters of a horse with fins instead of hooves, and the hindquarters of a fanciful fish. It is also known as the Water-Horse or Horse-Eel, and was a favorite art subject in Greco-Roman times, especially in Roman baths, where it is frequently found depicted in mosaic.
In Roman lore the Hippocampus was said to be the fastest creature in the ocean, and thus the favorite steed of Neptune, King of the Sea. Hippocampi are also ridden by Tritons, who look like men above the waist, but with two lower fish bodies in place of legs. They were named after Triton, the son of Neptune, who lives with his father in a golden palace at the bottom of the ocean.
In Scotland the Water-Horse is called the Kelpie. It haunts rivers and streams and, after letting unsuspecting humans mount it, will dash into the water and drown them. In Ireland the same creature is known as the Each-Uisge (Ech-ooshkya) or Aughisky (Agh-isky), where it inhabits seas and lochs and is far more dangerous. After carrying its victims into the water, it will tear them to pieces and devour them, leaving nothing but the liver. If the Aughisky is ridden inland, however, it is quite safe; but the slightest smell or sight of sea water will doom the rider.
Though mythical as depicted in fantastic art, the Water-Horse may possibly be identified with the legendary Loch Ness Monster and its relatives, such as the Lake Champlain Monster (“Champ”) and the Sea Serpent, which have been reported in dozens of locations throughout the world. The head and neck of these creatures is commonly described as appearing horselike in profile, and they are frequently actually called “Sea-Horses” or “Water-Horses” by eye-witnesses.
Hippocampus is now the scientific name given to the curious little fish commonly known as the Seahorse, of which the smallest species are less than two inches long, and the largest not more than eight inches.
Name: Sea Horse – Hippocampus
Size: 7.75″ Tall