More giant millipedes

Yesterday I posted on the bobbit worm and how I thought I had an identification for this strange creature. I have now found that the next poem in the Greek anthology refers to the same creature and the actual length is given – eight cubits or about twenty meters. This is way beyond the length of any so-called bobbit worm so I am putting this down either to poetic license or fisherman’s exaggeration.


λείψανον ἀμφίκλαστον ἁλιπλανέος σκολοπένδρης
τοῦτο κατ᾽ εὐψαμάθου κείμενον ἠϊόνος,
δισσάκι τετρόργυιον, ἅπαν πεφορυγμένον ἀφρῷ,
πολλὰ θαλασσαίῃ ξανθὲν ὑπὸ σπιλάδι,
Ἑρμῶναξ ἐκίχανεν, ὅτε γριπηίδι τέχνῃ
εἷλκε τὸν ἐκ πελάγους ἰχθυόεντα βόλον
εὑρὼν δ᾽ ἠέρτησε Παλαίμονι παιδὶ καὶ Ἰνοῖ,
δαίμοσιν εἰναλίοις δοὺς τέρας εἰνάλιον.

These broken remains of a seafaring millipede lying on the sandy beach, twice four fathoms (twenty meters approx) long, stained by the foam, much beaten under a sea rock, Hermonax found when with his skill as a fisherman he dragged in his catch of fish from the sea. And on finding it, he dedicated this monster of the sea as an offering to Ino and her son Palaimon, deities of the sea.

Anth. Gr. 6.223

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