Roc - Encyclopedia


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ROC, or more correctly RUxx, a fabulous bird of enormous size which carries off elephants to feed its young. The legend of the roc, familiar to every one from the Arabian Nights, was widely spread in the East; and in later times the home of the monster was sought in the direction of Madagascar, whence gigantic fronds of the Raphia palm very like a quill in form appear to have been brought under the name of roc's feathers (see Yule's Marco Polo, bk. iii. ch. 33, and Academy, 1884, No. 620). Such a feather was brought to the Great Khan, and we read also of a gigantic stump of a roc's quill being prayer and simple contact. After similar ministries at Piacenza he himself fell ill. He was expelled from the town, and withdrew into the forest, where he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothardus supplied him with bread. On his return to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy and thrown into prison, where he died on the ,6th of August 1327, having previously obtained from God this favour - that all. plague-stricken persons invoking him should be healed. His cult spread through Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy. A magnificent temple was raised to him at Venice, where his body is believed to lie, and numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honour. He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, with a wound in his thigh, and with a dog near him carrying a loaf in its mouth.

See Acta sanctorum, August, iii: 380-415; Charles Cahier, Les Caracteristiques des saints (Paris, 1867). pp. 216-217. (H. DE)

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