The Sea Bishop

According to one legend, the sea bishop, also called bishop-fish, was a sea monster that was caught off the coast of Poland in 1531. The creature died few days later after refusing to eat.  In another legend, a similar creature was captured alive in fishing net in the 13th century. When it was taken to the king of Poland, the Sea Bishop begged to be set free. After being released, it made the sign of the cross (which probably inspired his name) before diving back into the sea.

CHT163354 The Sea Bishop or sea monster, from 'Omnium fere gentium' by Jean Sluperji, Antwerp, 1572 (colour woodcut) by Flemish School, (16th century) colour woodcut Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France Archives Charmet Flemish, out of copyright

The Sea Bishop or sea monster, from ‘Omnium fere gentium’ by Jean Sluperji, Antwerp, 1572

It is thought that the Sea Bishop’s legend might have been inspired from a real sea creature known as the Giant Squid. The giant squid was first spotted by a ship crew near the Canary Islands in November, 1861. It was describe as a creature with a long tail and many arms, or “tentacles.” Above all, it had a large elliptical-shaped head that bears striking similarity to bishop’s hat.

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