Salamander (legendary creature)

Salamander (Legendary Creature)

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Salamander (legendary creature)

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This article is about the legendary creature; for the amphibian, see Salamander.


The salamander is an amphibian of the order Urodela. As with many real creatures, pre-modern authors often ascribed fantastic qualities to it (compare the allegorical descriptions of animals in medieval bestiaries), and in recent times some have come to identify a legendary salamander as a distinct concept from the real organism. This idea is most highly developed in the occult. Where the two concepts can be distinguished, the legendary salamander is most often depicted much like a typical salamander in shape, with a lizard-like form, but it is usually ascribed an affinity with fire (sometimes specifically elemental fire).

Classical, medieval, and renaissance lore

This legendary creature embodies the fantastic qualities that ancient and medieval commentators ascribed to the natural salamander. Many of these qualities are rooted in verifiable traits of the natural creature but often exaggerated to a significant degree, as was common in ancient works on natural history and philosophy. A large body of legend, mythology, and symbolism has developed around this creature over the centuries.

The most widely known deviation from a realistic depiction is from an influential 20th-century occult work by Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages.Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages:An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy,...
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