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Sea Serpent Day

Konrad Gesner, Historia animalium [History of animals], 1551-87

Konrad Gesner, Historia animalium [History of animals], 1551-87


Apparently today has been named Sea Serpent Day.

The Libraries is happy to celebrate this occasion by highlighting a plate from Konrad Gesner’s Historia Animalium.

Gesner was famed as a zoologist, primarily because of this work, but as a botanist, as well. The Libraries holds his Historia Plantarum among many of his other works in its special collections department.

The creatures pictured shared the same pages as more recognizable animals, such as an elephant, porcupine and a camel. Would Gesner have called them sea serpents? The ships they are attacking would certainly have considered them sea monsters.—Elizabeth Periale


  1. J. J. Markin

    You know, I was about to point out that the chapter title is De Cetis, so those critters actually whales … but then I bethought myself that cetus means any large sea animal, including whales, seals, or dolphins, so … why not sea serpents as well? I like that thought just fine. 🙂

  2. elizabeth

    a sea monster by any other name…

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