From Angels to Werewolves

An abundantly illustrated, cross-cultural exploration of a near-universal category of mythical beings

The alluring mermaids sighted by lonely mariners. The winged angels, by turns avenging and comforting, that abound in Christian art. The fearsome Minotaur of Greek mythology. Animal-headed deities, from the elephant-headed Ganesha in India to the falcon-headed Horus in ancient Egypt. An enigmatic cave painting representing a possibly shamanic figure with the hindparts of a man and the foreparts of a stag. As far back as we go in human history, we find therianthropes, or animal-human hybrids.

In this thoughtful volume, Philip F. Palmedo surveys each of the major categories of therianthrope in turn―from animal-headed beings to merpeople to shape-shifters―with particular attention to their roles in religion, folklore, and the popular consciousness. With well-chosen color illustrations, he demonstrates how artists of all eras have shaped our conception of these mythical beings. Palmedo closes the book by theorizing about the ultimate origin and meaning of therianthropes, placing them at the nexus of our close ancestral relationship with the animal world.

From Angels to Werewolves will fascinate anyone with an interest in myth, fantasy, or the human-animal bond.

By Philip F. Palmedo
144 pages
Published by Abbeville Press, 2023
8.3 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches