Z is for Ziz
“The Ziz (Hebrew: זיז) is a giant griffin-like bird in Jewish mythology, said to be large enough to be able to block out the sun with its wingspan. It is considered a giant animal/monster corresponding to archetypal creatures. Rabbis have said that the Ziz is comparable to the Persian Simurgh, while modern scholars compare the Ziz to the Sumerian Anzu and the Ancient Greek phoenix. Behemoth, Leviathan and Ziz were traditionally a favorite decoration motif for rabbis living in Germany.
There is only passing mention of the Ziz in the Bible, found in Psalms 50:11 “I know all the birds of the mountains and Zīz śāday is mine” and Psalms 80:13-14 “The boar from the forest ravages it, and Zīz śāday feeds on it.”2
I had heard of the Behemoth and Leviathan, but the Ziz was new to me. 🙂
Thank you for joining me on this year’s A to Z Challenge. All the best!
- Wazana, Nili (2008). “Anzu and Ziz: Great Mythical Birds in Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Rabbinic Traditions”. Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society31: 111–135. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- Willis Barnstone. The Other Bible. New York: Harper-Collins. 2005. pp. 23, 34.
- Louis Ginzberg. The Legends of the Jews. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. 1913.