Sciapodes

Sciapodes (σκιαποδες - 'shadow foots' in Greek) or monocoli (μονοκωλοι - 'one legged' in Greek) are discussed by Pliny the Elder, who remarks, that they are first mentioned by Ctesias who places them in India. Pliny describes them as thus (Natural History 7:2):

He [Ctesias] speaks also of another race of men, who are known as Monocoli, who have only one leg, but are able to leap with surprising agility. The same people are also called Sciapodae, because they are in the habit of lying on their backs, during the time of the extreme heat, and protect themselves from the sun by the shade of their feet.

It is possible, that this description is a misinterpretation of the practice of Indian yogis (sadhu) who sometimes meditate on one foot or it can also be connected to the disease of tropical elephantiasis.


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