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ROC, or more correctly RUKH, a fabulous bird of enormous size which carries off elephants to feed its young. The legend of the roc, familiar to every one from the Arabian Nights, was widely spread in the East; and in later times the home of the monster was sought in the direction of Madagascar, whence gigantic fronds of the Raphia palm very like a quill in form appear to have been brought under the name of roc's feathers (see Yule's Marco Polo, bk. iii. ch. 33, and Academy, 1884, No. 620). Such a feather was brought to the Great Khan, and we read also of a gigantic stump of a roc's quill being brought to Spain by a merchant from the China seas (Abu Hamid of Spain, in Damlrl, s.v.). The roc is hardly different from the Arabian 'ankd (see PHOENIX); it is also identified with the Persian simurgh, the bird which figures in Firdausi's epic as the foster-father of the hero Zal, father of Rustam. When we go farther back into Persian antiquity we find an immortal bird, amru, or (in the Minoi-khiradh) slnamrH, which shakes the ripe fruit from the mythical tree that bears the seed of all useful things. Sinamru and simurgh seem to be the same word. In Indian legend the garufa on which Vishnu rides is the king of birds (Benfey, Panlschatantra, iii. 98). In the Pahlavi translation of the Indian story as represented by the Syrian Kalilag and Damnag (ed. Bickell, 1876), the simurgh takes the place of the garuda, while Ibn al-Mokaffa' (Calila et Dimna, ed. De Sacy, p. 126) speaks instead of the 'anka. The later Syriac, curiously enough, has behmoth, apparently the behemoth of Job transformed into a bird.

For a collection of legends about the roc, see Lane's Arabian Nights, chap. xx. notes 22, 62, and Yule, ut supra. Also see Bochart, Hieroz, bk. vi. ch. xiv. ; Damiri, i. 414, ii. 177 seq.; Kazwini, i. 419 seq.; Ibn lialuta, iv. 305 seq.; Spiegel, Eran. Altertumsk. ii. 1 1 8.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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