Page 267. " the steed Pegasus, or on the zebra or warhorse of the famous Moor Muzaraque "
Parthian-era bronze plate depicting
Creative Commons AttributionParthian-era bronze plate depicting "Pegaz", excavated in Masjed Soleyman, Iran. - Credit: Kotoito

   Pegasus is the famous winged horse who, after springing from the neck of the decapitated gorgon Medusa, passed through the service of several noted heroes, and at least one god.  The parallel mention of the enchanted Moor 'Muzareque' and his fantastic steed, however, seems to be an instance of Cervantes using his characters to playfully interweave real-life elements of everyday Spain with figures from classical myth.  The exotically-named Zulema is in fact a small village located near the municipality of Alcalá del Júcar, while 'Compluto' comes from 'Complutum', the original Roman name for Cervantes' home-town of Alcalá de Henares.



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Page 274. " written in Chaldean or Greek letters "

   The 'Chaldean' dialect of Old Aramaic was named for and used by the Chaldean Dynasty, which ruled Babylon during the 6th century BC.  The name would later become synonymous with arcane knowledge and astronomy.

Download linguist Boudewijn Rempt's recreation of Chaldean as a digital font, based on John Mandeville's writings

Page 275. " it is impossible for me even to contemplate marriage, even if it were to the Phoenix itself "



   The legend of the Phoenix has its origins in Persian mythology: a mythical bird which, after living for centuries, reproduces itself from the ashes of its own cremation.  Why Quixote finds the prospect of marrying one attractive is open to debate.