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Girolamo Merolla abada

Engraving of an abada in Girolamo Merolla's Relazione del viaggio nel regno di Congo

Abada is one of the names given to a supposed unicorn living in Africa. Giovanni Cavazzi, when travelling in Portuguese Angola, heard about a creature similar to a horse but larger and having a head similar to a deer. It had two horns, one on the forehead and another on the nose, both of them of great virtue. He also mentions another creature called abbada (ndemba in the Congo language), which is the African cousin of a "true" (Indian) rhinoceros and has three horns – on the nose, on the forehead and on the back.

Girolamo Merolla also writes about the unicorn called abada living in Congo. It is the size of an ox, but has only one horn on the forehead. Only the males are endowed with it.

It must be noted that the word "abada" itself is an old Portuguese designation for a rhinoceros, taken from Malay بادق‎ bādaḳ (see: C.P.G. Scott). It was used as a given name for the second rhinoceros in Europe since ancient times, gifted to the King Sebastian I of Portugal in 1577. As reported by Juan González de Mendoza, European public was very impressed by the animal and rumors started about it being the real identity of the unicorn.

Jerome Lobo differentiates the unicorn and the abada, a creature with two crooked horns, explicitly calling the latter a rhinoceros.

See alsoEdit

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