|Other names:||Love cervere, Pantera, Panteire, Pantere|
A gentle, multicolored beast whose only enemy is the dragon
The panther is a gentle beast; only the dragon is its enemy. It is a beautiful, multicolored animal; its coat is spotted with white or black disks. After the panther has feasted, it goes into a cave and sleeps for three days. When it wakes up it gives a loud roar, and while it is roaring a sweet odor comes out of its mouth. Any animal that hears the roar follows the sweet smell to reach the panther. Only the dragon stays away, hiding in a hole because it is afraid of the panther. The female panther can only give birth once, because the young in her womb tear at her with their claws, wounding her so that she can no longer conceive.
The panther represents Christ, who drew all mankind to him. The dragon represents the devil, who feared Christ and hid from him. The many colors of the panther symbolizes the many qualities of Christ. After Christ was sated with the mockery and abuse of the Jews, he fell asleep in death and entered the tomb. Descending into hell he bound the dragon. After three days Christ left the tomb and roared out his triumph over death. The sweet breath of the panther that drew all animals to it is a symbol of the words of Christ that draw all to him, Jews and Gentiles alike.
In heraldry, the panther is shown with flames coming from its mouth and ears; this is called the "Panther Incensed". The flames represent the sweet odor emitted by the panther. King Henry VI used the panther for his badge, to indicate that "a Kinge should have so many excellent and severall vertues as there are diversities of spottes and most beautifull Coullors in this Beast, and then his People will love and followe him for his vertues as all other Beastes love and follow the Panther for his sweete smell and glorious coullors" (Coll. Arms MS. L. 14, pt 2, f. 380). Other descendants of the House of Lancaster also used the panther.