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"The first recorded Basilisk was bred by Herpo the Foul, a Greek Dark wizard and Parselmouth, who discovered after much experimentation that a chicken egg hatched beneath a toad would produce a gigantic serpent possessed of extraordinarily dangerous powers."
Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them[src]

Herpo the Foul was an Ancient Greek Dark Wizard, infamous for being a pioneer the field of the Dark Arts, becoming the first known wizard to create the Basilisk, along with the first known Horcrux. A Parselmouth, he is one of the earliest known Dark Wizards and his work is still a lasting aspect of dark magic to date. For his depravity, he was featured on a Chocolate Frog Card.[1]

Biography

Born a Parselmouth, Herpo had the the ability to communicate with snakes. He spent his life studying the Dark Arts, inventing many vile curses.[1] At some point in his life, after much experimentation, he created the first known Basilisk,[2] and being a Parselmouth, he was able to communicate with and control it. In addition, he acquired a great understanding of the nature of the soul, and how murder affected it. Armed with his knowledge and ruthlessness, he deliberately committed murder with the intention of splitting his soul, and subsequently sealed it inside an object with Dark Magic, becoming the first known wizard to successfully create a Horcrux.[3]  

Magical abilities and skills

  • Dark Arts: Herpo was known as one of the most powerful and influential practitioners of dark magic in history, having immersed himself into dark magic of the most advanced and dangerous kind. Herpo is the first wizard to have ever successfully created a Horcrux and is possibly the wizard who invented the process by which to do this. The creation would have left his soul unstable, and rendered him less than human.
  • Spell creation: He invented many vile curses, which earned him his well-deserved malevolent reputation.
  • Parseltongue: One of the earliest known Parselmouths, an uncommon gift to speak with snakes, which has been often connected to the Dark Arts.[4]
  • Basilisk breeding: First wizard to have discovered that hatching a chicken egg under a toad will create the King of Serpents. He managed to control it with Parseltongue, thus initiating one of the few cases of a wizard "domesticating" a XXXXX-classified creature (known wizard-killer that cannot be tamed).

Possessions

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Herpo with his pet Basilisk

  • Basilisk: Herpo the Foul was notably the first wizard to breed a Basilisk, an immensely powerful dark creature, which he owned as a pet. He was able to control the monster using Parseltongue, and was believed to have lived for at least 900 years.
  • Horcrux: Herpo was the first Dark Wizard in wizarding history to successfully create a Horcrux, although it is unknown what kind of object he used to contain a piece of his fractured soul inside of.

Etymology

  • In Ancient Greek, ἑρπετόν (pronounced "herpeton") means "creeping animal". In modern times, herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. Basilisks are snakes, and thus reptiles, and Parseltongue is the language of snakes.
  • In Ancient Greek, Herpo's name would be "Ἕρπων ὁ δεινός" (pronounced "Herpōn ho deinos"). This comes from the active participle of the verb ἕρπω, which is cognate with Latin serpo, the active participle of which is serpens - the root of English "serpent."

Behind the scenes

  • It is unknown when or under what circumstances Herpo the Foul died or his Horcrux was destroyed, assuming that these things did happen. If his Horcrux was never destroyed it is possible he is still alive, possibly as a wandering spirit (in a state that Horace Slughorn described as being worse than death).
  • If Herpo did indeed die, it is unknown whether his soul had shared a fate similar to that of Tom Riddle after the latter's death in 1998, assuming he never repented to repair his damaged soul.
  • Herpo the Foul's depiction on his Chocolate Frog Card is somewhat snakelike, though not as much as Lord Voldemort's. This could be reference to Voldemort's decaying appearance in his later life, as he became progressively less human with the more murders he committed. As Herpo does not look as snakelike as Voldemort, he likely only made one Horcrux, as it has been stated that Riddle is the only known wizard to have made multiple Horcruxes.
  • Ironically, he bred a creature whose venom could destroy his Horcrux.
  • Herpo the Foul might have been a distant ancestor of Salazar Slytherin, as Herpo was the earliest known Parselmouth, Slytherin was a Parselmouth himself, and the gift of Parseltongue is likely hereditary, as seen in the Gaunt descendants. Though it is unlikely that the Slytherin family was the only Parselmouth family in existence.

Appearances

Wiki
The Harry Potter Wiki has 6 images related to Herpo the Foul.
Herpo The Foul-11-chocFrogCard

Herpo the Foul immortalised on a gold Chocolate Frog Card

Notes and references

Albus Dumbledore-101-chocFrogCard Chocolate Frog Cards Bridget-wenlock-card-lrg
Gold cards

Armando Dippet · Albus Dumbledore · Barberus Bragge · Bertie Bott · Carlotta Pinkstone · Dzou Yen · Godric Gryffindor · Hermione Granger · Herpo the Foul · Helga Hufflepuff · Harry Potter · Montague Knightley · Phillipus von Hohenheim · Roderick Plumpton · Rowena Ravenclaw · Ronald Weasley · Salazar Slytherin

Silver cards

Alberic Grunnion · Alberta Toothill · Andros the Invincible · Artemisia Lufkin · Blenheim Stalk · Bowman Wright · Chauncey Oldridge · Circe · Cliodna · Crispin Cronk · Cyprian Youdle · Daisy Dodderidge · Derwent Shimpling · Donaghan Tremlett · Dunbar Oglethorpe · Dymphna Furmage · Elfrida Clagg · Felix Summerbee · Fulbert the Fearful · Gaspard Shingleton · Gideon Crumb · Glenda Chittock · Gondoline Oliphant · Gregory the Smarmy · Gwenog Jones · Honoria Nutcombe · Ignatia Wildsmith · Joscelind Wadcock · Kirley Duke · Laverne de Montmorency · Leopoldina Smethwyck · Maeve · Mirabella Plunkett · Mopsus · Morgan le Fay · Oswald Beamish · Sacharissa Tugwood · Thaddeus Thurkell · Thurkell brothers · Wendelin the Weird · Xavier Rastrick

Bronze cards

Adalbert Waffling · Almerick Sawbridge · Archibald Alderton · Balfour Blane · Beatrix Bloxam · Beaumont Marjoribanks · Bridget Wenlock · Burdock Muldoon · Cassandra Vablatsky · Celestina Warbeck · Cornelius Agrippa · Devlin Whitehorn · Dorcas Wellbeloved · Edgar Stroulger · Elladora Ketteridge · Ethelred the Ever-Ready · Flavius Belby · Gifford Ollerton · Glanmore Peakes · Glover Hipworth · Greta Catchlove · Grogan Stump · Gulliver Pokeby · Gunhilda de Gorsemoor · Havelock Sweeting · Hengist of Woodcroft · Heathcote Barbary · Herman Wintringham · Hesper Starkey · Jocunda Sykes · Justus Pilliwickle · Merlin · Merton Graves · Merwyn the Malicious · Miranda Goshawk · Mungo Bonham · Musidora Barkwith · Myron Wagtail · Newton Scamander · Norvel Twonk · Orsino Thruston · Perpetua Fancourt · Quong Po · Roland Kegg · Stoddard Withers · Tilly Toke · Uric the Oddball · Yardley Platt

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Babayaga · Malodora Grymm · Old Mother Hubbard · Cordelia Misericordia · Leticia Somnolens

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Alguff the Awful · Eargit the Ugly · Gringott · Ug the Unreliable · Urg the Unclean

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Common Welsh Green · Hebridean Black · Hungarian Horntail · Norwegian Ridgeback · Romanian Longhorn

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