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Shortly after the birth of Christ, the Roman author Pliny the Elder described a large polyp with 10-meter long arms in his 30-volume "History of Nature". He asserts that such a creature raided marine fishing grounds in the region that is now Spain. Guards killed the animal, which allegedly weighed 700 pounds and had a foul odor.
Whale hunters kept telling stories of tentacles brought up by harpooned sperm whales as they fought for their lives. They also found traces of suckers on the skin of whales that stemmed from fights between giant squids and whales. These scars are responsible for length estimates of 50 meters for the squids, which were inferred from the spacing of the sucker traces on the whale skin. However, these estimates did not take into account that scars a whale acquired as a young animal would have grown with advancing age.
Norwegian mythology also makes reference to octopuses that attacked ships and pulled them down. They are described as gigantic and there are tales of octopus attacks that pulled individual men out of boats. These narratives describe the octopus as a giant crab or as a squid, as written down by Erik Pontoppidan in his "History of Norway" in 1752.