A cephalophore (from the Greek for “head-carrier”) is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head; in art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading.
In Dante‘s Divine Comedy (Canto 28) the poet meets the spectre of the troubadour Bertrand de Born in the eighth circle of the Inferno, carrying his severed head in his hand, slung by its hair, like a lantern; upon seeing Dante and Virgil, the head begins to speak.
The Green Knight is a character in the 14th-century Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The knight appears in the court of King Arthur and challenges any man to strike him with his axe, under the condition that he be allowed to return the blow in one year’s time. Sir Gawain takes up the challenge and cuts the Green Knight’s head clean off. Surprisingly, the knight calmly picks up his own head and reasserts his oath to repay Gawain.