Brill’s New Pauly

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Basilisk
(219 words)

[German version]

(Greek Βασιλίσκος; Basilískos), ‘the king of the snakes’, fabulous snake of the Libyan desert, documented from Hellenistic times; detailed descriptions are given by Pliny (HN 8,78f.) and Isidore (12,4,6f.). Recognizable by a white spot on its head, ‘like a diadem’ (Pliny) and by its unsnakelike form of forward motion, the B. kills by its breath and smell: wherever it passes, it burns bushes and grass and breaks stones (Plin.). It can kill humans also by its mere gaze (Plin. HN 29,66…

Cite this page
Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH), “Basilisk”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 19 August 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e213510>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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