amphisbaena, amphivena

Amphisbaena /amphisbaena, amphivena/ medallion 5.7 cm in diameter
The text is taken from Isidor /XII.IV.20/ who quoted Lucan /Pharsalia, IX.719/ and used the description by Pliny /VIII.23.35/. The amphisbaena has two heads: one where it belongs and the other in the tail-end. This enbles it to move in any direction without turning back. Its eyes shine like lamps. This is the only snake to endure cold easily. Pseudo-Hugh /111.44/ and Brunetto Latini /I.V. 140/ confine themselves to this information. Albert the Great, referring to Solinus and Avicenna, does not believe in the existence of a two-headed snake /XXV.II.2/. The medieval art with its passion for intwined ornamental forms made a wide use of the ambisphaena motif.