The Medieval Bestiary

Scitalis /scitalis/ 10.1 X5.2 cm
The text of the bestiary and that of Pseudo-Hugh /11.43/ is a borrowing from Isidor /XII.IV.19/ who qouted Lukan /Pharsalia, IX, 717/ and repeated Solinus /27.29/. The scitalis is distinguished for the beauty of its spotty skin. It never follows its prey but waits until the prey, charmed by its beauty, would approach it. Brunetto Latini /I.V. 143/ adds to the story by Isidor that the snake’s body is hot enough to melt snow.
The image of the horned dragon pictured on the miniature is more in accord with the description of a “cerastes” /horned snake/.





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