Basilisks

Medieval Basilisk

Basilisks are truly frightening creatures. They were described by the ancients as being large snakes with stingers on the end of their tails, crests on their heads, and the ability to keep their torsos off of the ground. Later stories says that they have the head of a chicken, the body of a large reptile, and a stinger on the end of their tail. Some are said to have spots or stripes.

Every part of the Basilisk is deadly, especially the breath, smell, and gaze, with the power to not only kill all animals and plants that come in contact with them, but to split rocks as well. It can spit at birds in the sky, causing them to fall, dead, down to earth. The only creature immune to the gaze of a Basilisk is the weasel, which is also the animal that is able to harm a Basilisk. The crowing of a rooster is also said to be annoying enough to cause a basilisk to go crazy and kill itself. Even the cry of the basilisk is dangerous; it drives anyone who hears is mad. The only known way to slay a Basilisk safely is to get it to look at its own reflection. Everywhere the hissing Basilisk goes turns into a desert wasteland incapable of supporting life of any sort. They live in the deserts of Libya and the Middle East.

The Basilisk is born from an egg laid by a chicken and incubated by a frog.

The name Basilisk comes from the Greek word basiliskos, meaning "Little King". Egyptians called Basilisks Ouraions. Basilisk is also known as Basilicok, and may be the same as a Cockatrice.

Pantheon: Ancient Mediterranean (Greece, Judea, Rome), Medieval European

Sources:

  • Matthews, John & Caitlin. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc.: New York, 2005.
  • Rose, Carol. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth. W. W. Norton & Company: New York, 2000.
  • Sedgwick, Paulita. Mythological Creatures: A Pictoral Dictionary. Holt, Rinehart and Winston: New York, 1974.

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