Sunday, June 28, 2009
Draco Volans Arabicus
"I went once to a certain place in Arabia, almost exactly opposite the city of Buto, to make inquiries concerning the winged serpents. On my arrival I saw the back-bones and ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is impossible to describe: of the ribs there were a multitude of heaps, some great, some small, some middle-sized. The place where the bones lie is at the entrance of a narrow gorge between steep mountains, which there open upon a spacious plain communicating with the great plain of Egypt." -- Herodotos, historian, Book II, 440 B.C.
"... the spice-bearing trees are guarded by small Winged Snakes of varied color, many around each tree; these are the snakes that attack Egypt. Nothing except the smoke of storax will drive them away from the trees ... So too if the vipers and the Winged Serpents of Arabia were born in the natural manner of serpents life would be impossible for men; but as it is, when they copulate, while the male is in the act of procreation and as soon as he has ejaculated his seed, the female seizes him by the neck, and does not let go until she has bitten through. The male dies in the way described, but the female suffers in return for the male the following punishment: avenging their father, the young while they are still within the womb gnaw at their mother and eating through her bowels thus make their way out. Other snakes, that do no harm to men, lay eggs and hatch out a vast number of young. The Arabian Winged Serpents do indeed seem to be numerous; but that is because (although there are vipers in every land) these are all in Arabia and are found nowhere else." -- Herodotos, historian, Book III, 440 B.C.
"...there are said to be certain flying serpents in Ethiopia...." -- Aristotle, philosopher, 350 B.C.
"The ibis, a very large bird, with strong legs and a horny long beak, destroys a great number of serpents. These birds keep Egypt from pestilential diseases by killing and devouring the flying serpents brought from the deserts of Lybia by the south-west wind, which prevents the mischief that may attend their biting while alive, or any infection when dead." -- Marcus T. Cicero, philosopher, 1st century B.C.
"They [winged serpents] are now found (only) in the islands of the Malay Archipelago, but when the land to the west was covered with trees and the climate was not so dry, they migrated in immense swarms as far as Egypt and the Caucasus. They never got actually into Egypt, but died in the ravines leading to the Egyptian plane." -- Reginald A. Fessenden, inventor, 1923
"... the Egyptians thought that they [winged serpents] were killed by the ibis, but it was really due to the changes in the temperature and humidity, though the ibis may have been contributary by halting the migration." -- Reginald A. Fessenden, inventor, 1923
"Herodotus describes them [winged serpents] correctly as having membranous and not feathered wings and of different colors. The authorities say that the colors are very vivid, blue, red, and yellow, and one naturalist says they look like immense butterflies, soaring through the air." -- Reginald A. Fessenden, inventor, 1923
"... the ancients were extremely afraid of them [winged serpents]." -- Reginald A. Fessenden, inventor, 1923
"No skeletal remains [of Draco Volans arabicus] have been discovered for the simple reason no one has taken the story seriously." -- John Sweat, historian, December 2004