CommentaryScitalis has a glittering skin. The Anphivena has two heads, one at each end. The Ydrus lives in the Nile.
Three pictures. The scitalis has a dog's head, wings and two feet. The anphivena is shown with two heads, wings and claws. The ydrus is killing a crocodile by crawling into its mouth and tearing it apart.
In the margin, beside the scitalis text is the sketch of a pointed reptile's wing. Anphivena are in fact limbless lizards, wormlike creatures with rounded head and tail and can move in two directions. This animal is pricked for pouncing. No animal attacks the crocodile in the manner described by the ydrus but the large Nile monitor lizard eats crocodile eggs, and the many types of Nilotic worm crawl in and out of the flesh of dead animals. The word 'ictrie' is written on the body of ydrus. This means icturus or jaundice yellow. Red 'S' and 'A' in the left margin are guides for the initial, type 2.
- Transcription and Translation
Transcriptionnon habere videatur. \ De scitali serpente \ Scitalis serpens est\ vocata quod tanta\ prefulget tergi varietate ut no\tarum gratia aspicientes se retar\det. Et quia reptando pigrior est\ quos assequi non valet, mira\culo sui stupentes capit. Tan\ti autem fervoris est ut etiam hyemis tempore exuvias corporis\ ferventes exponat, de quo Lucanus: Et scitalis pressis etiam nunc\ sola pruinis, exuvias positura suas.\ De anphivena \ Anphivena dicta eo\ quod duo capita habeat,\ unum in loco suo alterum\ in cauda, currens ex utroque capite,\ tractu corporis circumlato. Hec\ sola serpentium frigori se com\mittit, prima omnium precedens\ de qua idem Lucanus: Et gravis\ in geminum vergens caput\ anphivena.\ Cuius oculi lucent\ velud lucerne.\ De ydro \ Est ani\mal in\ Nilo flumine\ quod dicitur idrus\ in aqua vivens.\ Greci enim\ idros aquam\
Translationit seems to have no spine. Of the snake called scitalis The snake called scitalis gets its name because it glitters with such a variety of colour on its back that it slows down those who look at it on account of its markings. And because it is not a keen crawler and cannot overtake the prey it pursues, it catches those who are stunned by the marvel of its appearance. It gets so hot that even in winter it casts off its burning skin, something to Lucan refers: The scitalis alone can shed its skin while the rime is still scattered over the ground' (Pharsalia, 9, 717). Of the anphivena The anphivena is so called because it has two heads, one where its head should be, the other on its tail; it moves quickly in the direction of either of its head, with its body forming a circle. Alone among snakes it faces the cold and is the first to come out of hibernation. Lucan, again, says of it: 'The fell amphisbaena, that moves towards each of its two heads' (Pharsalia, 9, 719). Its eyes glow like lamps. Of the ydrus A creature lives in the River Nile which is called idrus, because it lives in water. For the Greek word for water is idros