Ἡ ἔκφραση ᾠὸν οὔριον ὄφεως στὰ Θαύματα τῶν ἁγίων Κύρου καὶ Ἰωάννου, ἡ προφητεία τοῦ Ἠσαΐα καὶ ὁ θρύλος τοῦ βασιλίσκου στὴν ὕστερη ἀρχαιότητα

Νικόλαος Καλβιάινεν

Abstract


The purpose of the present note is to solve a small editorial problem in the Miracles of ss. Cyrus and John 34 (BHG 477-479), by Sophronius. The word οὔριον in the phrase ᾠὸν οὔριον ὄφεως (used of a snake’s egg from which a live hatchling emerges), which has puzzled translators and for which a correction to ὥριον has been proposed, is explained as a somewhat playful reference to Isaiah 59, 5 ᾠὰ ἀσπίδων ... οὔριον εὗρεν, καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ βασιλίσκος. In order to elucidate the background of Sophronius’ use of the phrase, the article briefly examines the concept of the infertile “wind eggs” and the genesis and development of the basilisk legend in ancient medical, paradoxographical and Christian theological literature. Finally, an attempt is made to establish a connection between the word οὔριον and its early Medieval rendering as concalefactum et virulentum in Anastasius the Librarian’s Latin translation of the Miracles.

 

Keywords


Miracles of ss. Cyrus and John, snake',s egg, wind eggs

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