Solinus on Basilisks
A note to Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Book III, chapter 7

From From The excellent and pleasant worke of Iulius Solinus Polyhistor, Chap. XXXIX, translated by Arthur Golding, Gent. (1587):

On the left hande of Cyrene is *Affrick, on the right side Egypt, on the foreside the rough and harborowlesse sea, on the backpart divers barbarous nations, and a wildernesse not to be come unto, uninhabited and forlorne which breedeth the Cockatrice, such a singuler mischiefe as is not in all the whole worlde beside. It is a serpent almost halfe a foote long, white, wyth, as it were a little myter, proportioned in lynes on his heade. Hee is given to the utter destruction not onely of man and beast, or whatsoever hath life, but also even of the earth it selfe, which he stayneth & burneth uppe, and seareth away, wheresoever he hath his deadlie denne. To be short, he destroyeth hearbs, kylleth Trees, and infecteth the very aire: insomuch that no byrd is able to flye over the place which he hath infected with hys pestilent breath. When hee mooveth himselfe, che creepeth wyth hys one halfe, and wyth the other halfe avaunceth himselfe aloft. All other Serpents are horriblie afraide to heare his hyssing: and as soone as they heare him, they flee everye one wyth as much haste as they can, every one hys way. Whatsoever is kylled of his byting, no wylde beaste will feede of it, no foule will touche it. And yet for all this, he is overcome of Weasels, which menne bring thither, and sende them into the dennes, where he lurketh. Notwithstanding, he wanteth not power even when he is dead. The Cittizens of Pergamus, gave a full *Sestertium for the carkasse of a Cockatrice, and hanged it upp in a nette of gold in the Temple of Apollo, which was notable for the great workmanshypp thereof: to the intent that neyther Spyders woulde spynne there, nor byrds flye in there.


* This is Affrick the lesse, where Carthage stoode.

** Five pounde sterling.