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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [C6v p44]


Femina improba.

The monstrous female.

Cum ruit in venerem, blanditur Echidna marito,
Mox satura insertum praescidit ore caput.
Improba palpatur, tentigine fervida coniunx;
Continuņ letum poscit anhela viri.

While she’s courting, the Viper entices her mate, As soon as she’s ready to conceive she’s got his head stuck in her mouth and bitten it off. The monstrous female, is caressed and inflamed with lust; Unable to breathe, she immediately demands the death of her mate.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [H8v p128]

Ex Hieroglyphicis notis, quas ignorabiles
Marcellinus nominat, petitum symbolum. Vipe-
rae, inquit Plinius, mas caput inserit in os, quod
illa abrodit voluptatis dulcedine. Confirmat hoc
Orus Apollo, addita symboli explicatione, in haec
verba: Aegyptii mulierem suum maritum exo-
sam, vitaeque illius insidiantem, solumque ob con
cubitum illi assentantem exprimere volentes, vi-
peram pingunt, quae in coļtu caput maris insertum
ore complexa, illud morsu truncat. Picturae ra-
tio per se evidens est.

This symbol is found amongst the famous hieroglyphs, which Ammianus calls undeciphered. The male viper (says Pliny) places his head in the female’s mouth, and she bites it off in the throes of orgasm. Horapollo confirms this, adding an explanation of the emblem, in these words: the Egyptians, wanting to describe a woman that detested her husband and planned to kill him, and assented to him only for the sake of sexual pleasure, drew a picture of a female viper that has during intercourse taken hold of her mate’s head in the grip of her mouth and bitten it off. The way to draw the picture is self-evident.

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