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Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 1:07 am


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A jaculus (or iaculus)(jaculi)(Latin: "thrown") also called the amphiptere, is a small winged serpent of myth. They seem to be smaller cousins of the coatl of Aztec Mythology, dragonelles, and wyverns. Legend says they lived in swarms in the spice trees of Arabia, frankincense trees in particular. When the Arabs came to pick the valuable spices, the jaculi would attack them. The jaculus had a tail that ended in a sharp arrowhead, like some dragons. The jaculi attacked by straightening their bodies and flying or falling backwards down upon the astonished Arab, like a hurled javelin, piercing him, causing injury or death. The jaculi liked the fragrance that the spices gave off.
"The javelin snake hurls itself from the branches of trees." - Pliny
Medieval people thought it could fly. Actually, it was a snake that would leap down on its prey. In Madagascar, the fandrefiala snake falls tail first from a tree like a spear to stab animals, so the locals believe.
The Egyptians believed that the jaculi made a mass migration towards Egypt regularly. A certain species of bird native to Egypt would intercept the jaculi swarm, and do battle with them. This drove off the jaculi and saved Egypt.
The Aztecs believed that the jaculi (coatl) watched over them from the Astral Plane, and were holders of all of knowledge. The jaculus may have been the source of the twin winged serpents entwined on Mercury's caduceus staff. The latin name of a jerboa is Jaculus jaculus. A Jaculus appears as on the shields of the Sfonza and Visconte, and acts as a heraldic device of the French clan Poitier


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