A legendary reptile that is supposedly hatched by a serpent or a toad from the egg of a (black) rooster. Its look or breath is fatal and no human or animal can look at it and live. It is described as having legs, wings, serpentine and winding tail, and a crest or comb somewhat like a cock's. The basilisk of ancient times was described as a proper serpent, not above three palms (hand spans) long, with white marks or coronary spots upon the crown.
It is also known as cockatrice.
Via Latin from Greek basiliskos, "minor king, kind of serpent," from basileus, "king".
- Bonnerjea, Biren. (1920). A Dictionary of Superstitions and Mythology. Thomson Gale.
- Browne, Sir Thomas. (1672). Pseudodoxia Epidemica III.vii, pp. 130-134.