Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Bononiensis: Proceedings of the by Richard J. Schoeck (ed.)

By Richard J. Schoeck (ed.)

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The Indian handlers scheduled the emission of venom daily or on alternate days. It was believed and kept as a trade secret that one could prevent the cobra from replenishing its supply of venom by not allowing the snake to feed on fresh grass or any green vegetation. If this precaution was ignored, the snake could replace its venom within a few hours. " It was during the seventeenth century that the first systematic and scientifically acceptable studies of snake venom were undertaken. The Italian Francesco Redi argues that snake venoms had to be injected under the skin in order to create their usual effects and that venoms taken orally were ineffectual.

Some two centuries earlier another European physician, a German in the service of the Dutch East India Company, had also observed the powerful and fascinating performances offered by itinerant snake charmers on the Coromandel Coast. Dr. Engel- Kaempfer reported how in 1689 the snake charmers, positioned within striking-range of the cobra, appeared to so dominate the beast that it was incapable of striking and was compelled to dance to the music of its master. While Kaempfer admired the show, he, like Sir Joseph, utterly rejected the bert claim of the snake charmers that their success was due to magic.

61) Cicero retells the famous tale of the sword of Damocles. The courtier Damocles, with the excessive zeal of a professional flatterer, claimed that no mortal was happier than King Dionysus of Syracuse. The king then allowed Damocles to sample this happiness with a couch of gold and a table lavishly set— except that a sword was suspended by a horse's hair above the head of Damocles, who promply begged to be allowed to remove himself. Cicero concludes the story by asking whether King Dionysus had made his point that nothing gives pleasure to a man threatened by death.

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