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Henidridis Plinius est serpens masculus albus.


Whole entry missing in f
masculus albus ABC efj | a. m. ms. p


Henidridis according to Pliny is a male and white snake.

Commentary and zoological identification:

Simon is referring to Pliny, 30, 8, 22, ed. W.H.S. Jones (1938-63: VIII.292), where he reports of some cures for tooth-ache, and amongst other things the aching tooth should be scraped round with: draconis os e spina, item enhydridis, est autem serpens masculus et albus – "with a bone from the spine of a draco {'serpent, dragon'}, or of the enhydris, which is a white male serpent". This is obviously the text Simon had in front of him and why he mistook the genitive enhydridis, i.e. "{the bone from the spine} of the enhydris" for the nominative.

Pliny's enhydris is taken from Greek ἐνυδρίς /enhydrís/, itacist /enidrís/; the Greek genitive is ἐνυδρίδος /enhydrídos/, itacist /enidrídos/, a pattern that is echoed in Latin with enhydris, enhydridis. Simon's form is based on the itacist genitive with the Latinised ending: enidrid-is and a hypercorrect initial 'H' added. ἐνυδρίς /enhydrís/ is a compound word consisting of ἐν- /en-/ "in(side)" and a derivative of ὕδωρ /hýdōr/ "water", i.e. "water-living creature". The word occurs in Herodotus and Aristotle with the meaning "otter" but in Pliny it obviously denotes a water snake, whose identity is unclear.

Had Simon read on in Pliny, 32, 36, 82, ed. W.H.S. Jones (1938-63: VIII.512/514) he would have found out the nominative form as well as some more information about the snake: enhydris vocatur a Graecis colubra in aqua vivens – "the snake called enhydris by the Greeks lives in water" and he continues associating the reptile again with oral hygiene because scraping/lancing the upper gum above an upper aching tooth with four of this snake's upper teeth or the lower gum below a lower aching tooth with four of this snake's lower teeth will apparently bring relief.

The word Enhydris has survived - or better: was readopted - into zoological Latin, and it is the name of a genus of slightly venomous snakes from the Indo-Australian region. N.b. Ancient Greek and Latin names of plants and animals serve only as a naming pool for the modern sciences and Pliny's enhydris has nothing to do with the snake species of the tropical genus Enhydris.

WilfGunther (talk) 18:27, 12 August 2015 (BST)

See Vivichidi

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