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Ipopotamos grece equus fluvialis est animal quadrupes maius cocodrillo in nilo degens et in terram exiens quod dicunt presagio nili crementum ostendere, exit enim fluvium plenus aqua quam naribus evomit eo loco usque ad quem fluvii augmentum provenire debet.


Ipopotamos ABCD | Ippopotamos e

quadrupes ABCD | quadruplex e

cocodrillo ACD e | cocodrilo B

in nilo ACD e | in nillo B

nili ACD e | nilli B


Ipopotamos, Greek for stream horse, is a four legged animal larger than a crocodile that lives in the Nile and steps out onto the land and they say it predicts the floods of the Nile, for it leaves the stream full of water which it spits out from its nostrils up to the point to which the higher water line of the stream shall reach.


The ultimate source of this quote and the other hippopotamus entry is probably Herodotus, book II,71:

οἱ δὲ ἵπποι οἱ ποτάμιοι ... τετράπουν ἐστί, δίχηλον, ὁπλαὶ βοός, σιμόν, λοφιὴν ἔχον ἵππου, χαυλιόδοντας φαῖνον, οὐρὴν ἵππου καὶ φωνήν, μέγαθος ὅσον τε βοῦς ὁ μέγιστος· /hoi dè híppoi hoi potámoi … tetránoun estí, díkhēlon, hoplaì boós, simón, lophḕn ékhon híppou, khauliódontas phaînon, ourḕn híppou kaì phōnḗn, mégathos hóson te boûs ho mégistos/.
Here is Aubrey de Sélincourt's translation, Penguin Classics p.157: "The hippopotamus ... has four legs, cloven hoofs like an ox, a snub nose, a horse’s mane and tail, conspicuous tusks, a voice like a horse’s neigh, and is about the size of a very large ox."

Pliny's report, book VIII, chapter xxxix, § 95 is very similar: Maior altitudine in eodem Nilo belua hippopotamius editur, ungulis binis quales bubus, dorso equi et iuba et hinnitu, rostro resimo, cauda et dentibus aprorum aduncis ...

"In this same river Nile there lives a beast even greater in size {sc. than the crocodile} called Hippopotamius, it has cloven hoofs like cattle, with a back like a horse and like it with a mane and his muzzle is turned upwards, and tail and teeth are crooked like those of a wild boar...".

See also: Ippopotamos.