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List of Appearances[edit]

Do were really need to/want to start listing all of the appearances of mythological creatures in modern fantasy novels? Justin Bacon 08:49, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)

probably not -- Tarquin 09:18, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I clumsily re-added the reference to Harry Potter before noticing this discussion. My intention isn't to list that it is in Harry Potter, but instead to cite an example of popular fantasy fiction where a basilisk has been used. --Mrwojo 23:18, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Um, where's the garage band calling themselves "Basilisk?" Isn't there a Pokemon doll called "Basu-likon" or something? Where are the Basilisk Brand Potato Chips? and the "basilisk" collectible trading card with a value of 45 borks? --Wetman 11:44, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs changing, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit any article by simply following the Edit this page link. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to...)
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or try out the sandbox to try out your editing skills.
Oh, and yes, of course I know you're being sarcastic. But sarcasm never works on Wikipedia. Oh, and to answer that last question: that 45-bork card would be this one. 21:25, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
Rhetorical questions will no longer be confused with sarcasm after reading their respective incisive Wikipedia articles. My subtext is simply that "an example of popular fantasy fiction where a basilisk has been used" is all too easily found, where the name, though not the content, of every conceivable mythic figure is being currently employed to give instant depth to commercial productions. But you realized that.... --Wetman 21:37, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
Are you saying a rhetorical question can't be sarcastic? You're working in a needlessly constrained medium, my friend. And your cynicism regarding the healthy promotion of cross-cultural symbolism by the entertainment industries to promote awareness of diversity is simply appalling. 00:49, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
Appalling? You say appalling, but I know what he's talking about. People do take any kind of ancient thing, like a Chinese letter, and instantly seem "deep". Seriously, anytime someone gives something some old ancient-sounding name, it's intelligent and deep, and cool, ad infinitum.

snake or lizard?[edit]

reading harry potter i was shocked. a basilisk is a snake? growing up playing videogames and D&D always showed a lizard with lots of legs. fantasy books i've read previously have described lizards. i've a dictionary that says its a lizard, and D&D books say lizard and show pictures of lizards, so which is it? am i crazy?

The Common Basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus) is indeed a species of lizard. --Wetman 18:55, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Excruicia says

it is true that a basilisk is normally a lizard-like creature, but nowadays a basilisk is a loose term for nay kind of nonster(besides the gorgon and cockatrice) that can turn it's prey to stone with it's gaze!

Wikipedia avoids loose talk: the point is carefully to report on the most thoughtful and accurate historical and contemporary usages, for the sake of the reader. --Wetman 22:01, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Fantasy often reinterprets common ideas about creatures, magic, etc. So it should not be that big of a deal that in Harry Potter, the basilisk is more snake-like. MasterGrazzt 23:05, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

What a basalisk IS in fiction can be anything the writer wants it to be. The scientific usage according to Peter Paterno (Four known species of basilisk exist and are distributed from tropical Mexico down through Central America to northern South America. Basiliscus vittatus, commonly known as the Brown or Striped Basilisk, is found throughout southern Mexico, parts of Central America, and into Colombia. Basiliscus basiliscus, the Common Basilisk, is distributed throughout Central America and Colombia. Basiliscus galeritus, the Western (or Red-headed) Basilisk, inhabits western Colombia and Ecuador up through Central America. Lastly, the Green Basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons, is resident to Central American rain forests in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua." copyright 1995, is a LIZARD and that lizard comes according to Peter is 4. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Henrysteinberger (talkcontribs) 21:02, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

The Most Demented Picture Of Them All![edit]

The picture of the Basilisk here just loks retarded and demented, it doesn't look like a freakish and powerful monster, it looks like some weird character on a children's TV show. The Harry Potter basilisk is a lot scarier and effective at conveying the power, but I agree it's not a true basilisk, it's a fricking snake. Anyway, I'm sure that D&D has a good drawing or someone else, if there's none, describe it to me and I'll draw one myself, scan it in, and there it is. But at least put something better there. Flameviper12 21:27, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Not everything has to look "like them cartunes from Jarpan", you know. MasterGrazzt 12:18, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
The most unnecessary talk section posting of them all. How old is "flameviper"? (talk) 21:04, 12 August 2013 (UTC)


Why is this article listed as contradicting itself? --Eyrian 15:14, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

It mentions the chicken/snake egg story both ways round. -- AnonymousCryptozoologist 2006-30-30 09:52 (BST)
Sure, but it's about mythology. Myths don't have a need to be consistent. I intend to disambiguate the shift in mythology and remove the contradiction tag. --Eyrian 15:10, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I know for a fact that the Cockatrice was born of a rooster's egg, so if one is assuming any difference in the Basilisk (as I usually do) then IT clearly is not. The terms were used interchangeably in the past, but as I recall the Cockatrice was the original (and makes more sense as a name) for that hatched from a cockerel. SotiCoto 21:32, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Source of Myths[edit]

Some of the early claims in the article are well-sourced, but much of the later account is not. Since we are dealing with inherently fragmantary, contradictory, and exaggerated myths, using sourced claims dramatically helps to create a coherent picture. If anyone knows where any of these other claims come from, a source would be greatly appreciated. --Eyrian 15:30, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

  • The heading of the article says "see "Rationalized accounts" below", but this section is missing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobbozzo (talkcontribs) 22:39, 14 September 2012 (UTC)


How common is the use of the slang term "bask" in references to basilisks--or is it not used at all, outside Xanth? --Ihope127 18:42, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

WHAT THE?[edit]

How exactly would a king cobra be defeated by a mongoose? Isn't a mongoose a little speedy mouse thing? HOW IN THE- Oh, wait, maybe the mongoose eats the cobra eggs. Whatev. --HomfrogHomfrogTell me a story!ContribulationsHomfrog 00:06, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure why this is here (It should be on the Cobra talk page) but yes, mongooses do kill Cobras (although they are more like stoats or weasels)-GeorgeFormby1


What does "Euhemeristic" mean? Middenface 19:30, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

It's when you attribute the creation of the gods to the ascension of mortal heroes. In a wider, more metaphorical sense, it refers to the explanation of supernatural phenomena by similar natural ones. --Eyrian 20:42, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks (hmm, how am I going to work that word into everyday conversation). It's a pretty obscure word (it's not in Chambers 21st Century Dictionary or the Cambridge Dictionary of American English, although it is in the Houghton-Mifflin American Heritage Dictionary and Merriam-Webster online dictionary), so I think we'd do our readers a service if we linked or contextualised it somehow (note that I'm not at all suggesting we remove it or dumb it down). Maybe changing the first sentence of this section to read:
Some have speculated a euhemeristic explanation for the myth of the basilisk, in particular that reports of cobras may have given birth to the stories of the monster.
or something like that? Middenface 21:03, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Go for it. --Eyrian 22:22, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Killing, or petrification?[edit]

All legends and fables I have heard about besilisks / cockatrices have described them as having the power to kill with a look. Most modern fantasy versions of the creature instead petrify their victim. Does anyone know when/why this change in the nature of the basilisk occured?

To differentiate between it and the Cockatrice... which most definitely has a deathly gaze. As far as I'm aware, Basilisks as I've known them in modern use have always petrified with their gaze and have nothing to do with poultry whatsoever (rather being large lizards of some sort). The words aren't even similar, so it is only natural to differentiate... but then you know what D&D did with the term "gorgon"... SotiCoto 21:23, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I would probably say that the gorgon (particularly Medusa) was responsible for the mix up. Medusa has snakes for hair and turns men to stone with her gaze, so it's only logical to attribute that ability to the King of Serpents (which can kill with its gaze). Both myths probably derive from the evil intense stare of snakes, so they got blurred. Serendipodous 17:26, 12 November 2007 (UTC)


The basilisk has been a symbol of the city of Basel for the last 600 years or so - German version of article has small paragraph about with nice photos: Worth mentioning?


is, as well, a Science Fiction Channel movie. It does refer to Pliny_the_Elder, Etruscan_civilization, wyvern, Lybia, ancient Egypt, & some place called "Pueblo Springs, Colorado".

Thank You.


I took out the mention of the Warhammer 40k tanks, since it seemed completely irrelevant, the only connection being the name. (talk) 05:49, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


Removed sentence related to Harry Potter being healed as is it not in any way, shape, or form related to the mythological creature. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Buggytoast (talkcontribs) 14:32, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Origin of the petrifaction idea?[edit]

Further to above question, does anyone know where the idea that the basilisk turns living creatures into stone actually comes from? It appears in all the fictional depictions of basilisks I've ever seen, and if it's a modern addition then who came up with it? Worth adding to the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Not modern, it is part of the basilisk's dangerous nature from its first mention. Compare Medusa. The Greek theory of seeing involved eye-beams, "darting glances" emanating from the eye and returning with an image.--Wetman (talk) 20:56, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Harry Potter?[edit]

Shouldn't the part about the Basilisk in Harry Potter just be in the "Reuse in science fiction and popular culture" section? Why does Harry Potter get its own section here? --Merthsoft (talk) 20:18, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Biblical references due to mistranslation[edit]

The word translated either "basilisk" (Douay-Rheims, English Revised, Webster) or "cockatrice" (King James) in Isaiah 14:29 is the Hebrew word tsephah, which refers to a species of viper. The "dragon/flying serpent" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew saraph.

Psalm 91:13 mistranslates Hebrew tannin, an unidentified sea-dwelling giant creature sometimes identified with whales (as the same word is translated "whale" in the King James version of Genesis 1:21). (talk) 21:17, 12 August 2013 (UTC)