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Facts on File Dictionary of Classical and Biblical Allusions by Martin H. Manser

By Martin H. Manser

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Extra resources for Facts on File Dictionary of Classical and Biblical Allusions (Writers Reference)

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Bashan, bull of See BULL OF BASHAN. (basa˘lisk; baza˘lisk) A cold stare; a glance that exerts a profound, even deadly influence over the person at whom it is directed. The basilisk (virtually synonymous with the COCKATRICE) was a serpent of mythological origin, hatched by a reptile from the egg of a cock and reputed to be able to kill its victim with a mere glance or with the exhalation of its breath. In modern usage, the word basilisk may refer to any example of the genus Basiliscus of tropical America, which includes a variety of small arboreal semiaquatic lizards (the males of which often have an inflatable head crest used in display).

See also BALTHAZAR; BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST; BELSHAZZAR’S PALSY; WRITING ON THE WALL. (belshaza˘rz) An example of decadent indulgence. The allusion is to the banquet hosted by Belshazzar, who was the last Chaldean king of Babylon, as described in Daniel 5. The feast, attended by a thousand nobles, was remarkable for the magnificence of the gold and silver utensils, which had been seized from the Temple in Jerusalem. “‘I always like this room,’ said Spandrell as they entered. ‘It’s like a scene for Belshazzar’s feast’” (Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point, 1928).

Bashan, bull of See BULL OF BASHAN. (basa˘lisk; baza˘lisk) A cold stare; a glance that exerts a profound, even deadly influence over the person at whom it is directed. The basilisk (virtually synonymous with the COCKATRICE) was a serpent of mythological origin, hatched by a reptile from the egg of a cock and reputed to be able to kill its victim with a mere glance or with the exhalation of its breath. In modern usage, the word basilisk may refer to any example of the genus Basiliscus of tropical America, which includes a variety of small arboreal semiaquatic lizards (the males of which often have an inflatable head crest used in display).

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