Worm
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Source: Koninklijke Bibliotheek - Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts Copyright 2002 Koninklijke Bibliotheek / Used by permission Manuscript description Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, KA 16, Folio 136r


 

Worm

Latin name: Vermis

Other names:

Worms are born from flesh without intercourse

 

 
General Attributes

The worm is born without intercourse from flesh, wood or earth, though it is sometimes born from a egg. Worms inhabit the earth, water, air, flesh, wood, leaves, or clothing.


Sources (chronological order)

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 5:1-18): The worm is born from flesh or wood or any earthly thing, but without intercourse. It is sometimes born from an egg, like a scorpion. There are worms of the earth (scorpion, beetle, multipede, snail), air (spider), water (leech), clothing (moth), flesh (many kinds), wood (termite), and leaves (silkworm, caterpillar). The leech (sanguisaga) is a water worm that drinks blood; when it is full of blood it vomits it up so that it can drink more. The beetle (cantharis) is an earth worm that fills bladders and causes inflamation when applied to the human body. The multipede (multipes) has its name from its many feet; it is born under a rock from liquid and earth. The snail (limax) is considered unclean because it lives in mud. The silkworm (bombyx) is a leaf worm from whose thread silk is made. The caterpillar (eruca) is a leaf worm that is named from its gnawing (erondendo) on plants. Termites (teredones) are wood worms, called from the Greek word for "gnawing" (terendo). The moth (tinea) is a clothing worm that has name from holding (teneat) onto what it eats. There are many flesh worms (vermes carnium) that infect the intestines, head and skin. Like snakes the worm does not move with distinct steps, but by stretching and contracting its body.


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