Beast

Sources : Salamander

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 86): The salamander is a shaped like a lizard, but is covered with spots. A salamander is so cold that it puts out fire on contact. It vomits from its mouth a milky liquid; if this liquid touches any part of the human body it causes all the hair to fall off, and the skin to change color and break out in a rash. Salamanders only appear when it rains and disappear in fine weather. (Book 11, 116): It is fatal to drink water or wine when a salamander has died in it, as is drinking from a vessel from which the creature has drunk.

Aelianus [170-230 CE] (On the Characteristics of Animals, Book 2, chapter 31): The Salamander is not indeed one of those fire-born creatures like the so-called 'Fire-flies,' yet it is as bold as they and encounters the flame and is eager to fight it like an enemy. And the proof of this is as follows. Its haunts are among artisans and craftsmen who work at the forge. Now so long as their fire is at full blast and they have it to help their craft and to share their skill, they pay not the smallest attention to this animal. When however the fire goes out or languishes and the bellows blow in vain, then at once they know full well that the aforesaid creature is working against them. Accordingly they track it down and exact vengeance; and then the fire is lit, is easily coaxed up, and does not go out, provided it is kept fed with the usual material. - [Scholfield translation]

Augustine [5th century CE] (City of God, Book 21, chapter 4): If the salamander lives in fire, as naturalists have recorded, this is a sufficiently convincing example that everything which burns is not consumed, as the souls in hell are not.

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 4:36): The salamander (salamandra) is so named because it prevails against fire. Of all the venomous creatures its force is the greatest; the others kill people one at a time, but the salamander can slay many people at once – for if it should creep in among the trees, it injects its venom into all the fruit, and so it kills whoever eats the fruit. Again, if it falls into a well, the force of its venom kills whoever drinks from it. This animal fights back against fire; it alone of all the animals will extinguish fire, for it can live in the midst of flames without feeling pain or being consumed – not only because it is not burned but also because it extinguishes the fire. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]

Letter of Prester John [ca. 1165-1170 CE] (paragraph 42-43): In certain other provinces near the torrid zone there are serpents who in our language are called salamanders. Those serpents are only able to live in fire, and they produce a certain little membrane around them,just as other worms do, which makes silk. This little membrane is carefully fashioned by the ladies of our palace, and from this we have garments and cloths for the full use of our excellency. Those cloths are washed only in a strong fire. - [Michael Uebel, Translation of Original Latin Letter of Prester John]