20.9.17

Scientists rediscover ancient Greek 'weapon of war' snake in Sicily

The Javelin Sand Boa was used as a projectile against enemy ships
The rediscovery of an Ancient Greek snake species in Italy was announced on Thursday in the scientific journal Acta Herpetologica.

Scientists in Italy have rediscovered a type of snake which was used by the ancient Greeks as a weapon of war during sea battles.

They used to throw it at their enemies so as to create panic and confusion.

The Javelin Sand Boa, officially known as Eryx jaculus, had not been recorded in Italy for 80 years, as Telegraph reports.
However, snake experts decided to investigate and found the species, as locals claimed that this type of snake appeared in Sicily.

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They believe the snake may have been introduced to Sicily in ancient times, when the island was colonised by the Greeks and it was found close to the sites of two ancient battles.

The rediscovery of the species in Italy was announced in Acta Herpetologica, a scientific journal.

“The Greeks used to use snakes as projectiles, hurling them at enemy ships before attacking in order to create confusion and fear,” Gianni Insacco, one of the researchers, told the news agency Ansa.

“In general they used vipers that had had their venom removed. Alternatively they would use similar species, like the sand boa.”

The species is also found in Greece, the southern Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.

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