Normans vs spiders - who would win?

Mar 2018
667
UK
#21
Perhaps you're right, but stings and bites have different effects on different animals, and humans would not be the intended prey of these particular bugs. So if the sting/bite happened to provoke flatulence in a human victim it would not be an evolutionary disadvantage and would perhaps be an advantage in deterring potential predators. But admittedly I haven't heard of flatulence being a side-effect of scorpion or spider bites, and it is possible that these Normans did just have food poisoning.
I find it easy to imagine that a hill populated by hordes of scorpions (or similar) might not have the healthiest drinking water too
 
Nov 2013
1,462
Serbia
#24
As far as I know, no European spider or scorpion bite (sting) can cause death of a grown healthy man. The most dangerous kind found in Europe is the yellow scorpion but I don't think it was ever found in Italy. The ones most commonly found in Italy are the Euscorpius and being stung by them almost never causes a medical emergency. Same goes for tarantulas found in Southern Italy - their bite is no more dangerous than a bee sting.
 
Jul 2009
9,615
#25
It definitely looks like a scorpion, some small varieties are quite common in the south of Italy and when you walk on rocks it is better to have your feet protected.
However, I didn't know they gave flatulence...
That does seem to be the case, I think. Not really sure of what the medieval term for tarantula all encompasses, and my Lewis and Short is at home.
Tarantulas do not seem to be encountered in northern Europe. Normans coming to Sicily in the 11th century might not have been familiar with them, and perhaps they used a local (Latinized) term they heard from inhabitants of the island. As mentioned above tarantulas are common in southern Italy (Taranto). Not sure about that flatulence thing however. I do hope their bite doesn't cause as much CO2 as cattle.

I don't have Lewis and Short, but my Latin dictionary only lists various versions of aranea, and nothing for tarantula. Someone from Normandy who had been exposed to Latin (clergy) would have been familiar with scorpio. Scorpions are common in hot, dry climates around the Mediterranean - like Sicily and southern Greece.
 
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Oct 2013
13,855
Europix
#27
Ofcourse, I didn't opened the thread to read it, seeing the title.

Then I saw the avatar .... heck .... "et tu, Kirialaxe ?!?"

Darn, You really have had as all!
 
Nov 2010
7,515
Cornwall
#28
As far as I know, no European spider or scorpion bite (sting) can cause death of a grown healthy man. The most dangerous kind found in Europe is the yellow scorpion but I don't think it was ever found in Italy. The ones most commonly found in Italy are the Euscorpius and being stung by them almost never causes a medical emergency. Same goes for tarantulas found in Southern Italy - their bite is no more dangerous than a bee sting.
The tarantulas that frequented the garden (and inside) of a villa we stayed in once in the wild country of Cyprus were apparently harmless. But absolutely terrifying and I wouldn't have been about to share a hillside with a load of them, soldiers or not!! You can imagine how stories might grow
 
Dec 2009
4,673
Blachernai
#29
Tarantulas do not seem to be encountered in northern Europe. Normans coming to Sicily in the 11th century might not have been familiar with them, and perhaps they used a local (Latinized) term they heard from inhabitants of the island. As mentioned above tarantulas are common in southern Italy (Taranto). Not sure about that flatulence thing however. I do hope their bite doesn't cause as much CO2 as cattle.

I don't have Lewis and Short, but my Latin dictionary only lists various versions of aranea, and nothing for tarantula. Someone from Normandy who had been exposed to Latin (clergy) would have been familiar with scorpio. Scorpions are common in hot, dry climates around the Mediterranean - like Sicily and southern Greece.
No tarantula in the Lewis and Short, it seems.
 

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