Back
Mythological and Mysterious Creatures in the KJV
Cockatrices

Cockatrice

The cockatrice is a mythological creature with the body of a dragon or serpent, and the head and legs of a rooster. According to myth, they are the product of a rooster egg (a rare thing indeed!) hatched by a serpent or toad. A magical creature, it can kill with a glance, and its breath is poisonous. The terms "cockatrice" and "basilisk" are usually used interchangeably.

The cockatrice makes five appearances in the KJV - four in the main text and once in the margin:

VerseKJV1885 RVNIVNASBNKJV RSV
Proverbs 23:32adder (margin: cockatrice) adder (margin: basilisk) viper viper viper adder
Isaiah 11:8 cockatrice (margin: adders) basilisk (margin: adder) viper viper viper adder
Isaiah 14:29 cockatrice (margin: adder) basilisk (margin: adder) viper viper viper adder
Isaiah 59:5 cockatrice (margin: adders) basilisks (margin: adders) vipers adders vipers adders
Jeremiah 8:17 cockatrices basilisks (margin: serpents) vipers adders vipers adders


Image from a 15th century manuscript of a cockatrice being attacked by a weasel,
the only animal believed to be able to kill a cockatrice.


Other Interesting Tidbits

Related Links:

Christian

Non-Christian


Back