Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998
From: Anna Oxclove [oxclove@ulster.net]
Subject: Air and lizards

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Air and Lizards

On many maps from the early 1600's thru the 1700's, it is common to see a small lizard featured. I especially noted this in different versions of the world map with figures of Blaeu and Van den Keere. What is the symbology associated with the lizard, (or perhaps it is a basilisk?), of that time and why is it invariably shown in association with "Aer"?

Yours Truly- Anna Oxclove

Hondius' Aer

Addition 26 February

Here is another example of the lizard/air connection- this time from Henry Hondius (1630). This is the only example I have found of "Aer" being a female. Although lizards/aer is found in John Speed (a copyist of Blaeu) and in an unnamed Italian map of 1669 (Shirley 333), could the origin of this iconography be dutch or are there other, earlier examples to be found?


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