I would like to examine The Salamander, past and present, Starting with quotes from great minds of antiquity and what they say and heard passed down from countless generations.
"The legend of the fireproof salamander is almost 2,000 years old, and certainly predates the Mishnah and Talmud." -Talmundology.com
"The salamander is a small creature that emerges from a furnace which has been burning forseven consecutive years.
Fire cannot burn someone who has smeared himself with the blood of the salamander.(Sanhedrin 63, The Talmund)
"There are creatures that thrive in fire and not in air, like the salamander.
How is it created? When glassmakers leave a furnace continuously alight for seven days andseven nights,
out of the fire there emerges a creature that resembles a spider (or a mouse). That creature iscalled the salamander.
If you cover your arm or any limb with its blood, it that place will become impervious to fire.
Why is does the salamander have this ability? Because it was created from fire."
(Sanhedrin 63, The Talmund)
"The fires of hell do not burn Torah scholars, and this is learned a fortiori.
Consider the salamander which is created from fire and its blood protects from fire.
How much more so is a Torah scholar protected, for his entire body is fire,
as it is written "for my words are not as fire, says God"
"It is the salamander that is by far the most dangerous
for while other reptiles attack individuals only,
and never kill many persons at a time,
not to mention the fact that after stinging a human being they are said to die of remorse..
and the earth refuses to harbour them..
The salamander is able to destroy whole nations at once."
– Pliny the Elder, Natural History Book 29 – 77 AD
"The Salamander is so called because it is strong against fire….
It fights against fires and alone among living things, extinguishes them.
For it lives in the midst of flames without pain and without being consumed and not only is notburned,
but it puts the fire out."
Isidore of Seville, 7th century AD
"He Salamander alone of animals puts out fires"
– Isidore of Seville, 7th Century AD
"If, therefore, the salamander lives in fire, as naturalists have recorded,
and if certain famous mountains of Sicily have been continually on fire
from the remotest antiquity until now, and yet remain entire,
these are sufficiently convincing examples that everything which burns is not consumed.
As the soul too, is a proof that not everything which can suffer pain can also die,
why then do they yet demand that we produce real examples to prove that it is not incrediblethat
the bodies of men condemned to everlasting punishment may retain their soul in the fire,
may burn without being consumed, and may suffer without perishing?"
– Saint Augustine, City of God – 426 AD
"Now this, and nought else, is the truth about the Salamander, and the people of the countryall say the same.
Any other account of the matter is fabulous nonsense."
"In Persian the creature is called "Samandar,Samandal" and derive from the word from Sam"Fire" and Andar "Within".
(Marco Polo, 1300 AD)
"These spirits of nature are not they have a reason and language like man; they have minds;but no spiritual soul. This may appear strange and incredible but the possibilities of nature are not limited by man's knowledge of them, and the wisdom ofGod is unfathomable. They have children, and these children are like themselves. Man is made after the image ofGod, and they may be said to be made after the image of man but man is not God, and the elemental spirits of nature are not human beings, although they rresemble man. They are liable to sickness and they die like animals. Their habits resemble those of men; theywork and sleep ; they eat and drink and make their clothing, and as man is nearest to God, so are they nearest to man. They live in the four elements: theNymphse in the element of water, the Sylphes in that of the air, the Pigmies in the earth, and the Salamanders in fire." Paracelsus 1400 AD
"The Egyptians,Chaldeans and PErsians often mistook the salamanders for gods, because ofthier radiant splendor and great power. The Greeks following the example of earlier nations, defied the fire spirits and in their honorkept incense and alter fires burning perpetually" Paracelsus 1400 AD
"This has no digestive organs, and gets no food but from the fire, in which it constantly renewsits scaly skin. The salamander, which renews its scaly skin in the fire,—for virtue." Leonardo Da Vinci, 1500 AD
"“hath been much promoted by stories of incombustible napkins and textures which endurethe fire, whose materials are called by the name of Salamander’s wool, which many, too literallyapprehending, conceive some investing part or integument of the Salamander." Sir Thomas Browne, 1646 AD
"THAT a Salamander is able to live in flames, to endure and put out fire, is an assertion, not only of great antiquity, but confirmed by frequent, and not contemptible testimony. The Egyptians have drawn it into their Hieroglyphicks, Aristotle seemeth to embrace it, more plainly Nicander, Sarenus Sammonicus, Ælian and Pliny, who assigns the cause of thiseffect An Animal (saith he) so cold that it extinguisheth the fire like Ice." Sir Thomas Browne, 1646 AD
With the history out of the way lets take a look at current affairs in regards to our SACRED little friend.
"Rapid spread of disease is a hazard in our interconnected world. The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was identified in amphibian populations about 20 years ago and has caused death and species extinction at a global scale." – https://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6434/1459
"The scientists say globalisation and the wildlife trade are the main causes of this global pandemic and are enabling the spread of the disease." https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47735823
"40%: amphibian species threatened with extinction" https://www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment
"Mosquito repellent kills salamander larvae." https://wildlife.org/mosquito-repellent-kills-salamander-larvae/
"Human use of mosquito repellents can be important to combat mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases such as Zika, chikungnya and West Nile virus. But researchers found one common mosquito repellent can be lethal to salamander larvae when it reaches ponds." – https://wildlife.org/mosquito-repellent-kills-salamander-larvae/
"“We observed heavy salamander mortality with picaridin, but not until after the fourth day of exposure. By the LC50 measure, picaridin would be deemed ‘safe’, but clearly, this is not the case. If a substance doesn’t kill organisms within the first few days of exposure, it can still be toxic and have ecological impacts.” – Alexander Reisinger, an Assistant Professor at University of Florida, Gainesville – https://www.caryinstitute.org/news-insights/press-release/widely-used-mosquito-repellent-proves-lethal-larval-salamanders
Ok lets stop here, sucks for water lizards right? no it sucks for all of us.
This is not the first time the Salamander and smaller cousin the "Newt" have faced their apocalypses before, you see in Ancient times they considered Salamanders to be highly dangerous. "The salamander is able to destroy whole nations at once." – Pliny The Elder 77 AD,
" with a single salamander being regarded as so toxic that by twining around a tree it could poison the fruit and so kill any who ate them and by falling into a well could slay all who drank from it." Pliny The Elder 77 AD.
So needless to say the Greeks would have likely killed on sight and disposed of them in mass, But thats not all they have been through, You see humans have a terrible habit of passing things down accurately via word of mouth in ancients times, Language and Culture to be pretty big hurdles to people who were by in large illiterate for thousands of years and had a nasty habit of demolishing relics.
"The salamander is a small creature that emerges from a furnace which has been burning for seven consecutive years.
Fire cannot burn someone who has smeared himself with the blood of the salamander." (Sanhedrin 63, The Talmund)
For many generations these statements had been taken this literally and Salamander were rounded up and harvested for their blood in order to become fire proof and speculators would also round up Salamanders to toss them into fire and say "Look it is not impervious to fire." This happened so much so that, Saint Augstine himself had this to say.
"If, therefore, the salamander lives in fire, as naturalists have recorded, and if certain famous mountains of Sicily have been continually on fire from the remotest antiquity until now, and yet remain entire, these are sufficiently convincing examples that everything which burns is not consumed. As the soul too, is a proof that not everything which can suffer pain can also die, why then do they yet demand that we produce real examples to prove that it is not incrediblethat the bodies of men condemned to everlasting punishment may retain their soul in the fire, may burn without being consumed, and may suffer without perishing?" – Saint Augustine, City of God – 426 AD
He found it preposterous and for a time the Salamander was off the hook and the fire proof lizard was getting a break from proving its legendary rep at the hands of Human beings.
Meanwhile in other parts of the world the Salamander was still revered for having these qualities, In Marco Polo's travels he writes: "Chingintalas is also a province at the verge of the Desert, and lying between north-west and north. It has an extent of sixteen days' journey, and belongs to the Great Kaan, and contains numerous towns and villages. There are three different races of people in it–Idolaters, Saracens, and some Nestorian Christians. At the northern extremity of this province there is a mountain in which are excellent veins of steel and ondanique. And you must know that in the same mountain there is a vein of the substance from which Salamander is made. For the real truth is that the Salamander is no beast, as they allege in our part of the world, but is a substance found in the earth; and I will tell you about it.
Everybody must be aware that it can be no animal's nature to live in fire, seeing that every animal is composed of all the four elements. Now I, Marco Polo, had a Turkish acquaintance of the name of Zurficar, and he was a very clever fellow. And this Turk related to Messer Marco Polo how he had lived three years in that region on behalf of the Great Kaan, in order to procure those Salamanders for him.< He said that the way they got them was by digging in that mountain till they found a certain vein. The substance of this vein was then taken and crushed, and when so treated it divides as it were into fibres of wool, which they set forth to dry. When dry, these fibres were pounded in a great copper mortar, and then washed, so as to remove all the earth and to leave only the fibres like fibres of wool. These were then spun, and made into napkins. When first made these napkins are not very white, but by putting them into the fire for a while they come out as white as snow. And so again whenever they become dirty they are bleached by being put in the fire.
Now this, and nought else, is the truth about the Salamander, and the people of the country all say the same. Any other account of the matter is fabulous nonsense. And I may add that they have at Rome a napkin of this stuff, which the Grand Kaan sent to the Pope to make a wrapper for the Holy Sudarium of Jesus Christ.
We will now quit this subject, and I will proceed with my account of the countries lying in the direction between north-east and east." Marco Polo, 1300 AD https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_42
As dismissive of the native belief as Marco Polo was I do thank him for adding these details for future generations, you see they used the extract to make napkins and garmets sacred to them for a reason the chemical properties were important in enough for a great leader to travel many miles in order to harvest these Salamanders.
Why? because they still believed it made them fire proof, except the fire isn't literal you see and its in the same of the animal "Salamander" as told to Marco Polo.
"In Persian the creature is called "Samandar,Samandal" and derive from the word from Sam "Fire" and Andar "Within"(Marco Polo, 1300 AD)
My theory is that "Fire" is the Ancients way of saying "Fever", you to them with no medical science or modern chemistry and vocabulary, How would one say they felt like they were on fire in Ancient times with out the presence of physical fire or any knowledge of Viral infection and things such as Malaria and Yellow Fever.
Here's what we know about causes of these wide spread diseases how they are distributed and why its related to our Sacred Animal, The Salamander.
""Rosi’s colleagues also found that salamander larvae are top predators of mosquito larvae, meaning that if mosquito repellent harms more salamander larvae in ponds, they’ll consume less larvae, resulting in more mosquitoes. “There’s a potential negative feedback loop,” Rosi said." – https://wildlife.org/mosquito-repellent-kills-salamander-larvae/
"Timing – of both repellent use and amphibian reproduction – is also key. Many amphibians breed in a single seasonal pulse, putting all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. Mosquitoes have an extended breeding season, and reproduce multiple times." – – Emma Rosi, a freshwater ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
You see from birth Salamander Larvae are born mosquito eradicators they have evolved along side mosquitoes for thousands and thousands of years needless to say mosquitoes will avoid brooding near Salamanders at all costs and it is likely that the ancients privy to information in regards to the legend, In the case of Marco Polo's story a ruler of a nation then had napkins and garmets made with built in Mosquito repellent.
"If you cover your arm or any limb with its blood, it that place will become impervious to fire." Sanhedrin 63, The Talmund
Could be thought of as rubbing modern day Mosquito repellent who knows thats the best I can come with in regards to the translation of the legend over the years and it seems fitting considering the Amphibian has evolved to be experts at eating Mosquito offspring and any chemical receptor a Mosquito would have likely evolved would tell them to stay well away from a Salamander's territory reducing spread of diseases near water ways associated and connected to ancient populous-es.
Back to present day.
“The effects of repellents containing DEET and picaridin need to be studied further to determine the extent to which these chemicals disrupt aquatic ecosystems and potentially increase mosquito-borne disease risk worldwide.” – Rafael Almeida, Postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/cioe-wum102318.php
"Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito, arrived first, having hitched a ride with shipments of lucky bamboo from China in 2001." – https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-aedes-mosquitoes-california-20180901-story.html
"Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, is a mosquito that can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, Mayaro and yellow fever viruses, and other disease agents" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti
"In Brazil, the modified mosquitoes were approved by the National Biosecurity Technical Commission for releases throughout the country. Insects were released into the wild populations of Brazil, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands in 2012.<28><29> In July 2015, the city of Piracicaba, São Paulo, started releasing the OX513A mosquitoes.<30><31> In 2015, the UK House of Lords called on the government to support more work on genetically modified insects in the interest of global health.<32> In 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration granted preliminary approval for the use of modified mosquitoes – https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/94/10/16-173377/en/, https://www.globalresearch.ca/genetically-modified-mosquitoes-released-in-brazil-in-2015-linked-to-the-current-zika-epidemic/5504505 , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxitec
The Africanized honey bee was first introduced to Brazil in 1956 in an effort to increase honey production, but 26 swarms escaped quarantine in 1957. Since then, the hybrid has spread throughout South America and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in south Texas in the United States." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africanized_bee
"The recent invention of CRISPR/Cas9 based genome editing tool have significantly expanded the scope of genome editing research in Aedes aegypti mosquito. Several scientists across the globe have already attempted this technique to engineer the genome of vector mosquitoes." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414166/
"The most widely used herbicide in the United States, atrazine is frequently detected in surface and ground water." https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atrazine-water-tied-hormonal-irregularities/
"Growing scientific evidence linking atrazine to altered hormones." https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atrazine-water-tied-hormonal-irregularities/
"Insects representing 5 different orders contain androgen and estrogen-like substances as determined by radioimmunoassay." https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01946450
"Female mosquitos bite humans to consume blood. In doing so, they cause irritation and swelling but can also transmit some extremely harmful and sometimes fatal diseases." https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311485.php
"The female mosquito is the one that bites (males feed on flower nectar). She requires blood to produce eggs." https://www.loc.gov › scitech › mysteries › mosquitoes
"So what’s the plan to get rid of them? Verily’s male mosquitoes were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, which is harmless to humans, but when they mate with and infect their female counterparts, it makes their eggs unable to produce offspring." https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/14/googles-life-sciences-unit-is-releasing-20-million-bacteria-infected-mosquitoes-in-fresno/
"Verily, the life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has hatched a plan to release about 20 million lab-made, bacteria-infected mosquitoes upon Fresno, California — and that’s a good thing!" https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/14/googles-life-sciences-unit-is-releasing-20-million-bacteria-infected-mosquitoes-in-fresno/
The effects of Salamanders going extinct and the populations of Mosquitoes on the rise, coupled together with rampant epidemics world wide, it leaves one to wonder if someone in history has experienced such series of events that could have been catastrophic, maybe the Nile Delta was once such place where conditions were met for a epidemic, King Tut was found with trace levels of Malaria, the biome of the Nile Delta would be a perfect habitat for Both Mosquito and Salamander, and maybe just maybe the rise in the Salamander's legend was its undoing and maybe all the Salamanders of the Nile were hunted and eradicated due to legends of various generations that mis understood the animal like human being have been known to do through out history.
And maybe Just maybe, That's what happened to the Egyptians, 'Another idea which is found in several Medieval and Renaissance works was that "Egyptian priests" used a hieroglyph which applied the figure of a salamander to represent a man who is burnt, or in other versions a man who has died from cold. This tradition is first found in the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo (Book 2, Ch. LXII), but it is not now considered to be an authentic representation of hieroglyphic usage." -wikipedia
So even the Egyptians described the Legendary Salamander, They even proved another clue. "the figure of a salamander to represent a man who is burnt, or in other versions a man who has died from cold. " People affected by malaria experience this internally. "Malaria feels like the flu with high fever, fatigue, and body aches, with hot and cold stages." https://www.emedicinehealth.com/malaria/article_em.htm#what_are_the_symptoms_and_signs_of_malaria
As compelling as it all it is i've only be researching this a couple days and wanted to share my findings with more people and at least provide some awareness to the situation facing The Salamander.
Thanks for your time.
"A little bit of knowledge
Can be a dangerous thing
Or it can be a vibrant seed
Giving rise to verdant forests
And awakening sleeping giants."
Source: reddit post