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Amphibians in culture

Amphibians have for centuries appeared in culture. From the fire-dwelling salamander to the frogs (and occasionally toads) of myth and fairytale and the rare use of a newt in literature, amphibians play the role of strange and sometimes repulsive creatures. Frogs however have symbolised fertility, as in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, while in Ancient China they were associated with healing and good fortune in business.

The salamander has been ascribed fantastic and sometimes occult qualities by pre-modern authors (as in the allegorical descriptions of animals in medieval bestiaries) not possessed by the real animal. The legendary salamander is often depicted as a typical salamander in shape, with a lizard-like form, but is usually ascribed an affinity with fire, sometimes specifically elemental fire. In the Renaissance, the salamander was supposed to be able to withstand any heat and even to put out fire.

To the ancients in Egypt, Greece and Rome, the frog was a symbol of fertility, and in Egypt actually the object of worship.

A plague of frogs is seen as a punishment in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Two fables attributed to Aesop, The Frogs Who Desired a King and The Frog and the Ox feature frog characters.



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