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The image of the tarantula in the language and ideas of prerevolutionary Russia

Journal: Studia Humanitatis (Vol.2022, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 9-9

Keywords : historical lexicology; historical and etymological studies; animal designations; animalistic symbols; the word “tarantula”; Russian language and literature history;

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Spiders have long been part of the circle of creatures that frightened humanity. In Europe and Russia, a tarantula occupied a special place among such phobias. For the first time the word “tarantula” in the spelling “tarant” appeared in the translated Herbalist between the 16th and 17th centuries. Thanks to the “Cosmography” of the 17th century, a Russian bibliophile encountered an Apulian specimen of this spider. The lexeme “tarantula” appeared in the papers of Peter I, in the translation of works by P.S. Pallas we find the word “tarantula”. The bizarre appearance of the creature and the word itself, the vagueness of its meaning gave rise to prejudice and prejudice. In the 18th-19th centuries superstitions about “terrible” and “harmful” creatures were replicated, which were eventually replaced by more balanced assessments. The image of the “terrible” tarantula is now known for the most part only as a means of artistic expression.

Last modified: 2022-10-30 11:06:06