Definitions

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Greek antiquity, a band of parchment used by the Spartans for the transmission of secret despatches.
  • n. [capitalized] The typical genus of Scytalidæ, or of Scytalinæ, colubriform snakes having the anterior teeth short, the rostral plate not protuberant, one row of subcaudal scutes, one preocular plate, and the body cylindrical.
  • n. The technical specific name of a coral-snake, not related to the foregoing. See Tortrix.
  • n. Erroneously, a venomous serpent of the family Crotalidæ.

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • I recalled one message from Kurii or their agents, to Samos of Port Kar, which had been written on a scytale, disguised as a girl's hair ribbon.

    Cinnamon Roll

  • It was natural, therefore, that the ephors should entrust him with the scytale on which the names of the suspects were inscribed; and in answer to his inquiry which of the young men he was to take with him, they said:

    Hellenica

  • Besieged and expelled from Byzantium by the Athenians, he did not return to Sparta; but news came that he had settled at Colonae in the Troad, and was intriguing with the barbarians, and that his stay there was for no good purpose; and the ephors, now no longer hesitating, sent him a herald and a scytale with orders to accompany the herald or be declared a public enemy.

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • The scytale, a Spartan device for coding secret messages, was a staff around which was rolled a strip of leather so that its edges always met.

    THE LANDMARK THUCYDIDES

  • She had been the girl who had brought to the house of Samos the message of the scytale.

    Explorers Of Gor

  • The girl who had served us this night, slender and blond, blue-eyed, of Earth origin, had delivered to us the scytale.

    Explorers Of Gor

  • I looked at it with the awe due to a document making some state announcement, and as I was breaking the wax, I felt a dread greater than ever guilty Spartan felt at sight of the Laconian scytale.

    NPNF2-08. Basil: Letters and Select Works

  • It was natural, therefore, that the ephors should entrust him with the scytale on which the names of the suspects were inscribed; and in answer to his inquiry which of the young men he was to take with him, they said: "Go and order the eldest of the Hippagretae (11) (or commanders of horse) to let you have six or seven who chance to be there."

    Hellenica

  • Mary, came up to Mr. Mordacks with a bit of plaited rushes, the scytale of Nicholas the fish, who was happy enough not to know his alphabet.

    Mary Anerley : a Yorkshire Tale

  • The boa scytale, or spotted boa, is of a greyish colour, marked with round spots, and scarcely inferior in size to the former.

    The Western World Picturesque Sketches of Nature and Natural History in North and South America

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