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Bible Dictionaries

Smith's Bible Dictionary


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Ossifrage. (the bone-breaker). The Hebrew word occurs, as the name of an unclean bird, in Leviticus 11:13 and Deuteronomy 14:12. It is probably the lammergeyer (Gypaetus barbatus), or bearded vulture, as it is sometimes called, one of the largest of the birds of prey.

It well deserves its name ossifrage, bone breaker, for, "not only does he push kids and lambs, and even men off the rocks, but he takes the bones of animals, that other birds of prey have denuded of the flesh, high up into the air, and lets them fall upon a stone in order to crack them, and render them more digestible, even for his enormous powers of deglutition. Marrow-bones are the dainties he loves. This is probably the bird that dropped a tortoise on the bald head of poor old Aeschylus." - N. H. Simpson.

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Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. Entry for 'Ossifrage'. Smith's Bible Dictionary. 1901.

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