The symbolism of the frog and the toad is linked to the water-night-moon Association of ideas. As they are amphibian animals, which are thought to be able to cross the boundary between the world and the land of the dead, in Greco-Roman culture they used to be associated with the funeral area. They were protagonists of one of the seven wounds sent by God to Egypt (Old Testament, Exodus VIII, 2 - 14). In the Middle Ages the toad, which was not distinguished from the frog, acquired a strong negative value. Even though it was rarely poisonous, the toad was considered a dangerous, mischievous animal and symbol of the devil. In France, for example, it was placed at the bottom of the stoups to represent the fact that the devil was exorcised by the holy water, symbol of the Christian faith. Also, it was considered the symbol of lust: in fact, there are some medieval representations in which a woman or her sexual organs are devoured by a toad. In the Middle Ages, together with snakes, frogs and toads are often iconographically linked to the personification of Death, while is present on funerary monuments, along with the corpse of the dead. Even though the representation of the frog cannot always be distinguished from the one of the toad, the negative or positive value of the representation can help, in some cases, to identify it.
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Traduzione di Enrico Caneti, revisione professoressa Annamaria Marconi, Classe IIIQ, Liceo Galvani Bologna, anno scolatico 2017-2018.