Near the end of Thomas Nashe's novel The Unfortunate Traveller a compatriot tells the main character that travelling abroad is a bad idea for Englishmen (italics from the original):

Alas, our Englishmen are the plainest dealing soules that ever God put life in: they are greedie of newes, and love to bee fed in their humors, and heare themselves flattred the best that may be. (...) He is not fit to travell, that cannot with the Candians live on serpents, make nourishing food even of poison.

"Candians" sounds a bit like "inhabitants of Candiana", a village (probably not a town) in Northern Italy. (The last part of the novel is set in Italy.) Candiana already existed during Thomas Nashe's lifetime, since the Italian Wikipedia makes mention of a legend mentioning Diana, from whose name the community got its name. However, since I couldn't find anything relevant to snake eating about Candiana, I think "Candians" refers to a different location. Or is the snake-eating business not to be taken literally?


Chandia is a latinisation of Χάνδακας, which used to be the name of present-day Heraklion, Crete.

As for the snake eating, it is hard to say. Although snakes have occasionally been consumed all throughout the Mediterranean region, this, I would assume, would be too rare and/or inconspicuous to merit any serious attention (in England of all places). The association with snakes strikes me as particularly odd, however, since Heraklion, famously, is the location of the Knossos archaeological site, where the notorious ‘Snake Goddess’ figurines were found. While the details are unclear, it is safe to say that snakes had an extremely significant role in the mythology of the Minoan civilization. As for the population of Crete at the time of Nashe’s life — I simply do not know. There is no way that Nashe could have known of the snake goddess, but — and this is just a wild guess — perhaps the people in Crete had retained some of the elements of Minoan mythology, or developed similar symbolism independently, given the conspicuous presence of snakes on the island, especially poisonous ones.

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    More generally, according to Wikipedia's article on the Kingdom of Candia, "The Realm or Kingdom of Candia (Italian: Regno di Candia) or Duchy of Candia (Italian: Ducato di Candia) was the official name of Crete during the island's period as an overseas colony of the Republic of Venice, from the initial Venetian conquest in 1205–1212 to its fall to the Ottoman Empire during the Cretan War (1645–1669). " Jun 30 '19 at 1:14

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