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AELIAN: ON THE NATURE OF ANIMALS

-   BOOK 8

Translated by A.F.Scholfield (1958), with some minor alterations. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes. There is a list of contents beneath the translation.


Book 7

[1] G   Indian histories teach us the following facts also. Huntsmen take thoroughbred bitches which are good at tracking wild animals and are very swift of foot to places infested by these animals; they tie them to trees and then go away, simply, as the saying is, trying a throw of the dice. And if tigers find them when they have caught nothing and are famished, they tear them to pieces. If however they arrive on heat and full-fed they couple with the bitches, for tigers too when gorged turn their thoughts to sexual intercourse. From this union, so it is said, a tiger is born, not a hound. And from this tiger and a bitch again a tiger would be born, although the offspring of this last and of a bitch takes after its mother, and the seed degenerates and a hound is born. Nor will Aristotle contradict this [HA 607 a 4 ( 8.28 ) ; GA 746 a 34 ( 2.7 )] . Now these hounds which can boast a tiger for father scorn to pursue a stag or to face a boar, but are glad to rush at lions and thereby to give proof of their pedigree. At any rate the Indians gave Alexander the son of Philip a test of the strength of these hounds in the following manner. They let loose a stag, and the hound stayed quiet; then a boar, and it never moved; after that a bear, but the bear caused it no excitement whatever. But when a lion was let loose, and

' when ' the hound ' beheld it, then came wrath upon him the fiercer ' [Hom. Il. 19. 16] ,

and as though it had seen its real adversary, it neither hesitated nor remained still but leapt upon the lion and clung to it with a vigorous grip, pressing and throttling it. So then the Indian who was giving the King this exhibition, knowing full well the hound's power of endurance, ordered the men to cut off its tail. The tail was cut off, but the hound paid no heed. So the Indian ordered one of its legs to be cut off, and cut off it was. But the hound clung as fast as ever, and would not let go, as though the leg of some other creature unconnected with it were being cut off. Then another leg was cut off and still the hound would not relax its bite; then a third, and it continued to cling; and after these the fourth, and still it was capable of biting. And finally they severed the rest of its body from its head. But the hound's fangs maintained their original grip, while the head hung aloft on the lion, although the biter himself was no more. At this Alexander was grieved and amazed that the hound in giving proof of its mettle had perished, a fate the reverse of a coward's, and had met its death by reason of its courage. Accordingly the Indian seeing Alexander's grief, presented him with four hounds of the same breed. And he was delighted to receive them and gave the Indian a suitable gift in return. And when the son of Philip received the four he forgot his grief over the first.

[2] G   Every hound that is good at hunting delights to catch unaided a wild animal and regards the catch as its prize, provided its master consents to this. Otherwise it preserves the animal alive until the huntsman comes up and decides what he wants to do with the capture. But if it comes upon a dead hare or boar it will not touch it, refusing to claim credit for another's labours and declining to appropriate what does not belong to it. From these facts it appears to have a certain natural love of distinction: it is not meat that it wants ; it is victory that it loves. And it is worth hearing how the hound behaves when it is hunting. It goes ahead of the huntsman, to whom it is attached by a long leash, and controlling its bark, tracks the game by scent. And so long as no game comes its way and it finds nothing, it goes forward rather despondently to judge from its looks; for all that, it goes ahead and leads the huntsman on with the utmost keenness and pertinacity. But if it tracks out some beast and comes upon some scent, then it halts. And the huntsman approaches while the hound overjoyed at its good luck fawns upon its master, licks his feet, and resumes its original quest, advancing step by step until it comes upon the lair; further it does not go. So then the huntsman understands and with a low call gives the signal to the men with the nets. And they set the nets in a ring. Thereupon the hound barks. The intention of its baying just then is to provoke the boar to rise in order that he may emerge and as he flees may be caught in the nets. And when the beast is captured, the hound raises a loud cry of victory, as it were a hymn of praise, and is delighted and leaps about, like soldiers who have overcome their enemies. This is what hounds do in dealing with boars and stags.

[3] G   It seems that even dolphins are more scrupulous than men in showing their gratitude and are not controlled by the Persian custom applauded by Xenophon [Cyr. 1. 2. 7 ] . ** And what I have to tell is as follows. One Coeranus by name, a native of Paros, when some dolphins fell into the net and were captured at Byzantium, gave their captors money, as it were a ransom, and set them at liberty; and for this he earned their gratitude. At any rate he was sailing once (so the story goes) in a fifty-oar ship with a crew of Milesians, when the ship capsized in the strait between Naxos and Paros, and though all the rest were drowned, Coeranus was rescued by dolphins which repaid the good deed that he had first done them by a similar deed. And the headland and caverned rock to which they swam with him on their backs are pointed out, and the spot is called Coeraneus. Later when this same Coeranus died they burnt his body by the sea-shore. Whereupon the dolphins, observing this from some point, assembled as though they were attending his funeral, and all the while that the pyre was ablaze they remained at hand, as one trusty friend might remain by another. When at length the fire was quenched they swam away.

Men however are subservient to the wealthy and the seemingly prosperous while they are alive, but when dead or in misfortune they turn their backs upon them so as to avoid repaying them for past favours.

[4] G   (i). It seems that even fishes are both tame and tractable, and when summoned can hear and are ready to accept food that is given them, like the sacred eel in the Fountain of Arethusa. ** And men tell of the moray belonging to Crassus ** the Roman, which had been adorned with earrings and small necklaces set with jewels, just like some lovely maiden; and when Crassus called it, it would recognise his voice and come swimming up, and whatever he offered it, it would eagerly and promptly take and eat. Now when this fish died Crassus, so I am told, actually mourned for it and buried it. And on one occasion when Domitius ** said to him ' You fool, mourning for a dead moray! ' Crassus took him up with these words: ' I mourned for a moray, but you never mourned for the three wives you buried.'

(ii). I have heard that the Egyptians assert that the sacred crocodiles are tame, and if their keepers at any rate touch and handle them they submit and do not object; and they keep their jaws open when the keepers insert their hands and cleanse their teeth and pick out bits of flesh that have got between them. Further, the Egyptians assert that the aforesaid crocodiles are endowed with prophecy, and adduce the following evidence. Ptolemy (which of the line it was, you must ask them) was calling to the tamest of the crocodiles, but it paid no attention and would not accept the food he offered. And the priests realised that the crocodile knew that Ptolemy's end was approaching and consequently declined to take food from him.

[5] G   I have heard that some people practise divination by birds and devote themselves to their study and scrutinise their flight and the quarters of the sky where they appear. And seers like Teiresias, Polydamas, ** Polyeidus, Theoclymenus and many another are celebrated for their knowledge of this art, while men such as Silanus, ** Megistias, Euclides and the long line of their successors were skilled in deciding upon the dispositions of entrails. Again, I have heard people assert that some men practise divination by means of barley-corns, of sieves, and of small cheeses. And I have ascertained that there is a village in Lycia between Myra and Phellus called Sura ** where there are those who devote themselves to divination by means of fish, and they understand what it purports if the fish come at their call or withdraw, and what it signifies if they pay no attention, and what it portends if they come in numbers. And you shall hear these prophetic utterances of the sages when a fish leaps out of the water or comes floating up from the depths, and when it accepts the food or on the other hand rejects it.

[6] G   It seems that donkeys are easily overcome and seized by wolves, and bees by bee-eaters, cicadas by swallows, and snakes by deer. And the leopard captures most animals, especially the monkey, by its odour.

[7] G   From Megasthenes I learn that a small fish occurs in the Indian Ocean, and that when alive it is invisible, since presumably it swims down in the depths, but that when dead it floats to the surface. Anyone who touches it faints to begin with and later on dies. And if one treads upon the chelydrus even without being bitten, as Apollodorus says in his work 'Of Poisonous Animals', death is inevitable. For he says that mere contact with the creature produces sepsis. And what is more, if anyone tries to administer medical treatment or help of any kind to the dying man he gets blisters on his hands, simply from having touched the man who trod on the snake. And Aristoxenus says somewhere that a man killed a snake with his hands and, though unbitten died notwithstanding. And his very clothes which he happened to be wearing at the time when he slew the snake, turned in a short while to putrefaction.

[8] G   Nicander asserts that the slough of the Amphisbaena if wrapped round a walking-stick drives away all snakes and other creatures which kill not by biting but by striking. **

[9] G   A dog burdened with a full stomach knows of a herb that grows on dry stone walls, and if he eats it he vomits all that is paining him, mixed with phlegm and bile, and a great deal of excrement also passes off; so he restores his health without any need of medical assistance. Further, he excretes a quantity of black bile which if retained causes madness, a troublesome disease in dogs. And when infected by worms dogs eat the awns of corn, according to Aristotle [HA 612 a 31 (9.6)] . When wounded they have their tongue as a medicine, and with their tongue they lick the wounded place and restore it to a healthy condition ; bandages, compresses, and the compounding of medicines they scorn. And another thing which dogs have not failed to observe is that the fruit of the . . . fattens swine indeed but causes dogs a pain in their haunches. And though a dog may see a sow gorging itself with the aforesaid fruit, with great self-control it leaves it to the sow for all its seeming sweetness. Men however yield to those who prevail upon them to eat against their will, often to an altogether immoderate degree.

[10] G   Elephants would not easily fail to notice an ambush. For instance, when they come near to the pit which elephant-hunters are in the habit of secretly digging, whether by some natural instinct or by some altogether mysterious faculty of divination they restrain themselves from going any further, and turn back and put up a most strenuous resistance as in war and try to overthrow their hunters and, thrusting their way through them, to seek safety in flight after overcoming their adversaries. So then there ensues a fierce battle and there is a slaughter of hunters and hunted. And this is how the battle is fought. The men take aim and hurl stout spears at them, while the elephants seize upon any man that has fallen in their way, dash him to earth, trample upon him, and wounding him with their tusks inflict upon him a most pitiful and agonising death. And the animals attack, their ears in passion spread wide like sails, after the manner of ostriches which open their wings to flee or to attack. And the elephants bending their trunk inwards and folding it beneath their tusks, like the ram of a ship driving along with a great surge, fall upon the men in a tremendous charge, overturning many and bellowing with a piercing, shrill note like a trumpet. And as those who are caught are trampled or smashed by the beasts' knees, a great sound of bones being crushed can be heard even at a distance, and men's faces, with eyes knocked out, nose battered, and forehead split, lose their distinctive features, and frequently become unrecognisable even by their nearest relatives. Others however escape contrary to expectation, in the following manner. A hunter has been caught, but the elephant in its forward rush has overpassed him and has planted its knees upon the earth and has besides fixed its tusks in a thicket or in a tree- root or some similar object, and is held fast and can only with difficulty withdraw and pull them out. Meanwhile the hunter slips out and escapes. In such a battle therefore it often happens that the elephants are victorious, often however that they are defeated through the men designedly applying various means of scaring them. For instance, trumpets are sounded; the hunters make a din and a clash by beating their spears on their shields; now they light a fire on the ground, now they lift it up in the air; or again they launch burning firebrands like javelins and violently brandish great torches in full blaze before the faces of the animals. And as the animals dread and are dazzled by these things they are pushed back and sometimes forced to fall into the pit which till then they have kept clear of.

[11] G   Hegemon in his poem, the Dardanica, among other things touching Aleuas the Thessalian,says that a snake was enamoured of him. And when he says that this Aleuas had ' golden ' hair he is romancing; let me call it ' flaxen.' And he says that he was a cowherd on mount Ossa, as Anchises was on Ida, and that he pastured his cattle near the spring called Haemonia. (The spring also would be in Thessaly.) Now a snake of enormous size fell in love with Aleuas and crept up to him and kissed his hair and with its tongue licked and washed the face of its loved one and brought him as presents many of the spoils of its hunting.

Now if a ram was overcome by love of Glaucē the harpist, and a dolphin of a youth at Iasus, ** what is there to prevent a snake also from falling in love with a handsome shepherd, or the most keen-sighted of creatures from being a good judge of conspicuous beauty ? So it seems that it is in fact a characteristic of animals to fall in love not only with their companions and kin but even with those who bear no relation to them at all but are yet beautiful.

[12] G   The Pareias or Parūas ** (for this is the form preferred by Apollodorus) is of a red colour, has sharp eyes and a wide mouth; its bite is not injurious but gentle. That, you see, is the reason why those who first made these discoveries consecrated it to the god who is the kindest to man and gave it the name of 'servant to Asclepius'.

[13] G   I have heard that in Ethiopia the scorpions known as Sibritae (that is what the inhabitants ** commonly call them, as is natural) feed upon lizards, asps, sphondylae, ** cockroaches, and all creeping things, but I have ascertained that anyone who treads upon their excrement develops ulcers.

In Corcyra there occur water-snakes, as they are called, which round upon their pursuers and by blasts of foul breath make them pause in their attack and deter them. According to one account the Typhlops (blind-eyes), ** which people also call Typhlinē and Cōphias as well, has a head nearly resembling the moray, but very small eyes. And the second of its two names, that is Cophias, it has derived from the fact that it is dull of hearing. But its skin is hard and takes a long time to cut through. And the Acontias (javelin-snake), they say, is amphibious and spends much time on dry land, lying in wait for every kind of living creature. And it shows skill in its fell designs, thus. It lurks hidden it may be in thoroughfares; often it crawls up some tree and coils itself up and concealing its head in its coils, spies quietly upon the passers-by. Then it launches itself on whatever is passing, be it brute beast or man. The creature is good at leaping and is capable of jumping as much as twenty cubits, if need be. And where it leaps it instantly fastens on.

[14] G   If by chance wolves come upon an ox that has fallen into a deep pond, they harass and terrify him from the bank, never allowing him to swim across and get out on to land, and compel him after long torment and floundering to drown. Then the strongest wolf in the pack leaps into the water and swimming up to the ox, seizes its tail and begins to drag it to the bank; and a second wolf seizes the tail of the first and drags it, then a third drags the second, and a fourth the third, and this is repeated up to the last wolf, which is standing out of the water. And having hauled out the ox in this way, they enjoy a feast. They lie in wait for a strayed calf and leap upon it, and seizing it by the nose drag it along. But the calf pulls against them and there is a fierce struggle for it, the wolves trying to overcome it by force, the calf fighting hard not to yield. And when they see it resisting with all its might in this way, they let go; whereupon, the calf by straining in the opposite direction is upset, and the wolves leap upon it, tear open its belly, and devour it.

[15] G   When elephants are unable to cross a ditch the largest one in the herd throws himself into it and standing transversely bridges the gap, while the rest tread on his back, cross to the far side, and make off, but not until they have rescued him. And the way in which they rescue him is as follows. One of them on the bank puts his foot forward and allows the large elephant to wrap his trunk round it. Meantime the others throw undergrowth and timber into the trench as fast as they can. And he mounts on these and clinging firmly with all his might to the other's foot is drawn up without difficulty.

There is in India a tract of land called Phalacra {bald}. And the reason for the name is that any creature which eats the grass growing there loses its hair and its horns. Accordingly elephants do not willingly go near this tract, but if they have drawn near to it they move away, since elephants, like prudent men, avoid anything that is harmful.

[16] G   The Sponge is directed by a small animal resembling a spider rather than a crab. For the sponge is no lifeless or bloodless object engendered by the sea, but clings to the rocks like other creatures and has a certain power of movement in itself, though it needs, as you might say, someone to remind it that it is a living creature, for owing to some natural porosity it remains motionless and at rest, until something encounters its pores; then the spider-like creature pricks it, and it seizes what has fallen in and makes a meal. But when a man approaches to cut it off, the sponge is pricked by the animal that lives in it, shudders, and contracts, and the trouble and labour that this causes to the fisherman is considerable, and no mistake.

[17] G   I have indeed spoken of elephants in a separate chapter, but I shall add the following . . . it is most fitting to state that they have been gifted with temperance. For they seek intercourse with the female not as though minded to commit an outrage or from lust, but like men desiring a succession to their family and to beget children, in order that their common offspring may not fail but that they may leave their seed after them. At any rate once only in a life-time do their thoughts turn to love, when the female herself submits. Then when each one has impregnated its mate, thereafter it knows her no more. And they do not couple without reserve or in the sight of others but withdraw and screen themselves in thick trees or in some close-growing forest or in some deep hollow, which affords them ample means of hiding.

Now I said above that they were just, and I have already spoken of their valour. Their continence has been displayed in the present instance. Further, anyone who has leisure to learn of their detestation of evil should lend an ear and listen to this. The trainer of a tame elephant had a somewhat elderly but rich wife. Now he was in love with another woman, and desiring that his wife's property should become hers, he strangled his wife and buried her, rash man that he was, close by the elephant's manger, and married the other woman. So then the elephant seizing hold of the new arrival with its trunk led her up to the dead body, dug it up, and laid it bare with its tusks, showing by its mere action what it could not express in words, and enlightening the woman as to the conduct of him who had wedded her; such was the elephant's hatred of evil.

[18] G   Anchovies (engrauleis, which some call encrasicholi, and I have even heard a third name applied to them, for some call them ' wolf-mouths ') are a tiny fish, prolific by nature, and pure white in appearance. They are principally eaten by fish which swim in shoals, and so when scared they rush to one another, and as each clings to its neighbour, by their close cohesion they avoid falling an easy prey to plots upon their life. And so united is their mass when they have rushed together that even ships which run into them do not cleave it. Moreover should someone wish to drive an oar or a pole through them, they are not torn apart, but cling to each other as though woven together. But if you put your hand down and pull hard as if you were drawing grains of wheat or beans from a heap, you may catch some, with the result that they are often torn to pieces and that fragments of fish are caught, while the rest is left behind. For though you may get possession of the tail, yet the head remains with the other fish; or you may take home a head, but the rest of the fish remains in the sea. Their swimming in a dense, compact mass is called a ' draught,' and a single draught often fills fifty fishing-boats, as toilers of the sea inform us.

[19] G   The Sow recognises the voice of the swineherd, and attends to his call even though it has wandered away. Evidence for this statement is to hand. Some miscreants beached their pirate vessel on the shore of Etruria, and proceeding inland came upon a fold belonging to some swineherds and containing a large number of sows. These they seized, put them on board, loosed their cables, and continued on their voyage. Now so long as the pirates were on the spot the swineherds kept quiet, but when they were sailing away from the shore ' and as far as a cry might carry,' ** then the swineherds with their accustomed cry called the swine back to them. And when the swine heard it they pressed together to one side of the vessel and capsized it. And the miscreants were drowned forthwith, but the swine swam away to their masters.

[20] G   They say that the stork also is subject to jealousy. At any rate at Crannon in Thessaly a man who had married a beautiful wife of the name of Alcinoē left her at home and went away on his travels. So Alcino¯ had intercourse with one of the servants. The stork that was about the house got to know of this and would not tolerate it, but avenged its master. At any rate it sprang upon the woman and blinded her eyes.

I have earlier on spoken of jealousy on the part of a Purple Coot, then of a dog in like case, and now of a stork equally affected over a marriage that went wrong.

[21] G   Sheep change their colour as their drink varies with the character of the rivers. The season of the year in which this occurs is the season of mating. So from being white they become black, and the contrary change of colour occurs. This commonly takes place near the river of Antandria ** and the river in Thrace whose name the neighbouring Thracians will tell you. And since the Scamander in the Troad turns the sheep that drink of it yellow, the colour which the flocks acquire has caused the name Xanthus {yellow} to be added to its original name of Scamander.

[22] G   Animals are also good at remembering to be grateful. There was a woman in Tarentum, admirable in other ways and particularly as a faithful wife. Her name was Heraclēis. So long as her husband lived she cared for him with the utmost devotion. But when he died the woman took a dislike to life in the city and to the home in which she had seen her husband dead, and such was her grief that she went to dwell among the tombs and was content to remain by her late husband's sepulchre, constant to him who was beneath the soil. And once in summer when some storks, still fledglings, were essaying their first flight, one of them, the youngest, not having sufficient strength of wing, fell and broke one of its legs. So Heraclēis seeing its fall and finding how its leg was injured, took pity on the nestling and picking it up very gently wrapped up the wound, and tended it with fomentations and plasters, brought it food, gave it drink, and, when in due course it was strong and had grown its quill-feathers, set it free. And the stork, knowing by some strange instinct that it owed her the price of its life, departed. Later when a year had passed and spring was just beginning to brighten, the woman chanced to be warming herself in the sun, and the stork which had been healed by her, seeing its benefactress, checked the speed of its wings and sinking nearer to earth came close, opened its bill, and disgorged a stone into the lap of Heraclēis, and then flew off and settled on the roof. At first, naturally enough, she was amazed and startled out of her wits, and was at a loss to conjecture what this action could mean. And so she put the stone away somewhere indoors ; later being woken in the night she saw that it diffused a brightness and a gleam, and the house was lit up as though a torch had been brought in, so strong a radiance came from, and was engendered by, the lump of stone. And when she had taken hold of the stork and handled it she recognised the scar left by the wound, and knew that it was the very bird which had been the object of her pity and her ministrations.

[23] G   If you catch a Smooth Lobster and remove it to a great distance, leaving a mark at the place where you caught it, you will find the self-same lobster at the spot where it was captured: I mean, if you take it along the seashore and put it down somewhere near enough for it to be able to crawl into the sea.

[24] G   ' Hunter ' ** is its name; Nature has given it wings; it is allied to the tribe of thrushes; its colour is black; it has a musical voice. And it is called ' the Hunter,' and rightly so; for with its song it captivates the small birds that fly to it beneath the spell of its sweet music. Knowing therefore the natural advantage that it possesses, it appears to employ this gift of Nature to please itself and also to feed itself, for it delights to listen to its own voice, and pursues the birds that approach it and takes its fill of them. Anyone who hunts this bird and confines it in a cage, gets nothing for his pains, for he possesses a bird that refuses to sing, seeming by its silence to punish its captor for enslaving it.

[25] G   I have spoken above ** of the benefit which the Egyptian Plovers confer upon crocodiles, and Herodotus mentions it in his Account of Egypt [2. 68 ] . But what I did not mention, though I knew it, I will mention now, in order that others also may learn the facts.

The Egyptian Plover is one of the marsh-fowls, and ranges along the banks of rivers, feeding upon whatever it chances to pick up here and there, while the crocodile provides it with the food that I spoke of. And the bird repays it by taking care of it and keeping watch on its behalf while it sleeps. For as it lies asleep the ichneumon has designs upon it, and fastening on its throat has often throttled it. But the Egyptian Plover utters its cry, beats the crocodile on the nose, rouses it, and eggs it on against its enemy. Now whether we should applaud the bird for its solicitude on behalf of an omnivorous and gluttonous animal, we shall know later. It is the special characteristics of these creatures that I have mentioned.

[26] G   The Trygon ( I am not speaking of the one that lives in the air {i.e. the turtle-dove} but of the one in the sea {i.e. the sting-ray} ) swims when it wants to, or again raises itself and flies. Its sting, of which I have spoken above, is deadly. ** Yet that it should sting brute beasts and men and kill them on the spot is no matter for wonder. But what is startling is this which I am about to mention. If you apply the sting to the largest tree when in a thriving state, flourishing, and in full foliage, and stab the tree, in a short while it sheds its leaves, and as they float down to earth the entire stem withers and seems as though scorched by the sun.

[27] G   An elephant emerges head first at birth, and the size of it when born is that of the largest sucking-pig. Several small elephants follow a single mother, so they say. And if you want to touch the little ones when new-born, the mothers do not resent it but permit it. For they know that no one will lay hands on them to do them harm or punish them, but that everyone has kindly intentions and would pet them. For who would hurt such a little creature? But when they are hunted and fall into the pit and see that there is no escape for them, they forget the spirit that possessed them when they were free and readily go for any food that is held out to them and drink the water that is offered, and if wine is poured into their trunks they do not refuse that loving-cup.

[28] G   Our great poet is supposed to call the sturgeon (?) a ' sacred fish ' ** [Il. 16. 407 ] . According to one account it is rare, but is caught in the sea off Pamphylia, though even there hardly at all. But if it is caught, the fishermen deck themselves with garlands to celebrate their good luck; they garland the fishing-boats as well, and put into port, as with cymbals and flutes they summon people to bear witness to their catch.

Others however consider that the Anthias, and not this fish, is sacred. And the reason is that in whatever part of the sea it appears, that spot is presumably bound to be free from savage creatures and there is peace between fish and everything that seeks its prey in the waters, while the fish themselves bring forth their young without fear.

But it is no business of mine to explore the mysteries of Nature, and rightly so, since the lion goes in fear of the cock, and so does the basilisk, moreover the elephant dreads a pig. But those who have much leisure to spend in seeking the reasons for these things will take no account of time, and for all that, will never come to the end of their researches.

Book 9



FOOTNOTES



(1)   The Persians punish those who could, but do not, show their gratitude; want of gratitude they regard as the parent of other vices.    

(2)   At Ortygia, in Syracuse.    

(3)   M. Licinius Crassus, defeated Spartacus, 73 B.C.; triumvir with Julius Caesar and Pompey, 60 B.C.; defeated by the Parthians at Carrhae, 53 B.C., and later slain.    

(4)   Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, Censor with Crassus, 92 B.C. See Suet. Nero 2 .    

(5)   Polydamas, Trojan hero, learned divination from his father Panthous; see Hom. Il. 12. 210.   Polyeidus; see 5. 2 note.   Theoclymenus at Hom. Od. 20. 350 foretells the downfall of the suitors of Penelope.    

(6)   Silanus of Ambracia, soothsayer to Cyrus II; see Xen. An. 1. 7. 18.   Megistias claimed descent from Melampus; died fighting at the battle of Thermopylae of which he had foretold the issue; see Hdt. 7. 221,   228.   Euclides of Phlius divined Xenophon's lack of money and advised him to sacrifice to Zeus the Merciful; see Xen. An. 7. 8. 1.    

(7)   A few miles west of Myra on the sea-coast.    

(8)   Nicander (Th. 373-83) says no more than that it is good for chilblains. The discrepancy is explained by Wellmann (Hermes 26. 335), who considers that Aelian was copying some work based upon Apollodorus in which Nicander was mentioned, and that he mistakenly ascribed to Nicander a statement made by Apollodorus.    

(9)   See 6. 15.    

(10)   Coluber longissimus (or Aesculapii or flavescens), a beneficent snake, kept in the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus.    

(11)   The Sibritae were an Ethiopian tribe dwelling between the upper arms of the Nile and the Red Sea.    

(12)   Perh. a kind of beetle; one of the Cerambycidae or longhorn beetles (Gossen 52).    

(13)   'Probably Pseudopus pallasi', Thompson on Arist. HA 567 b 25, 6.13 (Eng. tr.). It is a limbless lizard and is known as a ' glass-snake.' Other interpretations are Anguis fragilis (Brenning), Typhlops vermicularis (Gossen-Steier).    

(14)   Hom. Od. 5. 400.    

(16)   Antandrus, town at the head of the gulf of Adramyttium in Mysia; the river was the Satniois.    

(17)   The Mynah of India.    

(18)   See 3.11.    

(19)   See 1. 56; 2. 36, 50.    

(20)   See Leaf's note ad loc. The word ἔλλοψ does not occur in our texts of Homer.    




CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK

8.1 Indian hounds bred from tigers
8.2 The hound's delight in hunting
8.3 The dolphin, its gratitude
8.4 (i) Tame fishes (ii) Tame crocodiles
8.5 Divination by fishes
8.6 Hunters and hunted
8.7 Animals poisonous to the touch
8.8 The Amphisbaena
8.9 The dog and its medicines
8.10 An elephant hunt
8.11 Love of beauty in animals
8.12 The 'Pareas' snake
8.13 The ' Sibritae ' scorpions. Various snakes
8.14 Wolves and ox
8.15 Elephants cross a ditch
8.16 The Sponge
8.17 The elephant, its continence ; reveals murder
8.18 The Anchovy
8.19 Pigs and pirates
8.20 Stork punishes adulteress
8.21 Waters that change the colour of sheep
8.22 Woman of Tarentum and Stork
8.23 The Smooth Lobster
8.24 The Indian Mynah
8.25 The Egyptian Plover
8.26 The Sting-ray
8.27 The young elephant
8.28 The Sturgeon. The 'Anthias'



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