Pliny,   Natural History

-   Book 8 ,   sections 112-229


Translated by H.Rackham (1952), with some minor alterations. Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each chapter.    

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{50.} L    [112] Deer also a have their own form of stinginess although the stag is the gentlest of animals. When beset by a pack of hounds they fly for refuge of their own accord to a human being, and when giving birth to young are less careful to avoid paths worn by human footprints than secluded places that are advantageous for wild beasts. The mating season is after the rising of Arcturus. Pregnancy lasts eight months, and occasionally they bear twins. After mating the hinds withdraw, but the deserted males rage in a fury of desire, and score the ground with their horns; afterwards their snouts are black till a considerable rainfall washes off the dirt. The females before giving birth use a certain plant called hartwort as a purge, so having an easier delivery. After giving birth they browse on the two plants named dittany and seselis before they return to the young: for some reason or other they desire the sucklings' first draughts of milk to be flavoured with those herbs. [113] When the fawns are born they exercise them in running and teach them to practise escaping, and take them to cliffs and show them how to jump. The males when at last freed from lustful desire greedily seek pasture; when they feel they are too fat, they look for lairs to hide in, showing that they are conscious of inconvenient weight. And on other occasions when running away from pursuit they always stop and stand gazing backward, when the hunters draw near again seeking refuge in flight: this is done owing to pain in the gut, which is so weak that a light blow causes internal rupture. [114] But when they hear the baying of hounds they always run away down wind, so that their scent may go away with them. They can be charmed by a shepherd's pipe and by song. Their hearing is very keen when they raise their ears, but dull when they drop them. In other respects the deer is a simple animal and stupefied by surprise at everything - so much so that when a horse or a heifer is approaching they do not notice a huntsman close to them, or if they see him merely gaze in wonder at his bow and arrows. They cross seas swimming in a herd strung out in line with their heads resting on the haunches of the ones in front of them, and taking turns to drop to the rear: this is most noticed when they are crossing from Cilicia to Cyprus; and they do not keep land in sight but swim towards its scent. [115] The males have horns, and alone of animals shed them every year at a fixed time in spring; consequently when the day in question approaches they resort as much as possible to unfrequented places. When they have lost their home they keep in hiding as if disarmed - although these animals also are grudging of their special good: people say that a stag's right horn, which is endowed with some sort of healing drug, is never found; and this must be confessed to be the more surprising in view of the fact that even stags kept in warrens change their horns every year: it is thought that they bury them. The smell of either horn when burnt arrests attacks of epilepsy. [116] They also bear marks of their age in their horns, each year till they are six years old adding one time; though thenceforward the horns grow again like the old ones and the age cannot be told by them. But old age is indicated by the teeth, for the old have either few or none, nor have they tines at the bottom of the horns, though otherwise these usually jut out in front of the brow when they are younger. [117] When stags have been gelt the horns do not fall off nor grow again, but burst out with excrescences that keep springing again, at first resembling dry skin, and then grow up with tender shoots into reedy tufts feathered with soft down. As long as the stags are without them, they go out to graze iu the nights. When they are growing again they harden them with the heat of the sun, subsequently testing them on trees, and only go out into the open when satisfied with theft strength; and before now they have been caught with green ivy on their antlers, that has been grafted on the tender horns as on a log of wood as a result of rubbing them against trees while testing them. Stags are sometimes even of a white colour, as Quintus Sertorius's hind is said to have been, which he had persuaded the tribes of Spain to believe prophetic. [118] Even stags are at war with a snake; they track out their holes and draw them out by means of the breath of their nostrils in spite of their resistance. Consequently the smell made by burning stag's horn is an outstanding thing for driving away serpents, while a sovereign cure against bites is obtained from the rennet of a fawn killed in its mother's womb. [119] Stags admittedly have a long life, some having been caught a hundred years later with the gold necklaces that Alexander the Great had put on them already covered up by the hide in great folds of fat. This animal is not liable to feverish diseases - indeed it even supplies a prophylactic against their attack; we know that recently certain ladies of the imperial house have made a practice of eating venison every day in the morning and have been free from fevers throughout a long lifetime; though it is thought that this only holds good if the stag has been killed by a single wound.

[120] The animal called the goat-stag, occurring only near the river Phasis, is of the same appearance, differing only in having a beard, and a fleece on the shoulders.

{51.} L   Africa almost alone does not produce stags, but Africa also has the chameleon, although India produces it in greater numbers. Its shape and size were those of a lizard, were not the legs straight and longer. The flanks are joined on to the belly as in fishes, and the spine projects in a similar manner. [121] It has a snout not unlike a pig's, considering its small size, a very long tail that tapers towards the end and curls in coils like a viper, and crooked talons; it moves rather slowly like a tortoise and has a rough body like a crocodile's, and eyes in a hollow recess, close together and very large and of the same colours as its body. It never shuts its eyes, and looks round not by moving the pupil but by turning the whole eye. [122] It holds itself erect with its mouth always wide open, and it is the only animal that does not live on food or drink or anything else but the nutriment that it derives from the air, with a gape that is almost terrifying, but otherwise it is harmless. And it is more remarkable for the nature of its colouring, since it constantly changes the hue of its eyes and tail and whole body and always makes it the colour with which it is in closest contact, except red and white. When dead it is of a pallid colour. It has flesh on the head and jaws and at the junction tail in a rather scanty amount, and nowhere else in the whole body; blood in the heart and around the eyes only; its vital parts contain no spleen. It hibernates like a lizard in the winter months.

{52.} L   [123] The reindeer of Scythia also changes its colours, but none other of the fur-clad animals does so except the Indian wolf, which is reported to have a mane on the neck. For the jackal - which is a kind of wolf, longer in the body and differing in the shortness of the legs, quick in its spring, living by hunting, harmless to man - changes its raiment though not its colour, being shaggy through the winter but naked in summer. [124] The reindeer is the size of an ox; its head is larger than that of a stag but not unlike it; it has branching horns, cloven hooves, and a fleece as shaggy as a bear's but, when it happens to be self-coloured, resembling an ass's coat. The hide is so hard that they use it for making cuirasses. When alarmed it imitates the colours of all the trees, bushes and flowers and places where it lurks, and consequently is rarely caught. It would be surprising that its body has such variety of character, but it is more surprising that even its fleece has.

{53.} L   [125] The porcupine is a native of India and Africa. It is covered with a prickly skin of the hedgehogs' kind, but the spines of the porcupine are longer and they dart out when it draws the skin tight: it pierces the mouths of hounds when they close with it, and shoots out at them when further off. In the winter months it hibernates, as is the nature of many animals and before all of bears.

{54.} L   [126] Bears couple at the beginning of winter, and not in the usual manner of quadrupeds but both lying down and hugging each other; afterwards they retire apart into caves, in which they give birth on the thirtieth day to a litter of five cubs at most. These are a white and shapeless lump of flesh, little larger than mice, without eyes or hair and only the claws projecting. This lump the mother bears slowly lick into shape. Nor is anything more unusual than to see a she-bear giving birth to cubs. Consequently the males lie in hiding for periods of forty days, and the females four months. [127] If they have not got caves, they build rainproof dens by heaping up branches and brushwood, with a carpet of soft foliage on the floor. For the first fortnight they sleep so soundly that they cannot be aroused even by wounds; at this period they get fat with sloth to a remarkable degree (the bear's grease is useful for medicines and a prophylactic against baldness). As a result of these days of sleep they shrink in bulk and they live by sucking their fore paws. They cherish their freezing offspring by pressing them to their breast, lying on them just like birds hatching eggs. [128] Strange to say, Theophrastus believes that even boiled bear's flesh, if kept, goes on growing in size for that period; that no evidence of food and only the smallest amount of water is found in the belly at this stage, and that there are only a few drops of blood in the neighbourhood of the heart and none in the rest of the body. [129] In the spring they come out, but the males are very fat, a fact the cause of which is not evident, as they have not been fattened up even by sleep, except for a fortnight as we have said. On coming out they devour a plant called arum to loosen the bowels, which are otherwise constipated, and they rub their teeth on tree-stumps to get their mouths into training. Their eyes have got dim, which is the chief reason why they seek for hives, so that their face may be stung by the bees to relieve that trouble with blood. [130] A bear's weakest part is the head, which is the lion's strongest; consequently if when hard pressed by an attack they are going to fling themselves down from a rock they make the jump with their head covered with their fore paws, and in the arena are often killed by their head being broken by a buffet. The Spanish provinces believe that a bear's brain contains poison, and when bears are killed in shows their heads are burnt in the presence of a witness, on the ground that to drink the poison drives a man bear-mad. [131] Bears even walk on two feet, and they crawl down trees backward. They tire out bulls with their weight by hanging by all four feet from their mouth and horns; and no other animal's stupidity is more cunning in doing harm. It is noted in the Annals that on 19 September in the consulship of Marcus Piso and Marcus Messala {61 BC}, Domitius Ahenobarbus as curule aedile provided in the Circus a hundred Numidian bears and the same number of Ethiopian huntsmen. I am surprised at the description of the bears as Numidian, since it is known that the bear does not occur in Africa.

{55.} L   [132] The mice of the Black Sea region also hibernate - at all events the white ones, which are stated to have a very discriminating palate, though I am curious to know how the authorities detected this. Alpine mice, which are the size of badgers, also hibernate, but these carry a supply of fodder into their caves beforehand. Some people say that they let themselves down into their cave in a string, male and female alternately holding the next one's tail in their teeth, and lying on their backs, embracing a bundle of grass that they have bitten off at the roots, and that consequently at this season their backs show marks of rubbing. There are also mice resembling these in Egypt, and they sit back on their haunches in a similar way, and walk on two feet and use their forepaws as hands.

{56.} L   [133] Hedgehogs also prepare food for winter, and fixing fallen apples on their spines by rolling on them and holding one more in their mouth carry them to hollow trees. The same animals foretell a change of wind from North to South by retiring to their lair. But when they perceive someone hunting them they draw together their mouth and feet and all their lower part, which has thin and harmless down on it, and roll up into the shape of a ball, so that it may not be possible to take hold of any part of them except the prickles. [134] But when desperate they make water over themselves, which corrodes their hide and damages their spines, for the sake of which they know that people catch them. Hence the scientific way is to hunt them just after they have discharged their water. And then the hide is of particular value, whereas otherwise it is spoiled and fragile, with the spines rotting and falling out, even if the animal escapes by flight and lives. On this account it does not drench itself with this damaging stuff except as a last resort, since even the creatures themselves hate this self-poisoning, sparing themselves and waiting for the final limit so long that usually capture overtakes them beforehand. Afterwards the ball into which they roll up can be made to unroll by a sprinkle of hot water, and to fasten them up by one of the hind feet kills them through starvation when hanging: it is not possible to kill them in any other way and avoid damaging the hide. [135] The animal itself is not, as most of us think, superfluous for the life of mankind, since, if it had not spines, the softness of the hides in cattle would have been bestowed on mortals to no purpose: hedgehog skirt is used in dressing cloth for garments. Even here fraud has discovered a great source of profit by monopoly, nothing having been the subject of more frequent legislation by the senate, and every emperor without exception having been approached by complaints from the provinces.

{57.} L   [136] The urine of two other animals also has remarkable properties. We are told that there is a small animal called 'lion's-bane' that only occurs in regions where the lion is found, to taste of which causes that mighty creature, the lord of all the other four-footed animals, to expire immediately. Consequently men burn this creature's body and sprinkle it like pearl barley on the flesh of other animals as a bait for a lion, and even kill their prey with its ashes: so noisome a bane it is. Therefore the lion naturally hates it, and when he sees it crushes it and does all he can short of biting it to kill it; while it meets the attack by spraying urine, knowing already that this also is deadly to a lion.

[137] The water of lynxes, voided in this way when they are born, solidifies or dries up into drops like carbuncles and of a brilliant flame-colour, called lynx-water - which is the origin of the common story that this is the way in which amber is formed. The lynxes have learnt this and know it, and they jealously cover up their urine with earth, thereby causing it to solidify more quickly.

[138] Another case of ingenuity in alarm, is that of the badgers: they ward off men's blows and the bites of dogs by inflating and distending their skin.

{58.} L   Squirrels also foresee a storm, and stop up their holes to windward in advance, opening doorways on the other side; moreover their own exceptionally bushy tail serves them as a covering. Consequently some have a store of food ready for the winter and others use sleep as a substitute for food.

{59.} L   [139] It is said that the viper is the only snake that hides in the ground, all the others using holes in trees or rocks. And for the rest they can last out a year's starvation if only they are protected against cold. All kinds sleep at the period of retirement and are not poisonous. Snails also hibernate in the same way, these indeed retiring again in the summers also, mostly clinging to rocks, or even when violently bent back and torn away, nevertheless not going out. [140] But those in the Balearic Islands called cave-snails do not crawl out of their holes in the ground and do not live on grass, but cling together in a cluster like a bunch of grapes. There is also another kind, which is not so common, that shuts itself in with a tightly fitting lid formed of the same material as its shell. These are always buried in the earth, and formerly were only dug up in the neighbourhood of the Maritime Alps, but they have now begun to be pulled up in the Velitrae district also; however the most highly commended kind of all is on the island of Astypalaea.

{60.} L   [141] The greatest enemy of the snail is the lizard; this genus is said not to live more than six months. The lizard of Arabia is 18 inches long, but those on Mount Nysus in India reach a length of 24 feet, and are coloured yellow or scarlet or blue.

{61.} L   [142] Many also of the domestic animals are worth studying, and before all the one most faithful to man, the dog, and the horse. We are told of a dog that fought against brigands in defence of his master and although covered with wounds would not leave his corpse, driving away birds and beasts of prey; and of another dog in Epirus which recognized his master's murderer in a gathering and by snapping and barking made him confess the crime. The King of the Garamantes was escorted back from exile by 200 dogs who did battle with those that offered resistance. [143] The people of Colophon and also those of Castabala had troops of dogs for their wars; these fought fiercely in the front rank, never refusing battle, and were their most loyal supporters, never requiring pay. When some of the Cimbri were killed their hounds defended their houses placed on waggons. When Jason of Lycia had been murdered his dog refused to take food and starved to death. But a dog the name of which Duris gives as Hyrcanus when king Lysimachus's pyre was set alight threw itself into the flame, and similarly at the funeral of King Hieron. [144] Philistus also records the tyrant Gelon's dog Pyrrhus; also the dog of Nicomedes king of Bithynia is recorded to have bitten the King's wife Consingis because she played a rather loose joke with her husband. Among ourselves the famous Vulcatius, Cassellius's tutor in civil law, when returning on his cob from his place near Rome after nightfall was defended by his dog from a highwayman; and so was the senator Caelius, an invalid, when set upon by armed men at Placentia, and he did not receive a wound till the dog had been despatched. [145] But above all cases, in our own generation it is attested by the National Records that in the consulship of Appius Junius and Publius Silius {28 AD} when as a result of the case of Germanicus’s son Nero punishment was visited on Titius Sabinus and his slaves, a dog belonging to one of them could not be driven away from him in prison and when he had been flung out on the Steps of Lamentation would not leave his body, uttering sorrowful howls to the vast concourse of the Roman public around, and when one of them threw it food it carried it to the mouth of its dead master; also when his corpse had been thrown into the Tiber it swam to it and tried to keep it afloat, a great crowd streaming out to view the animal's loyalty.

[146] Dogs alone know their master, and also recognize a sudden arrival as a stranger; they alone recognize their own names, and the voice of a member of the household; they remember the way to places however distant, and no creature save man has a longer memory. Their onset and rage can be mollified by a person sitting down on the ground. [147] Experience daily discovers very many other qualities in these animals, but it is in hunting that their skill and sagacity is most outstanding. A hound traces and follows footprints, dragging by its leash the tracker that accompanies it towards his quarry; and on sighting it how silent and secret but how significant an indication is given first by the tail and then by the muzzle. Consequently even when they are exhausted with old age and blind and weak, men carry them in their arms sniffing at the breezes and scents and pointing their muzzles towards cover.

[148] The Indians want hounds to be sired by tigers, and at the breeding season they tie up bitches in the for this purpose. They think that the first and second litters are too fierce and they only rear the third one. Similarly the Gauls breed hounds from wolves; each of their packs has one of the dogs as leader and guide; the pack accompanies this leader in the hunt and pays it obedience; for dogs actually exercise authority among themselves. It is known that the dogs by the Nile lap up water from the river as they run, so as not to give the greed of the crocodiles its chance. [149] When Alexander the Great was on his way to India, the king of Albania had presented him with one dog of unusually large size; Alexander was delighted by its appearance, and gave orders for bears and then boars and finally hinds to be let slip - the hound lying contemptuously motionless. This slackness on the part of so vast an animal annoyed the generous spirit of the Emperor, who ordered it to be destroyed. Report carried news of this to the king; and accordingly sending a second hound he added a message that Alexander should not desire to test it on small game but on a lion or an elephant; he had only possessed two of the breed and if this one was destroyed there would be none left. [150] Alexander did not put off the trial, and forthwith saw a lion crushed. Afterwards he ordered an elephant to be brought in, and no other show ever gave him more delight: for the dog's hair bristled all over his body and it first gave a vast thunderous bark, then kept leaping up and rearing against the creature's limbs on this side and that, in scientific combat, attacking and retiring at the most necessary points, until the elephant turning round and round in an unceasing whirl was brought to the ground with an earth-shaking crash.

{62.} L   [151] The genus dog breeds twice a year. Maturity for reproduction begins at the age of one. They carry their young for sixty days. Puppies are born blind, and acquire sight the more slowly the more copious the milk with which they are suckled; though the blind period never lasts more than three weeks or less than one. Some people report that a puppy born singly sees on the 9th day, twins on the 10th, and so on, a corresponding number of days' delay in seeing light being added for each extra puppy; and that a bitch of a first litter begins to see sooner. The best in a litter is the one that begins to see last, or else the one that the mother carries into the kennel first after delivery.

{63.} L   [152] Rabies in dogs, as we have said, is dangerous to human beings in periods when the dog-star is shining, as it causes fatal hydrophobia to those bitten in those circumstances. Consequently a precautionary measure during the 30 days in question is to mix dung - mostly chicken's droppings, in the dog's food, or, if the disease has come already, hellebore. But after a bite the only cure is one which was lately discovered from an oracle, the root of the wild-rose called in Greek dog-rose. [153] Columella states that if a dog's tail is docked by being bitten off and the end joint amputated 40 days after birth, the spinal marrow having been removed the tail does not grow again and the dog is not liable to rabies. The only cases that have come down to us among portents, so far as I have noted of a dog talking and a snake barking when Tarquin was driven from his kingdom.

{64.} L   [154] Alexander also had the good fortune to possess a great rarity amongst horses. They called the animal Bucephalus, either because of its fierce appearance or from the mark of a bull's head branded on its shoulder. It is said that it was bought for sixteen talents from the herd of Philonicus of Pharsalus while Alexander was still a boy, as he was taken to its beauty. This horse when adorned with the royal saddle would not allow itself to be mounted by anybody except Alexander, though on other occasions it allowed anybody to mount. It is also celebrated for a memorable feat in battle, not having allowed Alexander during the attack on Thebes to change to another mount when it had been wounded; and a number of occurrences of the same kind are also reported, on account of which when it died the king headed its funeral procession, and built a city round its tomb which he named after it! [155] Also the horse that belonged to Caesar the Dictator is said to have refused to let anyone else mount it; and it is also recorded that its fore feet were like those of a man, as it is represented in the statue that stands in front of the Temple of Venus Genetrix. The deified  Augustus also made a funeral mound for a horse, which is the subject of a poem by Germanicus Caesar. At Agrigentum a great number of horses' tombs have pyramids over them. Juba attests that Semiramis fell so deeply in love with a horse that she married it. [156] The Scythian cavalry regiments indeed resound with famous stories of horses: a chieftain was challenged to a duel by an enemy and killed, and when his adversary came to strip his body of its armour, his horse kicked him and bit him till he died; another horse, when its blinkers were removed and it found out that a mare it had covered was its dam, made for a precipice and committed suicide. We read that an ostler in the Reate district was savaged by a horse for the same reason. For horses actually understand the ties of relationship, and a filly in a herd is even fonder of going with a sister a year older than with their dam. [157] Their docility is so great that we learn that the entire cavalry of the army of Sybaris used to perform a sort of ballet to the music of a band. The Sybarite horses also know beforehand when there is going to be a battle, and when they lose their masters mourn for them: sometimes they shed tears at the bereavement. When King Nicomedes was killed his horse ended its life by refusing food. [158] Phylarchus records that when Antiochus fell in battle one of the Galatians Centaretus caught his horse and mounted it in triumph, but it was fired with indignation and taking the bit between its teeth so as to become unmanageable, galloped headlong to a precipice where it perished with its rider. Philistus records that Dionysius left his horse stuck in a bog, and when it extricated itself it followed its master's tracks with a swarm of bees clinging to its mane; and that in consequence of this portent Dionysius seized the tyranny.

{65.} L   [159] The cleverness of horses is beyond description. Mounted javelin-men experience their docility in assisting difficult attempts with the actual swaying of their body; also they gather up the weapons lying on the ground and pass them to their rider. Horses harnessed to chariots in the circus unquestionably show that they understand the shouts of encouragement and applause. [160] At the races in the Circus forming part of the Secular Games of Claudius Caesar a charioteer of the Whites named Corax was thrown at the start, and his team took the lead and kept it by getting in the way of their rivals and jostling them aside and doing everything against them that they would have had to do with a most skilful charioteer in control, and as they were ashamed for human science to be beaten by horses, when they had completed the proper course they stopped dead at the chalk line. [161] A greater portent was when in early days a charioteer was thrown at the Plebeian circus races and the horses galloped on to the Capitol and raced round the temple three times just the same as if he still stood at the reins; but the greatest was when a chariot-team reached the same place from Veii with the palm-branch and wreath after Ratumenna who had won at Veii had been thrown: an event which subsequently gave its name to the gate. [162] The Sarmatians get their horses into training for a long journey by giving them no fodder the day before and only allowing them a small amount of water, and by these means they ride them on a journey of 150 miles without drawing rein.

Some horses live fifty years, but mares live a shorter time; mares stop growing when five years old, the males a year later. The appearance of the horse that ought to be most preferred has been very beautifully described in the poetry of Virgil, but we also have dealt with it in our book ‘On the Use of the Javelin by Cavalry’, and I observe that there is almost universal agreement about it. But a different build is required for the Circus; and consequently though horses may be broken as two-year-olds to other service, racing in the Circus does not claim them before five.

{66.} L   [163] Gestation in this genus lasts eleven months and the foal is born in the twelfth month. Breeding takes place as a rule in the spring equinox when both animals are two-year-olds, but the progeny is stronger if breeding begins at three. A stallion goes on serving to the age of 33, as they are sent from the racecourse to the stud at 20. It is recorded that a stallion at Opus even continued to 40, only he needed assistance in lifting his fore-quarters. [164] But few animals are such unfertile sires as the horse; consequently intervals are allowed in breeding, and nevertheless a stallion cannot stand serving fifteen times in the same year. Mares in heat are cooled down by having their manes shorn; they foal yearly up to 40. It is stated that a mare has lived to 75.

[165] In the equine genus the pregnant female is delivered standing up; and she loves her offspring more than all other female animals. And in fact a love-poison called horse-frenzy {hippomanes} is found in the forehead of horses at birth, the size of a dried fig, black in colour, which a brood mare as soon as she has dropped her foal eats up, or else she refuses to suckle the foal. If anybody takes it before she gets it, and keeps it, the scent drives him into madness of the kind specified. If a foal loses its dam the other brood mares in the same herd rear the orphan. It is said that a foal is unable to reach the pound with its mouth within the first three days after birth. The greedier it is in drinking the deeper it dips its nostrils into the water. The Scythians prefer mares as chargers, because they can make water without checking their gallop.

{67.} L   [166] It is known that in Lusitania in the neighbourhood of the town of Olisipo and the river Tagus mares when a west wind is blowing stand facing towards it and conceive the breath of life and that this produces a foal, and this is the way to breed a very swift colt, but it does not live more than three years. Also in Spain the Gallaecan and Asturian tribes breed those of the horse kind that we call theldones, though when more of a pony type they are designated 'cobs', which have not the usual paces in running but a smooth trot, straightening the near and offside legs alternately, from which the horses are taught by training to adopt an ambling pace.

The horse has nearly the same diseases as mankind, and is also liable to shifting of the bladder, as are all beasts of the draft class.

{68.} L   [167] Marcus Varro states that an ass was bought for the senator Quintus Axius at 400,000 sesterces which perhaps beats the price paid for any other animal. The services of the ass kind are undoubtedly bountiful in ploughing as well, but especially in breeding mules. In mules also regard is paid to locality of origin - in Greece the Arcadian breed is esteemed and in Italy the Iteatine. The ass itself is very bad at enduring cold, and consequently is not bred in the Black Sea district; and it is not allowed to breed at the spring equinox like all other cattle, but at midsummer. [168] The males make worse sires when not in work. The females breed at two and a half years old at earliest, but regularly from three; they can breed as many times as mares, and in the same months and in a similar way. But the womb cannot retain the genital fluid but discharges it, unless the animal is whipped into a gallop after coupling. It seldom bears twins. When about to bear a foal it shuns the sunlight and seeks the shadow, so as not to be seen by a human being. It breeds through all its lifetime, which is thirty years. [169] It has a very great affection for its young, but a greater dislike for water: she-asses will go through fire to their foals, but yet if the smallest stream intervenes they are afraid of merely wetting their hooves. Those kept in pastures will only drink at springs they are used to, and where they can get to drink by a dry track; and they will not go across bridges with interstices in their structure allowing the gleam of the river to be seen through them; and, surprising to say, they may be thirsty and have to be forced or coaxed to drink, if the stream is not the one they are used to. Only a wide allowance of stall-room is safe for them to lie down in, for when asleep they have a variety of dreams and frequently let out with their hooves, which at once causes lameness by hitting timber that is too hard unless they have plenty of room to kick in. [170] The profit made out of she-asses surpasses the richest spoils of war. It is known that in Celtiberia their foals have made 400,000 sesterces per dam, especially when mules are bred. They say that in she-asses the hair of the ears and the eyelids is an important point, for although the rest of the dam's body is all one colour, the foal reproduces all the colours that were in those places. Maecenas set the fashion of eating donkey foals at banquets, and they were much preferred to wild asses at that period; but after his time the ass lost favour as a delicacy. Animals of this genus very quickly flag when their sight begins to go.

{69.} L   [171] A mare coupled with an ass after twelve-months bears a mule, an animal of exceptional strength for agricultural operations. To breed mules they choose mares not less than four or more than ten years old. Also breeders say that females of either genus refuse stallions of the other one unless as foals they were suckled by females of the same genus as the stallions; for this reason they stealthily remove the foals in the dark and put them to mares' or she-asses' udders respectively. But a mule is also got by a horse out of an ass, though it is unmanageable, slow and obstinate. Also all the foals from old mares are sluggish. [172] It causes miscarriage for a mare in foal by a horse to be put to an ass, but not vice versa. It has been observed that female asses are best coupled six days after they have borne a foal, and that males couple better when tired. It is noticed that a female that does not conceive before she casts what are called her milk-teeth is barren, as is one that does not begin to produce foals from the first coupling. Male foals of an ass by a horse were in old days called hinnies, while the term mules was used for the foals of a mare by an ass. [173] It has been noticed that the offspring of two different races of animals belong to a third kind and resemble neither parent; and that such hybrids are not themselves fertile: this is the case with all kinds of animals, and is the reason why mules are barren. A number of cases of reproduction by mules are recorded in our Annals, but these were considered portentous. Theophrastus states that mules breed commonly in Cappadocia, but that the Cappadocian mule is a peculiar species. A mule can be checked from kicking by rather frequent drinks of wine. [174] It is stated in the records of a good many Greeks that a foal has been got from a mare coupled with a mule, called a ginnus, which means a small mule. She-mules bred from a mare and tamed wild-asses are swift in pace and have extremely hard hooves, but a lean body and an indomitable spirit. But as a sire the foal of a wild-ass and a domestic she-ass excels all others. The wild-asses in Phrygia and Lycaonia are pre-eminent. Africa boasts of their foals as an outstanding table delicacy; the vernacular word for them is lalisio. [175] Records at Athens attest a mule's having lived 80 years; for the citizens were so delighted because after it had been put aside owing to old age it encouraged the teams by its company and assistance in their uphill work during the construction of a temple on the citadel, that they made a decree that the corn-dealers were not to keep it away from their stands.

{70.} L   [176] Indian oxen are reported to be as tall as camels and to have horns with a span of four feet. In our part of the world the most famous are those of Epirus, having been so, it is said, ever since the attention given to them by King Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus achieved this result by not requisitioning them for breeding before the age of four; consequently his oxen were very large, and the remains of his breeds continue even today. But now yearling heifers are called upon for breeding, though they can stand it better at two years, while bulls are made to serve at four. Each bull serves ten cows in the same year. It is said that if the bulb after coupling go away towards the right-hand side the offspring will be males, and if towards the left, females. [177] Conception is effected by one coupling, and if this happens to miss, the female goes to a male again twenty days after. They bear the calf in the tenth month; one produced before is of no use. Some authorities say that they bear on the actual last day of the tenth month. They rarely produce twins. Coupling takes place in the thirty days following the rise of the Dolphin on January 4, and occasionally in the autumn also, though nations that live on milk spread it out so that there may be a supply of this nutriment at every season of the year. Bulls do not couple more than twice in one day. [178] Oxen are the only animals that graze even while walking backward; indeed among the Garamantes that is their only way of grazing. The longest life of a cow is 15 years and of a bull 20; they grow to full strength at 5. Washing in hot water is said to fatten them, and also cutting a hole in the hide and blowing air into the flesh with a reed. [179] Even the breeds less praised for their appearance are not to be deemed inferior: the Alpine cows which are the smallest in size give most milk, and do most work, although they are yoked by the head and not the neck. Syrian oxen have no dewlaps, but a hump on the back. Also the Carian breed in a district of Asia is said to be ugly in appearance, with a swelling that projects from the neck over the shoulders and with the horns displaced, but excellent in work - although when black and white in colour they are said to be no good for ploughing; the bulls have smaller and thinner horns than the cows. [180] Oxen should be broken when three years old; after that it is too late and before too early; the best way to train a young bullock is to yoke it with one already broken in. For we possess in this animal a partner in labour and in husbandry, held in such esteem with our predecessors that among our records of punishments there is a case of a man who was indicted for having killed an ox because a wanton young companion said he had never eaten bullock's tripe, and was convicted by the public court and sent into exile just as though he had murdered his farm-labourer.

[181] Bulls have a noble appearance, a grim brow, bristly ears, and horns bared for action and asking for a fight; but their chief threat is in their fore feet: a bull stands glowing with wrath, bending back either fore foot in turn and splashing up the sand against his belly - it is the only animal that goads itself into a passion by these means. [182] We have seen bulls, when fighting a duel under orders and on show for the purpose, being whirled round and caught on the horns as they fall and afterwards rise again, and then when lying down be lifted off the ground, and even stand in a car like charioteers with a pair of horses racing at full speed. It is a device of the Thessalian race to kill bulls by galloping a horse beside them and twisting back the neck by the horn; the dictator Caesar first gave this show at Rome. [183] The bull supplies costly victims and the most sumptuous appeasement of the gods. In this animal only of all that have a comparatively long tail, the tail is not of the proper size from birth, as it is in the others; and with it alone the tail grows till it reaches right down to the feet. Consequently the test of victims for sacrifice in the case of a calf is that the tail must reach the joint of the hock; if it is shorter the offering is not acceptable. It has also been noted that calves are not usually acceptable if carried to the altars on a man's shoulders, and also that the gods are not propitiated if the victim is lame or is not of the appropriate sort, or if it drags itself away from the altar. It frequently occurs among the prodigies of old times that an ox spoke, and when this was reported it was customary for a meeting of the senate to be held in the open air.

{71.} L   [184] In Egypt an ox is even worshipped in place of a god; its name is Apis. Its distinguishing mark is a bright white spot in the shape of a crescent on the right flank, and it has a knob under the tongue which they call a beetle. It is not lawful for it to exceed a certain number of years of life, and they kill it by drowning it in the fountain of the priests, proceeding with lamentation to look for another to put in its place, and they go on mourning till they have found one, actually shaving the hair off their heads. Nevertheless the search never continues long. [185] When the successor is found it is led by 100 priests to Memphis. It has a pair of shrines, which they call its bed-chambers, that supply the nations with auguries: when it enters one this is a joyful sign, but in the other one it portends terrible events. It gives answers to private individuals by taking food out of the hand of those who consult it; it turned away from the hand of Germanicus Caesar, who was made away with not long after. Usually living in retirement, when it sallies forth into assemblies it proceeds with lictors to clear the way, and companies of boys escort it singing a song in its honour; it seems to understand, and to desire to be worshipped. These companies are suddenly seized with frenzy and chant prophecies of future events. [186] Once a year a cow is displayed to it, she too with her decorations, although they are not the same as his; and it is traditional for her always to be found and put to death on the same day. At Memphis there is a place in the Nile which from its shape they call the Goblet {Phiale}; every year they throw into the river there a gold and a silver cup on the days which they keep as the birthdays of Apis. These are seven; and it is a remarkable fact that during these days nobody is attacked by crocodiles, but that after midday on the eighth day the creature's savagery returns.

{72.} L   [187] Sheep are also of great service either in respect of propitiatory offerings to the gods or in the use of their fleeces. As oxen improve men's diet, so the protection of their bodies is owed to sheep. They breed when two years old on both sides, till the age of nine, and in some cases even till ten. The lambs at the first birth are smaller. They all couple from the setting of Arcturus, that is May 13th, to the setting of Aquila, July 23rd; they carry their lambs 150 days. Lambs conceived after the date mentioned are weak; in old days those born later were called cordi. Many people prefer winter lambs to spring ones, holding that it is more important for them to be well-established before midsummer than before midwinter, and that this animal alone is advantageously born in winter. [188] It is inbred in the ram to despise lambs as mates and to desire maturity in sheep; and the ram himself is better in old age, and also more serviceable when polled. His wildness is restrained by boring a hole in the horn close to the ear. If a ligature is put on the right testicle he gets females and if on the left males. Claps of thunder cause sheep to miscarry when solitary; the remedy is to herd them in flocks, so as to be cheered by company. [189] They say that male lambs are got when a north wind is blowing and female when a south; and in this breed the greatest attention is given to the mouths of the rams, as the wool in the case of the progeny is of the colour of the veins under the tongue of the parent ram, and if these were of several colours the lamb is varicoloured. Also changing the water they drink varies their colour.

There are two principal breeds of sheep, jacketed sheep and farm sheep; the former are softer and the latter more delicate in their pasture, inasmuch as the jacketed sheep feeds on brambles. The best jackets for them are made of Arabian sheep's wool.

{73.} L   [190] The most highly esteemed wool is the Apulian and the kind that is called in Italy wool of the Greek breed and elsewhere Italian wool. The third place is held by the sheep of Miletus. The Apulian fleeces are short in the hair, and not of great repute except for cloaks; they have a very high reputation in the districts of Tarentum and Canusium, as have the Laodicean fleeces of the same breed in Asia. No white fleece is valued above that from the district of the Po, and none has hitherto gone beyond the price of a hundred sesterces per pound. [191] Sheep are not shorn everywhere - in some places the practice survives of plucking off the wool. There are several sorts of colour, in fact even names are lacking for the wools which are variously designated after their places of origin: Spain has the principal black wool fleeces, Pollentia near the Alps white, Asia the red fleeces that they call Erythrean, Baetica the same, Canusium tawny, Tarentum also a dark colour of its own.. All fresh fleeces have a medicinal property. Istrian and Liburnian fleece is nearer to hair than wool, and not suitable for garments with a soft nap; and the same applies to the fleece that Salacia in Lusitania advertises by its check pattern. There is a similar wool in the district of the Fishponds in the province of Narbonensis, and also in Egypt, which is used for darning clothes worn by use and making them last again for a long period. Also the coarse hair of a shaggy fleece has a very ancient popularity in carpets: Homer a is evidence that they were undoubtedly in use even in very early times. Different methods of dyeing these fleeces are practised by the Gauls and by the Parthian races. [192] Self-felted fleeces make clothing, and also if vinegar is added withstand even steel, nay more even fire, the latest method of cleaning them. In fact fleeces drawn from the coppers of the polishers serve as stuffing for cushions, as invented I believe in Gaul: at all events at the present day it is classified under Gallic names. [193] And I could not easily say at what period this began; for people in old times had bedding of straw, in the same way as in camp now. Frieze cloaks began within my father's memory and cloaks with hair on both sides within my own, as also shaggy body-belts; moreover weaving a broad-striped tunic after the manner of a frieze cloak is coming in for the first time now. Black fleeces will not take dye of any colour; we will discuss the dyeing of the other sorts in their proper places under the head of marine shellfish or the nature of various plants.

{74.} L   [194] Marcus Varro informs us, on his own authority, that the wool on the distaff and spindle of Tanaquil (who was also called Gaia Caecilia) was still preserved in the temple of Sancus; and also in the shrine of Fortune a pleated royal robe made by her, which had been worn by Servius Tullius. Hence arose the practice that maidens at their marriage were accompanied by a decorated distaff and a spindle with thread. Tanaquil first wove a straight tunic of the kind that young men wear with the plain white toga, and newly married brides. [195] The pleated robe was the first among those most in favour; consequently the spotted robe went out of fashion. Fenestella writes that togas of smooth cloth and of Phrygian wool began in the latest times of the deified Augustus. Togas of closely woven poppy-cloth have a an older source, being noticed as far back as the poet Lucilius in the case of Torquatus. Bordered robes found their origin with the Etruscans. I find it recorded that striped robes were worn by the kings, and they had embroidered robes as far back as Homer, these being the origin of those worn in triumphs. [196] Embroidering with the needle was discovered by the Phrygians, and consequently embroidered robes are called Phrygian. Gold embroidery was also invented in Asia, by King Attalus, from whom Attalic robes got their name. Weaving different colours into a pattern was chiefly brought into vogue by Babylon, which gave its name to this process. But the fabric called damask woven with a number of threads was introduced by Alexandria, and check patterns by Gaul. Metellus Scipio counts it among the charges against Cato that Babylonian coverlets were already then sold for 800,000 sesterces, which lately cost the Emperor  Nero 4,000,000. [197] The state robes of Servius Tullius, with which the statue of Fortune dedicated by him was draped, lasted till the death of Sejanus, and it was remarkable that they had not rotted away or suffered damage from moths in 560 years. We have before now seen the fleeces even of living animals dyed with purple, scarlet, crimson ... [with eighteen inch scales/pounds] as though luxury forced them to be born like that.

{75.} L   [198] In the sheep itself breed is sufficiently shown by shortness of the legs and a well-clothed belly. Sheep with the belly bare used to be called 'misfits' and turned down. The sheep of Syria have tails 18 inches long, and a great deal of wool on that part. It is considered too soon for lambs to be gelt unless five months old.

[199] In Spain, but particularly in Corsica, there is an animal not unlike the sheep, the moufflon, with hair nearer the goat's than the sheep's; these when crossed with sheep produce what in old days were called Umbrians. Sheep are very weak in the head, and consequently must be made to graze with their backs to the sun. The fleecy sheep is the stupidest of animals; if afraid to go into a place they will follow one of the flock that is taken by the horn. Their longest term of life is 10 years, in Ethiopia 13; goats in Ethiopia live 11 years, but in other parts of the world at most eight. In breeding with either kind to couple three times at most is sufficient.

{76.} L   [200] Goats bear as many as four kids at once, but rather seldom; they carry their young for 5 months, like sheep. He-goats are made sterile by over-fattening. They are not very useful as sires till three years old, nor in old age, and they do not serve for more than four years. They begin when six months old and before they are weaned. Both sexes breed better with the horns removed. The first coupling in the day has no result, but the following and subsequent ones are more effectual. She-goats conceive in November so as to bear kids in March when the bushes are budding - yearlings sometimes and two-year-olds always, but they are not of much use for breeding unless three years old. They go on bearing for eight years. They are liable to miscarriage from cold. [201] A she-goat cures its eyes when bloodshot by pricking them on a rush, he-goats on a bramble. Mucianus has described a case of this animal's cleverness seen by himself - two goats coming in opposite directions met on a very narrow bridge, and as the narrow space did not permit them to turn round and the length did not allow of backing blindly on the scanty passageway with a rushing torrent flowing threateningly below, one of them lay down and so the other one passed over, treading on top of it. [202] People admire he-goats that are as snub-nosed as possible, with long drooping ears and extremely shaggy flanks. It is a mark of good breeding in she-goats to have two dewlaps hanging down from the neck; not all have horns, but in those that have there are also indications of their years furnished by the growths of the knobs; they give more milk when without horns; according to Archelaus they breathe though the ears, not the nostrils, and are never free from fever: this is perhaps the reason why they are more high-spirited than sheep and hotter in coupling. [203] It is said that goats can see by night as well as they can in the daytime, and that consequently a diet of goat's liver restores twilight sight to persons suffering from what is called night-blindness. In Cilicia and the Syrtes region people wear clothes made of hair shorn from goats. They say that she-goats in the pastures when the sun is setting do not look at one another but lie down with their backs to each other, though at other times of the day they lie facing each other and take notice of one another. From the chin of all goats hangs a tuft of hair called their beard. [204] If you grasp a she-goat by this and drag her out of the herd the others look on in amazement; this also happens as well when one of them nibbles a particular plant. Their bite kills a tree; they make an olive tree barren even by licking it, and for this reason they are not offered in sacrifice to Minerva.

{77.} L   [205] Swine are allowed to breed from the beginning of spring to the vernal equinox, beginning at seven months old and in some places even at three months, and continuing to their eighth year. Sows bear twice a year, carrying their pigs four months: litters number up to 20, but sows cannot rear so many. Nigidius states that for ten days at midwinter pigs are born with the teeth already grown. Sows are impregnated by one coupling, which is also repeated because they are so liable to abortion; the remedy is not to allow coupling at the first heat or before the ears are pendulous. [206] Hogs cannot serve when over three years old. Sows exhausted by age couple lying down; it is nothing out of the way for them to eat their litter. A pig is suitable for sacrifice four days after birth, a lamb in a week and a calf in a month. Coruncanius asserted that ruminant animals are not acceptable as victims before they grow their front teeth. It is thought that a sow that loses an eye soon dies, but that otherwise sows live to fifteen and in some cases even twenty years; but they become savage, and in any ease the breed is liable to diseases, especially quinsy and scrofula. [207] Symptoms of bad health in a sow are when blood is found on the root of a bristle pulled out of its back and when it holds its head on one side in walking. If too fat they experience lack of milk; and they have a smaller number of pigs in their first litter. The breed likes wallowing in mud. The tail is curly; also it has been noticed that it is easier to kill them for sacrifice when the tail curls to the right than when to the left. They take 60 days to fatten, but fatten better if feeding up is preceded by three days' fast. The pig is the most brutish of animals, and there used to be a not unattractive idea that its soul was given it to serve as salt. [208] It is a known fact that some pigs carried off by thieves recognized the voice of their swineherd, crowded to one side of the ship till it capsized and sank, and swam back to shore. Moreover the leaders of a herd in the city learn to go to the market place and to find their way home; and wild hogs know how to obliterate their tracks by crossing marshy ground, and to relieve themselves when running away by making water. [209] Sows are spayed in the same way as also camels are, by being hung up by the fore legs after two days without food and having the matrix cut out; this makes them fatten quicker. There is also a method of treating the liver of sows as of geese, a discovery of Marcus Apicius - they are stuffed with dried fig, and when full killed directly after having been given a drink of mead. Nor does any animal supply a larger number of materials for an eating-house: they have almost fifty flavours, whereas all other meats have one each. Hence pages of sumptuary laws, and the prohibition of hog's paunches, sweetbreads, testicles, matrix and cheeks for banquets, although nevertheless no dinner of Publilius, the poet of mimes, after he had obtained his freedom is recorded that did not include paunch - he actually got from this the nickname of Pig's Paunch.

{78.} L   [210] But also wild boar has been a popular meat. luxury. As far back as Cato the Censor a we find his speeches denouncing boar's meat bacon. Nevertheless a boar used to be cut up into three parts and the middle part served at table, under the name of boar's loin. Publius Servilius Rullus, father of the Rullus who brought in the land settlement act during Cicero's consulship, first served a boar whole at his banquets - so recent is the origin of what is now an everyday affair; and this occurrence has been noted by historians, presumably for the improvement of the manners of the present day, when it is the fashion for two or three boars to be devoured at one time not even as a whole dinner but as the first course.

[211] Fulvius Lippinus was the first person of Roman nationality who invented preserves for wild pigs and the other kinds of game: he introduced keeping wild animals in the district of Tarquinii; and he did not long lack imitators, Lucius Lucullus and Quintus Hortensius.

[212] Wild pigs breed once a year. The boars are very rough when mating; at this period they fight each other, hardening their flanks by rubbing against trees and plastering their behinds with mud. The females are fiercer when with young, and this is more or less the same in every kind of wild animal. Male boars do not mate till one year old. In India they have curved tusks 18 in. long: two project from the jaw, and two from the forehead like a calf's horns. The wild boar's hair is a sort of copper colour; that of the other species is black. But the hog genus does not occur in Arabia.

{79.} L   [213] In the case of no other kind of animal is it so easy to cross with the wild variety; the offspring of such unions in old days were called 'hybrids,' meaning half-wild, a term also applied as a nickname to human beings, for instance, to Cicero's colleague in the consulship Gaius Antonius. But not only in pigs but in all animals as well whenever there is any tame variety of a genus there is also found a wild one of the same genus, inasmuch as even in the case of man an equal number of savage races have been predicted to exist. [214] Nevertheless the formation of the goat is transferred to a very large number of similar species: there are the goat, the chamois and the ibex - an animal of marvellous speed, although its head is burdened with enormous horns resembling the sheaths of swords, towards which it sways itself as though whirled with a sort of catapult, chiefly when on rocks and seeking to leap from one crag to another, and by means of the recoil leaps out more nimbly to the point to which it wants to get. There are also the oryx, the only species according to certain authorities clothed with hair lying the wrong way, towards the head, and the antelope, the white-rumped antelope, the twisted-horn antelope and a great many other not dissimilar species. But the former we receive from the Alps, the latter from places across the sea.

{80.} L   [215] The kinds of apes also which are closest to the human shape are distinguished from each other by the tails. They are marvellously cunning: people say that they use bird-lime as ointment, and that they put on the nooses set to snare them as if they were shoes, in imitation of the hunters; according to Mucianus the tailed species have even been known to play at draughts, are able to distinguish at a glance sham nuts made of wax, and are depressed by the moon waning and worship the new moon with delight: and it is a fact that the other four-footed animals also are frightened by eclipses. [216] The genus ape has a remarkable affection for its young. Tame monkeys kept in the house who bear young ones carry them about and show them to everybody, and delight in having them stroked, looking as if they understood that they are being congratulated; and as a consequence in a considerable number of cases they kill their babies by hugging them. The baboon is of a fiercer nature, just as the satyrus is extremely gentle. The pretty-haired ape is almost entirely different in appearance: it has a bearded face and a tail flattened out wide at the base. This animal is said to be unable to live in any other climate but that of its native country, Ethiopia.

{81.} L   [217] There are also several kinds of hare. In the Alps there are white hares, which are believed to eat snow for their fodder in the winter months - at all events they turn a reddish colour every year when the snow melts - and in other ways the animal is a nurseling of the intolerable cold. The animals in Spain called rabbits also belong to the genus hare; their fertility is beyond counting, and they bring famine to the Balearic Islands by ravaging the crops. Their young cut out from the mother before birth or taken from the teat are considered a very great delicacy, served without being gutted; the name for them is laurices. [218] It is an established fact that the peoples of the Balearics petitioned the deified Augustus for military assistance against the spread of these animals. The ferret is extremely popular for rabbit-hunting; they throw ferrets into the burrows with a number of exits that the rabbits tunnel in the ground (this is the derivation of their name cony) and so catch the rabbits when they are driven out to the surface. Archelaus states that a hare is as many years old as it has folds in the bowel: these are certainly found to vary in number. The same authority says that the hare is a hermaphrodite and reproduces equally well without a male. [219] Nature has shown her benevolence in making harmless and edible breeds of animals prolific. The hare which is born to be all creatures' prey is the only animal beside the shaggy-footed rabbit that practises superfetation, rearing one leveret while at the same time carrying in the womb another clothed with hair and another bald and another still an embryo. Also the experiment has been made of using the fur of the hare for making clothes, although it is not so soft to the touch as it is when on the animal's skin, and the garments soon come to pieces because of the shortness of the hair.

{82.} L   [220] Hares rarely grow tame, although they cannot properly be termed wild animals - for in fact there are a good many creatures that are neither wild nor tame but of a character intermediate between each, for instance among winged things swallows and bees, in the sea dolphins. [221] Many people have also placed in this class these denizens of our homes the mice, a creature not to be ignored among portents even in regard to public affairs; they foretold the Marsic War by gnawing the silver shields at Lanuvium, and the death of General Carbo by gnawing at the puttees that he wore inside his sandals. There are more varieties of mice in the district of Cyrene, some with broad and others with pointed heads, and others like hedgehogs with prickly bristles. [222] Theophrastus states that on the island of Giara when they had banished the inhabitants they even gnawed iron, and that they also do this by a sort of instinct in the iron foundries in the country of the Chalybes: indeed, he says, in gold mines because of this their bellies get cut away and their theft of gold is always detected, so fond are they of thieving. The Annales  relate that during the siege of Casilinum by Hannibal a mouse was sold for 200 denarii, and that the man who sold it died of hunger while the buyer lived. [223] The appearance of white mice constitutes a joyful omen. For we have our Annales full of instances of the auspices being interrupted by the squeaking of shrews. Nigidius states that shrews themselves also hibernate as do dormice, which sumptuary legislation and Marcus Scaurus the princeps senatus during his consulship {115 BC} ruled out from banquets just as they did shell-fish or birds imported from other parts of the world. [224] The shrew-mouse itself also is a half-wild animal, and keeping it alive in jars was originated by the same person as started keeping wild pigs. In this connexion it has been noticed that shrew-mice do not associate unless they are natives of the same forest, and if foreigners separated by a river or mountain are introduced they die fighting one another. They feed their parents when exhausted by old age with remarkable affection. Their old age comes to its end during the winter repose - for these creatures also hibernate, and renew their youth at the coming of summer. Dormice hibernate similarly.

{83.} L   [225] In this connexion it is surprising that Nature has not only assigned different animals to different countries, but has also denied certain animals to some places in the same region. In the Mesian forest in Italy dormice of which we are now speaking are only found in one part. In Lycia the gazelles do not cross the mountains near the Sexi, nor the wild asses the boundary dividing Cappadocia from Cilicia. The stags on the Hellespont do not migrate into unfamiliar districts, and those in the neighbourhood of Arginusa do not go beyond Mount Elaphus, even those on the mountain having cleft ears. In the island of Poroselene weasels do not cross a road. [226] Similarly in Boeotia moles that undermine the whole of the fields in Orchomenus near by, when imported into Lebadea are shy of the very soil. We have seen counterpanes for beds made out of their skins: so powerless is even superstition to protect the miraculous against luxury. In Ithaca imported hares die on the very edge of the shore, as do rabbits in Ebusus, although Spain and the Balearic Islands close by are teeming with them. [227] At Cyrene the frogs were silent, and though croaking frogs have been imported from the mainland the silent breed goes on. Frogs are also silent in the island of Seriphus, but the same frogs croak when removed to some other place, which is also said to happen in Lake Sicandrus in Thessaly. The bite of the shrewmouse in Italy is venomous, but the venomous species is not found in the district beyond the Apennines. Also wherever it occurs it dies if it crosses the track of a wheel. There are no wolves on Mount Olympus in Macedonia, nor in the island of Crete. [228] In fact in Crete there are no wolves or bears either, and no noxious animal at all except a poisonous spider: we shall speak of this species in its place, under the head of spiders. It is more remarkable that in the same island there are no stags except in the district of Cydonea, and the same is the case with wild boars and francolins and hedgehogs, while in Africa there are neither wild boars nor stags nor wild goats nor bears.

{84.} L   [229] Again, some animals harmless to natives of the country are deadly to foreigners, for instance some small snakes at Tiryns that are said to be born from the earth. Similarly serpents in Syria specially found about the banks of the Euphrates do not touch Syrians when asleep, or even if they bite them when trodden on are not felt to cause any evil effect, but they are maleficent to other people of whatever race, killing them voraciously and with torturing pain, on account of which the Syrians also do not kill them. On the other hand Aristotle relates that the scorpions on Mount Latmos in Caria do not wound strangers but kill natives.

But we will also speak of the remaining kinds of land animals.

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