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AELIAN: ON THE NATURE OF ANIMALS

-   BOOK 6

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 5

[1] G   Men have need of the spoken word to stimulate and persuade them to be good, to banish cowardice, to gather courage : athletes, with a view to running; soldiers, with a view to fighting. Animals however need no extraneous encouragement but stimulate their prowess for themselves and rouse and incite themselves. For instance, the boar when intending to do battle, whets his tusks on smooth rocks. Homer, you know, gives clear evidence regarding the animal [Il. 13. 471 ] . Further, the lion rouses himself by lashing himself with his tail and allows no idling and no repose. And this the poet knew when he spoke of the lion [Il. 20. 170 ] . And elephants inflame themselves for the fight, whenever the occasion arises, by beating themselves with their trunk: they need no one to sing to them and say ' This is no time for sitting still or for delaying ' [Bacc. fr. 11 Jebb] , still less do they wait for the poems of Tyrtaeus. And when a bull that is the leader of a herd is defeated by another leader, he departs to some other place and becomes his own trainer and practises every method of fighting, scattering the dust over himself and rubbing his horns against tree-trunks and fitting himself in other ways to display his strength, and particularly abstaining from sexual acts and living continently like Iccus of Tarentum, whom Plato the son of Ariston celebrates [Legg. 8. 839 e] as refraining from all sexual commerce during the entire period of the Games. Now to Iccus, who was a man and who loved the Olympic and Pythian games and who understood what glory was and who longed for fame, it was no great matter to restrain himself and to spend the nights continently. For to him the prizes meant glory - the wild olive of Olympia, the Isthmian pine, and the Pythian laurel, admiration in his lifetime, and after death an honoured name. Again, the harper Amoebeus, I am told, married a woman of surpassing beauty but had no intercourse with her when he was going to the theatre in order to compete there. And Diogenes the actor in tragedies eschewed absolutely all licentious unions. And Clitomachus the pancratiast, if ever he saw dogs coupling, would turn away; and if at a wine party he heard some licentious and bawdy story, would get up and leave. There is nothing surprising that being men they should behave so, either in order to make money or to achieve renown and fame. But, O son of Ariston, when a bull overcomes his adversary, what proclamation announces his victory, and what prizes do men award him ?

[2] G   Brute beasts are in the habit of not molesting their companions and of frequently sparing them. For instance, I have heard the following story. A hunter had a leopard which he had tamed from its earliest days and which he loved and tended assiduously as though it were his friend or darling. Now he brought a kid and gave it to the leopard alive, thinking to provide it at once with food and with the pleasure of tearing the kid to pieces, and supposing that it would refuse to eat dead meat. In fact when the kid was brought the leopard controlled itself: being full-fed it needed to abstain from food. And it did the same on the second day, for it still needed the medicine of starvation. But when the third day came it began to grow hungry and, as usual, showed that it was by the sound of its voice; for all that, it still would not touch the kid which had been its friend for two days, but left it alone, though it accepted another one.

Men however have betrayed even their brothers and their parents and old friends; there have been many and frequent cases.

[3] G   I have described in some earlier passage ** how the bear produces some shapeless flesh and then licks it into shape and, so to say, moulds it. But what I have not already mentioned I will mention now, and this is a suitable occasion. It gives birth in the winter time, and having done so, hibernates; and as it dreads the frosts it awaits the coming of spring, and would never bring its cubs out until three full months have passed. But when it perceives that it is pregnant it dreads this as though it were some sickness, and seeks for a lair. (Hence the bear's hibernation is called its ' lair period.') Then it enters, not on its feet but lying down, thus effacing its tracks for those who hunt it, for it drags itself along on its back. And having entered, it rests, and in some way reduces its figure; and this it does for forty days. Aristotle however says [HA 600 b 2] that the bear remains motionless and does not stir for fourteen days, and for the remainder she just turns. So she passes the entire forty days without food or nourishment: it is enough for her to lick her right paw. And owing to excessive liquescence her intestines become wrinkled up and compressed. Knowing this, as soon as she emerges she eats some of the plant called ' wild arum '; ** and as this induces flatulence, it opens up her gut, widens it, and renders it capable of admitting food. And when she has filled herself out once more, she eats some ants and obtains an easy evacuation. I have now sufficiently described how bears empty and fill their bodies by natural means without any need, my fellow men, of doctors or of concoctions.

[4] G   When snakes intend to eat fruit they swallow the juice of the herb called picris. ** It helps to prevent them from being filled with wind. And when they intend to lie in wait for a human being or an animal, they eat poisonous roots and herbs too of the same description. So it seems that Homer too was aware of what they ate. For instance, he tells [Il. 23. 93] how a snake waits for a man, lying coiled up near its lurking-place, after it has taken its fill of much poisonous, deadly food.

[5] G   When deer have cast their antlers they go and hide in thickets and so protect themselves against attackers; and rightly so, for as they are without means of self-defence they are convinced that they have for the time being lost their strength. It is said also that, while the stumps are still fresh and before they have hardened and the young horns, called chondroi, have begun to form, they take care that the sun's rays shall not fall upon them and cause the flesh to putrefy.

[6] G   When horses march to battle they become suspicious at having to jump trenches, at having to leap over pits and to pass through stakes and palisades and the like. And one finds Homer saying about such matters [Il. 12. 49]

' Thus Hector passing through the throng implored his comrades, urging them to cross the trench. But even his swift horses dared not, but neighed loudly as they stood upon the sheer brink, for the yawning trench dismayed them, not easy to leap from close up, nor to cross.'

[7] G   In Egypt near the lake Moeris as it is called, where is Crocodilopolis, the tomb of a crow is pointed out. The Egyptians give the following reason. The King of Egypt (Mares ** was his name) possessed a remarkable crow which was quite tame. Any despatches that he wished to have delivered anywhere this crow would speedily carry; and it was the swiftest of messengers : having heard its destination, it knew where it must direct its flight to, which spot it must pass, and where it must pause on arrival. In reward for these services Mares honoured it when dead with a monument and a tomb.

[8] G   Every animal has a special word to denote the care spent on its upbringing. For example, one might speak of the ' breaking in ' of horses, the ' rearing ' of hounds, the ' grooming ' of elephants, the ' rearing ' of lions, the ' rearing ' of birds, and so forth.

[9] G   Now here the bear shows its clever tricks. If it is pursued together with its cubs it pushes them along in front as far as it is able. But when it realises that they are exhausted, it carries one on its back and another in its mouth, then laying hold of a tree, climbs up. And one cub clings to its back with its claws, while the other is carried in the teeth of the bear as it mounts. If when famished it comes across a bull, it does not engage in a straightforward battle of strength, but wrestles with it and seizing its neck brings it down and tightens its clench. And while the bull is being crushed it bellows, until at last it gives up and lies dead; and the bear takes its fill.

[10] G   (i). Here is further evidence to show that animals are apt at learning. Under the Ptolemies the Egyptians taught baboons their letters, how to dance, how to play the flute and the harp. And a baboon would demand money for these accomplishments, and would put what was given him into a bag which he carried attached to his person, just like professional beggars. It has long been noised abroad that the people of Sybaris have even taught horses how to dance. ** Of the ease with which elephants can be induced to learn I have spoken above. ** Now dogs are capable of managing household affairs for those who have trained them, and for a poor man it is enough to have a dog as slave. There are after all people who are without slaves even of this kind, among the Arabs for instance the Troglodytes, among the Libyans the Nomads, and among the Ethiopians all the lake-dwellers, people who have never learnt to eat anything other than fish.

(ii). Animals retain the memory of their experiences and have no need of those mnemonic systems devised by Simonides, by Hippias, and by Theodectes, or by any other of those who have been extolled for their profession and their skill in this matter. For instance, a cow goes to the spot where her calf was taken from her and mourns for it, lowing as is her wont. Some oxen too when about to be yoked express their pleasure, others draw back. And a horse on hearing the clash of curb-chain and the clang of bit, and seeing chest-plates and frontlets, begins to snort and makes his hoofs ring as he prances, and is in an ecstasy. And the shouting of the stablemen stimulates him and he pricks up his ears and dilates his nostrils as he remembers his galloping and yearns irresistibly for his habitual exercise.

[11] G   The Deer produces its young by the roadside and appears to do so from a wise precaution, because it dreads wild beasts and their designs, but has no fear of human beings: it knows full well that it is weaker than the former, but has no doubt that it can escape from the latter. But when it has grown fat it would no longer give birth by the roadside, for it knows that it is too sluggish to run, and so it brings forth its young in glens, in thickets, and in ravines.

[12] G   The Land Tortoise after eating some marjoram treats a viper with contempt. But if it lacks marjoram it arms itself against its enemy by consuming some rue. If however it fails to find either, it is killed.

[13] G   The Deer (so I am told) is content with what is before it and has no further wants, but is more frugal than man in its appetite. For instance, in the neighbourhood of the Hellespont there is a hill pastured by deer, which have one of their ears cleft, and they do not stray beyond this hill, do not want strange food, desire no other meadows from any need of a larger amount of grass; so what is at hand is enough for them the whole year round. What have you, O men, to say to this, you whom

' not even all the wealth contained within the Archer's ** threshold of stone ' [Hom. Il. 9. 404]

would satisfy until the day of death ?

[14] G   The Hyena, according to Aristotle, ** has in its left paw the power of sending to sleep and can with a mere touch induce torpor. For instance, it often visits stables, and when it finds any creature asleep it creeps softly up and puts what you might call its sleep-inducing paw upon the creature's nose, and it is suffocated and overpowered. Meantime the hyena scoops out the earth beneath the head to such a depth as makes the head bend back into the hole, leaving the throat uppermost and exposed. Thereupon it fastens on to the animal, throttles it, and carries it off to its lair. And it attacks dogs in the following manner. When the moon's disc is full, the hyena gets the rays behind it and casts its own shadow upon the dogs and at once reduces them to silence, and having bewitched them, as sorceresses do, it then carries them off tongue-tied and thereafter puts them to such use as it pleases.

[15] G   The story of a dolphin's love for a beautiful boy at Iasus ** has long been celebrated, and I am determined not to leave it unrecorded; it shall accordingly be told.

The gymnasium at Iasus is situated close to the sea, and after their running and their wrestling the youths in accordance with an ancient custom go down there and wash themselves. Now while they were swimming about, a dolphin fell passionately in love with a boy of remarkable beauty. At first when it approached, it frightened the boy and completely scared him; later on however, through constant meeting, it even led the boy to conceive a warm friendship and kindly feelings towards it. For instance, they began to sport with one another; and sometimes they would compete, swimming side by side in rivalry, sometimes the boy would mount, like a rider on a horse, and be carried proudly along on the back of his lover. And to the people of Iassus and to strangers the event seemed marvellous. For the dolphin would go a long way out to sea with its darling on its back and as far as it pleased its rider; then it would turn and bring him close to the beach, and they would part company and return, the dolphin to the open sea, the boy to his home. And the dolphin used to appear at the hour when the gymnasium was dismissed, and the boy was delighted to find his friend expecting him and to play together. And besides his natural beauty, this too made him the admired of all, namely that not only men but even dumb animals thought him a boy of surpassing loveliness.

In a little while however even this mutual affection was destroyed by Envy. ** Thus, it happened that the boy exercised himself too vigorously, and in an exhausted state threw himself belly downwards on to his mount, and as the spike on the dolphin's dorsal fin chanced to be erect it pierced the beautiful boy's navel. Whereupon certain veins were severed; there followed a gush of blood; and presently the boy died. The dolphin perceiving this from the weight - for the boy lay heavier than usual, as he could not lighten himself by breathing - and seeing the surface of the water crimson with blood, realised what had happened and could not bear to survive its darling. And so with all the gathered force of a ship dashing through the waves it made its way to the beach and deliberately cast itself upon the shore, bringing the dead body with it. And there they both lay, the boy already dead, the dolphin breathing its last. (But Laļus, ** my good Euripides, did not act so in the case of Chrysippus, although, as you yourself and the common report tell me, he was the first among the Greeks to inaugurate the love of boys.) And the people of Iasus, to requite the ardent friendship between the pair, built one common tomb for the beautiful youth and the amorous dolphin, with a monument at the head. It was a handsome boy riding upon a dolphin. And the inhabitants struck coins of silver and of bronze and stamped them with a device showing the fate of the pair, and they commemorated them by way of homage to the operation of the god ** who was so powerful.

And I learn that at Alexandria also, in the reign of Ptolemy II, ** a dolphin was similarly enamoured; at Puteoli also, in Italy. So, had these facts been known to Herodotus, I think they would have surprised him no less than what happened to Arion of Methymna. **

[16] G   Dogs, oxen, swine, goats, snakes, and other animals have a presentiment of an impending famine; they are the first too to know when a pestilence or an earthquake is approaching. They can foretell fair weather and the fertility of the crops. Though devoid of reason, which can be a man's salvation or his destruction, they are not mistaken at any rate in the matters mentioned above.

[17] G   In the country of those known as Judaeans or Idumaeans, the natives of the time of Herod the King used to tell of a serpent of enormous size being enamoured of a lovely girl: he used to visit her and later even slept with her like an ardent lover. Now the girl was terrified of her lover, although he slid up to her as softly and gently as he could. So she escaped from him and remained away for a month, supposing that the serpent in consequence of his darling's absence would forget her. But loneliness augmented his misery, and every day and night he used to haunt the place. Since however he did not find the object of his desire, he too felt all the pains of a disappointed lover. But when the girl came back once more, he arrived and, encircling her with the rest of his body, with his tail gently lashed her legs, presumably in anger at finding himself despised. So he ** that is above even Zeus himself and the other gods does not overlook even brute beasts, but by these and by other acts manifests his relations towards them.

[18] G   Snakes, conscious that they have a narrow, elongated gullet, despite the fact that they are greedy and exceedingly voracious, as Aristotle says [HA 594 a 18 (8.4)] , rise upright and stand upon the tip of their tail, so that food slides down into them and passes into the bulk of their body. And having no feet they crawl at a great speed. Indeed one snake launches itself and flies with the speed of a javelin; and its name is derived from its action, for it is called Acontias (the Javelin-snake).

[19] G   Not one of the birds that sing and make melody has escaped observation, but we know that swallows, blackbirds, and the tribe of cicadas sing, that the jay is talkative, that the cricket buzzes, ** the locust makes a light strumming, the grasshopper is not silent, and moreover that halcyons and parrots are vocal, while among aquatic creatures the croak of the male frog is not silent. And of these some utter a plaintive feminine note, others a note shrill and piercing; and some sing as they hurry from branch to branch, as though they were changing house, while others warble in the meadows as though they were holding festival, and while leading an existence that is, as it were, all flowers and delicacy, hail (so I would say) with their music the coming of spring. Touching swans and the god whose ministers they are I have spoken above. ** Now the jay can imitate all other sounds but especially the human voice. And the buff- backed heron, as it is called, and the salpinx {trumpet} ** and the wryneck and the raven are peculiarly fitted to imitate the following sounds. The buff- backed heron represents the neighing of a horse; the salpinx, the instrument whose name it bears; and the wryneck, the cross-flute; while the raven tries to imitate the sound of raindrops.  

[20] G   The male scorpion is exceedingly ferocious, but the female seems to be of a milder temper. And I have heard that there are eleven kinds: ** one is white, while another is red, another smoke-colour, there is also a black kind; I have learnt also that there is one kind that is green, another pot-bellied, and another that resembles a crab. But it is commonly said that the fiercest is the fiery-coloured one. I have also learned by report that there are scorpions with wings and others with a double sting, and somewhere one has been seen with seven vertebrae. The scorpion is not oviparous but viviparous. And it should be known that some say that the offspring of these creatures are not produced by mating but ... heat causes scorpions to be exceedingly prolific. And how they all inflict their sting, and the effect this produces, and how they kill, you will learn from another source. 

[21] G   In India, I am told, the elephant and the python (?) are the bitterest enemies. Now elephants draw down the branches of trees and feed upon them. And the pythons, knowing this, crawl up the trees and envelop the lower half of their bodies in the foliage, but the upper portion extending to the head they allow to hang loose like a rope. And the elephant approaches to pluck the twigs, whereat the python springs at its eyes and gouges them out. Next the snake winds round the elephant's neck, and [ ? as it clings to the tree ] ** with the lower part of its body, it tightens its hold with the upper part and strangles the elephant with an unusual and singular noose.

[22] G   To the lion fire and a cock are utterly hateful; to the leopard a hyena, to the scorpion a gecko. Thus, if the aforesaid creature is brought near to a scorpion, the latter is seized with numbness. And the elephant shrinks from the python; and every beast of burden dreads the shrew-mouse; the lobster, the octopus. Furthermore if you were to try to push dogs off the roof, you would not succeed in throwing them down: they are afraid of the great danger involved.

[23] G   What ingenuity, peculiar to their kind, Nature seems to have imparted to scorpions! The people of Libya dreading their numbers and their machinations, devise endless schemes to counter them: they wear high boots; they sleep in beds raised high above the ground, setting their bed-cords away from the walls; they place the feet of their beds in vessels full of water, and imagine that they will thereafter sleep without fear and in peace. But what tricks do the scorpions devise! If a scorpion can find some spot in the roof to which he can hang, he clings to it firmly with his claws and lets down his sting. Then a second descends from the roof, crawls down over the first, and with his claws holds fast to his sting and lets his own dangle in the air. Then a third holds on to that, and a fourth on to the third, and a fifth in a line, while those that follow crawl down over the preceding ones. Then the last scorpion strikes the sleeper; crawls up again over the one above; after him the next; then the third from the bottom; then the rest, until the entire lot are disconnected, just as if they had undone a chain.

[24] G   The fox is a crafty creature. For instance, it plots against hedgehogs in the following way. It cannot overcome them by a direct attack, the reason being that their prickles prevent it; and so, gingerly and taking great care of its mouth, it turns them over and lays them on their back and after ripping them open, easily devours those whom till then it dreaded.

And this is the way that foxes hunt bustards in Pontus. They reverse themselves and put their head down upon the ground and stick their tail up, like a bird's neck. And the bustards are taken in and approach, supposing it to be some bird of their own kind; then when they come close up, they are easily caught by the fox, which turns upon them and attacks them violently;

Their manner of catching very small fishes is extremely dexterous. They move along the bank of a stream and trail their tails in the water. And the fish swim up and are enmeshed and entangled in the thick hairs. When the foxes notice this, they withdraw from the water and go to dry ground where they shake their tails thoroughly: the little fishes tumble out, and the foxes make a delicious meal.

The people of Thrace use this animal as an indicator of whether a frozen river is safe to cross. And if the fox runs across without the ice bending or giving way beneath its tread, they make bold to follow. The fox tests the safety of the transit in the following manner: it puts its ear down to the ice, and if it hears no sound of the flow beneath and no murmur in the depths, it has no fear, the ice being solid, and it races over without hesitation. Otherwise it would not set foot upon it.

[25] G   Poets pay homage to the daughter of Iphis, ** and the theatres are packed when they celebrate this famous heroine, since she excelled all other women in her chaste resolve, reckoning her husband more precious than her own life.

But animals have not been wanting in inordinate affection. For instance, the hound of Erigone ** died upon the body of its mistress: also the hound of Silanion ** upon the body of its master, and neither force nor blandishment could move it from the grave. And when Darius, the last King of Persia, ** was struck by Bessus in the battle against Alexander and lay dead, all forsook the corpse, only the dog which had been reared under his care remained faithfully at his side, unwilling to abandon, as though he was still alive, the man who could no longer tend him. Xenophon the son of Gryllus is clearly using the high-flown language of youth when he relates [An. 1.8.27] a similar tale of the friends of Cyrus the Younger, ** how his table-companions alone stood fast at his side and were slain along with him, while the eunuch who held the office of sceptre-bearer and was called Artapates, slew himself upon the corpse, not caring to live henceforward without Cyrus. And the hound of King Lysimachus ** of its own free will shared his death although its life might have been saved.

[26] G   The Monkey-spider has by some been called ' the mountain-ranger,' but by others (I am told) ' the wood-runner.' ** It is born on trees and is hairy. It has also by some been called ' the flea.' Its belly has a slight incision, so that one might say it had been cut in two by a thread. It inflicts the most dangerous bites, and they are attended by a trembling on the part of the victim; there ensues a sharp pain in the region of the heart; the urine is stopped; and the other passage also becomes blocked. It seems that the remedy for these afflictions is to eat a river-crab.

[27] G   The Tom-cat is extremely lustful, but the female cat is devoted to her kittens and tries to avoid sexual intercourse with the male, because the semen which he ejaculates is exceedingly hot and like fire, and burns the female organ. Now the tom-cat knowing this, makes away with their kittens, and the female in her yearning for other offspring yields to his lust. They say that cats hate and abhor all foul-smelling objects, and that is why they dig a hole before they discharge their excrement, so that they may get it out of sight by throwing earth upon it.

[28] G   They say that the octopus is the most incontinent of fish and copulates until all the strength of its body is drained away, leaving it weak, incapable of swimming, and unable to seek for food; in consequence of which it provides food for others, thus: small fishes, and what are known as ' hermit-crabs,' and crabs come about it and devour it. And they say that this is the reason why the octopus cannot live for more than a year. And as to the female, it is soon exhausted by giving birth so frequently.

[29] G   Phylarchus records how a youth who was deeply devoted to birds was presented with an eaglet, and how he fed it on a variety of foods and tended it with all possible care. He reared the bird not as a plaything to sport with, but as a favourite or as a younger brother, so full of thought was the youth for the eagle. As time passed it lit the flame of a strong mutual friendship. It happened that the youth fell sick, and the eagle stayed at his side and nursed its keeper: while he slept, the bird remained quiet; when he woke, it was there; if he took no food, it refused to eat. And when the youth at last died, the eagle also followed him to the tomb, and as the body burned it threw itself on to the pyre.

[30] G   The Hake, though not differing widely from other fish in its inward parts, is nevertheless solitary in its habits and cannot endure to live with other fish. It is the only fish that has its heart in its belly and stones in its brain resembling millstones. At the rising of the Dog-star ** it alone lurks in its den, while other fish are in the habit of doing so in the very frostiest seasons.

[31] G   Those who hunt crabs have hit upon the device of luring them with music. At any rate they catch them by means of a phōtinx (this is the name of an instrument). Now the crabs have gone down into their hiding-places, and the men begin to play. And at the sound, as though by a spell, the crabs are induced to quit their den, and then captivated with delight even emerge from the sea. But the flute-players withdraw backwards and the crabs follow and when on the dry land are caught.

[32] G   Those who live by the lake of Marea ** catch the Sprats there by singing with the utmost shrillness, accompanying their song with the clash of castanets. And the fishes, like women dancing, leap to the tune and fall into the nets spread for their capture. And through their dancing and frolics the Egyptians obtain an abundant catch.

[33] G   I am informed that the Egyptians bring birds down from the sky by some magic peculiar to them. And they have certain spells to bewitch snakes and draw them without any difficulty from their lurking-places.

[34] G   The Beaver is an amphibious creature: by day it lives hidden in rivers, but at night it roams the land, feeding itself with anything that it can find. Now it understands the reason why hunters come after it with such eagerness and impetuosity, and it puts down its head and with its teeth cuts off its testicles and throws them in their path, as a prudent man who, falling into the hands of robbers, sacrifices all that he is carrying, to save his life, and forfeits his possessions by way of ransom. If however it has already saved its life by self-castration and is again pursued, then it stands up and reveals that it offers no ground for their eager pursuit, and releases the hunters from all further exertions, for they esteem its flesh less. Often however beavers with testicles intact, after escaping as far away as possible, have drawn in the coveted part, and with great skill and ingenuity tricked their pursuers, pretending that they no longer possessed what they were keeping in concealment.

[35] G   The Buprestis {cow-inflater} is a creature which, if swallowed by a cow, causes it to swell and presently to burst and die.

[36] G   Caterpillars feed upon vegetables and in a short while destroy them. But they in turn are destroyed if a woman during her monthly flows walks through the vegetables.

[37] G   The worst enemies of cattle are the gadfly and the horsefly. The gadfly is the size of the very largest flies, and its sting is powerful and long, and it makes a harsh buzzing sound. But the horsefly is like the dogfly: its buzz is louder than the gadfly, but its sting is smaller. **

[38] G   Among all those who have been bitten by an asp there is no record of a single man having escaped disaster. That is why (I am told) the Kings of Egypt wear asps embroidered upon their crowns, hinting through the figure of the aforesaid creature at the invincibility of their rule. There are asps as much as five cubits long; the majority are black or of an ashy hue; and one may even see a red one. Those who have been bitten by an asp do not live for more than four hours and are assailed by choking and convulsions and retching, so they say. But I am told that the Ichneumon destroys the eggs of the asp with intent to do away with the future enemies of its own young. And there is a story that the Libyan asp even blinds men with its breath.

[39] G   Now does not Nature claim our admiration for this reason especially, besides others ? Of the males ... the fathers destroy most of the male fawns to prevent their proliferating and then mounting their mothers. Even among brute beasts, I fancy, such an act is regarded as bringing defilement and a curse. But Cyrus and Parysatis, you men of Persia, thought it a fine and legitimate action. And Cyrus conceived a vile passion for his mother, a passion which his mother reciprocated. While animals are moderate in their desires (?) ** men desire everything and stop at nothing.

[40] G   There is an island ** in the Black Sea named after Heracles which has been highly honoured. Now all the mice there pay reverence to the god, and every offering that is made to him they believe to have been made to gratify him and would not touch it. And so the vine grows luxuriantly in his honour and is reverenced as an offering to him alone, while the ministers of the god preserve the clusters for their sacrifices. Accordingly when the grapes reach maturity the mice quit the island so that they may not, by remaining, even involuntarily touch what is better not touched. Later when the season has run its course they return to their own haunts. This is a merit in the mice of the Black Sea. But Hippon, ** Diagoras, and Herostratus, and all the rest in the tale of heaven's enemies, how would they have kept their hands off the grapes or other offerings - men who preferred by one means or another to rob the gods of their names and functions.

[41] G   This is what commonly happens in Egypt. When it rains in Egypt (the raindrops are minute) mice are produced forthwith. Now they roam the ploughlands and damage the standing crops by cutting away and nibbling the ears of corn from below, and actually ravage the stacked sheaves and cause the Egyptians much trouble. On that account the people try to trap them, to exclude them by building walls, to keep them off by digging trenches in which they light fires. Now the mice go nowhere near the traps but allow them to remain useless. And although the walls have been rendered smooth with a wash of mortar, they climb up them and then, being exceedingly nimble, jump over the trenches. And so the Egyptians abandon their traps and schemes as ineffectual and turn from them to prayers and supplications to the gods. Whereupon the mice, I fancy, are in dread of the wrath of heaven and retreat in the formation of a hollow square to some mountain. Now the youngest go in front and the oldest bring up the rear, and if any are left behind, the latter turn and force them to follow. If however the youngest ones halt from exhaustion, the entire lot behind them halt also, as is customary for an armed force. And when the front rank begins to move, then the remainder follow. And the inhabitants of Pontus say that the mice there do the same. And it is believed that whenever a house is threatening to fall, all the mice will change house as fast as their legs can carry them. Now here is another peculiar trait of mice: whenever they hear the squeak of a marten or the hiss of a viper they transfer their young from one hole to a number of different holes.

[42] G   An Italian story, which records an event that occurred when affairs were at their prime in the city of Sybaris, has reached me and is worth relating.

A mere boy, a goatherd by occupation, whose name was Crathis, under an erotic impulse lay with the prettiest of his goats, and took pleasure in the union, and whenever he wanted sexual pleasure he would go to her; and he kept her as his darling. Moreover the amorous goatherd would bring to his loved one aforesaid such gifts as he could procure, offering her sometimes the loveliest twigs of tree-medick, and often bindweed and mastic to eat, so making her mouth fragrant for him if he should want to kiss her. And he even prepared for her, as for a bride, a leafy bed ever so luxurious and soft to sleep in. But the he-goat, the leader of the flock, did not observe these proceedings with indifference, but was filled with jealousy. For a time however he dissembled his anger and watched for the boy to be seated and asleep; and there he was, his face dropped forward on his chest. So with all the force at his command the he-goat dashed his head against him and smashed the fore-part of his skull.

The event reached the ears of the inhabitants, and it was no mean tomb that they erected for the boy; and they called their river ' the Crathis ' after him. From his union with the she-goat a baby was born with the legs of a goat and the face of a man. The story goes that he was deified and was worshipped as a god of the woods and vales. From the goat we learn that animals have indeed their share of jealousy.

[43] G   Historians celebrate the underground passages of the Egyptians; they also with the company of poets celebrate certain labyrinths in Crete. They have yet to learn of the elaborate tracks with their mazy windings dug by ants in the earth. Now in their wisdom these make their underground dwelling so very tortuous as to render access difficult or totally impossible for such creatures as have designs upon them. And the soil which they excavate they put around the mouth, forming as it were walls and barriers, so that the rain which descends from the sky may not easily flood them and destroy all or at any rate most of them. And with consummate skill they build partitioning walls, as you might say, to separate their cells from one another, and, as in some fine house, there will be three divisions: the first they design for the ' men's quarters,' in which the males live and any females that are with them; the second, in which the pregnant ants bring forth their young -  the 'women's quarters,' as it might be; and the third they set apart as a treasury and a pit for the seeds they have collected. And no Ischomachus, ** no Socrates, with their interest in the management of a household on admirable lines, is there to teach them these things. When ants go abroad to collect food, they follow the biggest ones, and these lead the way, like generals. And as soon as they reach the crops the young ones stand at the foot of the stalks while the leaders crawl up and having eaten through what are called the 'rhacises' of the fruitful ears, throw the ears down to the crowd below. And these go about and cut off the chaff and peel off the capsules that protect and envelop the wheat. They need no threshing, no men who can winnow, nor even ' rushing winds ' [Hom. Il. 5. 501] to separate and sunder the chaff and the grain, yet the ants possess the food of men who plough and sow.

I have also heard the following example of their cleverness: their relations bury dead ants in the capsules of wheat, just as men bury their parents or all whom they love in coffins.

[44] G   If a horse receives careful attention, he repays his benefactor by being good-natured and friendly. How Bucephalus bore himself to Alexander is a story that is current everywhere and would give me no pleasure to repeat. I shall also pass over the horse of Antiochus ** which avenged his master by killing the Gaul (his name was Centoarates) who slew Antiochus on the battlefield. Socles then, about whom not many seem to know, was an Athenian who was esteemed, and indeed was, a comely boy. Now he bought a horse, handsome too like its master but of a violently amorous disposition and with a far sharper eye than other horses. Hence it conceived a passionate love for its master, and when he approached, it would snort; and if he patted it, it would neigh; when he mounted, it would be docile; when he stood before it, it would cast languishing glances at him. These actions already savoured of love, but were thought pleasing. When however the horse, becoming too reckless, seemed to be meditating an assault upon the boy, and tales about the pair of a too monstrous nature began to circulate, Socles would not tolerate the slander, and in his detestation of a licentious lover sold the horse. But the animal could not bear to be separated from the beautiful boy and ended its days by a rigorous starvation.

[45] G   The francolin entertains the bitterest hatred for the cock, and the cock on its side for the francolin ; likewise the falcon for the crow, and vice versa; and the raven for the sea-hawk, and the sea-hawk for it; the raven and the falcon for the turtle-dove, and the turtle-dove for both. I have learnt also that the stork abhors the bat, and the bat in return abhors it as an enemy; and the pelican, I am told, is not friendly disposed to the quail, and their hatred is mutual.

[46] G   To the eagle the herb called comfrey is fatal; to the ibis the gall of the hyena; to the starling the seed of garlic; to the stone-curlew bitumen; to the kite pondweed, as it is called. And the kite cannot endure the gall of the shearwater. If a falcon, or a sea-mew, or a turtle-dove, or a blackbird, or the whole vulture tribe eat a sliced pomegranate, they die. The leaves of the cedar are fatal to the reed-warbler (?) ; the flower of the agnus-castus to the marsh-tit; to the raven the seed of the rocket. The beetle is killed by perfume, and the hoopoe by the fat of a gazelle. If a crow comes upon the remains of flesh which a wolf has eaten, it is killed. A lark is destroyed by mustard-seed, and a crane if it drinks the gum from a vine.

[47] G   It occurs to me at this point to speak of the hare as follows. The hare does not go into its accustomed form until it has confused its tracks, here in entering, and there in leaving, in order to defeat the designs of huntsmen. It is by some kind of natural sagacity that it tricks men so very craftily.

[48] G   It seems that the mare is in fact a good mother and cherishes the memory of her foal. The younger Darius had noted this; hence he would take into battle some mares that had lately foaled and had left their young at home. Foals that lose their dams are reared on the milk of a stranger, just as human beings are. Now when the changing fortune of the battle of Issus began to press the Persians, and Darius was being defeated, he mounted a mare, being anxious to escape and to save himself with all possible speed. And the mare, remembering the foal she had left behind, is celebrated for having with the uttermost eagerness and at full speed snatched her master away from the critical moment of urgent danger.

[49] G   At Athens an aged mule was released from work by its master, so Aristotle tells us [HA 577 b 30] , but declined to abandon its love of labour and its willingness to work on the score of age. Thus, at the time when the Athenians were erecting the Parthenon, though it neither drew nor carried burdens, yet it would unbidden and of its own free will walk by the young mules as they went back and forth, like a horse harnessed alongside a pair, acting as guard, so to speak; and by treading a common path it encouraged their work, like some old craftsman whom age has released from labour with his hands but whose experience and knowledge are a stimulus and incitement to the young. Now when the people got to hear of this they directed the herald to proclaim that if it came in quest of barleymeal or approached to get corn, it was not to be prevented but was to be allowed to eat its fill, and that the populace would defray the cost, as in the case of an athlete who in his old age was given his meals in the Prytaneum.

[50] G   The following story, they say, shows how Cleanthes of Assos was forced against his will and in spite of his vehement arguments to the contrary, to make a concession to animals and to allow that they too are not destitute of reasoning power. Cleanthes happened to be seated and moreover was resting quietly for some time. Now there were ants about his feet in great numbers. So he observed how some were conveying a dead ant out of one track to a nest belonging to other ants not of their own kin. And they paused on the edge of the nest with the corpse while others came up from below and met the strangers seemingly with a view to some consultation ; the same ants then went down into the nest. And this happened several times until finally they brought up a worm, as it were a ransom. And the other party accepted it and surrendered the dead body which they had brought. And the ants in the nest were glad to receive it, as though they were recovering a son or brother.

Now what answer can Hesiod make to this when he says [OD 277] that Zeus has made a distinction between various natures and has granted

' to fish on the one hand and to beasts and to winged fowl that they should devour one another, for among them there is no justice, but to mankind has he granted justice ' ?

But Priam will not admit this, since it was at the cost of many marvellous treasures that even he, a man and moreover a descendant of Zeus, redeemed Hector from the man who was also a hero and a descendant of Zeus.

[51] G   The name of the Dipsas {thirst-provoker} declares to us what it does. It is smaller than the viper, but kills more swiftly, for persons who chance to be bitten burn with thirst and are on fire to drink and imbibe without stopping and in a little while burst. Sostratus declares that the Dipsas is white, though it has two black stripes on its tail. And I have heard that some people call these snakes presteres {inflaters}; others, kausones {burners}. In fact they deluge this creature with a host of names. It has also been called melanūrus {black-tail}, so they say, and by others ammobates {sand-crawler}; and should you also hear it also called kentris {stinger}, you may take it from me that the same snake is meant.

I must repeat a story (which I know from having heard it) regarding this creature, so that I may not appear to be ignorant of it. It is said that Prometheus stole fire, and the story goes that Zeus was angered and bestowed upon those who laid information of the theft a drug to ward off old age. So they took it, as I am informed, and placed it upon an ass. The ass proceeded with the load on its back; and it was summer time, and the ass came thirsting to a spring in its need for a drink. Now the snake which was guarding the spring tried to prevent it and force it back, and the ass in torment gave it as the price of the loving-cup the drug that it happened to be carrying. And so there was an exchange of gifts : the ass got his drink and the snake sloughed his old age, ** receiving in addition, so the story goes, the ass's thirst.

What then? Did I invent the legend? I will deny it, for before me it is celebrated by Sophocles, ** the tragic poet, and Deinolochus, the rival of Epicharmus, and Ibycus of Rhegium, and the comic poets Aristias and Apollophanes.

[52] G   Were I to pass over a piece of cleverness on the part of an elephant, someone will say that I failed through ignorance to record it. And it is really worth hearing, so let us hear it. The man who was entrusted with the care of its food was in the habit of purloining its corn, and by scattering stones underneath it he rendered most of the food uneatable, while preserving the bulk of the measure, so far as the master who supervised them both could see. And for a while he escaped detection. So the elephant, observing the designing fellow as he was cooking some porridge, picked up with its trunk a mass of sand at its feet and flung it into the pot, thus adroitly avenging the treatment it had received at his hands.

[53] G   All other dogs are clever at catching and tracking down wild animals; Egyptian dogs however excel at running away. Thus, although they dread the creatures in the Nile, thirst compels them to drink, while their fear does not allow them to drink in peace as much as they want. For that reason they do not put their heads down and drink, for fear some creature from below may creep up and seize them; and so they run along the brink, lapping with their tongue and snatching or, one might say, positively stealing their drink.

[54] G   I have already ** mentioned many other crafty tricks of the Land Echinus (hedgehog), not the Sea Echinus {sea-urchin}, but one specimen of its guile which I failed to mention I will mention now. When it is likely to be caught it rolls itself up, which makes it impossible to handle; moreover it holds its breath and remains motionless and pretends to be dead. 

[55] G   You would not succeed in dislodging limpets from the rocks, even were you to grasp them with the fingers of a Milon ** who clung with such strength and tenacity to a pomegranate-tree that not one of his opponents could wrench it from his right hand. But anyone who undertakes to dislodge a limpet from the rock to which it is clinging is laughed at for his pains and affords merriment to others. At all events it is impossible for him to get what he wants. An iron saw will at long last detach it from the rock.

[56] G   It appears that the Libyans do not confine themselves to waging war upon their neighbours with a view to gaining an advantage over them, but they wage war upon elephants also. And the latter are well aware that the purpose of their attack is nothing else than to get their tusks. So those beasts that have had one tusk mutilated stand in the front line, the rest of the herd using them as a cover in order that they may receive the first assault and that the rest may help with the strength of their tusks undamaged and equal to the struggle. And perhaps they are trying to convince the Libyans and to prove to them that they are risking their lives for an inconsiderable reward. One of their tusks they use as a weapon and keep sharpened; the other they use as a mattock, for with it they dig up roots and lever up and bend down trees.

[57] G   It seems after all that Spiders are not only dexterous weavers after the manner of Athena Erganē and Pēitis {the Worker and goddess of the Loom}, but that they are by nature clever at geometry. ** Thus, they keep to the centre and fix with the utmost precision the circle with its boundary based upon it, and have no need of Euclid, ** for they sit at the very middle and lie in wait for their prey. And they are, as you might say, most excellent weavers and adept at repairing their web. And any thread that you may chance to break of their skilled and delicate workmanship they repair and render sound and whole again.

[58] G   The Phoenix knows how to reckon five hundred years without the aid of arithmetic, for it is a pupil of all-wise Nature, so that it has no need of fingers or anything else to aid it in the understanding of numbers. The purpose of this knowledge and the need for it are matters of common report. But hardly a soul among the Egyptians knows when the five- hundred-year period is completed; only a very few know, and they belong to the priestly order. But in fact the priests have difficulty in agreeing on these points, and banter one another and maintain that it is not now but at some date later than when it was due that the divine bird will arrive. Meantime while they are vainly squabbling, the bird miraculously guesses the period by signs and appears. And the priests are obliged to give way ** and confess that they devote their time ' to putting the sun to rest with their talk' [cp. Call. ep. 2 = AP. 7. 80]; but they do not know as much as birds. But, in God's name, is it not wise to know where Egypt is situated, where is Heliopolis the place where the bird is destined to come, and where it must bury its father and in what kind of coffin ? ** But if there is nothing wonderful in all this, are we really to pronounce as ' wise ' affairs relating to the market, to armaments, and men's other schemes for their mutual undoing ? I think not, you men who rival Sisyphus ** and the Cercopes ** and the Telchines. ** I address myself to those who perfect themselves in these matters, but not to those who have not been initiated into the aforesaid abominations.

[59] G   If even animals know how to reason deductively, understand dialectic, and how to choose one thing in preference to another, we shall be justified in asserting that in all subjects Nature is an instructress without a rival. For example, this was told me by one who had some experience in dialectic and was to some degree a devotee of the chase. There was a hound, he said, trained to hunt; and so it was on the track of a hare. And the hare was not yet to be seen, but the hound pursuing came upon a ditch and was puzzled as to whether it had better follow to the left or to the right. And when it seemed to have weighed the matter sufficiently, it leapt straight across. So the man who professed himself both dialectician and huntsman essayed to offer the proof of his statements in the following manner: The hound paused and reflected and said to itself: ' The hare turned either in this direction or in that or went ahead. It turned neither in this direction nor in that; therefore it went ahead.' And in my opinion he was not being sophistical, for as no tracks were visible on the near side of the ditch, it remained that the hare must have jumped over the ditch. So the hound was quite right also to jump over after it, for indeed this particular hound was good at tracking and keen-scented.

[60] G   The Massagetae, according to Herodotus [1. 216] , hang up their quivers in front of themselves and then the man has intercourse with the woman openly, even though all can see, though in fact they pay no attention. ** Camels however would never couple in the open, nor if there were witnesses, so to say, looking on. But whether we are to call this modesty or a mysterious gift of Nature, let us leave it to Democritus and others to decide and suppose themselves competent to investigate and explain the causes of matters obscure and past conjecture. And even the herdsman at once takes himself off when he realises that the urge to couple is upon them, just as one withdraws when the bride and bridegroom are about to enter the marriage-chamber.

[61] G   Lycurgus laid down a most humane law (as I think) : that younger men should give up their seats to, and leave the path for, their elders out of respect for years which all pray they may attain, if that chance to be their destiny. But how could the noble son of Eunomus seek to rival and compete with the laws of Nature ? At any rate, you lawgivers, men like Lycurgus, ** Solon, Zaleucus, and Charondas, the race of elephants obeys laws which your legislation does not even begin to touch. For all that, they behave in the following manner: the young ones give way to the elders in feeding; they wait upon those that are weak with age; they guard them from danger; when they fall into pits the young ones drag them out by throwing in armfuls, so to say, and bundles of dry sticks which the elders use as steps and so climb out, though burdened with age. Where, I should like to know, did an elephant ever belabour its father with blows ? Where, I ask, among elephants did a sire ever disinherit its son ? But perhaps, my fellow men, you who (if I am to speak the truth) fabricate and invent incredible tales, think that I am telling tales.

[62] G   What I have said above ** proves that the dog certainly loves his master, and so I think I should put the following story beside the rest. Gelon of Syracuse ** while fast asleep fancied that he had been struck by Zeus. ** But what he saw was only a dream; yet, although asleep he cried aloud and at the top of his voice. Whereupon a dog which he kept, hearing the voice of its friend and comrade, as though Gelon's life was in danger from a plot, leapt with all its force on to the bed and stood over its master, barking furiously, as though it would keep off the assailant. So Gelon was roused and through fear and the noise of barking threw off sleep though it was of the deepest.

[63] G   A young snake was brought up along with a child, an Arcadian born; the snake too was of the country. So as the pair grew up the child became a youth while his foster-brother had already become enormous. And they were devoted to one another. But the relatives of the youth were terrified at the size of the monster. (You may see these creatures attain in a very short time to an enormous size and the most terrifying aspect.) And so while it was asleep on the same bed with the boy, they picked it up and took it as far away as possible. And the boy rose up, but the snake remained in that place. And when it took to the forest and the drugs that grew there, it lived there, enjoying the food of snakes and preferring waste places to life in a city and confinement in a room.

Time passed and turned one into a young man, the other into a snake now full-grown. And on one occasion the Arcadian, the lover and the beloved of the aforesaid creature, going through a lonely region, fell in with brigands, and at a blow from a sword he cried out, as was natural, both from pain and in order to summon help. Now it seems that the snake of all creatures has the sharpest sight and the keenest hearing. Accordingly this snake, being the youth's foster-brother, heard his voice and hissing loudly as in anger, struck terror into the brigands, who were seized with trembling: the villains were all scattered in different directions, and what is more, some were overtaken by the snake and perished miserably. But the snake cleansed the wounds of its old friend, and after escorting him past that part of the region where wild beasts lurked, departed and went to the spot where the relations had exposed it: it showed no resentment at having been cast away, nor did it in the hour of danger, like base men, neglect one who had been its dearest friend.

[64] G   The fox is a rascally creature, hence poets are fond of calling it ' crafty.' The hedgehog also is a rascal, for directly it sees the fox approaching it rolls itself into a ball and lies still. And the fox, unable to open his jaws and bite it, makes water into its mouth. And the hedgehog is suffocated because its breathing is stopped through its being rolled up and because of the aforesaid stream. Moreover the fox having thus tricked the hedgehog, one scoundrel tricking another, catches it out.

I have earlier ** described another method of capture.

[65] G   In the neighbourhood of Conopion as it is called (it is a district near the Maeotic lake ** ) Wolves are the faithful companions of the anglers and the fisherfolk, and were you to see them you would say that they were no different from house-dogs. Now if these wolves receive a share of the catch from the sea, there is a treaty of peace between them and the fishermen. Otherwise the wolves rip up and destroy the nets, and for failing to give them a share inflict this damage upon the fishermen.

Book 7



FOOTNOTES


(1)    See 2.19.    

(2)    Cuckoo-pint.    

(3)    See 1.35 note.    

(4)    Mares (or Marres) is the Greek form of 'Moeris' the nickname given to King Amenemhet III ; see Hdt. 2. 101 with How-Wells's note.    

(5)    See 16.23.    

(6)    See 2.11.    

(7)    Apollo.    

(8)    Not in any extant work; fr. 321 (Rose, p. 347).    

(9)    Town on SW coast of Caria.    

(10)    I.e. divine envy; cp. Soph. Ph. 776.    

(11)    Laļus, King of Thebes, loved Chrysippus, the son of Pelops. See Nauck TGF p. 632.    

(12)    The God of Love.    

(13)    Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 308-246 B.C.    

(14)    See Hdt. 1. 23-4.    

(15)    The God of Love .    

(16)    Ἀκρίς elsewhere in Aelian is a locust; it can hardly bear this meaning here. I have ventured to render it 'cricket', signifying the 'field-cricket', Acheta or Gryllus campestris.    

(17)    See 2.32; 5.34.    

(18)    Thompson does not cite this passage in his Glossary, s.v. σάλπιγξ, which cannot here = ὀρχίλος, a wren. Gossen (§ 192) suggests the Holler, Coracias garrulus.    

(19)    Steier (art. Spinnentiere, BE 3 A 1801) identifies four of them thus : λευκός, the young of most scorpions; πυρρός, Buthus occitanus; μέλας, Androctonus afer (cp. 15.26; 17.40); χλωρός, if equivalent to the μελίχλωρος of Nic. Th. 797, may be Androctonus (Buthus) australis. The πτερωτός is perhaps the harmless insect Panorpa communis. There are no scorpions 'with two stings' or 'with seven vertebrae.'   Καρκινοειδής is perhaps the Crab-spider, Thomisius onustus ; see J. H. Fabre, Life of the Spider, 181. See also Gossen §§ 42-4.    

(20)    The text is corrupt and the translation is conjectural.    

(21)    Euadne , see above 1.15.    

(22)    Daughter of Icarius, hanged herself on finding her father slain.    

(23)    Tzetzes, repeating the story ( Chil. 4. 200 ), adds that he was a Roman general. More than that I have been unable to discover.     

(24)    Darius III, c. 380-330 B.C., defeated at Issus aud Gaugamela by Alexander and finally murdered by his own followers.    

(25)    Cyrus, see 1.59 note.    

(26)    General of Alexander the Great, became King of Thrace; defeated in battle by Seleucus, 281 B.C.    

(27)    May be identical with the wolf-spider of Arist. HA 622 b 30 ( 9.38 ), or more probably the malmignatte.    

(28)    About mid-July.    

(29)    Near the westernmost mouth of the Nile.    

(30)    See 4.51.    

(31)    I have given what may have been the sense of the passage.    

(32)    Unidentified.    

(33)    Hippon of Samos, Pythagorean philosopher, 5th century B.C., satirised by Cratinus as an atheist.   Diagoras of Melos, called 'the atheist', incurred the enmity of the Athenians by his attacks on their religion and withdrew from Athens, 411 B.C.   Herostratus of Ephesus burnt the temple of Artemis, 356 B.C.    

(34)    Ischomachus in Xenophon's Oeconomicus (chs. 7-end) propounds a system of domestic economy that wins the approval of Socrates.    

(35)    Antiochus Soter, founder of the Seleucid dynasty, reigned 280-261 B.C.; fell in battle against the Gauls.    

(36)    Γῆρας is used in two senses: (i) old age, (ii) old skin.    

(37)    Sophocles, in his Κωφοί Σάτυροι [fr. 362 P]. Of the following poets no fragment relating to this story survives.    

(38)    See 3.10; 4.17.    

(39)    Native of Croton, 6th century B.C., proverbial for his great strength, gained six Olympic and six Pythian victories in wrestling.    

(40)    Cp. Arist. HA 623 a 7 ( 9.38 ) and D. W. Thompson (Eng. tr.) ad loc.    

(41)    Euclides of Alexandria, the famous geometer, c. 300 B.C.    

(42)    Lit. ' to offer sacrifice '; the word is used metaphorically of one who concedes a point, who admits that something is due to one in a stronger position than himself. See Headlam on Herodas 2.71, Kaibel, Hermes 28 (1893) 53-4.    

(43)    See Hdt. 2.73.    

(44)    Sisyphus, mythical King of Corinth, became a byword for deceitfulness and cruelty.    

(45)    Cercopes, mischievous dwarfs, who robbed Heracles; changed by Zeus into monkeys.    

(46)    Telchines, under one aspect, were malignant demons with the power of changing their shapes.    

(47)    The statement is a travesty of Hdt. 1. 216.    

(48)    Lycurgus, son of Eunomus and King of Sparta, perhaps 9th century B.C., legislator par excellence of Sparta.   Zaleucus, 7th century B.C., drew up laws for Locri Epizephyrii.   Charondas of Catana, perhaps 6th century B.C., made laws for his city, for Rhegium and other Chalcidian cities.    

(49)    See 6.25.    

(50)    Tyrant of Syracuse, 485-478 B.C.    

(51)    I.e. by a thunderbolt. The story is repeated in VH 1. 13 .    

(52)    See 6.24 .    

(53)    Sea of Azov.    




CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK

6.1 Animal courage. Continence of athletes
6.2 A tame leopard
6.3 The Bear
6.4 The snake, its diet of poison
6.5 The Stag and its antlers
6.6 The horse in battle
6.7 The crow of Bang Mares
6.8 The care of animals
6.9 The Bear and its cubs
6.10 (i) Docility of certain animals (ii) Memory in animals
6.11 The deer and its young
6.12 Tortoise and viper
6.13 The deer, its frugality
6.14 The Hyena, its narcotic powers
6.15 Dolphin and boy at Iassus
6.16 Prophetic powers of animals
6.17 Serpent in love with a girl
6.18 The snake, its voracity and speed
6.19 The song of birds ; ability to imitate other sounds
6.20 The scorpion : various kinds
6.21 Elephant and Python
6.22 Enmities and fears of animals
6.23 The scorpion in Libya
6.24 The fox and Hedgehog; and Bustards ; and small fish ; the fox tests ice
6.25 Devotion of dogs to their masters
6.26 The Monkey-spider
6.27 The Cat
6.28 The octopus
6.29 Eagle and boy
6.30 The Hake
6.31 The crab and music
6.32 The Sprat and music
6.33 Egyptian magic
6.34 The Beaver
6.35 The 'Buprestis'
6.36 The Caterpillar
6.37 The Gadfly. The Horse-fly
6.38 The asp, its bite fatal. The Ichneumon
6.39 Animals abhor incest
6.40 Heracles revered by mice
6.41 The mouse in Egypt
6.42 The story of Crathis
6.43 Ants and their nests
6.44 The horse's devotion to its master
6.45 Birds and their enmities
6.46 Substances fatal to birds
6.47 The hare
6.48 The Mare's love for its foal
6.49 An aged Mule
6.50 Cleanthes and the ants
6.51 The 'Dipsas'. Fable of ass and 'Dipsas'
6.52 An elephant punishes dishonesty
6.53 The dog in Egypt
6.54 The hedgehog
6.55 The Limpet
6.56 The elephant and its hunters
6.57 The Spider's web
6.58 The Phoenix
6.59 The dog, its reasoning power
6.60 The camel, its modesty
6.61 The elephant's respect for old age
6.62 Gelon and his dog
6.63 Snake befriends boy
6.64 Fox and hedgehog
6.65 Wolves and fishermen



Attalus' home page   |   16.02.19   |   Any comments?