Natural History (Rackham, Jones, & Eichholz)/Book 11
I. THERE remain some creatures of immeasurably minute structure cm fact some authorities have stated that they do not breathe and also that they are actually devoid of blood. These are of great number and of many kinds; they have the habits of land-animals and of flying animals, some lacking wings, for instance centipedes, others winged, for instance bees, others of both kinds, for instance ants, some lacking both wings and feet; and all are rightly termed insects, from the incisions which encircle them in some cases in the region of their necks and in others of their chests and stomach and separate off their limbs, these being only connected by a thin tube, with some however the crease of the incision not entirely encircling them, but only at the belly or higher up, with flexible vertebrae shaped like gutter-tilesshowing a craftsmanship on the part of Nature that is more remarkable than in any other case: inasmuch as in large bodies or at all events the larger. ones the process of manufacture was facilitated by the yielding nature of the material, whereas in these minute nothings what method, what power, what labyrinthine perfection is displayed! Where did Nature find a place in a flea for all the senses?and other smaller creatures can be mentioned,but at what point in its surface did she place sight? where did she attach taste? implant that truculent and relatively very loud voice? with what subtlety she attached the wings, extended the legs that carry the feet, placed a ravenous hollow to serve as a stomach, kindled a greedy thirst for blood and especially human blood! Then with what genius she provided a sharp weapon for piercing the skin, and as if working on a large object, although really it is invisibly minute, created it with alternating skill so as to be at once pointed for digging and tubed for sucking! What teeth she attached to the wood-borer for boring through timber, with the accompanying sound as evidence and made its chief nutriment to consist of wood! But we marvel at elephants' shoulders carrying castles, and bulls' necks and the fierce tossings of their heads, at the rapacity of tigers and the manes of lions, whereas really Nature is to be found in her entirety nowhere more than in her smallest creations. I consequently beg my readers not to let their contempt for many of these creatures lead them also to condemn to scorn what I relate about them, since in the contemplation of Nature nothing can possibly be deemed superfluous.
II. Many people have asserted that insects do not breathe, also arguing in support of this from the fact that they do not possess the internal organs of a respiratory system, and saying that consequently, they live like plants and trees, whereas there is a very great difference between breathing and living; it is for the same reason, they argue, that they do not contain blood either, as this is found in no species lacking a heart and a liver; similarly, they say, things that have not got lungs do not breathe. This gives rise to a long list of questions. For the same people actually say that these creatures have not got a voice, in spite of all the buzzing of bees and chirping of tree-crickets, and make other statements the value of which will be judged in their places. For when I have observed Nature she has always induced me to deem no statement about her incredible; nor do I see why such creatures should be more able to live without breathing than to breathe without vital organs, which we have proved to occur even in the case of marine creatures in spite of the fact that their breath is barred by the density and depth of the water. At all events that any creatures fly and yet have no capacity of breathing in spite of their living in the very breath of the air, and that they have consciousness of nutrition, generation and work, and even interest in the future, and that although they have no organs to carry the senses as in a vessel, they nevertheless possess hearing, smell, taste, and those outstanding gifts of nature, intelligence, brain, science, into the bargainwho would easily believe this? I admit that they have not got blood, as even land animals have not all got blood of the same kind; but just as in the sea the black fluid of the cuttlefish takes the place of blood, as also does the famous juice of the genus purple-fish that supplies a dye, similarly also whatever is the life-giving fluid possessed by insects, this will be their blood. Finally let each man form his own opinion, but our purpose is to point out the manifest properties of objects, not to search for doubtful causes.
III. So far as is perceptible, insects do not appear to possess sinews or bones or spines or cartilage or fat or flesh, and not even a fragile rind, such as some sea creatures have, nor anything that can properly be termed a skin, but a substance of a nature intermediate between all of these, as it were dried up, softer in the sinew but harder or rather more durable in all the other parts. And this is all that they possess, and nothing else in addition; they have no internal organs except, in the case of quite a few, a twisted intestine. Consequently when torn asunder they display a remarkable tenacity of life, and the separate parts go on throbbing, because whatever their vital principle is it certainly does not reside in particular members but in the body as a wholeleast of all in the head, and this alone does not move unless it has been torn off with the breast. No other kind of creature has a greater number of feet, and of this species the ones that have more feet live longer when torn asunder, as we see in the case of the multipede. But they possess eyes, and also of the other senses touch and taste, and some have smell as well, and a few hearing also.
IV. But among all of these species the chief place belongs to the bees, and this rightly is the species; chiefly admired, because they alone of this genus have been created for the sake of man. They collect honey, that sweetest and most refined and most health-giving of juices, they model combs and wax that serves a thousand practical purposes, they endure toil, they construct works, they have a government and individual enterprises and collective leaders, and, a thing that must occasion most surprise, they have a system of manners that outstrips that of all the other animals, although they belong neither to the domesticated nor to the wild class. Nature is so mighty a power that out of what is almost a tiny ghost of an animal she has created something incomparable! What sinews or muscles can we match with such efficacy and industry as that of the bees? What men, I protest, can we rank in rationality with these insects, which unquestionably excel mankind in this, that they recognize only the common interest? Not raising the question of breath, suppose we agree as to their possessing even blood; yet what a tiny quantity can there be in these tiny creatures! After these points let us estimate their intelligence.
V. In winter insects go into retirement for whence could they obtain strength to endure frost and snow and the blasts of the north wind?all species alike, no doubt, but not for so long a period the ones that hide in our house-walls .and are warmed earlier than others are. In regard to bees, either seasons or else climates have changed, or previous writers have been mistaken. They go into retirement after the setting of the Pleiades and remain in hiding till after their rise so not till the beginning of spring, as writers have saidand nobody in Italy thinks about hives before the bean is in flower. They go out to their works and to their labours, and not a single day is lost in idleness when the weather grants permission. First they construct combs and mould wax, that is, construct their homes and cells, then produce offspring, and afterwards honey, wax from flowers, bee-glue from the droppings of the gum-producing treesthe sap, glue and resin of the willow, elm and reed. They first smear the whole interior of the hive itself with these as with a kind of stucco, and then with other bitterer juices as a protection against the greed of other small creatures, as they know that they are going to make something that may possibly be coveted; with the same materials they also build wider gateways round the structure.
VI. The first foundations are termed by experts commosis, the second pissoceros, the third propo1is, between the outer cover and the wax, substances of great use for medicaments. Commosis is the first crust, of a bitter flavour. Pissoceros comes above it, as in laying on tar, as being more fluid than wax. Propolis is obtained from the milder gum of vines and poplars, and is made of a denser substance by the addition of flowers, and though not as yet wax it serves to strengthen the combs; with it all approaches of cold or damage are blocked, and besides it has itself a heavy scent, being in fact used by most people as a substitute for galbanum.
VII. Besides these things a collection is made of which some people call sandarach and others bee-bread; this will serve as food for the bees while they are at work, and it is often found stored up in the hollows of the combs, being itself also of a bitter flavour, but it is produced out of spring dew of trees like the gums. It is obtained in fig treesblacker in colour when an east wind is blowing and of better quality and a reddish colour when north winds blowand in the largest quantity in Greek nut-trees. Menecrates says that it is a flower, but he is the only authority that makes that statement.
VIII. They make their wax from the flowers of all trees and plants except the sorrel and the echinopod; these are kinds of herbs. It is a mistake to say that esparto grass is also an exception, because a great deal of the honey obtained in the broom-thickets in Spain tastes of that plant. I also think that olives are wrongly excepted, as it is certain that the largest swarms are produced where olive-trees are growing. No harm is done to any kind of fruit. They do not settle even on dead flowers, let alone dead bodies. They work within a range of sixty paces, and subsequently when the flowers in the vicinity have been used up they send scouts to further pastures. If overtaken by nightfall on an expedition they camp out, reclining on their backs to protect their wings from the dew.
IX. Nobody must be surprised that love for bees inspired Aristomachus of Soli to devote himself to nothing else for 58 years, and Philiscus of Thasos to keep bees in desert places, winning the name of the Wild Man; both of these have written about them.
X. Their work is marvellously mapped out on the following plan: a guard is posted at the gates, after the manner of a camp; they sleep till dawn, until one bee wakes them up with a double or triple buzz as a sort of bugle-call; then they all fly forth in a body, if the day is going to be finefor they forecast winds and rain, in case of which they keep indoors; and consequently men consider this inaction on the part of the bees as one of the prognostics of the weather. When the band has gone out to its tasks, some bring home flowers in their feet and others water in their mouth and drops clinging to the down all over their body. While the youthful among them go out to their tasks and collect the things mentioned above, the older ones work indoors. Those collecting flowers with their front feet load their thighs, which are covered with scales so as to serve this purpose, and with their beak load their front feet, and when fully loaded return bulging with their burden. Each is received by three or four others who relieve him of his load: for indoors also the duties are dividedsome build, others polish, others bring up material, others prepare food from what is brought to them; for they do not feed separately, so that there shall be no inequality of work or food or time. In building they begin with the vaulting of the hive, and they bring down as it were a web from the top of a loom, with two balks round each square of work, so that some may come in and others go out. The combs hang firmly attached to the upper part and also a little to the sides at the same time, but they do not reach to the floor of the hive; sometimes they are oblong and sometimes round, according as the shape of the hive requires, and occasionally also of both kinds, when two swarms whose members are friendly have different customs. They prop up combs that are inclined to fall, the party-walls between the pillars being arched from the ground level so as to supply access for the purpose of repairing. The first three rows or so are arranged empty, so that there may not be any obvious temptation to a thief; the last ones are filled fullest with honey; consequently the combs are taken out from the back of the hive. Carrier bees wait for favourable breezes. If a storm arises, they steady themselves with the weight of a little pebble held in their feet; some authorities say that it is placed on their shoulders.
However in a wind against them they fly close to the ground, carefully avoiding the brambles. They keep a wonderful watch on the work in hand; they mark the idleness of any who are slack and chastise them, and later even punish them with death. They are wonderfully clean: they remove everything out of the way and no refuse is left lying among their work; indeed the droppings of those working inside are heaped in one place so that they may not have to retire too far, and they carry them out on stormy days and when work is suspended. When evening approaches, the buzzing inside the hive grows less and less, till one bee flies round as though giving the order to take repose with the same loud buzz with which she woke them, and this in the manner of a military camp; thereupon they all suddenly become quiet.
They build homes for the commonalty first, and for the kings afterwards. If a specially large production of honey is expected, quarters are added for the drones as well; these are the smallest of the cells, but those for the worker-bees themselves are larger.
XI. The drones have no stings, being so to say imperfect bees and the newest made, the incomplete product of those that are exhausted and now discharged from service, a late brood, and as it were the servants of the true bees, who consequently order them about, and drive them out first to the works, punishing laggards without mercy. And the drones are of service to the bees not only in work but also when breeding, as their crowd contributes much to their warmth: it is certain that the larger number of drones there has been, the larger production of swarms also occurs. When the honey has begun to ripen, the bees drive the drones away, and falling on them many to one kill them. Moreover this class of bee is only seen in spring. If a drone is stripped of its wings and afterwards thrown back into the hive it itself strips the wings off the others.
XII. They build large and splendid separate palaces for those who are to be their rulers, in the bottom of the hive; these project with a protuberance, and if this be squeezed out, no offspring is born. All the cells are hexagonal, each side being made by one of the bee's six feet. None of these tasks are done at a fixed time, but they snatch their duties on fine days. They fill their cells with honey on one or at most two days.
Honey comes out of the air, and is chiefly formed at the rising of the stars, and especially when the Dog-star itself shines forth, and not at all before the rising of the Pleiades, in the periods just before dawn. Consequently at that season at early dawn the leaves of trees are found bedewed with honey, and any persons who have been out under the morning sky feel their clothes smeared with damp and their hair stuck together, whether this is the perspiration of the sky or a sort of saliva of the stars or the moisture of the air purging itself. And would it were pure and liquid and homogeneous, as it was when it first flowed down But as it is, falling from so great a height and acquiring a great deal of dirt as it comes and becoming stained with vapour of the earth that it encounters, and moreover having been sipped from foliage and pastures and having been collected into the stomachs of beesfor they throw it up out of their mouths, and in addition being tainted by the juice of flowers, and soaked in the corruptions of the belly, and so often transformed, nevertheless it brings with it the great pleasure of its heavenly nature.
XIII. It is always of the best quality where it is stored in the calyces of the best flowers. This takes place at Hymettus and Hybla in the region of Attica and of Sicily, which are sunny localities and also on the island of Calydna. But at the start it is honey diluted as it were with water, and in the first days it ferments like must and purifies itself, while on the twentieth day it thickens and then is covered with a thin skin which forms from the foam of the actual boiling. The best kind and that least stained with the foliage is sucked from the leaves of the oak and lime and of reeds.
XIV. Indeed it is constituted on a supreme principle of excellence, as we have said, in a variety of ways. In some places honeycombs distinguished for their wax are formed, as in Sicily and the Abruzzi, in other places for quantity of honey, as in Crete, Cyprus, Africa, in others for size, as in the northern countries, a comb having before now been seen in Germany that was 8 ft. long, and black in its hollow part. Yet in any region there are three kinds of honey. There is spring honey with the comb made from flowers, which is consequently called flower-honey. Some people say this ought not to be touched, so that a progeny made strong by plentiful nourishment may be produced; but others leave less of this honey than of any other kind for the bees, on the ground that a great profusion follows at the rising of the great stars, and also at the solstice, when thyme and grapevines begin to flower, the outstanding material for the cells. It is however necessary to practice economy in taking away the combs, as lack of food causes the bees to despair and die or fly away, and on the other hand a large supply brings sloth, and then the bees feed on the honey and not on bee-bread; consequently the more careful beekeepers leave a fifteenth part of this vintage to the bees. The day fixed for beginning by a sort of law of nature, if only men would know or keep it, is the thirtieth after the leading out of the swarm; and this vintage usually falls within the month of May.
The second kind of honey is summer honey, the Greek name for which consequently is 'ripe honey,' because it is produced in the most favourable season, when the dog-star is shining in its full splendour, about thirty days after midsummer. In respect of this, immense subtlety on the part of nature has been displayed to mortals, did not man's dishonesty spoil everything with its banefulness. For after the rising of each star, but particularly the principal stars, or of a rainbow, if rain does not follow but the dew is warmed by the rays of the sun, not honey but drugs are produced, heavenly gifts for the eyes, for ulcers and for the internal organs. And if this substance is kept when the dog-star is rising, and if, as often happens, the rise of Venus or Jupiter or Mercury falls on the same day, its sweetness and potency for recalling mortals' ills from death is equal to that of the nectar of the gods.
XV. Honey is obtained more copiously at full moon, and of thicker substance in fine weather. In all honey the portion that has flowed by itself like must and olive oilit is called honey-vinegaris the most commendable. All summer honey is reddish, as it has been made in a comparatively dry period. White honey is not made where there is thyme, but honey made from thyme is thought most suitable for the eyes and for ulcersit is of a gold colour and has an extremely agreeable taste. The fat honey from violets and the thick kind from rosemary can be seen to condense, but honey that thickens is least praised. Honey from thyme does not condense, and when touched sends out very thin threads, which is the first proof of goodness; it is considered a mark of poor quality for the drops to break off at once and fall back. The next test is for it to have a fragrant scent and a sweet taste leaving a tang, and to be sticky and transparent. Cassius Dionysius holds that a tenth part of the summer honey-crop should be left to the bees, if the hives were full, and that if they were not, a proportionate amount should be left, or if they were empty, they should not be touched at all. The population of Attica have given the first ripening of the wild fig as the regnal for this vintage, but others say Vulcan's holy day.
A third, very little valued, kind of honey is wild honey, called heath-honey. It is collected after the first autumn rains, when only the heath is in flower in the woods, and consequently it resembles sandy honey. It is produced mostly by the rise of Arcturus after September 12. Some people advance the summer honey-making to the rise of Arcturus, since that leaves fourteen days to the autumnal equinox, and in the forty-eight days from the equinox to the setting of the Pleiades heath is most plentiful. The Athenian name for it is tetralice, and the Euboean sisyrus, and they believe it to be very acceptable to bees, perhaps because at that season there is no other supply for them. Consequently this honey-gathering is roughly in the period between the end of vintage and the setting of the Pleiades on November 13. Reason advises leaving two-thirds of the honey then procured for the bees, and always the parts of the combs that contain bee-bread. In the sixty days from midwinter to the rising of Arcturus they live on sleep, without any food; in the warmer period from the rising of Arcturus to the spring equinox they now keep awake, but still keep inside the hive and have recourse to the food kept for this time. But in Italy they do the same after the rising of the Pleiades, sleeping till then. Some people in taking out the honey weigh the hives, so separating the amount to be left behind. There is indeed a bond of equity even in the case of bees, and it is said that if the partnership is defrauded the hives perish. Consequently it is one of the first rules that people must wash themselves clean before they take the honey; also bees hate scurf, and women's menstruation. When honey is being removed it is very useful for the bees to be driven away by smoke, so that they may not get angry or greedily devour it themselves. Also denser smoke is employed to arouse their sloth to their tasks, for if they have not gone on incubating, the combs they make are discoloured. On the other hand excessive smoke kills them, as honey very quickly undergoes deterioration if turned sour by the least touch of moisture; and for this reason among the kinds of honey there is a special sort called by the Greek word meaning 'smokeless.'
XVI. There has been a great deal of minute enquiry among the learned as to the manner in which bees reproduce their species; for sexual on to. intercourse among them has never been observed. A majority of authorities have held the view that the offspring are formed in the mouth, by blending together blossoms of the reed and the olive; some think it is by copulation with a single male which in each swarm is called the king; and that this is the only male, and is of exceptional size, so as not to grow weary; and that consequently offspring is not produced without him, and the rest of the bees accompany him as women accompany a husband, not as their leader. This view, though probable on other grounds, is refuted by the production drones; for what reason can there be why the same act of union should engender some perfect offspring and others imperfect? The former opinion would be nearer to the truth, were it not that again another difficulty meets us: it is a fact that sometimes larger bees are born in the extremities of the combs which drive away all the rest. This mischievous creature is called a gadflybeing born in what possible manner if the female bees themselves shape it? One certain fact is that they sit on their eggs in the way that hens do. The offspring hatched at first looks like a white maggot, lying crosswise and sticking so closely to the wax that it seems to be part of it. The king is from the start of the colour of honey, as if made from a special blossom chosen out of the whole supply, and is not a maggot but has wings from the start. The remaining throng when they begin to take shape are called pupae, while the sham ones are called sirens or drones. If anybody takes the heads off specimens of either kind before they have wings, they serve as very acceptable food for their mothers. As time goes on they give them drops of food and sit on them, buzzing more than at any other time, with the object, it is thought, of producing the warmth needed for hatching out the grubs, until they break the membranes that enclose each of them like eggshells and the whole band emerges. This was observed at Rome on the suburban estate of a certain ex-consul, who had hives made of the transparent horn of a lantern. The brood grows up in about six weeks. In some hives what is called a wart is formed, a hard lump of bitter wax, when the bees have not produced offspring out of the comb, owing to disease or sloth or natural infertility; this is the bees' form of abortion. But as soon as they are hatched out they get to work with their mothers under some sort of tuition, and the youthful king is escorted by a retinue of his peers. Several kings are begun to be produced, so that there may not be a lack of them; but afterwards, when the offspring sprung from these has begun to be grown up, by a unanimous vote they kill the worst of them so that they may not divide up the forces. They are of two kinds, the better sort red and the inferior kind black or speckled. All of them are always exceptionally well-formed and twice as large as the others; their wings are shorter, their legs straight, their bearing more lofty, and they have a spot on their brow that shines white in a kind of fillet; they also differ from the common herd a great deal by their brilliant colour.
XVII. Now let somebody raise the questions whether Hercules was one person and how many Father Libers there were, and all the other puzzles buried beneath the litter of antiquity! Here on a trifling matter connected with our own country-houses, a thing constantly in evidence, there is no agreement among the authoritiesthe question whether the king bee alone has no sting and is armed only with the grandeur of his office, or whether nature has indeed bestowed one upon him but has merely denied him the use of it. It is a well established fact that the ruler does not use a sting. The commons surround him with a marvellous obedience. When he goes in procession, the whole swarm accompanies him and is massed around him to encircle and protect him, not allowing him to be seen. During the rest of the time, while the people are engaged in labour, he himself goes the circuit of the works inside, with the appearance of urging them on, while he alone is free from duty. He is surrounded by certain retainers and lictors as the constant guardians of his authority. He only issues abroad when the swarm is about to migrate; intelligence of this is given long before, as a buzzing noise has been going on for some days in the hive, a sign of their preparation while they are selecting a suitable day. If anybody should cut off one of his wings, the swarm would not run away. When they have started, each one wants to be next him and delights to be seen on duty; when he is tired they support him with their shoulders, and carry him entirely if he is more completely exhausted. Any bee that falls out from weariness or happens to stray from the main body, follows on by scent. Wherever the king alights is the camping place of the whole body.
XVIII. Moreover they supply private and public portents when a cluster of them hangs suspended in houses and temples, portents that have often been expiated by great events. They alighted on the mouth of Plato even when he was still an infant, portending the charm of that matchless eloquence; and they alighted in the camp of General Drusus on the occasion of the very successful battle of Arbaloas there are certainly exceptions to the interpretation of the augurs, who invariably think this a direful portent. The capture of the leader holds up the whole body, and when they have lost him they separate and migrate to other lords; in any case they are unable to be without a king. But when the kings have become too numerous they reluctantly destroy them, and by preference they destroy their homes while they are being born. If a supply of honey is despaired of, then they even drive away the drones. Nevertheless I see that there is a doubt about these also, and that some persons think them to form a breed of their own, like the robber-bees, the largest in size among the drones but black and with a broad belly, which have this designation because they steal and devour the honey. It is certain that the drones are killed by the bees; at all events they do not have a king in the same way as the other bees do; but whether they are born without a sting is a doubtful point.
Bees breed better in a damp spring, but produce more honey in a dry one. If there is a dearth of food for some hives, they make a raid on their neighbours for the purpose of plunder; but the bees attacked form in line of battle to resist, and if the beekeeper is present whichever side thinks that he favours it does not attack him. They also often fight battles for other reasons, and form in two opposing lines under two commanders, the chief source of quarrel arising while they are collecting flowers, and each party calling out their friends; but the combat can be entirely scattered by some dust being thrown on it or by smoke, while a reconciliation can be effected by some milk or water sweetened with honey.
XIX. There are also wild and forest bees, which are of a bristly appearance, and are much more irascible but of superior industry and diligence. Domesticated bees are of two kinds; the best are short and speckled and of a compact round shape, and the inferior ones are long and have a resemblance to wasps, and also the worst among them are hairy. In Pontus there is a white kind that makes honey twice in a month; and in the neighbourhood of the river Thermodon there are two kinds, one that makes honey in trees and the other that makes it underground in a threefold arrangement of combs. and is most lavishly productive.
Nature has given bees a sting attached to the stomach, designed for a single blow; certain persons think that when they have planted their sting they at once die, while some hold that this only occurs if it is driven in so far that some of the gut follows it, but that afterwards the bees are drones and do not make honey, as though their strength had been castrated, and they cease at the same time both to hurt and to benefit. There is a case of a horse being killed by bees. Bees hate foul smells and flee far away from them, even those not due to natural causes; consequently they attack people scented with perfumes. They themselves are liable to injuries from very many creatures. Wasps and hornets which are degenerate species of the same nature attack them, as also do the species of gnat called mule-flies. Swallows and some other birds ravage them. Frogs lie in wait for them when they are getting water, which is their most important task at the period when they are producing offspring. And not only the frogs that beset ponds and rivers but also toads come of their own accord and crawling up to the doorways blow through them; thereupon the guard flies out and is immediately snapped up; and it is said that frogs do not feel a bee's sting. Sheep too are the enemies of bees, which with difficulty disentangle themselves from their wool. Also the smell of crabs being boiled near them is fatal to them.
XX. Moreover bees suffer diseases due to their own nature. A symptom of these is a gloomy torpidity, both when they are brought out before the doorway into the warmth of the sun and food is served to them by others and when they die and the others carry them out and escort their obsequies in the manner of persons conducting a funeral. When this pestilence carries off the king the commons mourn with abject grief, not collecting food and not going out of the hive; they only mass themselves round his body with a sorrowful buzzing. Consequently the throng is separated and he is taken away from it; otherwise they keep gazing at his lifeless body and never stop mourning. Then also, unless help is brought to them, they die of hunger. Consequently their health is judged by their gaiety and brightness.
There are also diseases that affect their work: when they do not fill the combs full, it is called claron, and blapsigonia, if they do not bring their offspring to maturity.
XXI. Also an echo is detrimental to bees with its repercussion that alarms them by striking them with an alternating blow; fog too is detrimental. Also spiders are in the highest degree hostile; when they have succeeded in weaving a web over the combs they kill the grubs. Even the moth, that cowardly and ignoble creature that flutters up to lamps when they are lit, brings disaster, and not in one way only, for it both devours the combs itself and leaves excrement from which grubs are produced; also wherever it walks it weaves a covering of cobwebs chiefly made from the down on its wings. Moreover moths are born in the wood itself that specially attack the combs. And another bane is their greed for food, as their belly is moved, specially in the spring time, by their devouring a surfeit of flowers. Olive oil indeed kills not only bees but all insects, especially if they are placed in the sun after their head has been anointed. Sometimes also they themselves cause their own death, by greedily devouring honey when they perceive that it is being taken away, whereas normally they are extremely thrifty and make a practice of driving away wasteful and greedy bees just the same as lazy and slothful ones. Also their own honey is noxious to them, and if it is smeared on their backs they die. To so many foes and so many disastersand how small a fraction of them I am recounting!is this beneficent creature exposed. The remedies we will speak of in their proper places; for at present we are discussing their nature.
XXII. They delight in the clash and clang of bronze, and collect together at its summons; which shows that they also possess the sense of hearing. When their work is done and their brood reared, though they have accomplished all their duty they nevertheless have a ritual exercise to perform, and they range abroad in the open and soar on high, tracing circles in flight, and only when this is finished do they return to take food. Their life at longest, granted that hostile attacks and accidents are encountered successfully, lasts seven years. It is stated that the hives have never lasted in their entirety beyond ten years. Some people think that dead bees come to life again if they are kept indoors in winter and then exposed to the heat of the sun in spring and kept warm with hot fig-wood ashes;
XXIII. but that when entirely lost they can be restored by being covered with fresh ox-paunches together with mud, or according to Virgil with the dead body of bullocks, just as wasps and hornets are brought to life from horses' bodies and beetles from those of asses, since nature can change some things from one kind into another. But all these creatures are seen to pair, and nevertheless their offspring possess almost the same nature as that of bees.
XXIV. Wasps make their nests high up, of mud, and in them make cells of wax; hornets make them in caverns or underground; all of these have hexagonal cells, and make their combs of bark, like spiders' webs. The actual offspring are not uniform but varyone flies out while another is in the pupa and another in the grub; and all of these stages are in the autumn, not the spring. They grow chiefly at full moon. The wasps called ichneumon-fliesthey are smaller than the otherskill one kind of spider called phalangium and carry them to their nests and then smear them over, and from these by incubating produce their own species. Moreover they all feed on flesh, contrary to bees which never touch a body. But wasps hunt larger flies and after cutting off their heads carry away the rest of the body.
The forest variety of hornets live in hollow trees, hibernating in winter like the rest of insects; they do not live beyond the age of two. Their sting is rarely not followed by fever. Some authorities state that twenty-seven a hornet-stings will kill a human being. Another kind that seems less fierce has two classesworkers, smaller in size, which die in winter, and mothers, which last two years: these are not fierce at all. They make nests in spring, usually with four entrances, in which to breed the workers. When these have been reared, they then make other larger nests, in which they may now produce those who are to be mothers. Then the workers begin to function, and feed the mothers. The mothers are of a wider shape, and it is doubtful whether they possess stings, because they do not come out. These also have their drones. Some people hold the view that all these insects lose their stings towards winter. Neither the hornet nor the wasp kind have kings, nor do they swarm, but their numbers are continually renewed by offspring.
XXV. Among these is a fourth genus, the silk-moth, which occurs in Assyria; it is larger than the kinds mentioned above. Silk-moths make their nests of mud like a sort of salt; they are attached to a stone, and are so hard that they can scarcely he pierced with javelins. In these nests they make combs on a larger scale than bees do, and then produce a bigger grub.
XXVI. These creatures are also produced in another way. A specially large grub changes into slit. a caterpillar with two projecting horns of a peculiar kind, and then into what is called a cocoon, and this turns into a chrysalis and this in six months into a silk-moth. They weave webs like spiders, producing a luxurious material for women's dresses, called silk. The process of unravelling these and weaving the thread again was first invented in Cos by a woman named Pamphile, daughter of Plateas, who has the undeniable distinction of having devised a plan to reduce women's clothing to nakedness.
XXVII. Silk-moths are also reported to be born in the island of Cos, where vapour out of the ground creates life in the blossom of the cypress, terebinth, ash and oak that has been stripped off by rain. First however, it is said, small butterflies are produced that are bare of down, and then as they cannot endure the cold they grow shaggy tufts of hair and equip themselves with thick jackets against winter, scraping together the down of leaves with the roughness of their feet; this is compressed by them into fleeces and worked over by carding with their claws, and then drawn out into woof-threads, and thinned out as if with a comb, and afterwards taken hold of and wrapped round their body in a coiled nest. Then (they say) they are taken away by a man, put in earthenware vessels and reared with warmth and a diet of bran, and so a peculiar kind of feathers sprout out, clad with which they are sent out to other tasks; but tufts of wool plucked off are softened with moisture and then thinned out into threads with a rush spindle. Nor have even men been ashamed to make use of these dresses, because of their lightness in summer: so far have our habits departed from wearing a leather cuirass that even a robe is considered a burden! All the same we so far leave the Assyrian silk-moth to women.
XXVIII. To these may be not ineptly joined the nature of spiders, which deserves even exceptional admiration. There are several kinds of spiders, but they need not be described, as they are so well known. The name of phalangium is given to a kind of spider that has a harmful bite and a small body of variegated colour and pointed shape, and advances by leaps and bounds. A second species of spider is black, with very long fore legs. All spiders have legs with two joints. Of the wolf-spiders the smallest do not weave a web, but the larger ones live in the ground and spin tiny ante-rooms in from of their holes. A third kind of the same species is remarkable for its scientific method of construction; it sets up its warp-threads, and its own womb suffices to supply the material needed for this considerable work, whether because the substance of its intestines is thus resolved at a fixed time, as Democritus holds, or because it has inside it some power of producing wool: with such careful use of its claw and such a smooth and even thread it spins the warp, employing itself as a weight. It starts weaving at the centre, twining in the woof in a circular round, and entwists the meshes in an unloosable knot, spreading them out at intervals that are always regular but continually grow less narrow. How skilfully it conceals the snares that lurk in its chequered net! How unintentional appears to be the density of the close warp and the plan of the woof, rendered by a sort of scientific smoothing automatically tenacious! How its bosom bellies to the breezes so as not to reject things that come to it! You might think the threads had been left by a weary weaver stretching in front at the top; but they are difficult to see, and, like the cords in hunting-nets, when the quarry comes against them throw it into the bosom of the net. With what architectural skill is the vaulting of the actual cave designed! and how much more hairy it is made, to give protection against cold! How distant it is from the centre, and how its intention is concealed, although it is really so roofed in that it is impossible to see whether somebody is inside or not! Then its strengthwhen is it broken by the winds? what quantity of dust weighs it down? When the spider is practising its art and learning to weave, the breadth of the web often reaches between two trees and the length of the thread stretches down from the top of the tree and there is a quick return right up the thread from the ground, and the spider goes up and brings down the threads simultaneously. But when a catch falls into the web, how watchfully and alertly it runs to it! although it may be clinging to the edge of the net, it always runs to the middle, because in that way it entangles the prey by shaking the whole. When the web is torn it at once restores it to a finished condition by patching it. And spiders actually hunt young frogs and lizards, first wrapping up their mouth with web and then finally gripping both lips with their jaws, giving a show worthy of the amphitheatre when it comes off. Also auguries are obtained from the spider: for instance, when the rivers are going to rise they raise their webs higher; also they weave their web in fine weather and reweave it in cloudy weather, and consequently a number of spiders' webs is a sign of rain. People think that it is the female that weaves and the male that hunts, and that thus the married pair do equal shares of service.
XXIX. Spiders couple with the haunches, and produce grubs resembling eggsfor their mode of reproduction also must not be deferred, as insects have scarcely any other method; and they lay them all into their webs, but scattered, because they jump about and lay them in the process. The phalangium spiders only incubate in the actual cave a large number of grubs which when hatched out devour the mother, and often the father too, for he helps to incubate. They produce broods of as many as three hundred, whereas all the other kinds produce fewer; and they sit on the eggs three days. They take four weeks to become full-grown spiders.
XXX. Land scorpions also like spiders produce grubs resembling eggs and die in the same way as spiders; they are a horrible plague, poisonous like snakes, except that they inflict a worse torture by despatching the victim with a lingering death lasting three days, their wound being always fatal to girls and almost absolutely so to women, but to men only in the morning, when they are coming out of their holes, before they emit their yet unsated poison by some accidental stroke. Their tail is always engaged in striking and does not stop practising at any moment, lest it should ever miss an opportunity; it strikes both a sideway stroke and one with the tail bent up. Apollodorus states that these insects emit a white poison, and he divides them into nine kinds, chiefly by their colours, a superfluous task, since he does not let us know which he pronounces to be the least deadly. He says that some have a pair of stings, and that the males are fiercestfor he attributes coupling to these creaturesbut that they can be recognized by their long slender shape; and that all are poisonous at midday, when they have got hot from the warmth of the sun, and also that when they are thirsty they cannot have their fill of drinking. It is also agreed that those with six joints in the tail are more savagefor the majority have five. This curse of Africa is actually given the power of flight by a south wind, which supports their arms when they spread them out like oars; Apollodorus before mentioned definitely states that some possess wings. The Psylli tribe, who by importing the poisons of all the other countries for their own profit have filled Italy with foreign evils, have tried to bring these creatures here also, but they have proved unable to live this side of the climate of Sicily. Nevertheless they are sometimes seen in Italy, though these are harmless, and in many other places, for instance in the neighbourhood of Pharos in Egypt. In Scythia they kill even pigs, which normally are exceptionally immune to such poisons, black pigs indeed more quickly, if they plunge into water. For a human victim the ashes of the creatures themselves drunk in wine are thought to be a cure. It is thought that to be dipped in oil is a great disaster to geckoes as well as scorpions; but geckoes at least are harmless; these too are bloodless, and are shaped like a lizard; equally scorpions are believed to do no harm whatever to any bloodless creatures. Some think that they also devour their own offspring, and that only one is left, a specially clever one that by perching on his mother's haunches secures himself by this position against both her tail and her bite; and that this one is the avenger of the rest, as he finally kills their parent with a blow from above. They are produced in broods of eleven.
XXXI. These geckoes in a certain manner have the nature of chameleons, living only on dew and on spiders as well.
XXXII. The life-history of the cicada is similar. Of this there are two kinds: the smaller ones that come out first and perish latestthese however are mute; subsequent is the flight of those that sing: they are called Singers, and the smaller ones among them grass-hoppers, but the former are more vocal. The males in either class sing, but the females are silent. These creatures are used as food by the Eastward races, even the Parthians with their abundant resources; they prefer the males before mating and the females afterwards, being seduced by their eggs, which are white. They couple lying on their backs. They have a very sharp prickliness on the back, with which they hollow a place in the ground for their offspring. This is produced first as a grub, and then from this comes what is called the larva; at the period of the solstices they break the shell of this and fly out, always at night; at first they are black and hard. This is the only living creature actually without a mouth; they have instead a sort of row of prickles resembling tongues, this also being on the breast, with which they lick the dew. The breast itself forms a pipe; the singers use this to sing with, as we shall say. For the rest, there is nothing on the belly. When they are disturbed and fly away, they give out moisture, which is the only proof that they live on dew; moreover they are the only creatures that have no aperture for the bodily excreta. Their eyes are so dim that if anybody comes near to them contracting and straightening out a finger, they pass by as if it were a leaf flickering. Some people make two other classes of tree-crickets, the twig-cricket which is the larger, and the corn-cricket, which others call the oat-cricket, because it appears at the same time as the crops begin to dry. Tree-crickets do not occur where trees are scarceconsequently they are not found at Cyrenae except in the neighbourhood of the townnor in plains or in chilly or shady woods. These creatures also make some difference between localities; in the district of Miletus they occur in few places, but there is a river in Cephallania which makes a boundary with a few of them on one side and many on the other; again in the Reggio territory they are all silent but beyond the river in the region of Locri they sing. They have the same wing-structure as bees, but larger in proportion to the body.
XXXIII. Of insects some have two wings, for instance, flies, and some four, for instance bees. The tree-cricket also flies with its membranes. Those armed with a sting in the belly have four wings, but none having a weapon in the mouth has more than two wings to fly with, for the former have this weapon bestowed on them for the sake of vengeance but the latter for the purpose of greed. No insects' wings when torn off grow again. None that has a sting in the belly is two-winged.
XXXIV. In some species the wings are protected by an outer covering of shell, for instance beetles; in these species the wing is thinner and more fragile. They are not provided with a sting, but in one large variety of them there are very long horns, with two prongs and toothed claws at the point which close together at pleasure for a bite; they are actually hung round children's necks as amulets; Nigidius calls these Lucanian oxen. Another kind of them again is one that rolls up backwards with its feet vast balls of mud and nests its brood of little grubs in these against the rigour of winter. Others flutter about with a loud murmur or a shrill noise, and others giving out a buzz bore numerous holes in hearths and walls in the night. Glow worms shine like fires at night time owing to the colour of their sides and loins, now giving a flash of light by opening their wings and now darkened by closing them; they are not much seen before the crops are ripe or after they have been cut. The cockroaches' life on the contrary is a nurseling of the shadows, and they fly the light, being mostly produced in the damp warmth of bathhouses. The reddish and very large beetles of the same kind dig dry earth and mould combs that resemble a small porous sponge and contain poisoned honey. There is a small place near Olynthus in Thrace that is fatal to this animal, and is consequently called Beetle-bane. The wings of all insects have no cleft. None has a tail except the scorpion. This is the only insect that has arms, and also a spike in the tail; some of the rest have a sting, for instance the gadfly (or if you like, 'breeze'), and also the gnat and some flies, but with all of these it is in the mouth and settles as a tongue. With some these stings are blunt, and do not serve for pricking but for suctionfor instance with a sort of fly, in which the tongue is evidently a tube; and this sort of insect have no teeth. Others, for instance butterflies, have useless little horns projecting in front of their eyes. Some insects, for instance the centipede, have no wings.
XXXV. Insects that have feet can move sideways. Of some, for instance locusts, the hind feet are longer and curve outward.
Locusts in the autumn season give birth to clusters of eggs, by lowering the tube of the prickle to the earth. The eggs last for the winter, but in the ensuing year at the end of spring send out small insects, that are blackish and have no legs, and crawl with their wing-feathers. Consequently spring rains kill the eggs, whereas in a dry spring there are larger broods. Others record that they have two breeding seasons and two seasons when they die offbearing at the rise of the Pleiades and then dying at the rise of the Dog-star, others being born in their place; some say that this second brood is born at the setting of Arcturus. It is certain that the mothers die when they have given birth to a brood, a maggot immediately forming inside them in the region of the throat that chokes them. The males die at the same time. And although dying for such a trifling reason a single locust when it likes can kill a snake by gripping its throat with its teeth. They are born only in places with chinks in them. There are said to be locusts in India three feet long, with legs and thighs that when they have been dried can be used as saws. They also have another way of dying: they are carried away in swarms by the wind and fall into the sea or a marsh. This happens purely by accident and not, as was believed by ancient writers, owing to their wings being drenched by the dampness of night. The same people indeed have also stated that they do not fly by night because of the coldnot being aware that they cross even wide seas, actually, which is most surprising, enduring several days' continuous hunger, to remedy which they know how to seek fodder abroad. This plague is interpreted as a sign of the wrath of the gods; for they are seen of exceptional size, and also they fly with such a noise of wings that they are believed to be birds, and they obscure the sun, making the nations gaze upward in anxiety lest they should settle all over their lands. In fact their strength does not fail, and as though it were not enough to have crossed the seas, they pass over immense tracts of land and cover them with a cloud disastrous for the crops, scorching up many things with their touch and gnawing away everything with their bite, even the doors of the houses as well.
Italy is infested by swarms of them, coming principally from Africa, the Roman nation having often been compelled by fear of dearth to resort to remedies prescribed by the Sibylline Books. In the district of Cyrene there is actually a law to make war upon them three times a year, the first time by crushing the eggs, then the grubs and last the fully grown insects, with the penalty of a deserter for the man who shirks. Also in the Island of Lemnos there is a rule prescribing a definite quantity of locusts killed that each man has to bring in to the magistrates. Also they keep jays for this purpose, which meet them by flying in the opposite direction, to their destruction. In Syria as well people are commandeered by military order to kill them. In so many parts of the world is this plague abroad; but with the Parthians even the locust is an acceptable article of diet.
The locust's voice appears to come from the back of the head: it is believed that in that place at the juncture of the shoulder-blades they have a sort of teeth, and that they produce a grating noise by rubbing them together, chiefly about the two equinoxes, as grasshoppers do about midsummer. Locusts couple in the same manner as all insects that pair, the female carrying the male with the end of her tail bent back to him, and with slow separation. In all this class the males are smaller than the females.
XXXVI. Most of the insects give birth to a maggot; ants for example produce in spring one that resembles an egg, these too sharing their labour as do bees, but bees make the food stuffs, whereas ants collect theirs. And if anybody compared the loads that ants carry with the size of their bodies, he would confess that no creatures have proportionally greater strength; they carry them held in their mouths, but they move larger loads with their hind feet, turning their backs to them and heaving against them with their shoulders. Ants also have a system of government, and possess memory and diligence. They nibble their seeds before they store them away, so that they may not sprout up again out of the earth and germinate; they divide the larger seeds so as to get them in; when they have been wetted by rain they bring them out and dry them. They even work at night when there is a full moon, although when there is no moon they stop. Again what industry and what diligence is displayed in their work! and since they bring their burdens together from opposite directions, and are unknown to one another, certain days are assigned for market so that they may become acquainted. How they flock together on these occasions! How busily they converse, so to speak, with those they meet and press them with questions! We see rocks worn by their passage and a path made by their labours, so that nobody may doubt how much can be accomplished in any matter by even a trifling amount of assiduity! They are the only living creatures beside man that bury their dead.Winged ants do not occur in Sicily.
The horns of an Indian ant fixed up in the Temple of Hercules were one of the sights of Erythrae. These ants carry gold out of caves in the earth in the region of the Northern Indians called the Dardae. The creatures are of the colour of cats and the size of Egyptian wolves. The gold that they dig up in winter time the Indians steal in the hot weather of summer, when the heat makes the ants hide in burrows; but nevertheless they are attracted by their scent and fly out and sting them repeatedly although retreating on very fast camels: such speed and such ferocity do these creatures combine with their love of gold.
XXXVII. Many insects however are born in other ways as well, and in the first place from dew. At the beginning of spring this lodges on the leaf of a radish and is condensed by the sun and shrinks to the size of a millet seed. Out of this a small maggot develops, and three days later it becomes a caterpillar, which as days are added grows larger; it becomes motionless, with a hard skin, and only moves when touched, being covered with a cobweb growthat this stage it is called a chrysalis. Then it bursts its covering and flies out as a butterfly.
XXXVIII. In this way some creatures are generated from rain in the earth and some even in wood. For not only is the goatmoth caterpillar born in wood, but also the horse-fly springs from wood, and other creatures, wherever there is excessive damp,
XXXIX. just as tapeworms thirty feet in length, sometimes even more, grow inside a human being. Again worms are born in the flesh of dead bodies and also in the hair of living people, a foul growth that caused the death of the dictator Sulla and also of one of the most famous of Greece poets, Alernan. This indeed also infests birds, and actually kills pheasants unless they sprinkle themselves with dust; and of hairy animals it is believed that only the ass and sheep are immune from this evil. They also breed in one kind of clothing especially, woollen made from sheep that have been killed by wolves. Also I find in the authorities that some springs of water in which we bathe are specially productive of this kind of creature; inasmuch as even wax generates what is believed to be the smallest of animals. Others again are generated out of dirt by the rays of the sun, creatures that hop with a frisk of their hind legs, and others out of damp dust, that fly about in caves.
XL. There is an animal belonging to the same season that always lives with its head fixed in the blood of a host, and consequently goes on swelling, as it is the only animal that has no vent for its food; with gorging to excess it bursts, so dying of its very nutriment. This creature never grows in carthorses but occurs frequently in oxen and occasionally in dogs in which all creatures breed, whereas this alone occurs in sheep and goats. Equally remarkable is the thirst for blood that is even felt by leeches in marshy water; for they too penetrate with the whole of their head. Dogs have a special pest of their own, a maggot that lances particularly, their ears, which they cannot protect by their bite.
XLI. Similarly, dust in woollens and in clothes breeds moths, especially if a spider is shut up with them; for being thirsty and sucking up all the moisture it increases the dryness. This is also noticed in papers. There is a kind of moths that carry their own coats in the same way as snails; but the moths have visible feet. If stripped of their coats they die, but if they grow up, they form a chrysalis. The wild fig-tree breeds fig-gnats; beetles are produced by the maggots of figs and of the pear tree, pine, dog-rose and rose. This poisonous creature brings its remedies with itthe wings have a healing power; but with these removed it is deadly. Again, other kinds, namely gnats, are bred by a substance growing sour, and in fact white ones are found even in snow, and also in snow that has been lying for some time maggots, which in a moderate depth of snow at all events are ruddyfor even snow itself turns reddish with lapse of time; these have shaggy hair and are of considerable size, and torpid.
XLII. Some creatures are generated also by the opposite natural element. Thus in the copper foundries of Cyprus even in the middle of the fire there flies a creature with wings and four legs, of the size of a rather large fly; it is called the pyrallis, or by some the pyrotocon. As long as it is in the fire it lives, but when it leaves it on a rather long flight it dies off.
XLIII. The river Bug on the Black Sea at midsummer brings down some thin membranes that look like berries out of which burst a four-legged caterpillar in the manner of the creature mentioned above, but it does not live beyond one day, owing to which it is called the hemerobius. The rest of this sort of creatures have from start to finish seven-day periods, but the gnat and maggots have twenty-one-day, and those whose offspring are fully formed twenty-eight-day periods. Their changes and transformations into other shapes take place every three or every four days. The remaining kinds of this class possessing wings usually die in autumn of decay of the wings, but horseflies die of blindness also. When flies have been killed by damp they can be resuscitated by being buried in ashes.
XLIV. Now let our investigation treat of the various parts of bodies besides the ones already mentioned, taking limb by limb.
All creatures that have blood have a head. On the head a few kinds, and these only birds, have crests, of different sorts it is truewith the phoenix it is a row of feathers spreading out from the middle of the head in a different direction, peacocks have bushy tufts, the bird of Stymphalus a crest, the pheasant little horns, as moreover has the small bird that was formerly named from this peculiarity the crested lark and subsequently was called by the Gallic word alauda and gave that name also to the legion so entitled. We have also said which bird has been endowed by nature with a folding crest. Nature has also bestowed a crest that slopes backwards from the beak down the middle of the neck on the coot species, and also a tufted crest on Mars's woodpecker and on the Balearic crane, but she has given the most distinguished decoration to the poultry-cockits fleshy, notched comb; and this cannot rightly be described as flesh or gristle or hard skin, but is a gift peculiar to it: for no one can be found who has ever seen serpents' crests.
XLV. Many of the water and marine and snake species are furnished in various ways with horns of a sort, but horns in the proper sense of the term only belong to the genus quadrupeds; for I deem the story of Actaeon, and also that of Cipus in the history of Latium, to be fabulous. And in no other field does nature allow herself more sport; with the weapons of animals she has made a gamedividing some into branches, for instance, the horns of stags; assigning simple horns to others, for instance, the species in the same genus called from this feature 'flute-stags,' spreading those of others into palms and making fingers shoot ont from these, the origin of the designation 'broad-horn.' To goats she has given branching but small horns, and these she has not made to be shed; to the ram class horns twisted into a crooked shape, as if providing them with weighted gauntlets for boxing; to bulls horns for attackingin this class indeed she has also bestowed horns on the females, although in many she only gives them to the males; to chamois horns curved over the back, to antelopes horns curved the opposite way; but to the crook-horn, the African name for which is addax, upright horns twisted with a coil of wrinkles and sharpened at the end into a smooth point, so as to make them suitable for lyres; also horns that are movable, like ears, to the cattle of Phrygia; horns pointing towards the ground to those belonging to the Cave-dwellers, which consequently graze with the neck bent sideways; to other creatures a single horn, and this placed in the middle of the head or between the nostrils, as we have said; moreover some have strong horns for charging, others for striking; some horns curved forward, some backward, some for tossing in various wayscurving backward, curving together, curving outward; all ending in a point; in one kind horns used instead of hands for scratching the body; with snails used for exploring the way in advancethese fleshy, as those of the homed snake; these creatures sometimes have one horn, snails always two, so as both to be stretched forward and to spring back.
The northern barbarians use the horns of the aurochs for drinking, and fill the two horns of a single head with wine; others point their spears with horn tips. With us horn is cut into transparent plates to give a wider diffusion to a light enclosed in it, and it is also applied to many other articles of luxury, sometimes dyed, sometimes painted, sometimes what is called from a certain kind of picture 'engraved.' All animals' horns are hollow and solid solely at the tip, but only stags have horns that are entirely solid and that are shed every year. Farmers heal the hooves of their oxen when worn by greasing the horn of the hoof with fat; and the substance of horn is so ductile that even the horns of living cattle can be bent with boiling wax, and they can be slit at birth and twisted in opposite directions, so as to produce four horns on one head.
The females usually have thinner horns, as is the case with many in the cattle class, but the females of sheep and of stags have none, nor have those of the animals with cloven hooves, nor any of those with solid hooves except the Indian ass that is armed with a single horn. Nature has bestowed two horns on the kinds with cloven hooves, but on no kind having front teeth in the upper jaw: but those who think that the material to form upper teeth is entirely used up in horns are easily refuted by the nature of does, which have no teeth that stags have not also and nevertheless have no horns. The horns of all other kinds are attached to the bones, but those of stags alone grow out of the hide.
XLVI. The heads of fishes are very large in proportion to their bodies, perhaps so as to enable them to dive. The shell-fish kind have no heads, nor have sponges nor virtually any of the other creatures which only possess the sense of touch. Some kinds, for instance crabs, have the head not separated from the body.
XLVII. Of all the animals man has most hair on the head: indeed this is the case indiscriminately with males and females, at all events with the races that do not cut the hair; and the Longhair tribes of the Alps and Gallia Comata have actually derived their names from this, though nevertheless there is in this respect some difference between countries: in fact the people of Mykoni are born devoid of hair, like the persons with an affection of the spleen at Caucus. (Also some kinds of animals are bald by nature, for instance ostriches and cormorants; the Greek name for the latter is derived from this peculiarity.) With these races loss of the hair is rare in the case of a woman and unknown in eunuchs, and never occurs in any case before sexual intercourse has taken place; and they are never bald below the brainpan or the crown of the head, or round the temples and the ears. Man is the only species in which baldness occurs, except in cases of animals born without hair, and only with human beings and horses does the hair turn grey, in the former case always starting at the forehead and only afterwards at the back of the head.
XLVIII. In human beings only a double-crowned skull occurs in some cases. The bones of the human skull are flat and thin and have no marrow; they are constructed with iuterlockings serrated like the teeth of a comb. When broken they cannot form again, but the removal of a moderate piece is not fatal, as its place is taken by a scar of flesh. The skull of the bear is the weakest and that of the parrot the hardest, as we have stated in the proper place.
XLIX. All blooded animals have a brain, and so also have the sea-creatures that we have designated the soft species, although they are bloodless, for instance the polypus [octopus]. Man however has the largest brain in proportion to his size and the most moist one, and it is the coldest of all his organs; it is wrapped in two membranes above and below, the fracture of either of which is fatal. For the rest a man's brain is larger than a woman's. With all human beings it has no blood or veins, and in some cases no fat. The learned teach that it is distinct from marrow because boiling makes it hard. In the middle of the brain of all species there are tiny little bones. With man alone the brain throbs in infancy, and does not become firm before the child first begins to talk. The brain is the highest of the organs in position, and it is protected by the vault of the head; it has no flesh or blood or refuse. It is the citadel of sense-perception, and the focus to which all the flow of the veins converges from the heart and at which it stops; it is the crowning pinnacle, the seat of government of the mind. But the brain of all animals slopes forward, because our senses also stretch in front of us. It is the source of sleep and the cause of drowsy nodding; species without a brain do not sleep.
Stags are stated to have maggots to the number of twenty in the head beneath the hollow of the tongue and in the neighbourhood of the juncture of the head with the neck.
L. Only man is unable to move the ears. (The family surname Flabby comes from them.) Also women spend more money on their ears, in pearl earrings, than on any other part of their person; in the East indeed it is considered becoming even for men to wear gold in that place. Some animals have larger and others smaller ears; only stags have cleft and as it were divided ears; the shrewmouse has shaggy ears; but all species, at all events viviparous ones, have some ears, except the seal and dolphin, and those which we have designated a cartilaginous, and vipers: these have only holes in place of ears, except the cartilaginous species and the dolphin, although the latter is obviously able to hear; for dolphins are charmed even by music, and are caught while bewildered by the sound. Their precise method of hearing is a riddle. They also have no indications of smell, although they possess a very keen scent. Of feathered creatures only the eagle-owl and eared owl have feathers that serve as ears, the rest have apertures for hearing; and similarly with the scaly creatures and with snakes. In horses and every kind of cattle the ears display signs of their feelings, drooping when they are tired, twitching when they are frightened, pricked up when they are angry and relaxed when they are sick.
LI. Only man has a face, all other animals have a muzzle or beak. Others also have a brow, but only with man is it an indication of sorrow and gaiety, mercy and severity. The eyebrows in man can be moved in agreement with it, either both together or alternately, and in them a portion of the mind is situated: with them we indicate assent and dissent, they are our chief means of displaying contempt; pride has its place of generation elsewhere, but here is its abode: it is born in the heart, but it rises to the eyebrows and hangs suspended therehaving found no position in the body at once loftier and steeper where it could be sole occupant.
LII. Beneath the brows lie the eyes, the most precious part of the body and the one that distinguishes life from death by the use it makes of daylight. Not all animals have these organs: oysters have no eyes, and some of the shellfish doubtful ones, as scallops, if somebody moves his fingers towards them when they are open, shut up as though seeing them, and razor-shells hurry away from iron hooks brought near them. Of four-footed creatures moles have no sight, although they possess the semblance of eyes if one draws off the covering membrane. And among birds the variety of the heron class called in Greek white herons are said to lack one eye, and to be a very good omen when they fly North or South, as they tell that dangers and alarms are being dissipated. Nigidius says that also locusts and cicadas have no eyes. For snails their pair of horns all the place of eyes by feeling in front of them. Earth-worms also and worms in general have no eyes.
LIII. Man alone has eyes of various colours, whereas with all other creatures the eyes of each member of a species are alike. Some horses too have grey eyes; but in man the eyes are of extremely numerous variety and differencelarger than the average, medium, small; prominent, which are thought to be dimmer, or deep-set, which are thought to see most clearly, as are those with the colour of goats' eyes.
LIV. Moreover some people have long sight. but others can only see things brought close to them. The sight of many depends on the brilliance of the sun, and they cannot see clearly on a cloudy day or after sunset; others have dimmer sight in the day time but are exceptionally keen-sighted at night. We have already said enough about double pupils, or persons who have the evil eye. Blue-grey eyes see more clearly in the dark. It is stated that Tiberius Caesar alone of all mankind was so constituted that if he woke up in the night for a short time he could see everything just as in bright daylight, although darkness gradually closed over him. The late lamented Augustus had grey eyes like those of horses, the whites being larger than usual in a human being, on account of which he used to be angry if people watched his eyes too closely; Claudius Caesar's eyes were frequently bloodshot and had a fleshy gleam at the corners; the Emperor Gaius had staring eyes; Nero's eyes were dull of sight except when he screwed them up to look at objects brought close to them. In the training-school of the Emperor Gaius there were 20,000 gladiators, among whom there were only two that did not blink when faced by some threat of danger and were consequently unconquerable: s6 difficult it is for a human being to stare steadily, whereas for most people it is natural to keep on blinking, and these are traditionally supposed to be more cowardly. Nobody has eyes of only one colour: with everyone the general surface is white but there is a different colour in the middle. No other part of the body supplies greater indications of the mindthis is so with all animals alike, but specially with manthat is, indications of self-restraint, mercy, pity, hatred, love, sorrow, joy. The eyes are also very varied in their lookfierce, stern, sparkling, sedate, leering, askance, downcast, kindly: in fact the eyes are the abode of the mind. They glow, stare, moisten, wink; from them flows the tear of compassion, when we kiss them we seem to reach the mind itself, they are the source of tears and of the stream that bedews the cheek. What is the nature of this moisture that at a moment of sorrow flows so copiously and so promptly? Or where is it in the remaining time? In point of fact it is the mind that is the real instrument of sight and of observation; the eyes act as a sort of vessel receiving and transmitting the visible portion of the consciousness. This explains why deep thought blinds the eyes by withdrawing the vision inward, and why when the mind is clouded during an attack of epilepsy the eyes though open discern nothing. Moreover hares sleep with the eyes wide open, and so do many human beings while in the condition which the Greeks term 'corybantic.'
Nature has constructed them with thin and multiple membranes, and with outside wrappers that are callous against cold and heat, which she repeatedly cleanses with moisture from the tear-glands, and she has made the eyes slippery against objects that encounter them, and mobile.
LV. The horny skin in the centre of the eye nature has furnished with the pupil as a window, the narrow opening of which does not allow the gaze to roam uncertain, but so to speak canalizes its direction, and easily averts objects that encounter it on the way; the pupil is surrounded with circles which with some people are coloured black, with others grey and with others blue, so that the light from the surrounding radiance both may be received in a suitable blend and having its reflexion moderated may not be jarring; and the efficacy of the mirror is made so perfect by these means that the small pupil can reflect the entire image of a human being. This is the reason why commonly birds when released from men's hands go first of all for their eyes, because they see their own likeness reflected in them and try to reach as it were a desired object that is akin to themselves. Beasts of burden only experience diseases at certain phases of the moon. Man alone is cured of blindness by the emission of fluid from the eye. Many have had their sight restored after 20 years of blindness; some have been blind at birth owing to no defect in the eyes; similarly, many have suddenly lost their sight without any previous injury. The most learned authorities state that the eyes are connected with the brain by a vein; for my own part I am inclined to believe that they are also thus connected with the stomach: it is unquestionable that a man never has an eye knocked out without vomiting. There is a solemn ritual custom among Roman citizens to close the eyes of the dying and to open them again on the funeral pyre, custom having established that it is not right for the eyes to be seen by a human being at the last moment and also wrong for them not to be displayed to the heavens. Man is the only animal whose eyes are liable to distortion, which is the origin of the family names Squint-eye and Blinky. From the eyes also came the name of One-eye that used to be given to persons born blind in one eye, and that of Eyelet given to persons both of whose eyes were small; the One-eye family a received the name of an injury done to one of them. The eyes of night-roaming animals like cats shine and flash in the dark so that one cannot look at them, and those of the wild-goat and the wolf gleam and shoot out light; the eyes of the sea-calf and of the hyena change frequently into a thousand colours; moreover those of many fishes shine out even in the dark, like oak-tree stumps when dry and rotten with age. We have stated that creatures that do not direct their gaze by slanting the eyes but by turning the head round do not wink. It is reported that the chameleon's eyes turn themselves entirely round. Crabs look sideways, having their eyes enclosed in a fragile shell. Lobsters and shrimps mostly have very hard eyes projecting under a protection of the same kind. Creatures with hard eyes have less keen sight than those whose eyes are moist. It is stated that if one removes the eyes of young snakes and swallow chicks, they grow again. The eyes of all insects and of creatures with a covering of shell move like the ears of quadrupeds. Those with fragile coverings have hard eyes. All such creatures, and also fish and insects, have no eyelids and do not close their eyes; withal the eye is covered with a membrane that is transparent like glass.
LVI. Human beings have eyelashes on both eyelids. Women actually have them dyed every day: such is their desire to achieve beauty that they colour even their eyes; but really the lashes were bestowed by nature for another purpose, as a sort of fence to the sight and a barrier projecting against insects meeting the eye, or other things accidentally falling into them. It is said that sexual excess causes them to drop off, not undeservedly. None of the other species have them excepting those with hair on the rest of the body as well, but quadrupeds have them only on the upper lid, birds on the lower, as also do creatures with a soft skin, for instance snakes, and oviparous quadrupeds, for instance lizards. The ostrich is the only bird with lashes on both eyelids like a human being.
LVII. Not all species have eyelids either, and also only viviparous creatures can wink. The heavier birds close the eye with the lower lid, and also wink with a skin that covers the eye from the corner. Pigeons and similar birds close the eyes with both lids. But oviparous quadrupeds, such as tortoises and crocodiles, do so only with the lower lid, without any winking because their eyes are extremely hard. The old name for the edge of the upper eyelid was cilium; hence our word for the brows. When the eyelid is cleft by a wound it does not grow together again, as is the case with a few other parts of the human body.
LVIII. Only man has cheeks below the eyes (the old word for the cheeks was genae, used in the Twelve Tables in the prohibition of women's lacerating them). The cheeks are the seat of modesty: on them a blush is most visible.
LIX. The face between the cheekbones displays merriment and laughter, and higher up, but in man only, stands the nose, which modern fashion has made the organ of sly mockery. No other animal has projecting nostrils, birds, snakes and fishes only having apertures for smelling, without nostrils and this is the origin of the surnames Snubby and Pug. Seven-month children have frequently been born lacking the apertures of the ears and nostrils.
LX. The viviparous species have lipswhence the surnames Lippy and Blubber-lipsand a well-shaped or rather harsh mouth. Instead of ups birds have pointed beaks of horn, which are hooked in birds of prey, straight in those that live by pecking, and broad in those that dig up grass and mud, like the snouts of the swine class. Cattle use their mouths instead of a hand for gathering fodder. Beasts that live by tearing up their prey have mouths that open wider.
No creature but man has a chin, any more than cheeks. The crocodile moves only the upper jaw; four-footed laud animals open the mouth in the same way as all other creatures and in addition move the lower jaw sideways.
LXI. There are three kinds of teethserrated or continuous or projecting: serrated teeth closing together like the teeth of a comb, so as not to be worn away by direct collision, as in snakes, fishes and dogs; continuous, as in man and the horse; projecting, as in the boar, hippopotamus and elephant. Of continuous teeth those that separate the food (incisors), are called the broad or sharp teeth, those that masticate it double teeth, and those between these dog-teeth. The latter are longest in creatures with serrated teeth. Continuous teeth are either in both jaws, as with the horse, or else there are no front teeth in the upper jaw, as with oxen and sheep and all the ruminants. The goat has no upper teeth except the pair in front. Species having serrated teeth have no projecting teeth, and a female rarely has them, and when she has them does not use them; consequently though boars gore, sows bite. No species with horns has projecting teeth, but all have curved ones; all the other species have solid teeth. All kinds of fish have serrated teeth except the parrot-fishthis is the only aquatic species that has level teeth. Many of them however have teeth on the tongue and all over the mouth, so as to soften by means of a multiplicity of wounds objects that they are unable to reduce by mastication. Many also have teeth on the palate [and also on the tail] and also turned further into the mouth, so as to prevent morsels of food from falling out, as they have no apparatus for retaining it.
LXII. The asp and serpent have similar teeth, but two extremely long ones on the right and left side of the upper jaw, perforated by a slender tube like the stings of the scorpion, which inject poison. The most accurate authorities write that this poison is nothing else than the serpents' gall, and that veins pass from the gall-bladder under the spine to the mouth; certain writers say that it is only one tooth, and that as it is hooked it is sloped backward when it has inflicted a bite; some authorities state that it then falls out and afterwards grows again, as it is very easy to dislodge, and that the snakes that we see handled lack this tooth; and that the scorpion has this tooth in its tailas according to most authorities it has three. The vipers' teeth are concealed in its gum. Their gum is charged with the same poison, and when squeezed by the pressure of the teeth pours out its venom into the bites inflicted. No winged creature except the bat has teeth. The camel is the only animal without horns that has not got front teeth in the upper jaw. No horned animal has serrated teeth. Even snails have teeth; this is proved by the fact that even the smallest of them gnaw vetches. But I wonder what possible ground there is for the view that among marine species shell-fish and cartilaginous fish have front teeth, and also that sea-urchins have five. Insects have stings instead of teeth. The monkey has teeth like those of a human being. The elephant has four inner teeth for masticating, and besides these the prominent tusks that are bent backward in the male and slope straight downward in the female. The sea-mouse that swims in front of the whale has no teeth, but instead of them its mouth inside and also its tongue and palate are set with bristles. Of land animals very small quadrupeds have two extremely long front teeth in each jaw.
LXIII. All the other animals are born with teeth, but man grows them six months after birth. All the rest keep their teeth permanently, but man, the lion, the beasts of burden, dogs and ruminant animals shed them; with the lion and dog however this only applies to those called dog-teeth. The right dog-tooth of a wolf is held to be valuable as an amulet. No animal sheds its maxillary teeth, the ones next to the dog-teeth. In man those called wisdom-teeth grow latest, at about the age of twenty, and in many cases even at eighty, with females as well, but only in the case of persons who did not grow them in youth. It is certain that in old age they fall out and then grow again. Mucianus has stated that he saw a Samothracian named Zocles who grew a new set of teeth when 110 years old. For the rest, males have more teeth than females in the case of man, ox, goat and pig. Timarchus son of Nicocles at Paphos had two rows of maxillaries; his brother did not shed his front teeth, and consequently wore them down. There is a case of a person even growing a tooth in the palate. Any of the dog teeth lost by some accident never grow again. With all other species the teeth get red in old age, but in the horse alone they become whiter.
LXIV. In beasts of burden the teeth are a sign of their age. A horse has forty teeth; when two-and-a-half years old it loses two front ones in each jaw, and in the following year the same number of the teeth next these, when they are replaced by those called grinders; at the beginning of its fifth year it looses two teeth, which grow again in its sixth year; in its seventh year it has all of its second teeth and also its permanent ones. A horse previously gelt does not shed its teeth. The ass family likewise looses teeth when two-and-a-half years old, and again six months later; those that have not foaled before they shed their last teeth are sure to be barren. Oxen change their teeth at the age of two. Pigs never shed theirs.
When this indication has come to an end, old age in horses and other beasts of burden is inferred from prominence of the teeth and greyness of the brows and hollows round them, when they are judged to be about sixteen years old.
Human teeth contain a kind of poison, for they dim the brightness of a mirror when bared in front of it and also kill the fledglings of pigeons. The rest of the facts about the teeth have been told in the passage dealing with human reproduction. Infants when cutting their teeth are specially liable to illnesses. The animals with serrated teeth have the severest pain in teething.
LXV. Not all species have tongues on the same plan. With snakes the tongue is extremely slender and three-forked, darting, black in colour, and if drawn out to full length extremely long; with lizards it is cleft in two and hairy, and with seals also it is double; but with the species above mentioned it is of the fineness of a hair. With the rest it is available for licking round the jaws, but with fish it adheres through a little less than its whole length, and with crocodiles the whole of it. In aquatic species on the other hand the fleshy palate serves instead of the tongue in tasting. With lions, leopards, and all the species of that genus, even cats, the tongue is rough and corrugated like a file, and can scrape away the human skin by licking, which provokes even those that have been tamed to madness when their saliva gets through to the blood. We have spoken of the tongues of the purple-fishes. In frogs the tip of the tongue is attached but the inner part is loose from the throat; it is with this that the males croak, at the time when they are called croakers; this happens at a fixed season, when they are calling the females to mate. In this process they just drop the lower lip and take into the throat a moderate amount of water and let the tongue vibrate in it so as to make it undulate, and a croaking sound is forced out; during this the curves of the cheeks are distended and become transparent, and the eyes stand out blazing with the exertion. Creatures with stings in their hinder part have teeth and a tongue as well, bees even a very long tongue, and cicalas also a projecting one; but those with a tubular sting in the mouth have neither tongue nor teeth. Some insects have a tongue inside the month, for instance ants; moreover, the elephant's tongue also is particularly little visible. With the rest of the animals according to theft kind the tongue is always quite free, but with man alone it is often so tightly bound by veins that they have to be cut. We find it recorded that the High Priest Metellus was so tongue-tied that he is believed to have suffered torture for many months while practising the formula to be spoken in dedicating the Temple of Wealth; but in all other cases of stammering the patient usually contrives to speak distinctly after reaching the age of six. Many people on the other hand are endowed with such skill in using the tongue that they can give imitations of the cries of birds and animals that are indistinguishable from the real thing.
With all the other species the tip of the tongue is the seat of taste, but with man this is also situated in the palate.
LXVI. Man has tonsils, the pig glands. Man alone has what is called the uvula hanging from the back of the palate between the tonsils. No oviparous species possesses the lesser tongue below the uvula. Its functions are twofold, placed as it is between two, tubes. Of these the inner one called the windpipe stretches to the lungs and the heart; this the lesser tongue closes while food is being eaten, as breath and voice passes along it, lest if drink or food should pass into the wrong channel, it might cause pain. The other, the outer tube, is of course called the gullet, down which food and drink fall; this leads to the stomach, and the stomach to the abdomen. This passage the lesser tongue occasionally closes, when only breath or voice is passing, so that an untimely rising of the stomach may not interfere. The windpipe consists of gristle and flesh, the gullet of sinew and flesh.
LXVII. No species except those possessing both windpipe and gullet have a nape; all the others, which have only a gullet, have a neck. But in those possessing a nape it is composed of a number of bones articulated in rings with jointed vertebrae, so as to be capable of bending to look round; only in the lion and wolf and hyena is it a stiff structure of a single straight bone. Moreover it is connected with the spine, and the spine with the loins, in a bony but rounded structure, the marrow passing down from the brain through the orifices in the vertebrae. It is inferred that the spinal cord is of the same substance as the brain for the reason that, if its extremely slender membrane is merely cut into, death follows immediately. Species with long legs also have long necks; as also have aquatic species even though they have short legs, and similarly if they have hooked claws.
LXVIII. Man and swine alone suffer from swollen throat, usually due to bad drinking water. The top part of the gullet is called the pharynx and the bottom part the stomach. This name denotes the cavity attached to the spine below the fleshy part of the windpipe, bulging out lengthwise and breadthwise like a flagon. Species without a pharynx, for instance fishes, have no stomach either, and no neck nor throat, and the mouth is joined to the abdomen. The sea tortoise has not got a tongue or teeth, but breaks up all its food with the point of its snout. Next comes the windpipe and the stomach, denticulated with ridges of thick skin like bramble-thorns for the purpose of grinding up the food, the interstices growing smaller in proportion as they are nearer to the abdomen: at the bottom it is as rough as a carpenter's rasp.
LXIX. The heart with the other animals is in the middle of the chest, but in man alone it is below the left breast, with its conical end projecting forward. In fishes only it points towards the mouth. It is stated that at birth the heart is the first organ formed in the womb, and next the brain, just as the eyes develop latest, but that the eyes are the first to die and the heart the last. The heart is the warmest part. It has a definite beat and a motion of its own as if it were a second animal inside the animal; it is wrapped with a very soft and firm covering of membrane, and protected by the wall of the ribs and chest, so that it may give birth to the principle cause and origin of life. It provides the vital principle and the blood with their primary abodes inside it, in a winding recess which in large animals is three-fold and in all others without exception double; this is the dwelling-place of the mind. From this source two large veins run apart to the front and the back of the body, and diffuse the blood of life through other smaller veins with a spreading system of branches to all the limbs. The heart alone is not tortured by the defects of the inner organs; and it does not prolong the torments of life, and when wounded at once brings death. When the rest of the parts have been injured vitality continues in the heart.
LXX. The view is held that dull creatures are those whose heart is stiff and hard, bold ones those whose heart is small, and cowardly ones those in which it is specially large; but it is largest in proportion to their size in mice, the hare, the ass, the stag, the leopard, weasels, hyenas, and all the species that are either timid or rendered dangerous by fear. Partridges in Paphlagonia have two hearts. Bones are occasionally found in the heart of horses and oxen. The people of Egypt, who practise the custom of mummification, have a belief that the human heart grows larger every year and at the age of fifty reaches a weight of a quarter of an ounce, and from that point loses weight at the same rate; and that consequently a man does not live beyond a hundred, owing to heart failure. It is stated that some people are born with a hairy heart, and that they are exceptionally brave and resolutean example being a Messenian named Aristomenes who killed three hundred Spartans. He himself when severely wounded and taken prisoner for. the first time escaped through a cave from confinement in the quarries by following the routes by which foxes got in. He was again taken prisoner, but when his guards were fast asleep he rolled to the fire and burnt off his thongs, burning his body in the process. He was taken a third time, and the Spartans cut him open alive and his heart was found to be shaggy.
LXXI. In victims whose organs are propitious there is a certain fatness on the top of the heart. But the heart was not always considered as one of the significant organs; it was after the 126th Olympiad, when Lucius Postumius Albinus, son of Lucius, was King of Sacrifices, after King Pyrrhus had evacuated Italy, that the augurs began to inspect the heart among the organs. On the day when Caesar as dictator first went in procession dressed in purple and took his seat on a golden throne, when he performed a sacrifice the heart was lacking among the organs; and this gave rise to much debate among the students of divination, as to whether the victim had been able to live without that organ or had lost it at the time. It is stated that at the cremation of persons who have died of heart disease the heart cannot be burnt, and the same is said of persons that have been killed by poison; undoubtedly there is extant a speech of Vitellius that employs this argument to prove Gnaeus Piso guilty of poisoning, and explicitly uses the evidence that it had been impossible to cremate the heart of Germanicus Caesar on account of poison. In reply Piso's defence was based on the nature of the disease.
LXXII. Below the heart are situated the lungs, the breathing apparatus, drawing in and sending back the breath, and consequently spongy in substance and perforated with empty tubes. As has been said, few aquatic species possess lungs, and in the oviparous species they are small and contain froth, not blood; consequently these species do not experience thirst. The same cause makes it possible for frogs and seals to stay long under water. Also the lungs of the tortoise, although very large and spreading under the whole of its shell, are nevertheless devoid of blood. The speed of a creature's movement varies inversely with the size of its lungs. The chameleon's lungs are extremely large in proportion to its size, and it has no other internal organ.
LXXIII. The liver is on the right hand side; it contains what is called the head of the internal organs, which varies a great deal. Marcus Marcellus, near the time of his death, when he was killed by Hannibal, found the liver missing among the organs, but on the following day a double liver was discovered. The liver was also missing with Gaius Marius when he offered sacrifice at Utica, and also with the Emperor Gaius on January 1 at the commencement of his consulship in the year of his murder, and with his successor Claudius in the month in which he was poisoned. When the late lamented Augustus was sacrificing at Spoleto on the first day he was in power the livers of six victims were found with the bottom of their tissue folded back inward, and this was interpreted to mean that he would double his power within a year. It is also of gloomy omen when the head of the liver is accidentally cutexcept at a period of trouble and alarm, when it removes anxieties. Hares with two livers are found in the district of Briletum and Thames and in the Chersonese on the Sea of Marmara, and surprising to say, when the animals are moved to another place one of the two livers disappears.
LXXIV. The liver also contains the gall-bladder, but not all animals possess one. At Chalcis in Euboea the cattle have none, while at Naxos they have a very large double one, so that both facts seem portentous to a stranger. Horses, mules, asses, stags, wild goats, boars, camels and dolphins have not got one; some mice have. Among human beings few lack one; those who do are exceptionally strong in health and long-lived. Some think that the horse has a gall-bladder not indeed in the liver but in the belly, and that the stag has one in the tail or in the bowels, and that consequently they have such a bitter flavour that dogs will not touch them. But as a matter of fact it is only excrement, and because of this the substance of this part also contains the worst portion of the blood. Unquestionably only sanguineous animals possess a liver. The liver receives the blood from the heart with which it is connected, and passes it into the veins.
LXXV. But with a human being black gall contains the cause of insanity, and when it is all excreted death follows. Hence the reproach made against a man's character under the term 'bile': so powerful a poison is contained in this part when it spreads to the mind. Moreover when it is diffused all over the body it takes away the colour even of the eyes, and indeed, when excreted, even from bronze vessels, which turn black when touched by itso that nobody need be surprised that snakes' gall is poison. (Animals in the Pontus that eat wormwood are free from bile.) Again the gall-bladder is connected with the kidneys and only on one side with the intestine in ravens, quails and pheasants, and in some only with the intestine, as in pigeons, the hawk, lampreys; and with a few birds it is in the liver. With snakes it is proportionally extremely copious, and so with fishes. But with birds it usually fills the whole intestine, as with the hawk and kite; moreover it is also in the liver, as in the case of all the large marine animals. Indeed in the case of seals it is in high repute for many purposes as well. From bulls' gall a golden colour is extracted. The augurs have consecrated the gall to Neptune and the power of the watery element, and the late lamented Augustus found a double gall-bladder on the day on which he won the battle of Actium.
LXXVI. It is said that the filaments in the tiny livers of mice correspond with the number of the days of the moon in the month, and are found to correspond with its degree of light; and also that they grow larger with winter. Rabbits are often found in Southern Spain with a double set of internal organs. One of the two filaments of toads ants do not touch, because of their poison, as is believed. The liver is extremely capable of enduring age, and has been proved by instances of sieges to last a hundred years.
LXXVII. Snakes and lizards have long internal organs. There is a record that when a person at Volterra named Caecina was performing a sacrifice, some snakes darted out from the internal organs of the victima joyful portent; and indeed it would seem nothing incredible to those considering that on the day on which King Pyrrhus died the heads of his victims when cut off crawled about licking up their own blood. In man the chief internal organs are separated from the lower part of the viscera by a membrane which is called the praecordia (diaphragm), because it is stretched prae (in front of) the cor (heart): the Greek word for it is phrenes. Indeed provident Nature has enclosed all the principal internal organs with special membranes serving as sheaths; but in the case of this membrane a special cause also was the proximity of the bowels, to prevent the food from pressing down on the vital principle. To this membrane unquestionably is due the subtlety of the intellect; it consequently has no flesh, but is of a spare sinewy substance. In it also is the chief seat of merriment, a fact that is gathered chiefly from tickling the armpits to which it rises, as nowhere else is the human skin thinner, and consequently the pleasure of scratching is closest there. On this account there have been cases in battle and in gladiatorial shows of death caused by piercing the diaphragm that has been accompanied by laughter.
LXXVIII. In creatures possessing a stomach the abdomen is below it; it is single in the other species but double in the ruminants. Species without blood have no stomach, because in some, for instance the cuttlefish and the polyp, the intestine beginning at the month bends back to the same point. In man the abdomen is connected with the bottom of the stomach, like the dog's. These are the only animals in which it is narrower at the lower part, and consequently they are the only ones that vomit, because when the abdomen is full this narrowness prevents the food from passing, which cannot happen to those in which the roomy laxity of the abdomen passes the food on to the lower parts.
LXXIX. From this abdomen start in the sheep and in man the smaller intestines through which the food passes, and in the other species the entrails, from which the roomier intestines pass to the belly, and in the case of man in extremely winding coils. On this account species in which the distance from the belly is longer arc greedier for food; moreover those with a very fat abdomen are less clever. Birds also in some eases have two receptacles, one down which food just eaten passes to the throat, the other into which they pass the food from the throat when digestede.g. hens, ring-doves, pigeons and partridges. Almost all the other species in most cases have not got this, but make use of a more widely opened gullet, for instance jays, ravens and crows. Some species treat the food in neither manner, but have the abdomen very near; these are species that have specially long and narrow necks, for instance the sultana-hen. The abdomen of whole-hoofed annuals is rough and hard. In that of some land animals the roughness is denticulated, and in that of others it has a latticed bite. Species that are without teeth in both jaws and that do not ruminate digest their food here and pass it down from here into the belly. This in all species is attached at its middle to the navel; in man at its lower part it resembles the belly of a pig; the Greeks call it the colon; it is the seat of a great cause of pain. In dogs it is extremely narrow, and for this reason they can only relieve it with a violent effort and not without severe pain. The most ravenous animals are those in whom the food passes directly from the abdomen right down the gut; this is the case with lynxes, and among birds cormorants. The elephant has four abdomens, but its other parts resemble those of pigs; its lungs are four times as large as those of an ox. Birds have a fleshy and hard abdomen. In the abdomen of swallow chicks there are found white or red coloured pebbles, called swallow-stones; there are accounts of these in the treatises on magic. Also in the second abdomen of heifers is found a round ball of blackish tufa that weighs nothing; this is thought to be a sovereign remedy for difficulty in childbirth if it has never been allowed to touch the ground.
LXXX. The abdomen and bowels except in the oviparous species are wrapped in a fat thin caul. To this is attached the spleen on the left side opposite the liver, with which it occasionally changes place, but this constitutes a portent. Some think that oviparous species contain a spleen, and also snakes a rather small one; this undoubtedly appears to be so in the case of the tortoise, the crocodile, lizards and frogs. It is certain that the goat's-head bird has not got a spleen, nor have the bloodless species. Sometimes it causes a peculiar impediment in running, owing to which runners who have trouble have an operation to reduce it. Also cases are reported of animals living after it has been removed by an incision. There are some who think that this operation deprives a man of the power of laughing, and that inability to control one's laughter is caused by enlargement of the spleen. It is said that in a district in Asia called Scepsis the cattle have extremely small spleens, and that remedies for the spleen have been imported from there.
LXXXI. All viviparous quadrupeds a have kidneys, but among oviparous ones only the tortoise, which has all the other internal organs also, but, as with man, its kidneys resemble those of the ox, and look like a cluster of several kidneys. But at Briletum and Thame stags have four kidneys while the species possessing feathers and scales have none. For the rest, they are attached to the top of the loins. In all cases the right kidney is higher, and not so fat, and drier; but with both the fat is discharged out of the middle, except in the seal. Animals accumulate fat most in the kidneys, sheep indeed with fatal results, because the fat solidifies round them. Occasionally stones are found in the kidneys.
LXXXII. Nature has surrounded the heart and the vital parts with the chest, a bony structure, but has made it stop at the abdomen which had to be allowed room to increase in size; no animal has bones round the abdomen. Man alone has a broad chest; with all the other animals it is keel-shaped, more so with birds, and among them most of all with the aquatic species. Man has eight ribs, pigs ten, horned animals thirteen and serpents thirty.
LXXXIII. Below the belly in front is the bladder, which occurs in none of the oviparous kinds except the tortoise, in none devoid of lungs filled with blood, and in none without feet. Between the bladder and the belly are the tubes called the groin, stretching to the private parts. The bladder of the wolf contains a stone named syrites; but in some human beings there continually form terribly painful stones and bristly fibres. The bladder consists of a membrane that when wounded does not form a solid scar; it is not the same as the one that enfolds the brain or the heart, as there are several kinds of membrane.
LXXXIV. Women have all the same organs, and in addition, joined to the bladder, a small sac, called from its shape the uterus or womb; another name for it is 'the parts,' and in the rest of the animals it is called the matrix. This in the viper and the viviparous species is double; in the oviparous ones it is attached to the diaphragm; and in women it has two recesses on either side of the flanks, and it causes death whenever it is displaced and interferes with the breathing. It is said that cows when pregnant only carry in the right cavity of the womb, even when carrying twins. Sow's paunch is a better dish after a miscarriage than after a successful delivery; in the former case it is called 'miscarryings' and in the latter 'farrowings.' That of a sow farrowing for the first time is best, and the contrary with those exhausted with breeding. After farrowing the paunch is a bad colour and lacking in fat, unless the sow was killed the same day; nor is that of young sows thought much of, except from those farrowing for the first time, and the paunch of old sows is preferable provided they are not quite worn out, and not killed on the actual day of farrowing or the day before or the day after. The paunch next best to miscarryings is that of a sow slaughtered the day after farrowing; also its paps are the best, provided it has not yet suckled the litter; the paps of a sow that has had a miscarriage are the worst. In old days people called it sow's abdomen before it got hard, as they used not to slaughter sows when they were with young.
LXXXV. Horned animals with teeth in one and those that have pastern-bones in the feet put on fat in the form of suet, but in those with cloven hooves or feet divided into toes, and without horns, it forms grease. This is of a solid substance and when it has cooled off can he broken up, and it is always where the flesh ends; whereas fat is between the flesh and the skin, and is moist and fluid. Some animals, for instance the hare and the partridge, do not grow fat. All fat animals are more liable to barrenness, in the case of both males and females; also excessively fat ones get old more quickly. All animals have some fat in the eyes. In all cases the greasy fat has no sensation, because it does not possess arteries or veins; and in most animals also fatness of condition causes insensitiveness, and it is recorded that because of this pigs have been gnawed by mice while still alive. It is also on record that the son of the consular Lucius Apronius had his fat removed by an operation and relieved his body of unmanageable weight.
LXXXVI. Marrow also appears to consist of the same substance, being of a red colour in youth and turning white in old age. It is only found in hollow bones, and there is none in the legs of oxen or dogs, in consequence of which when they are fractured the bone does not join again, this being caused by the flow of marrow from a fracture. But the marrow is fat in the animals that contain lard, suety in those with horns, sinewy and only present in the spine in those without bones, like the fish kind; and bears have none, and the lion a rather small amount in a few of the bones of the thighs, and forelegs, while the other bones are so hard that fire can be struck from them as from a flint.
LXXXVII. Also the animals that do not get fat have hard bones; those of asses are resonant enough to use as flutes. Dolphins being viviparous have bones and not spines, but snakes have spines. Soft aquatic species have no bones, but rings of flesh bound round the body, for instance the two kinds of cnttlefish. Insects also are said to be equally devoid of bones. The gristly aquatic species have marrow in the spine, and seals have gristle, not bones. Similarly with all that have ears and nostrils that just project these are soft and flexible, nature thus insuring them against fracture. When gristle is burst it does not join up, and when bones are amputated they do not grow again, except the bone between the hoof and the hock in beasts of burden. Human beings grow taller to the age of twenty-one and from then onward fill out; but more particularly at the period of puberty they are noticed to get free from a sort of impediment to their growth, and especially so in sickness.
LXXXVIII. The sinews starting from the heart, and in the ox actually wrapped round the heart, have a similar nature and explanation, being in all animals attached to the slippery bones and binding together the links of the bodily frame called joints, in some cases by coming between them, in others by surrounding them and in others by passing from one to another, being at one point rounded and at another flattened as the conformation of the joint requires in each case. The sinews also do not join again if cut, and, what is surprising, though extremely painful if wounded cause no pain at all if cut through. Some animals, for instance fishes, have no sinews, as they are held together by their arteries; although the soft species of the fish genus lack arteries as well. Where there are sinews, the inner ones contract the limbs and the ones on the surface reverse the movement.
LXXXIX. Between the sinews lie the arteries, which are the passages for the breath, and on these float the veins, which are the channels for the blood. The pulse of the arteries being particularly evident at the extremity of the limbs is usually a sign of diseases; with remarkable scientific skill it has been reduced by that high priest of medicine, Herophilus, to definite rhythms and metrical rules throughout the periods of lifesteady or hurried or slow. This sign has been neglected because of its excessive subtlety, but yet really it supplies a rule for the guidance of life by observation of the pulse-beat, rapid or languid. The arteries have no sensation, for they even are without blood, nor do they all contain the breath of life; and when they are cut only the part of the body concerned is paralysed. Birds have not got either veins or arteries, nor yet have snakes, tortoises and lizards, and they have only a very small amount of blood.
The veins spread underneath the whole skin, finally ending in very thin threads, and they narrow down into such an extremely minute size that the blood cannot pass through them nor can anything else but the moisture passing out from the blood in innumerable small drops which is called sweat. The junction and meeting point of the veins is at the navel.
XC. Creatures whose blood is copious and thick are hot-tempered. The blood of males is darker than that of females, and that of youth than that of old age; and it is thicker in the lower part of the body. The blood also contains a large proportion of vitality, and when shed it draws the breath with it; but it has no sense of touch. The animals with denser blood are braver, those with thinner blood wiser, and those with very little blood, or none at all, more timid. The blood of bulls coagulates and hardens most quickly (and consequently is noxious to drink); that of boars next quickly, but that of stags and goats and antelopes does not thicken at all. Asses have the thickest blood and man the thinnest. Species with more than four feet have no blood. Fat animals have a smaller supply of blood, because it is used up in the fat. In the human race alone a flux of blood occurs in the males, in some eases at one of the nostrils, in others at both, with some people through the lower organs, with many through the mouth; it may occur at a fixed period, as recently with a man of praetorian rank named Macrinus Viscus, and every year with the City Prefect Volusius Saturninus, who actually lived to be over 90. This alone of the bodily affections experiences an occasional increase, inasmuch as sacrificial victims bleed more copiously if they have previously drunk.
XCI. Those animals which we have specified as going into hiding at fixed seasons have not any blood at those periods except quite scanty drops in the neighbourhood of the head, by a marvellous contrivance of nature, just as in man she causes the blood-supply to alter at the smallest impulses, the blood not only being suffused with less matter by sleep but at each separate state of mind, by shame, anger, and fear, there being various ways of turning pale, and also of blushingas the blush of anger is different from that of modesty. For it is certain that in fear the blood retreats and is nowhere to be found, and that many creatures do not shed blood when stabbed, which happens only to a human being. For those which we have spoken of as changing their colour really assume the colour of some other object by a sort of reflexion; only man actually changes colour in himself. All diseases and death reduce the amount of blood.
XCII. There are persons who think that subtlety of mind is not due to thinness of the blood, but that animals are more or less brutish owing to their skin and bodily coverings, as for instance molluscs and tortoises; and that the hides of oxen and bristles of pigs obstruct the thinness of the air when being inhaled, and it is not transmitted pure and liquid; so also in man, when his skin being thicker or more callous shuts it outjust as if crocodiles did not possess both a hard hide and cunning.
XCIII. The skin of the hippopotamus is so thick that it is used for the points of spears, and yet its mind possesses a certain medical ability. The hides of elephants also supply impenetrable bucklers (though nevertheless they are credited with the most outstanding mental subtlety of all quadrupeds); and consequently their skin itself is devoid of sensation, especially in the head. It does not heal up when wounded in any place where there is only skin and no flesh, as in the cheek and eyelid.
XCIV. Viviparous species have bristles, but oviparous ones have feathers or scales, or shells like tortoises, or bare skin like snakes. Feathers in all cases have hollow stalks; when cut off they do not grow again, but when plucked out others grow in their place. Insects use fragile membranes to fly with, flying-fish fly over the sea with damp membranes and bats among houses with dry ones; the wings of bats also have joints.
Shaggy hair grows out of a thick skin, whereas women have finer hair; horses have abundant hair in the mane, lions on the shoulders, rabbits on the cheeks inside and also under the feet, hair in both places being also recorded in the case of the hare by Trogus, who infers from this example that among human beings also the hairy ones are more licentious: the hare is the shaggiest animal there is. Man alone grows hair on the private parts, and if this does not occur is sterile, this applying to both sexes. Human beings have some hair at birth and grow some later; the latter does not grow with men who have been castrated, though the hair they had at birth does not fall off; just as women also do not much lose their hair, although there have been cases of women afflicted with baldness, and also with down on the face, when menstruation has ceased. With some men the hair that comes after birth does not grow readily. Four-footed animals shed their hair and grow it again every year. With men the hair of the head grows fastest and next that of the beard. When the hair is cut it does not grow again from the incision, as plants and all other things do, but continues growing from the root. The hair grows longer in some diseases, especially consumption, and in old age too, and also on the bodies of the dead. Licentious people loose the hair they had at birth earlier and grow fresh hair more quickly. With four-footed animals the hair gets thicker with age and the wool thinner. Four-footed animals have shaggy backs and bare bellies.
Boiling ox-hide produces glue; bull's hide makes the best.
XCV. Man is the only species in which the male has teats; with the rest of the animals there are only the marks of teats. But with the females also only those have teats on the breast that are able to lift their offspring up to them. No oviparous species has teats; and only the viviparous have milk. Among flying species only the bat has milk, as I think the story about screech-owls, that they drop milk from their teats into the mouths of babies, is a fabrication. It is an acknowledged fact that even in old days the screech-owl was one of the creatures under a curse, but what particular bird is meant I believe to be uncertain.
With asses the teats are painful after foaling, and consequently they refuse to suckle their foals after five months, whereas mares give suck almost a whole year. Whole-hooved species that never have more than two foals all have two dugs, and these always between the thighs. Animals with cloven feet and horns have the dugs in the same place, cows having four and sheep and goats two. Those that bear large litters and that have toes on the feet have more dugs, and these in a double row the whole length of the bellyfor instance swine, of which the good breeds have twelve dugs and the common ones two less; similarly with dogs. Some species have four dugs in the middle of the belly, for instance leopards, others two, for instance lionesses. The elephant has only two dugs beneath the shoulders and not on the breast but close to it, concealed under the shoulder-blades. None of the species with toes have dugs beneath the thighs. Sows give their first dugs to the pigs born first in each litter, these being the dugs nearest to their throats, and each pig in the litter knows its own dug in the order in which it was born, and gets its food from that one and not at another. If its nurseling is taken away from it the dug at once goes dry and shrivels up, whereas if one out of the whole litter is left the dug that had been assigned to it at birth alone hangs down and does service. She-bears carry four dugs. Dolphins only have two nipples at the bottom of the belly, which are not prominent and project slightly sideways; and the dolphin is the only animal that gives suck while in motion. But whales and seals also suckle their young.
XCVI. A woman's milk produced before the seventh month is of no use, but from that month, when the embryo is alive, it is healthy. With the females of most species milk flows from the whole of the dugs and even from the fold of the shoulder-blades. Camels have milk until they are in foal again; camel's milk is thought to be most agreeable if three parts of water are added to one of milk. A cow does not have milk before calving; and after the first calving there are always biestings, which condense into a sort of foam unless water is mixed with them. Asses in foal begin to give milk at once. Where the pasture is rich it is fatal for their foals to have tasted their mothers' milk in the two days after birth; the name for the illness is biestings-fever. Cheese is not made from species with teeth in both jaws, as their milk does not curdle. Camel's milk is the thinnest and mares' milk the next thin; asses' milk is thickest, so that it is used as a substitute for rennet. Asses' milk is actually thought to contribute something to the whiteness in women's skin; at all events Domitius Nero's wife Poppaea used to drag five hundred she-asses with foals about with her everywhere and actually soaked her whole body in a bathtub with ass's milk, believing that it also smoothed out wrinkles. All milk is made thicker by fire and turned into whey by cold. Cow's milk makes more cheese than goat's milk, almost as much again from the same quantity. Animals with more than four dugs are not serviceable for cheese, and those with two are better.
The curds of the roebuck, hare and goat are praised, but that of the rabbit is the best, and is even a cure for diarrhoeathe rabbit is the only animal with teeth in both jaws that has this property. It is remarkable that the foreign races that live on milk for so many centuries have not known or have despised the blessing of cheese, at most condensing their milk into agreeable sour curds and fat butter. Butter is a foam of milk of thicker and stickier substance than what is called whey; it must be added that it possesses the quality of oil and is used for anointing by all foreigners and by ourselves in the case of children.
XCVII. Of cheese from the provinces the most highly praised at Rome, where the good things of all nations are estimated at first hand, is that of the district of Nimes, coming from the villages of La Lozre and Gvaudan; but it only wins approval for a short time and when fresh. The Alps prove the value of their pastures by two kinds of cheese: the Dalmatian Mountains send the Docleate and the Tarentaise the Vatusic. A larger number belong to the Apennines: these send Coebanum cheese from Liguria, chiefly made of sheep's milk, Sarsina cheese from Umbria, and Luni cheese from the borderland of Tuscany and Liguriathis cheese is remarkable for its size, in fact it is actually made up to the weight of 1000 pounds the cheese; but nearest to Rome is the Vestinian, and the kind from the Caedician Plain is the most approved. Herds of goats also have their special reputation for cheese, in the case of fresh cheese especially when smoke increases its flavour, as with the supremely desirable cheese made in the city itself; for the cheese of the Gallic goats always has a strong medicinal taste. But of cheeses from over seas the Bithynian is quite famous. That pastures contain salt, even where it is not visible, is chiefly detected from the fact that all cheese as it gets old turns saltish, just as cheeses steeped in vinegar and thyme undoubtedly return to their original fresh flavour. It is recorded that Zoroaster in the desert lived for twenty years on cheese that had been so treated as not to be affected by age.
XCVIII. Man is the only land two-footed animal, and the only one that has a throat, shoulders instead of forequarters like the others, and elbows. In animals possessing hands, the hands only have flesh inside, the outside consisting of sinews and skin.
XCIX. Some people have six fingers on each hand. It has come down to us that the two daughters of a man of patrician family named Marcus Coranius were called the Miss Six-Fingers on this account, and that Voleatius Sedigitus was distinguished in poetry. The human fingers have three joints and the thumb two, and it bends in the opposite direction to all the fingers, stretching out by itself on a slant, and it is thicker than the others. The thumb is equal to the smallest finger in length, and two of the rest are equal to one another, between them the middle finger extending longest. The four-footed animals that live by plunder have five toes on the front feet and four on the others. Lions, wolves, dogs and the leopard have five claws on the hind feet as well, with the one next the joint of the leg hanging down; the other species, which are smaller, have five toes also.
Not all people's arms are a pair; it is known that a Thracian gladiator named Studiosus in Gaius Caesar's training-school had his right arm longer than his left. Some animals use the service of their front feet as hands, and sit moving their food to their mouth with them, for instance squirrels. In fact the monkey tribes have a perfect imitation of a human being in their face, nostrils, cars and eyelashesthey are the only four-footed animals with eyelasheson the lower lid as well, also paps on the breast, and arms and legs bending similarly in opposite directions, and nails on their hands, and fingers, and a longer middle finger. They differ a little from human beings in their feet, for these are very long like their hands, but make a foot-print like the palm of a hand. They also have a thumb and knuckles like a human being; and besides a genital organ, and this in the males only, they also have all internal organs to pattern.
CI. It is believed that nails are the extremities at the end of sinews. All creatures have nails that also have fingers, but in the monkey they overlap like tiles, whereas in man they are broad (and they continue to grow after a man is dead); and they are crooked in beasts of prey but straight in the other animals, for instance dogs; excepting the nail that in most species hangs downward from the leg. All animals with feet have toes, except the elephant; for the elephant's toes are unshaped and though five in number yet undivided and only slightly separated, and resembling hooves, not nails, and the fore feet are larger, the joints of the hind feet being short, and also an elephant's knees bend inward like a man's, whereas the other animals bend the knees of the hind legs in the opposite direction to those of the forelegs; for viviparous animals bend their knees in front of them and the joints of the hocks backward.
CII. In man the knees and elbows bend in opposite directions, and the same is the case with bears and the monkey tribe, which are consequently not at all swift. In the oviparous quadrupeds, the crocodile and the lizards, the front knees curve backward and the hind knees forward, but these species have legs that bend like the human thumb; and so also have the multipedes, except the hindermost legs of the species that jump. Birds curve their wings forward like the front legs of quadrupeds but their thigh backward.
CIII. The knees of a human being also possess a sort of religious sanctity in the usage of the nations. Suppliants touch the knees and stretch out their hands towards them and pray at them as at altars, perhaps because they contain a certain vital principle. For in the actual joint of each knee, right and left, on the front side there is a sort of twin hollow cavity, the piercing of which, as of the throat, causes the breath to flow away. There is a religious sanctity belonging to other parts also, for instance in the right hand: kisses are imprinted on the back of it, and it is stretched out in giving a pledge. It was a custom with the Greeks in early days to touch the chin in entreaty. The memory is seated in the lobe of the ear, the place that we touch in calling a person to witness; similarly behind the right ear is the seat of Nemesis (a goddess that even on the Capitol has not found a Latin name), and to it we apply the third finger after touching our mouths, the month being the place where we locate pardon from the gods for our utterances.
CIV. Varicose veins in the legs occur only in a man but rarely in a woman. Oppius records that Gaius Marius who was seven times consul was the only man who underwent an operation for the removal of varicose veins without lying down.
CV. All animals start walking with the right foot and lie down on the left side. Whereas the other animals walk as they like, only the lion and the camel pace with one foot after the other, that is with the left foot not passing but following the right foot. Human beings have the largest feet; the females of all species have more slender feet; man alone has calves and legs that are fleshy. We find it stated in the authorities that a certain person in Egypt had no calves. Man alone has an arched sole to the foot (with some exceptionsa deformity that is the origin of the surnames Flatfoot, Broadfoot, Splayfoot, Swellfoot, just as from the legs come the names Knock-knee, Bowleg, Bandyleg, deformities that also occur in animals). Some animals without horns have solid hooves: consequently in place of horns a kick of the hoof is their weapon. And the same animals have no pastern-bone, but those with cloven hooves have one. Pastern-bones are also lacking in animals having toes, and no animal has them in the forefeet. The camel's pastern-bones resemble those of the ox but are a little smaller; for the camel's foot is divided in two by a very small cleft, and is fleshy at the tread like a bear's, for which reason a camel's feet are liable to split on too long a journey without shoeing.
CVI. Only with animals of the draught kind do the hooves grow again. In some places in Illyria pigs have solid hooves. Horned animals mostly have cloven hooves. No species has both solid hooves and two horns; the only animal with one horn is the rhinoceros, and the only one with one horn and cloven hooves the antelope. The rhinoceros is the only solid-hooved animal that has pastern-bones, for pigs are thought to belong to both classes, and consequently their pastern-bones are misshapen. Persons who have thought that a human being has pastern-bones have been easily refuted. Of the animals with toes only the lynx has something resembling a pastern-bone, and the lion a still more twisted one. But the true pastern-bone is at the ankle-joint, projecting with a hollow bulge and attached with a ligature onto the joint.
CVII. Some birds have toes, others are web-footed, and others intermediate, with separate toes but also broad feet; but all have four toes, three in front and one at the heelthe latter however absent in some long-legged species; the wry-neck alone has two toes on either side of the foot. The same bird has a tongue like a snake's which it stretches out a long way, and it turns its neck round towards its back; it has large claws like a jay's. Some of the heavier birds, though none of those with crooked talons, have spurs added on the legs. The long-legged birds fly with their legs extended towards their tail, but the short-legged ones draw them into their middle. Those who say that there is no bird without feet assert that black martins have specially short feet, and also the Alpine swift, a bird that is very rarely seen. Even snakes with the feet of geese have been seen before now.
CVIII. The insects with hard eyes have the front feet longer, so that they may occasionally rub their feet eyes with their feet, as we observe in houseflies. Insects with long hind feet leap, for instance locusts. But all these have six feet. Some spiders have two very long feet in addition. Each foot has two joints. We have said that some marine species also have eight feet, octopuses, cuttlefish of both varieties, and crabs, which move their fore-feet in the opposite direction to the others and their hind-feet in a circle or slantwise; they are also the only animals with feet of a rounded shape. All the other species have two guiding feet, only crabs have four. Land species that exceed this number of feet, as most worms, have not less than twelve, and some as many as a hundred. No kind has an odd number of feet.
In the species with solid feet the legs are of the proper size at birth, afterwards more truly stretching out than growing. Consequently in infancy they scratch their ears with their hind feet, which when older they are unable to do, because length of time increases the size of only the surface of their bodies. For this reason at the early stages they can only feed by bending their knees, and this goes on till their neck reaches full growth.
There is a dwarf kind in all species of animals, and even among birds.
CIX. We have already specified the species of which the males have genital organs behind them. These organs are bony in wolves, foxes, weasels and ferrets, which also furnish sovereign remedies for stone in man. In the bear too it is said, these organs become horny as soon as the animal dies. The eastern peoples think that this organ in the camel makes a most reliable bowstring. There are also certain racial distinctions in connexion with it, and even varieties of ritual, the Galli, priests of the Mother of the Gods, practising amputation within the limits of injury. On the other hand in a few women there is a curious resemblance to the male organ, [clitoris?] as there is in hermaphrodites of either sex, a thing that I believe first occurred with the class of quadrupeds also in the principate of Nero: at all events Nero used to show off a team of hermaphrodite mares, that he had found in the Trier district in Gaul, harnessed to his chariot, apparently deeming it a very remarkable spectacle to see the Emperor of the World riding in a miraculous carriage.
CX. The testicles in sheep and oxen hang down against the legs, but in pigs they are closely knit to the body. In the dolphin they are very long, and stowed away in the lower part of the belly, and in the elephant also they are concealed. In oviparous creatures they are attached to the loins on the inside, these animals being very rapid in copulation. Fishes and snakes have no testicles, but instead of them two passages from the kidneys to the genitals. Buzzards have three. In man only they may be crushed owing to an injury or from natural causes, and this forms a third class, in distinction from hermaphrodites and eunuchs, the impotent. In every species except leopards and bears the mares are the stronger.
CXI. Almost all species except man and monkeys, both the viviparous and the oviparous, have tails corresponding to the requirements of their bodies, bare with the hairy species, like boars, small with the shaggy ones, like bears, very long with the bristly, like horses. With lizards and snakes when cut off they grow again. The tails of fishes steer their winding courses after the manner of a rudder, and even serve to propel them like a sort of oar by being moved to the right and left. Actual cases of two tails are found in lizards. Oxen's tails have a very long stem, with a tuft at the end, and in asses it is longer than in horses, but it is bristly in beasts of burden. A lion's tail is shaggy at the end, as with oxen and shrew-mice, but not so with leopards; foxes and wolves have a hairy tail, as have sheep, with which it is longer. Pigs curl the tail, dogs of low breeds keep it between their legs.
CXII. Aristotle thinks that only animals with lungs and windpipe, that is those that breathe, possess a voice; and that consequently even insects make a sound, but have not a voice, the breath passing inside them and making a sound when shut up there, and that some, as bees, give out a buzz, others, as grasshoppers, a brief hiss, because the breath is received in two hollows under the chest and encountering a movable membrane inside makes a sound by rubbing against it. He thinks that flies, bees and other similar creatures begin and cease to give an audible sound when they begin and cease to fly, as the sound is caused by friction and by the air inside them, not by breathing; and that locusts make a sound by rubbing their wings against their thighs. It is indeed believed that among aquatic creatures scallops similarly make a rushing sound when they fly, but that shell-fish and crustaceans have no voice nor sound of any kind. But the other fishes, although they lack lungs and windpipe, are not entirely devoid of any sound at allpeople advance the quibble that their hiss is made with the teethand the fish in the river Achelous called the boar-fish has a grunt, and so have others about which we have spoken. Oviparous species have a hisssnakes a long one, tortoises an abrupt one. Frogs have a special kind of voice, as has been said unless in their case also we are to allow some uncertainty, because 'voice' means a sound formed in the month, not in the chest. Still in the case of frogs the nature of the localities also makes a great deal of difference: the frogs in Macedonia are reported to be dumb, and also the boars. Among birds the smaller ones are more talkative, and particularly at the mating season. Some birds, e.g. quails, give a cry when fighting, others, e.g. partridges, before a fight, others, e.g. domestic fowls, when they have won. With the latter the cocks have a crow of their own, but with other birds, for instance the nightingale class, the hens also have the same note. Some birds sing all the year, some at certain seasons, as has been said in dealing with the species separately. The elephant squeezes out a sound like a sneeze from its actual mouth, not through the nostrils, but through the nostrils it emits a harsh trumpet sound. In oxen alone the lowing of the females is louder, but in every other kind of animal the females' voice is not so loud as that of the males, even (in the case of the human race) those that have been castrated. The infant gives no sound at birth until it emerges entirely from the womb. It begins to talk when a year old; but Croesus had a son who spoke at six months and while still at the rattle stage, a portent that brought the whole of that realm to downfall. Infants that began to speak quicker are slower in starting to walk. The voice gets stronger at fourteen, but it gets weaker in old age; and it does not alter more often in any other animal.
There are other facts besides about the voice that deserve mention. It is absorbed by the sawdust or sand that is thrown down on the floor in the theatre orchestras, and similarly in a place surrounded by rough walls, and it is also deadened by empty casks. Also it runs along a straight or concave surface of wall and carries words although spoken in a low tone to the other end, if no unevenness of the surface hinders it. In a human being the voice constitutes a large part of the external personality: we recognise a man by it before we see him just in the same way as we recognise him with our eyes; and there are as many varieties of voices as there are mortals in the world, and a person's voice is as distinctive as his face. This is the source of the difference between all the races and all the languages all over the world, and of all the tunes and modulations and inflexions, but before all things of the power of expressing the thoughts that has made us different from the beasts, and has also caused another distinction between human beings themselves that is as wide as that which separates them from the lower animals.
CXIII. When animals are born with extra limbs are useless, as is always the case when a human being is born with a sixth finger. In Egypt it was decided to rear a monstrosity, a human being with another pair of eyes at the back of the head, though he could not sec with these.
CXIV. For my own part I am surprised that Aristotle not only believed but also published his belief that our bodies contain premonitory signs of our career. But although I think this view unfounded, and not proper to be brought forward without hesitation lest everybody should anxiously seek to find these auguries in himself, nevertheless I will touch upon it, because so great a master of the sciences as Aristotle has not despised it. Well then, he puts down as signs of a short life few teeth, very long fingers, a leaden complexion and an exceptional number of broken creases in the hand; and on the other side he says that those people are long-lived who have sloping shoulders, one or two long creases in the hand, more than thirty-two teeth, and large ears. Yet he does not, I imagine, note all these attributes present in one person, but separately, trifling things, as I consider them, though nevertheless commonly talked about. In a similar manner among ourselves Trogus, himself also one of the most critical authorities, has added some outward signs of character which I will append in his own words: 'When the forehead is large it indicates that the mind beneath it is sluggish; people with a small forehead have a nimble mind, those with a round forehead an irascible mind'as if this were a visible indication of a swollen temper! 'When people's eyebrows are level this signifies that they are gentle, when they are curved at the side of the nose, that they are stern, when bent down at the temples, that they are mockers, when entirely drooping, that they are malevolent and spiteful. If people's eyes are narrow on both sides, this shows them to be malicious in character; eyes that have fleshy corners on the side of the nostrils show a mark of maliciousness; when the white part of the eyes is extensive it conveys an indication of impudence; eyes that have a habit of repeatedly closing indicate unreliability. Large ears are a sign of talkativeness and silliness,' thus far Trogus.
CXV. The lion's breath contains a severe poison and the bear's is pestilential: no wild animal will touch things that have come in contact with its vapour, and things that it has breathed upon go bad more quickly. Of the remaining species nature has willed that in man alone the breath shall be corrupted in a great many ways, even by bad food and bad teeth, but most of all by old age. The old man cannot feel pain, he lacks all touch and taste, without which there is no sensation at all; his breath comes and goes, constantly retiring from him, ultimately to depart from him and thereafter to be all that remains out of a human being. The breath was a draught drawn from heaven; yet for it also a penalty has been invented, so that even that which is the very means of living may not give us joy in life. This applies specially to the Parthian races, even from youth up, because of their lack of discrimination in diet, for even their mouths smell from too much wine. But their upper classes use as a remedy the seed of the citron-tree, which has a remarkably sweet aroma, adding it to their food.
The breath of elephants attracts snakes out of their holes, that of stags scorches them. We have mentioned the races of men that rid their bodies of snakes' poison by sucking it out. Moreover swine will eat snakes, and to other animals it is poison. The creatures we have designated insects can all be killed by sprinkling with oil; vultures are killed by ointment (they are attracted by the scent, which repels other birds), and beetles by a rose. A scorpion kills some snakes. In Scythia the natives poison their arrows with vipers' venom and human blood; this nefarious practice makes a wound incurableby a light touch it causes instant death.
CXVI. We have said which animals feed on poison. Some otherwise harmless species after feeding on poisonous things become harmful themselves also. In Pamphylia and the mountain regions of Cilicia people who eat boars when these have devoured a salamander die, for there is no indication in the smell or taste; also water or wine when a salamander has died in it is fatal, and so is even drinking from a vessel out of which one has drunk; and similarly with the kind of frog called a toad! so full of traps is life! Wasps devour a snake greedily, and by so doing make their sting fatal. And so widely does diet vary that according to Theophrastus in a district where people live on fish the cattle also eat fish, but only live fish.
CXVII. Simple food is the most serviceable for a human being an accumulation of flavours is unwholesome, and more harmful than sauces. But it is difficult completely to digest all the components contained in articles of food, all that is sharp or rough or unusual or varied, or excessive in quantity and swallowed greedily; and it is more difficult in summer than in winter, and in old age than in youth. The emetics that have been devised for digestive troubles have a chilling effect on the body, and are extremely bad for the eyes and the teeth.
To digest one's food while asleep is more conducive to corpulence than to strength, and consequently it is thought preferable for men in training to assist their digestion by taking a walk; at all events food is most thoroughly assimilated while keeping awake.
CXVIII. Sweet and fat foods and drinking add bulk, whereas dry and lean and cold foods and thirst reduce it. Some animals and also domestic cattle in Africa only drink once in three days. Starvation is not fatal to a human being after even five days; it is certain that a good many people have actually endured it more than ten days. Man is the only animal liable to the disease of a continuously insatiable appetite.
CXIX. Again some things tasted in a very small quantity allay hunger and thirst and conserve the strength, for instance butter, mare's milk cheese, liquorice root. But anything in excess is exceedingly detrimental, even in all departments of life, but particularly to the body, and it pays better to reduce the quantity of what is in any manner burdensome.
But let us pass on to the remaining branches of Natural Science.