Aristotle's History of Animals

Page 8 of 14

[Pg 194]


Chapter I.

1. The nature of animals and their mode of reproduction has now been described. Their actions and mode of life also differ according to their disposition and their food. For almost all animals present traces of their moral dispositions, though these distinctions are most remarkable in man. For most of them, as we remarked, when speaking of their various parts, appear to exhibit gentleness or ferocity, mildness or cruelty, courage or cowardice, fear or boldness, violence or cunning; and many of them exhibit something like a rational consciousness, as we remarked in speaking of their parts. For they differ from man, and man from the other animals, in a greater or less degree; for some of these traits are exhibited strongly in man, and others in other animals.

2. Others differ in proportion. For as men exhibit art, wisdom, and intelligence, animals possess, by way of compensation, some other physical power. This is most conspicuous in the examination of infants, for in them we see, as it were, the vestiges and seeds of their future disposition; nor does their soul at this period differ in any respect from that of an animal; so that it is not unreasonable for animals to present the same, or similar, or analogous appearances. Nature passes so gradually from inanimate to animate things, that from their continuity their boundary and the mean between them is indistinct. The race of plants succeeds immediately that of inanimate objects; and these differ from each other in the proportion of life in which they participate; for, compared with other bodies, plants appear to possess life, though, when compared with animals, they appear inanimate.

3. The change from plants to animals, however, is gradual, as I before observed. For a person might question to [Pg 195] which of these classes some marine objects belong; for many of them are attached to the rock, and perish as soon as they are separated from it. The pinn are attached to the rocks, the solens cannot live after they are taken away from their localities; and, on the whole, all the testacea resemble plants, if we compare them with locomotive animals. Some of them appear to have no sensation; in others it is very dull. The body of some of them is naturally fleshy, as of those which are called tethya; and the acalephe and the sponge entirely resemble plants; the progress is always gradual by which one appears to have more life and motion than another.

4. In the vital actions also we may observe the same manner. For vegetables which are produced from seed appear to have no other work beyond reproduction; nor do some animals appear to have any other object in their existence. This object then is common to them all; but as sensation advances, their manner of life differs in their having pleasure in sexual intercourse, in their mode of parturition and rearing their young. Some of them, like plants, simply accomplish their peculiar mode of reproduction at an appointed season, and others are diligent in rearing their young; but as soon as this is accomplished they separate from them, and have no farther communication; but those that are more intelligent, and possess more memory, use their offspring in a more civilized manner.

5. The work of reproduction is one part of their life, the work of procuring food forms another. These two occupy their labour and their life. Their food differs in the substances of which it consists, and all the natural increase of the body is derived from food. That which is natural is pleasant, and all animals follow that which is pleasant to their nature.

Chapter II.

1. Animals are divided according to the localities which they inhabit; for some animals are terrestrial, others are aquatic. They also admit of a ternary division, those that breathe air and those that breathe water, one of these classes is terrestrial, the other is aquatic; the third class does not breathe either air or water, but they are adapted by nature to receive refreshment from each of these elements; and some of these are called terrestrial, others are aquatic, though they [Pg 196] neither breathe air or water; and there are other animals which procure their food and make their abode in either of these elements. For many that breathe air, and produce their young upon the land, procure their food from the water, where they generally make their abode; and these are the only animals which appear to be doubtful, for they may be arranged either as terrestrial or aquatic animals.

2. Of those that breathe water, none have feet or wings, nor seek their food on land; but many of those that are terrestrial, and breathe air, do so; some of them so much so, that they cannot live when separated from the water, as those which are called marine turtles, and crocodiles, and hippopotami, and seals, and some of the smaller creatures, as the water tortoise and the frog tribe; for all these are suffocated if their respiration is suspended for any length of time. They produce their young and rear them on dry land; others do so near the dry land, while they reside in the water.

3. Of all animals the most remarkable in this particular is the dolphin, and some other aquatic animals and cetacea which are of this habit, as the whale and others which have a blowhole; for it is not easy to arrange them either with aquatic or terrestrial animals, if we consider animals that breathe air as terrestrial, and those that breathe water as aquatics, for they partake of the characters of both classes; for they receive the sea and eject it through their blowhole, and air through their lungs, for they have this part, and breathe through it. And the dolphin, when captured in nets, is often suffocated, from the impossibility of breathing. It will live for a long while out of water, snoring and groaning like other breathing animals. It sleeps with its snout above the water, in order that it may breathe through it.

4. It is thus impossible to arrange it under both of these contrary divisions, but it would appear that the aquatic animals must be further subdivided; for they breathe and eject water for the same reason as others breathe air, for the sake of coolness. Other animals do this for the sake of food; for those animals which obtain their food in the water, must also, at the same time, swallow some of the fluid, and have an organ by which they can eject it. Those creatures which use water instead of air for breathing have gills; those that use it for food have a blowhole. These [Pg 197] creatures are sanguineous. The nature of the malacia and malacostraca is the same; for these swallow water for food.

5. Those animals which breathe air, but live in the water, and those which breathe water, and have gills, but go out upon dry land and take their food there, belong to two divisions of aquatic animals. This last division is represented by a single animal called the cordylus (water newt); for this animal has no lungs, but gills; and it goes on dry land to procure its food. It has four feet, so that it appears natural that it should walk. In all these animals nature appears to be, as it were, turned aside, and some of the males appear to be females, and the females have a male appearance; for animals which have but small diversity in particular parts, exhibit great variations in the whole body.

6. This is evident in castrated animals; for if a small portion only of the body is destroyed, the animal becomes a female; so that it is plain that if a very minute portion in the original composition of an animal becomes changed, if that portion belongs to the origin of the species, it might become either male or female; or, if taken away altogether, the animal might be neuter. And so, either way, it might become a land or aquatic animal, if only a small change took place ... it happens that some become terrestrial and others aquatic animals, and some are not amphibious which others are, because in their original generation they received some kind of substance which they use for food. For that which is natural is agreeable to every animal, as I have said before.

Chapter III.

1. When animals are divided in three ways into aquatic and land animals, because they either breathe air or water, or from the composition of their bodies; or, in the third place, from their food, their manner of life will be found to agree with these divisions. For some follow both the composition of their bodies and the nature of their food, and their respiration of either water or air. Others only agree with their composition and food.

2. The testacea which are immoveable live by a fluid which percolates through the dense parts of the sea, and [Pg 198] being digested because it is lighter than the sea water, thus returns to its original nature. That this fluid exists in the sea, and is capable of infiltration is manifest, and may be proved by experiment; for if anyone will make a thin waxen vessel, and sink it empty in the sea, in a night and a day, it may be taken up full of water, which is drinkable.

3. The acalephe (actinia) feeds upon any small fish which may fall in its way. Its mouth is placed in the centre of its body. This organ is conspicuous in the larger individuals: like the oyster, it has a passage for the exclusion of its food, which is placed above. The acalephe appears to resemble the internal part of the oyster, and it makes use of the rock, as the oyster does of its shell. (The patella also is free, and wanders about in search of food.)

4. Among the locomotive testacea, some are carnivorous, and live on small fish, as the purpura, for this creature is carnivorous, it is therefore caught with a bait of flesh: others live upon marine plants. The marine turtles live upon shell-fish, for which purpose they have a very powerful mouth; for if any of them take a stone or anything else, they break and eat it. This animal leaves the water and eats grass. They often suffer and perish, when they are dried up as they float on the surface, for they are not able to dive readily.

5. The malacostraca are of the same nature, for they eat everything; they feed upon stones and mud, seaweeds and dung, as the rock crabs, and are also carnivorous. The spiny lobsters also overcome large fishes, and a kind of retribution awaits them in turn, for the polypus prevails over the lobster, for they are not inconvenienced by the shell of the lobster, so that if the lobsters perceive them in the same net with them, they die from fear. The spiny lobsters overcome the congers, for their roughness prevents them from falling off. The congers devour the polypi which cannot adhere to them on account of the smoothness of their surface; all the malacia are carnivorous.

6. The spiny lobsters also live on small fish, which they hunt for in their holes, for they are produced in such parts of the sea as are rough and stony, and in those places make their habitations; whatever they capture, they bring to their mouth [Pg 199] with their double claw, as the crabs do. When not frightened they naturally walk forwards, hanging their horns down at their sides. When alarmed they retreat backwards, and extend their horns to a great distance. They fight with each other like rams with their horns, raising them and striking each other. They are often seen in numbers as if they were gregarious.

7. The malacostraca lead this kind of life. Among the malacia the teuthis and sepia prevail over the large fish. The polypus generally collects shells which it empties of their contents and feeds upon them, so that those who seek for them find their holes by the shells that are scattered about. The report that they eat each other is a mistake; but some have the tentacula eaten off by the congers.

Chapter IV.

1. All fish at the season of oviposition live upon ova; in the rest of their food they are not all so well agreed, for some of them are only carnivorous, as the selachos, conger, channa, thynnus, labrax, sinodon, amia, orphus, and murna; the trigla lives upon fuci, shell-fish, and mud; it is also carnivorous. The cephalus lives on mud, the dascillus on mud and dung. The scarus and melanurus on sea-weed, the salpa on dung and fuci, it will also eat the plant called horehound; it is the only fish that can be caught with the gourd.

2. All fish, except the cestreus, eat one another, especially the congers. The cephalus and the cestreus alone are not carnivorous. This is a proof of it. They are never captured with anything of the kind in their stomach, nor are they captured with a bait made of flesh, but with bread; the cestreus is always fed upon sea-weed and sand. One kind of cephalus which some persons call chelone lives near the land, another is called peras. This last feeds upon nothing but its own mucus, for which reason it is always very poor. The cephalus lives upon mud, wherefore they are heavy and slimy. They certainly never eat fish, on account of their dwelling in mud; they often emerge in order to wash themselves from the slime. Neither will any creature eat their ova, so that they increase rapidly, [Pg 200] and when they increase they are devoured by other fish, and especially by the acharnus.

3. The cestreus (mullet) is the most greedy and insatiable of fish, so that its abdomen is distended, and it is not good for food unless it is poor. When alarmed it hides its head, as if its whole body were thus concealed; the sinodon also is carnivorous, and eats the malacia. This fish and the channa often eject their stomachs as they pursue small fish, for their stomach is near the mouth, and they have no sophagus. Some are simply carnivorous, as the dolphin, sinodon, chrysophrys, the selache and malacia; others, as the phycis, cobius, and the rock-fish, principally feed upon mud and fuci, and bryum, and what is called caulion, and any matter which may be produced in the sea. The phycis eats no other flesh than that of the shrimps. They also frequently eat each other, as I before remarked, and the greater devour the less. It is a proof that they are carnivorous, that they are captured with bait made of flesh.

4. The amia, tunny, and labrax generally eat flesh, though they also eat sea-weed. The sargus feeds after the trigla when the last has buried itself in the mud and departed, for it has the power of burying itself, then the sargus comes and feeds and prevents all those that are weaker than itself from approaching. The fish called scarus is the only one which appears to ruminate like quadrupeds. Other fish appear to hunt the smaller ones with their mouths towards them, in this way they naturally swim; but the selachea, dolphins and cetacea throw themselves on their back to capture their prey, for their mouth is placed below them, for this reason the smaller ones escape, or if not they would soon be reduced in number; for the swiftness of the dolphin and its capacity for food appear incredible.

5. A few eels in some places are fed upon mud, and any kind of food which may be cast into the water, but generally they live upon fresh water, and those who rear eels take care that the water which flows off and on upon the shallows in which they live may be clear, where they make the eel preserves. For they are soon suffocated if the water is not clean, their gills being very small. For this reason those who seek for them disturb the water. In the Strymon they are taken about the time of the rising of the [Pg 201] Pleiades. For the water is disturbed at this season by the mud which is stirred up by contrary winds, otherwise it is useless to attempt to obtain them. When dead, eels do not rise and float on the surface, like other fishes, for their stomach is small; a few of them are fat, but this is not usually the case.

6. When taken out of the water, they will live five or six days; if the wind is in the north they will live longer than if it is in the south. If they are removed from the ponds to the eel preserves during the summer they perish, but not if removed in the winter; neither will they bear violent changes, for if they are taken and plunged into cold water, they often perish in great numbers. They are suffocated also if kept in a small quantity of water. This takes place also in other fish, which are suffocated if kept in a small quantity of water which is never changed, like animals which breathe air when enclosed in a small quantity of air. Some eels live seven or eight years. Fresh-water fish make use of food, and devour each other, as well as plants and roots, or anything else that they can find in the mud; they generally feed in the night, and during the day dwell in deep holes. This is the nature of the food of fish.

Chapter V.

1. All birds with crooked claws are carnivorous, nor are they able to eat corn even when put in their mouths. All the eagles belong to this class and the kites, and both the hawks, the pigeon hawk namely, and the sparrow hawk. These differ in size from each other, and so does the triorches. This bird is as large as the kite, and is visible at all seasons of the year; the osprey and vulture also belong to this class. The osprey is as large as the eagle, and ash-coloured. There are two kinds of vultures, one small and whitish, the other large and cinereous.

2. Some of the night birds also have crooked claws, as the nycticorax, owl, and bryas. The bryas resembles an owl in appearance, but it is as large as an eagle; the eleos, golius, and scops also belong to this class. The eleos is larger than a domestic fowl, the golius is about the size of that bird, they both hunt the jay. The scops is less than [Pg 202] the owl; all three of these are similar in form, and carnivorous. Some that have not crooked claws are carnivorous, as the swallow.

3. Some birds feed on worms, as the finch, the sparrow, batis, chloris, titmouse. There are three kinds of titmouse; the spizites is the largest, it is as large as the finch. Another is called the orinus, because it dwells in mountains; it has a large tail. The third resembles them in everything except its size, for it is very small. The sycalis also, the megalocoryphus, pyrrhulas, erithacus, hypolas, strus, tyrannis are of this class. The last of these is the least, it is not much larger than a locust; it has a purple crest, and is altogether a graceful and well-formed bird. The bird called anthus also, which is of the size of the finch; the orospizus is like the finch, and nearly of the same size, it has a blue stripe on its neck, and lives in mountainous places. The wren also lives upon seeds. All these and such like birds either partly or entirely live on worms.

4. These birds, the acanthis, thraupis, and that which is called chrysometris, all live upon thorns, but neither eat worms or any other living creature, and they both roost and feed in the same places. There are others which feed on gnats; these live chiefly by hunting for these insects, as the greater and lesser pipo, both of which are by some persons called woodpeckers. They resemble each other in their cry, though that of the larger bird is the louder, and they both feed by flying against trees. The celeos also, which is as large as a turtle dove, and entirely yellow; its habit is to strike against trees; it generally lives upon trees, and has a loud voice. This bird generally inhabits the Peloponnesus. There is also another called cnipologus, which is small, about the size of the acanthyllis; its colour is cinereous and spotted, and its voice is weak; this bird also pecks trees.

5. There are other birds which live upon fruit and grasses, as the phaps, phatta, peristera, nas, and trygon.[216] The phatta and peristera are always present, the trygon only in summer time; in the winter it is not seen, for it hides itself in holes. The nas is generally seen and captured in the autumn. The nas is as large as the peristera but less than [Pg 203] the phaps. It is generally captured as it is drinking; it comes to this country when it has young. All the rest come in the summer, and make their nests here, and all, except the pigeon tribe, live upon animal food.

6. All birds, as far as food is concerned, are either terrestrial or live in the neighbourhood of rivers and ponds, or near the sea. Those that have webbed feet pass the greater part of their time on the water; those with divided feet near the water. Some of these dive for their food, such as live upon plants and do not eat flesh; others, as the heron and white heron, live in ponds and rivers. The latter of these is smaller than the former, and has a flat large bill.

7. The pelargus also, and the gull, the latter is ash-coloured, and the schnilus, cinclos, pygargus, (and tryngas) this last is the largest of these small birds, for it is of the same size as the thrush; all these birds wag their tails. The calidris also, this bird is variegated and ash-coloured. The kingfisher also lives near the water; there appear to be two kinds of this bird, one of which utters its cry as it sits upon the reeds, and the other, which is larger, is silent; they both have a blue back. The trochilus also, and the kingfisher and cerylus also live near the sea. The corona also lives upon animals which are cast on shore, for it is omnivorous. The white gull also, the cepphus, thyia, and charadrius.

8. The heavier web-footed birds inhabit the neighbourhood of rivers and ponds, as the swan, duck, phalaris, columbis, and the boscas, which is like a duck, but smaller; and the bird called corax, which is as large as the pelargus, but its legs are shorter, it is web-footed and a swimmer, its colour is black; this last bird perches upon trees, and is the only one of this class that builds its nest in such places. The great and small goose also, the latter is gregarious, and chenalopex, the aix, and the penelops. The sea eagle also lives near the sea, and fishes in the waters of lakes. Many birds are omnivorous; those with crooked claws seize upon other animals which they can overcome, and upon birds. They do not, however, devour their own congeners, as fish frequently do; all the tribes of birds drink very little, those with crooked claws do not drink at all, or only a few of them, and these but seldom; of these the cenchris drinks the [Pg 204] most; the kite rarely drinks, though it has been observed to do so.

Chapter VI.

1. Animals covered with scaly plates, as the lizard and other quadrupeds and serpents, are omnivorous, for they eat both flesh and grass, and serpents lick their prey more than any other animal; all these creatures, and indeed all with spongy lungs, drink very little, and all that are oviparous are of this kind, and have but little blood. Serpents are all very fond of wine, so that they hunt the viper by placing vessels of wine in the hedge-rows, and they are captured when intoxicated. Serpents devour any animal that they may have captured, and when they have sucked out the juice, they reject all the remainder; nearly all such animals do this, as also the spiders. But the spiders suck the juice without swallowing the animal. Serpents suck the juice internally.

2. The serpent swallows any food which may be presented to it, for it will devour both birds and beasts, and suck eggs. When it has taken its food it draws itself up, till it stands erect upon its extremity, it then gathers itself up and contracts itself a little, so that when stretched out the animal it has swallowed may descend in its stomach; it does this because its sophagus is long and thin. Phalangia and serpents can live a long while without food, this may be seen in those that are kept by dealers in medicine.

Chapter VII.

1. Among viviparous quadrupeds, those that are wild and have pointed teeth are all carnivorous, except some wolves, which, when they are hungry, will, as they say, eat a certain kind of earth, but this is the only exception. They will not eat grass unless they are sick, for some dogs eat grass and vomit it up again, and so are purified. The solitary wolves are more eager for human flesh than those which hunt in packs.

2. The animal which some persons call the glanus and others the hyna, is not less than the wolf, it has a mane like a horse, but the hair all along its spine is more harsh and thick. It also secretly attacks men, and hunts them [Pg 205] down; it hunts dogs also by vomiting like men; it also breaks open graves for the sake of this kind of food.

3. The bear is also omnivorous, for it eats fruit, and on account of the softness of its body it can climb trees; it eats leguminous seeds also; it also overturns hives and eats the honey, and it feeds upon crabs and ants, and is carnivorous, for its strength enables it to attack not only deer, but wild hogs, if it can fall upon them secretly, and oxen. For when it meets the bull face to face, it falls upon its back, and when the bull attempts to throw it, seizes its horns with its fore-legs, and biting upon the shoulder of the bull, throws it down. For a short time it can walk upright on its hind legs. It eats flesh after it has become putrid.

4. The lion, like all other wild animals with pointed teeth, is carnivorous; it devours its food greedily, and swallows large pieces without dividing them; it can afterwards, from its repletion, remain two or three days without food. It drinks very little. Its excrement is small, and is not made more than once in three days or thereabouts, and it is dry and hard like that of a dog. The wind from its bowels has an acrid smell, and its urine is powerfully scented, for which reason dogs smell to trees, for the lion, like the dog, lifts its leg to make water. It produces also a strong smell when it breathes upon its food, and when its bowels are laid open they emit a strong scent.

5. Some quadrupeds and wild animals seek their food in the neighbourhood of ponds and rivers, but none of them except the seal live near the sea; of this class are the creature called beaver, and the satherium, the satyrium, the otter, and that which is called latax. This creature is broader than the enydris, and has strong teeth, for it often goes out in the night and with its teeth gnaws off the osiers. The enydris also will bite men, and they say will not leave its hold till it hears the noise of its teeth against the bone. The latax has rough hair, the nature of which is between that of the seal and that of the deer.

Chapter VIII.

1. Animals with pointed teeth drink by lapping, and some that have not pointed teeth, as mice. Those which have an even surface to their teeth draw in the water as horses and [Pg 206] oxen; the bear neither draws in the water nor laps it, but gulps it down. Some birds draw in the water, but those which have long necks imbibe it at intervals, lifting up their heads; the porphyrion alone gulps it down. All horned animals, both domestic and wild, and those that have not pointed teeth eat fruits and grass, and are incapable of enduring hunger, except the dog, and this animal eats fruit and grass less than any other.

2. The hog eats roots more than other animals, because its snout is well adapted for this operation, it is more adapted to various kinds of food than other animals. In proportion to its size its fat is developed very fast, for it becomes fat in sixty days. Those who occupy themselves in fatting hogs know how fast they fatten by weighing them when lean; they will become fat after starvation for three days. Almost all other animals become fat, after previous starvation. After three days those who fatten hogs feed them well.

3. The Thracians fatten them by giving them drink on the first day, then at first they omit one day, afterwards two, three, or four, till they reach to seven days. These creatures are fattened with barley, millet, figs, acorns, wild pears, and cucumbers. Both this and other animals with a warm stomach are fattened in idleness, and the sow also by wallowing in the mire. They prefer different kinds of food at different ages. The hog and the wolf fight together, a sixth part of its weight when alive, consists of bristles, blood, and fat. Sows and all other animals grow lean while suckling their young. This then, is the nature of these animals.

Chapter IX.

1. Oxen eat both fruits and grass. They become fat on flatulent food, as vetches, broken beans, and stems of beans, and if any person having cut a hole in the skin inflates them and then feeds the older cattle, they fatten more rapidly, and either on whole or broken barley, or on sweet food, as on figs and grapes, wine, and the leaves of the elm, and especially in the sunshine and in warm waters. The horns of the calf, if anointed with wax, may be directed in any way that is desired, and they suffer less in the feet if their horns are rubbed with wax, or pitch, or oil.

[Pg 207]

2. Herds of cattle suffer less when moved in frost than in snow. They grow if they are deprived for a long time of sexual intercourse; wherefore the herdsmen in Epirus keep the Pyrrhic cattle, as they are called, for nine years without sexual intercourse, in order that they may grow. They call such cows apotauri. The number of these creatures reaches four hundred, and they are the property of the king. They will not live in any other country, though the attempt has been made.

Chapter X.

1. The horse, mule, and ass feed upon fruit and grass, but they fatten especially on drinking, so that beasts of burden enjoy their food in proportion to the quantity of water which they drink, and the less difficulty there is of obtaining drink, the more they profit by abundance of grass. When the mare is in foal, green food causes her hair to be fine, but when it contains hard knots it is not wholesome. The first crop of Medic grass is not good, nor if any stinking water has come near it, for it gives it a bad smell. Oxen require pure water to drink, but horses in this respect resemble camels. The camel prefers water that is dirty and thick; nor will it drink from a stream before it has disturbed the water. It can remain without drinking four days, after which it drinks a great quantity.

Chapter XI.

1. The elephant can eat more than nine Macedonian medimni at one meal, but so much food at once is dangerous; it should not have altogether more than six or seven medimni, or five medimni of bread, and five mares of wine, the maris measures six cotyl. An elephant has been known to drink as much as fourteen Macedonian measures at once, and eight more again in the evening. Many camels live thirty years, and some much more, for they have been known to live an hundred years. Some say that the elephant lives two hundred, and others three hundred years.

Chapter XII.

1. Sheep and goats live upon grass. Sheep pasture for a long while in one place without leaving it, but goats change [Pg 208] their places very soon, and only crop the top of the grass. The sheep fatten rapidly with drinking, and for this reason during summer they give them salt, a medimnus to each hundred sheep; for in this manner the flock becomes more healthy and fat, and frequently they collect and bring them together for this purpose, that they may mix a great deal of salt with their food; for when thirsty they drink the more. And in the autumn they feed them with gourds which they have sprinkled with salt, for this makes them give more milk. When driven about in the heat of the day they drink more towards evening. If fed with salt after parturition, the udder becomes larger.

2. Sheep fatten on green shoots, vetches, and all kinds of grass, and they fatten more rapidly when their food is salted. They fatten more rapidly if previously starved for three days. During autumn northern water is better for sheep than southern, and pastures towards the west are good for them. Long journeys and weariness make them lean. Shepherds distinguish the strong sheep during winter by the frost adhering to their wool, which is not the case with those that are sick; for those that are not strong move about in their weakness and shake it off.

3. The flesh of all quadrupeds which feed in marshy grounds is inferior to that of those which live on high ground. Sheep with wide tails endure the winter better than those with long tails, and short woolled-sheep better than long-woolled, and those with curly wool are more affected by the cold. Sheep are more healthy than goats, though goats are the stronger. The fleece and the wool of sheep which have been devoured by wolves, and garments made of such wool are more subject to vermin than others.

Chapter XIII.

1. Those insects which have teeth are omnivorous, but those which have a tongue only live upon fluids, which they collect from all sources with this organ. Some of these are omnivorous, for they feed upon all kinds of fluids, as the fly. Others only suck blood, as the myops and strus. Others, again, live upon the juices of plants and fruit. The bee is the only insect that never touches anything putrid. It uses [Pg 209] no food that has not a sweet taste. They also take very sweet water, wherever they fall upon any that is pure. The different kinds of animals then use these kinds of food.

Chapter XIV.

1. All the actions of animals are employed either in sexual intercourse, or in rearing their young, or in procuring food for themselves, or in providing against excessive heat and cold, and the changes of the seasons. For they all have naturally a sensitiveness respecting heat and cold, and, like mankind, who either change their abodes in cold weather, or those who have large estates, pass their summer in cold countries and their winter in warm ones; so animals, also, if they can, migrate from place to place. Some of them find protection in their accustomed localities, others are migratory; and at the autumnal equinox, escape at the approach of winter, from the Pontus and other cold places; and in spring retreat again before the approach of summer from hot to cold countries, for they are afraid of excessive heat. Some migrate from places close at hand, and others from the very ends of the earth.

2. The cranes do this, for they travel from Scythia to the marshes in the higher parts of Egypt, from which the Nile originates. This is the place where the Pygmies dwell; and this is no fable, for there is really, as it is said, a race of dwarfs, both men and horses, which lead the life of troglodites. The pelicans also are migratory, and leave the river Strymon for the Ister, where they rear their young. They depart in great crowds, and those that are before wait for those behind, for in flying over the mountains those behind cannot see the leaders.

3. The fish also, in the same manner, migrate either from or to the Pontus, and in winter they leave the deep water for the sake of the warmth of the shore, and in summer they escape from the heat by migrating from the shore into deep water. Delicate birds, also, in winter and frosty weather, descend from the mountains to the plains, for the sake of the warmth; and in summer they return again to the mountains for fear of the heat.

4. Those that are the most delicate are the first to make the change at each extreme of heat and cold, such as the [Pg 210] mackerel migrate sooner than the tunnies, and the quails than cranes; for some migrate in August, others in September. They are always fatter when they migrate from cold countries, than when they leave warm countries, as the quail is more fat in the autumn than the spring: and so it happens that they migrate alike from cold countries and from warm seasons. Their sexual desires are also more violent in the spring, and when they leave warm countries.

5. Among birds, as it was previously remarked, the crane migrates from one extremity of the earth to the other, and they fly against the wind. As for the story about the stone, it is a fiction, for they say that they carry a stone as ballast, which is useful as a touchstone for gold, after they have vomited it up. The phatta and the peleias leave us, and do not winter with us, nor does the turtle; but the pigeon stays through the winter. The same is the nature of the quail, unless a few individuals both of the turtle and quail remain behind in sunny spots. The phatta and turtle assemble in large flocks when they depart, and again at the season of their return. The quails, when they commence their flight, if the weather is fine and the wind in the north, go in pairs, and have a successful voyage. If the wind is south it goes hard with them, for their flight is slow, and this wind is moist and heavy. Those that hunt them, therefore, pursue them when the wind is in the south, but not in fine weather. They fly badly on account of their weight, for their body is large. They therefore make a noise as they fly, for it is a toil to them.

6. When they come hither they have no leader, but when they depart hence, the glottis, ortygometra, otus, and cychramus, which calls them together at night, accompany them; and when the fowlers hear this sound, they know that they will not remain. The ortygometra in form resembles the birds which inhabit marshes. The glottis has a tongue which it projects to a great length. The otus resembles an owl, and has small feathers at its ears. Some persons call it the nycticorax, it is mischievous and imitative, it is taken like the owl, as it dances from side to side, one or other of the fowlers compassing it about. On the whole birds with crooked claws have short necks, broad tongues, and a capacity for imitation. And so has the Indian bird, [Pg 211] the parrot, which is said to have a tongue like a man. It becomes the most loquacious when intoxicated. The crow, the swan, the pelican, and the small goose, are gregarious birds.

Chapter XV.

1. It has already been observed that fish migrate from the deep water to the coast, and from the coast to the deep water, in order to avoid the excesses of cold and heat. Those that frequent the neighbourhood of the coast are better than those from deep water, for the feeding grounds are better and more abundant. For wherever the sun strikes the plants are more frequent, and superior, and more delicate, as in gardens, and the black shore-weed grows near the land, and the other kinds rather resemble uncultivated plants. The neighbourhood of the coast is also more temperate, both in heat and cold, than the rest of the sea; for which reason the flesh of fish which live near the shore is more compact, while that of fish from deep sea is watery and soft. The sinodon, cantharus, orphos, chrysophrys, cestreus, trigla, cichla, dracon, callionymus, cobius, and all the rock fish live near the shore. The trygon, selache, the white congers, the channa, erythrinus, and glaucus inhabit deep water. The phagrus, scorpius, the black conger, the murna, and coccyx occupy either situation indifferently.

2. They vary also in different places; as in the neighbourhood of Crete the cobius and all the rock fish are fat. The tunny also becomes good again after Arcturus, for it is not tormented by the strus after that period; for which reason also it is inferior during the summer. In lakes near the sea also there are several kinds of fish, as the salpa, chrysophrys, trigla, and nearly all the rest. The amia also is found in such situations as in the vicinity of Alopeconnesus, and in the lake of Bistonis there are many fish. Many of the coli do not enter the Pontus; but they pass the summer and rear their young in the Propontis, and winter in the gean. The thynnus, pelamis, and amia enter the Pontus in the spring and pass the summer there, and so do nearly all the rhyades and the gregarious fish. Many fish are gregarious, and gregarious fish have a leader of the shoal.

3. They all enter the Pontus for the sake of the food (for the pasture is more abundant and superior, on account [Pg 212] of the fresh water), and for fear of the large creatures, which are smaller there; and except the phocona and dolphin, there is no other found in the Pontus; and the dolphin is small, but when we leave the Pontus we find a larger dolphin. They enter this sea for the sake of food and rearing their young; for the situation is better for this purpose, and the fresh sweet water nourishes the young fry. When they have reared their young, and the fry begin to grow, they migrate immediately after the Pleiades. If the south wind blow during the winter, they leave the place more slowly; but with a north wind they swim faster, for then the wind helps them along. The small fry is captured in the neighbourhood of Byzantium, for they make no long stay in the Pontus.

4. The other fish are seen both in their egress and ingress. The trichia is only seen as it enters, and is not observed to leave again; and if one is captured at Byzantium, the fishermen purify their nets, for it is unusual for them to return. The reason is this: these are the only fish that swim up into the Ister, and when this river divides they swim down into the Adriatic. The following is a proof; for the converse happens here, and they are never captured entering the Adriatic, but as they leave it.

5. The tunnies, as they enter, swim with their right side to the shore, and leave with their left side to the shore; and some persons say that they do this because they see better with their right eye, and their sight is naturally dim. The rhyades move during the day, and in the night remain quiet and feed, unless the moon is bright, in which case they continue their journey and do not rest themselves. And some persons engaged about the sea say that after the winter solstice they do not move, but remain quiet wherever they may be till the equinox.

6. The coli are taken as they enter, but not as they return. The best are taken in the Propontis before the breeding season. The other rhyades are captured more frequently as they leave the Pontus, and are then in perfection. Those that swim near the shore are the fattest when captured; and the farther they are away, the more lean they are; and frequently, when the south wind blows, they swim out in company with the coli and mackerel, and are taken [Pg 213] lower down rather than at Byzantium. This is the nature of their migrations.

Chapter XVI.

1. Land animals have also the same disposition for concealment. For in winter they all hasten to conceal themselves, and appear again when the season becomes warmer. Animals conceal themselves to guard against the excesses of temperature. In some the whole race is concealed; in others only a part of them. All the testacea conceal themselves, as those which are marine, the purpura, whelk, and all that class; but the state of concealment is more conspicuous in those which do not adhere to rocks; for these also conceal themselves, as the pectens. Some have an operculum on their exterior, as the land snails; and the alteration of those that are not free is inconspicuous. They do not all conceal themselves at the same period; for the snails are torpid during the winter, the purpura and whelk for thirty days under the dog star, and the pectens at the same period. Most of them conceal themselves in very cold and very hot weather.

2. Almost all insects become torpid, except those which dwell in the habitations of men, and those that perish and do not survive for a year. They are torpid in the winter. Some conceal themselves for a good while, others only in the coldest days, as the bees, for these also conceal themselves. This is shown by their not touching the food which is prepared for them; and if any of them creep out, they appear transparent, and plainly have nothing in their stomach. They remain at rest from the setting of the Pleiades until the spring. Animals pass their torpid state in warm places, and in the spots they are accustomed to inhabit.

Chapter XVII.

1. Many sanguineous animals become torpid, as those which are furnished with scales, the serpent, lizard, gecko, and the river crocodile, during the four winter months in which they eat nothing. Other serpents conceal themselves in the earth, but the viper lies hidden among stones. Many fish also become torpid, especially the hippurus and coracinus during the winter; for these alone are never taken but at [Pg 214] certain seasons, which never vary. Almost all the rest are taken at all seasons. The lamprey, orphus, and conger conceal themselves. The rock fish conceal themselves in pairs, as the cichla, cottyphus, and perca, the male with the female, in which way also they prepare for their young.

2. The tunny conceals itself during winter in deep places, and they become fattest at this season. The season of capturing them commences with the rising of Pleiades, and continues to the end of the setting of Arcturus. All the rest of their time they remain quiet in concealment. A few of these are taken during the period of their concealment, and so are some other hybernating creatures, if they are disturbed by the warmth of their abode or the unusual mildness of the season. For they come out a little from their holes to feed, and also when the moon is full. Most fish are better tasted during the period of concealment. The primades bury themselves in the mud. This is shown by their not being taken, or their seeming to have a great deal of mud on their backs and their fins pressed down.

3. In spring, however, they begin to move and come to the shore to copulate and deposit their ova. At this season they are captured full of ova, and then also they appear to be in season, but are not so good in autumn and winter. At the same season also the males appear to be full of melt. When their ova are small they are taken with difficulty; but as they grow larger many are taken when they are infested by the strus. Some fish bury themselves in sand, others in mud, with only their mouths above the surface. Fishes usually conceal themselves only in the winter. The malacostraca, the rock fishes, the batus, and selache only in the most severe weather. This is shown by the difficulty of capturing them in cold weather.

4. Some fish, as the glaucus, conceal themselves in summer time; for this fish hides itself for sixty days in the summer time. The onus and the chrysophrys hide themselves. The reason for supposing that the onus hides itself for a long while appears to be that it is captured at long intervals; and the influence of the stars upon them; and especially of the dog-star, appears to be the cause of their hiding themselves in summer time, for the sea is then disturbed. This is most conspicuous in the Bosphorus; for [Pg 215] the mud is thrown up, and the fish are thus brought to the surface; and they say that, when the bottom is disturbed, more fish are often taken in the same cast the second than the first time; and after much rain animals make their appearance which before were either not seen at all or but seldom.

Chapter XVIII.

1. Many kinds of birds also conceal themselves, and they do not all, as some suppose, migrate to warmer climates; but those which are near the places of which they are permanent inhabitants, as the kite and swallow, migrate thither; but those that are farther off from such places do not migrate, but conceal themselves; and many swallows have been seen in hollow places almost stripped of feathers; and kites, when they first showed themselves, have come from similar situations. Birds with crooked claws, and those also with straight claws, conceal themselves indiscriminately; for the stork, blackbird,[217] turtle dove, and lark hide themselves, and by general agreement the turtle dove most of all, for no one is ever said to have seen one during the winter. At the commencement of hybernation it is very fat, and during that season it loses its feathers, though they remain thick for a long while. Some of the doves conceal themselves; others do not, but migrate along with the swallows. The thrush and the starling also conceal themselves, and among birds with crooked claws the kite and the owl are not seen for a few days.

Chapter XIX.

1. Among viviparous quadrupeds the porcupines and bears hybernate. It is evident that the wild bears conceal themselves; but there is some doubt whether it is on account of the cold or from any other cause, for at this season both the males and females are so fat that they cannot move easily. The female also produces her young at this season, and hides herself until the cubs are of an age to be led forth. This she does in the spring, about three months after the solstice, and she continues invisible for at least forty days. During fourteen days of this period they say that she does not move at all. For more than this period afterwards she remains [Pg 216] invisible, but moves about and is awake. A pregnant bear has either never or very rarely been captured; and it is quite plain that they eat nothing during the whole of this period; for they never come out; and if they are captured, their stomach and entrails appear to be empty; and it is said that, because nothing is presented to it, the intestine sometimes adheres to itself; and, therefore, at their first emergence, they eat the arum, in order to open the entrail and make a passage through it.

2. The dormouse hybernates in trees and is then very fat, and the white Pontic mouse. (Some hybernating animals cast their old age, as it is called. This is the outer skin and the coverings at the period of birth.) It has already been observed, that among viviparous animals with feet there is some doubt as to the cause of the hybernation of bears; but almost all animals with scales hybernate and cast their old age; that is, all that have a soft skin and no shell, as the tortoise; for both the tortoise and the emys belong to the class of animals with scales; but all such as the gecko, lizard, and especially the serpents, cast their skins; for they do this both in the spring, when they first emerge, and again in the autumn.

3. The viper also casts its skin both in the spring and autumn, and is not, as some persons say, the only serpent that does not cast its skin. When serpents begin to cast their skin, it is first of all separated from their eyes; and to those who do not know what is about to happen they appear to be blind. After this it is separated from the head, for first of all it appears entirely white. In a night and day the whole of the old skin is separated from the commencement at the head to the tail; and when cast it is turned inside out, for the serpent emerges as the infant does from the chorion.

4. Insects which cast their skins do it in the same way as the silpha, empis, and the coleoptera, as the beetle. All creatures cast it after birth; for in viviparous animals the chorion is separated, and in the vermiparous, as bees and locusts, they emerge from a case. The grasshoppers, when they cast their skins, sit upon olives and reeds. When the case is ruptured, they emerge, and leave a little fluid behind them, and after a short time they fly away and sing.

[Pg 217]

5. Among marine creatures the carabi and astaci cast their skins either in spring or autumn, after having deposited their ova; and carabi have been sometimes taken with a soft thorax, because their shell was ruptured, while the lower part, which was not ruptured, was hard. For the process is not the same in them as in serpents. The carabi remain in concealment for about five months. The crabs also cast their old skin, certainly those which have soft shells; and they say that those which have hard shells do the same, as the maia and graus. When they have cast their shells, the new shells are first of all soft, and the crabs are unable to walk. They do not cast their skins once only, but frequently. I have now described when and how animals conceal themselves, and what creatures cast their skin, and when they do so.

Chapter XX.

1. Animals are not all in good health at the same season, nor in the same degrees of heat and cold. Their health and diseases are different at different seasons in various classes, and on the whole are not alike in all. Dry weather agrees with birds, both in respect of their general health and the rearing of their young, and especially with pigeons; and wet weather, with few exceptions, agrees with fish. On the contrary, showery weather generally disagrees with birds, and dry weather with fish; for, on the whole, abundance of drink does not agree with birds.

2. For the birds with crooked claws, generally speaking, as it was before remarked, do not drink. But Hesiod was ignorant of this circumstance; for in relating the siege of Nineveh he represents the presiding eagle of the augury drinking. Other birds drink, but not much; neither do any other oviparous animals with spongy lungs. The sickness of birds is manifest in their plumage; for it is uneven, and has not the same smoothness as when they are well.

3. The generality of fish, as it was observed, thrive the most in rainy years; for not only in such seasons do they obtain a greater supply of food, but the wet weather agrees with them as with the plants that grow on land; for potherbs, even if watered, do not grow so well as in wet weather. The same is the case with the reeds that grow in [Pg 218] ponds; for they never grow, as we may say, except in rainy weather.

4. And this is the reason why so many fish migrate every summer into the Pontus; for the number of rivers which flow into it render the water fresh, and also bring down a supply of food, and many fish also ascend the rivers, and flourish in the rivers and lakes, as the amia and mullet. The cobii also become fat in the rivers; and on the whole, those places which have the largest lakes furnish the most excellent fish.

5. Of all kinds of water, summer showers agree best with fish; and if the spring, summer, and autumn have been wet, a fine winter. And to speak generally, if the season is healthy for mankind, it will be the same for fish. They do not thrive in cold places. Those which have a stone in their head, as the chromis, labrax, scina, and phagrus, suffer most in the winter; for the refrigeration of the stone causes them to freeze and be driven on shore.

6. Abundant rain confers health on most fish; but the contrary is the case with the mullet and cephalus, which some call marinus; for if there is a great supply of rain water, they soon become blind. The cephali are particularly liable to this disease in the winter; for their eyes become white. When captured they are lean, and at last perish altogether. They do not, however, appear to suffer so much from the wet as from the cold; for in other places, and especially in the swamps in the neighbourhood of the Argive Nauplia, many are found blind in severe weather, and many also are taken with white eyes.

7. The chrysophrys also suffers from the cold; the arachnas from the heat, which makes it lean. Dry seasons agree better with the coracinus than with any other fish, and for this reason, because it is generally warm in dry weather. Particular localities are favourable to different species, as either the neighbourhood of the land, or the deep waters to those which only frequent one of these localities, or particular places to those which frequent both. There are especial places in which each of them thrive; but, generally speaking, they prefer places full of sea weed; for those which inhabit places with plenty of food are generally found to be fatter; for those that eat fuci obtain plenty of [Pg 219] food, while those that are carnivorous find an abundant supply of fish.

8. They are also affected by northern and southern aspects, for the long fish thrive best in northern situations, and in northern places in the summer time more long fish than flat fish are taken in the same locality. The tunny and xiphia suffer from the strus, at the rising of the dog-star, for both these fish at this season have beneath their fins a little worm which is called strus, which resembles a scorpion, and is about the size of a spider; they suffer so much from this torment that the xiphias leaps out of the sea as high as the dolphin, and in this manner frequently falls upon ships.

9. The tunny delights in warm weather more than any other fish, and they resort to the sand near the sea-shore for the sake of the warmth, and there they float on the surface; the small fish are safe because they are overlooked, for large fish pursue those of a moderate size. The greater portion of the ova and melt are destroyed ... by the heat, for whatever they touch they entirely destroy.

10. The greatest number of fish are taken before sunrise and after sunset, or just about sunrise and sunset, for the casts made at this period are called seasonable. For this reason the fishermen take up their nets at this time, for the sight of the fish is then most readily deceived. During the night they remain quiet, and at mid-day, when the light is strong, they see very well.

11. Fish do not appear to be subject to any of those pestilential diseases which so often occur among men and quadrupeds, as the horse and ox, and other animals, both domestic and wild. They appear, however, to suffer from ill health, and the fishermen consider that this is proved by the capture of some lean, and apparently weak individuals, and others that have lost their colour, among a number of fat ones of the same kind. This is the nature of sea-fish.

12. No pestilential disease attacks river and pond fish, though some of them are subject to peculiar diseases, as the glanis, from its swimming near the surface, appears to be star-struck by the dog-star, and it is stupefied by loud thunder. The carp suffers in the same way, but not so severely. The glanis, in shallow water, is often destroyed [Pg 220] by the dragon-serpent. In the ballerus and tilon a worm is produced, under the influence of the dog-star, which makes them rise to the surface and become weak, and when they come to the surface they are killed by the heat; a violent disease attacks the chalcis, which is destroyed by a number of lice, which are produced under its gills; no other fish appear to be subject to such a disease.

13. Fishes are poisoned with the plant called mullein, for which reason some persons capture them by poisoning the waters of rivers and ponds; and the Phnicians poison the sea in the same way. There are two other plans which are adopted for the capture of fish; for since fish avoid the deep parts of rivers in cold weather (for even otherwise the river water is cold), they dig a ditch through the land to the river, which they cover over with grass and stones so as to resemble a cave, with one opening from the river, and when the frost comes on they capture the fish with a basket. The other mode of fishing is practised both in summer and winter. In the middle of the stream they raise a structure with faggots and stones, leaving one part open for a mouth; in this a basket is placed, with which they catch the fish, as they take away the stones.

14. Rainy years agree with all the testacea except the purpura; this is a proof of it, if placed near the mouth of a river, they take the fresh water, and die the same day. The purpura will live about fifty days after it has been taken. They are nourished by each other, for a plant like a fucus or moss grows upon their shells. They say that whatever is cast to them for food is done for the sake of weight, that they may weigh the more.

15. Dry weather is injurious to other testacea, for it renders them fewer in quantity and inferior in quality, and the pectens become more red. In the Pyrrhan Euripus the pectens perish, not only from the instrument with which the fishermen scrape them together, but also from dry weather. The other testacea thrive in wet weather, because it makes the sea-water fresher. The cold of the Pontus and of the rivers that flow into it renders bivalve shells rare. The univalves, however, are frozen in cold weather. This is the nature of aquatic animals.

[Pg 221]

Chapter XXI.

1. Among quadrupeds, swine suffer from three diseases, one of these is called sore throat, in which the parts above the jaws and the branchia become inflamed; it may also occur in other parts of the body, and frequently seizes upon the foot, and sometimes the ear. The neighbouring parts then become putrid, until it reaches the lungs, when the animal dies; the disease spreads rapidly, and the animal eats nothing from the period of the commencement of the disease, be it where it will. The swineherds have no other remedy but the excision of the part before the disease has spread far.

2. There are two other diseases which are both called craura. One of them consists in a pain and weight in the head, with which many of them are afflicted; the other is an excessive alvine discharge. This appears to be incurable. They relieve the former by the application of wine to the nostrils, and washing them with wine. Recovery from this disease is difficult, for it generally carries them off on the third or fourth day.

3. They suffer particularly from sore throat, when the summer bears abundantly, and they are fat. The fruit of the mulberry is good for them, and abundant washings with warm water, and scarification beneath the tongue. If the flesh of swine is soft, it is full of small lumps (chalaz) about the legs, neck, and shoulders; for in these parts the chalaz are most frequent. If there are but a few, the flesh is sweet; if many, it becomes very fluid and soft.

4. Those which have these chalaz are easily distinguished; for they exist in the greatest numbers under the tongue, and if the hair is plucked from their mane it appears bloody underneath. Those which have chalaz cannot keep their hind legs still. They are not thus affected as long as they suck. The grain called tipha, which also forms excellent food, is the remedy for the chalaz. Vetches and figs are useful both for fattening and rearing pigs; and on the whole their food should not be all of one sort, but varied; for swine, like other animals, derive advantage from a change in their food; and they say that at the same time their food ought to inflate them, and to cover them both with flesh and fat. Acorns are good for their food, but [Pg 222] make their flesh watery; and if they eat too many while pregnant, they produce abortions, as sheep also do; for these animals evidently suffer this from eating acorns. The swine is the only creature that we know of which has chalaz in its flesh.

Chapter XXII.

1. Dogs suffer from these diseases which have received these names, lytta, cynanche, podagra. The lytta produces madness, and they infect every creature which they bite, except mankind, with the same disease. This disease is fatal to dogs and to any other animal they may bite except man. The cynanche also is fatal to dogs; and there are comparatively few which recover from the podagra. Camels also are seized with lytta. (The elephant does not appear to suffer from any other infirmity except flatulency.)

2. Gregarious oxen suffer from two diseases, one called podagra, the other craurus. The podagra affects their feet; but it is not fatal, nor do they lose their hoofs. They derive benefit from their horns being smeared with warm pitch. When attacked with craurus, their breathing becomes warm and thick. Fever in mankind is the same as craurus in cattle. It is a sign of this disease, when they hang down their ears and will not eat. It soon proves fatal, and when dissected, their lungs appear putrid.

Chapter XXIII.

1. Horses when grazing are free from all diseases except podagra; from this they suffer, and sometimes lose their hoofs, which grow again as soon as they are lost, and the loss of the hoof usually takes place as soon as the first recommences its growth. It is a sign of the disease when the right testicle throbs, or when a wrinkled hollow place appears a little below the middle of the nose. Horses that are brought up in a domestic state suffer from several other diseases; they are attacked with a disorder in their bowels, and it is a sign of the disease when they drag their hind legs up to their fore legs, and keep them under in such a way that they almost strike together: if they go mad after having abstained from food for several days, they are relieved by bleeding and castration.[218]

2. The tetanus is another disease of horses, which is thus [Pg 223] recognised; all the veins, and the head and neck are extended, and their legs are stiff when they walk; the horses also become full of corrupt matter. They are also attacked by another disease in which they are said to have the crithia;[219] the softness of the roof of the mouth, and heated breath, are the signs of this disease, which is incurable, unless it stays of its own accord. Another disease is called nymphia,[220] which is relieved by the sound of a flute; it causes them to hang down their heads, and when anyone mounts they rush forward until they run against something. The horse is always dejected if afflicted with madness; this is a sign of it, if it lays down its ears upon its mane, and then draws them forward, and pants and breathes hard.

3. These also are incurable if the heart is affected. It is a sign of this disease if the animal suffers from relaxation. And if the bladder alters its position, difficulty in making water is a sign of this disease; it draws up the hoofs and loins. It is also fatal for the horse to swallow the staphilinus, which is of the same size as the spondyla. The bite of the shrew mouse is injurious to other animals also; it causes sores, which are more severe if the creature is pregnant when it bites, for the sores then break. If they are not pregnant, the animal does not perish. The creature called chalkis by some persons and zygnis by others, inflicts either a fatal or very painful bite. It resembles a small lizard, and is of the same colour as the serpent called the blind worm.

4. And, on the whole, those who understand horses say that both these animals and sheep suffer from all the infirmities with which mankind is afflicted. The horse, and every other beast of burden, is destroyed by the poison of sandarach.[221] It is dissolved in water and strained. The pregnant mare casts her young with the smell of a lamp going out. This also happens to some pregnant women. This is the nature of the diseases of horses.

5. The hippomanes, as it is called, is said to be produced upon the foals; the mares when they have bitten it off lick the foal and cleanse it. The fables on this subject have been invented by women and charmers. It is, however, agreed that mares before parturition eject the substance called polion.

6. Horses recognise again the voices of any with which [Pg 224] they may have fought. They delight in meadows and marshes, and drink dirty water; and if it is clean, they first disturb it with their hoof, and then drink and wash themselves. And on the whole, the horse is an animal fond of water, and still more fond of moisture; wherefore, also, the nature of the river-horse is thus constituted. In this respect the ox is very different from the horse, for it will not drink unless the water is clean, cold, and unmixed.

Chapter XXIV.

1. Asses only suffer from one disease, which is called melis, which first attacks the head of the animal, and causes a thick and bloody phlegm to flow from the nostrils. If the disease extends to the lungs, it is fatal; but that which first attacks the head is not so. This animal cannot bear cold, for which reason there are no asses in the vicinity of the Pontus and in Scythia.

Chapter XXV.

1. Elephants suffer from flatulent diseases, for which reason they can neither evacuate their fluid or solid excrements. If they eat earth they become weak, unless used to such food. If it is accustomed to it, it does no harm. Sometimes the elephant swallows stones. It also suffers from diarrha. When attacked with this complaint, they are cured by giving them warm water to drink, and hay dipped in honey to eat; and either of these remedies will stop the disease. When fatigued for want of sleep, they are cured by being rubbed on the shoulders with salt and oil, and warm water. When they suffer from pain in the shoulders, they are relieved by the application of roasted swine's flesh. Some elephants will drink oil, and some will not; and if any iron weapon is struck into their body, the oil which they drink assists in its expulsion; and to those which will not drink it, they give wine of rice cooked with oil. This, then, is the nature of quadrupeds.

Chapter XXVI.

1. Insects generally thrive when the year is of the same kind as the season in which they were born, such as the spring, moist and warm. Certain creatures are produced [Pg 225] in beehives, which destroy the combs, and a little spinning worm, which destroys the wax. It is called clerus, or by some persons pyraustes. This creature produces a spider-like animal like itself, which causes sickness in the hive, and another creature like the moth, which flies round the candle. This produces a creature filled with a woolly substance. It is not killed by the bees, and is only driven out by smoking it. A kind of caterpillar also, which is called teredo, is produced in the hives. The bees do not drive it away. They suffer most from diseases when the woods produce flowers infected with rust, and in dry seasons. All insects die when plunged in oil, and most rapidly if their head is oiled, and they are placed in the sun.

Chapter XXVII.

1. Animals also differ in their localities: for some are entirely absent from some localities which exist in others, though small and shortlived, and not thriving. And frequently there will be a great difference even in adjoining places, as the grasshopper is found in some parts of Milesia, and is absent from those in the immediate vicinity. And in Cephalenia a river divides the country, on one side of which the grasshopper is found, and not on the other.

2. In Poroselene a road divides the country, on one side of which the weasel is found, and not on the other. In Botia there are many moles in the neighbourhood of Orchomenus, but in the adjoining Lebadian district there are none, nor if they are imported, are they willing to burrow. If hares are taken into Ithaca they will not live, but are seen dead on the sea coast, turned in the direction in which they were brought. In Sicily the hippomyrmex is not found, and in Cyrene there were formerly no croaking frogs.

3. In all Libya there is neither wild boar, nor stag, nor wild goat. And in India, Ctesias, who is not worthy of credit, says, there are neither domestic nor wild swine; but the exsanguineous and burrowing tribes are all large. In the Pontus there are no malacia, nor all the kinds of testacea, except in a few places; but in the Red Sea all the testacea are of a great size. In Syria there are sheep with tails a cubit in width, and the ears of the goats are a span [Pg 226] and four fingers, and some of them bring their ears down to the ground: and the oxen, like the camels, have a mane upon the point of the shoulder. In Lycia the goats are shorn as the sheep are in other places.

4. In Libya the horned rams are born at once with horns, and not the males only, as Homer says, but all the rest also. In the part of Scythia near the Pontus, the contrary is the case, for they are born without horns. And in Egypt some of the cattle, as the oxen and sheep, are larger than in Greece, and others are smaller, as the dogs, wolves, hares, foxes, ravens, and hawks. Others are nearly of the same size, as the crows and goats. This difference originates in the food which is abundant for some, and scarce for others. For the wolves, hawks, and carnivorous creatures food is scarce, for there are but few small birds. For the dasypus and others which are not carnivorous, neither the hard nor soft fruits are of any long continuance.

5. The temperature is also very influential; for in Illyria, Thrace, and Epirus, the asses are small. In Scythia, and Celtic countries, they do not occur at all, for in these places the winter is severe. In Arabia the lizards are more than a cubit long, and the mice are much larger than those which inhabit our fields, their fore legs being a span long, and their hind legs as long as from the first joint of the finger....

6. In Libya, the serpents, as it has been already remarked, are very large. For some persons say that as they sailed along the coast, they saw the bones of many oxen, and that it was evident to them that they had been devoured by the serpents. And as the ships passed on, the serpents attacked the triremes, and some of them threw themselves upon one of the triremes and overturned it. There are more lions in Europe, and especially in the country between the Achelous and the Nessus. In Asia there are leopards which are not found in Europe.

7. On the whole, the wild animals of Asia are the fiercest, those of Europe the boldest, and those of Libya the most varied in form; and it has passed into a proverb that Libya is always producing something new. For the want of water brings many heterogeneous animals together at the drinking places, where they copulate and produce young, if [Pg 227] their periods of gestation happen to be the same, and their size not very different. The desire of drinking makes them gentle to each other, for they differ from the animals of other countries, in wanting to drink more in winter than in summer; for on account of the great want of water during the summer they are habituated to do without water; and if the mice drink they die.

8. Other animals are produced by the intercourse of heterogeneous creatures, as in Cyrene the wolves copulate with the dogs, and produce young; and the Laconian dogs are bred between a dog and a fox. They say that the Indian dogs are derived from the tiger and the dog; not directly, but from the third mixture of the breeds; for they say that the first race was very fierce. They take the dogs and tie them up in the desert. Many of them are devoured, if the wild animal does not happen to desire sexual intercourse.

Chapter XXVIII.

1. Different localities produce a variety of dispositions, as mountainous and rough places, or smooth plains. They are more fierce and robust in appearance in mountains, as the swine of Athos; for the males of those which inhabit the plains cannot endure even the females of the other kind: and different situations have great influence on the bite of wild animals. All the scorpions about Pharus and other places are not painful, but in Caria and other localities they are frequent, and large, and fierce, and their sting is fatal to either man or beast, even to sows, which are but little influenced by the bite of other creatures, and black sows are more easily affected than others. The swine die very soon after being stung, if they come near the water.

2. The bite also of serpents varies much; for in Libya the asp is found, from which they form a septic poison, which is incurable. In the plant silphium[222] is found a small serpent, for the bite of which a remedy has been discovered in a small stone, which is taken out of the tomb of one of the ancient kings: this they drink dipped in wine. In some parts of Italy the bite of the gecko is found to be fatal. If one poisonous animal eats another, as, if a [Pg 228] viper eats a scorpion, its bite is the most fatal of all. The saliva of a man is hostile to most of them. There is one small serpent, which some persons call hierus, which is avoided even by large serpents. It is a cubit long, and appears rough. Whatsoever it bites immediately becomes putrid in a circle round the wound. There is also a small serpent in India, the only one for which there is no remedy.

Chapter XXIX.

1. Animals also differ in being in good condition or not during gestation. The testacea, as the pectens and the malacostraca, as the carabi and such like, are best when pregnant; for this word is also used of the testacea. For the malacostraca have been observed both in the act of copulation and oviposition; but none of the testacea have ever been seen so occupied. The malacia, such as the teuthis, sepia, and polypus, are most excellent when pregnant; and almost all fish are good during the early part of the period; but as the time advances some are good and some not so.

2. The mnis thrives during gestation. The form of the female is round, that of the male longer and broader. And when the period of gestation commences in the females, the males become black and variegated, and are not fit to eat. Some persons call them tragi at this period. Those which are called cottyphus and cichla also change their colour; and the caris also changes at this season and some birds, which are black in spring and afterwards become white.

3. The phycis also changes its colour; for it is white at all other seasons, and variegated in the spring. This is the only sea fish that, as they say, makes a nest in which it deposits its ova. The mnis, as it was before observed, and the smaris also change their colours, and from being white in summer become black. This is particularly conspicuous about the fins and gills. The coracinus is best when pregnant, and so is the mnis. The cestreus, labrax, and nearly all creatures that swim are inferior at this season.

4. There are a few which are good, whether pregnant or not, as the glaucus. Old fish also are inferior; and old tunnies are not even fit for salting, for much of the flesh is [Pg 229] dissolved. The same thing also happens with other fish. The older fish are distinguished by the size and hardness of their scales; an old tunny has been taken which weighed fifteen talents, and the length of the tail was two cubits and a span.

5. River and pond fish are most excellent, after depositing their ova and semen, and recovering their flesh. Some of them, however, are good while pregnant, as the saperdis; and others bad, as the glanis. In all the male is better than the female; but the female glanis is better than the male. Those which they call female eels are better than the males. They call them females, though they are not so, but only differ in appearance.

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