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could not ascertain — viz., the beast's Certain abnormal deposits of bone mode of life in its wild state – he doubt. which occasionally are found in diseased less ascertained from the Indian conduc-conditions of the heart in some of the tors of these animals which had been sent mammalia were considered as necessary to Aristotle by Alexander; on this subject organs in the horse and some kind of we shall remark by-and-by. But surely oxen, “which on account of their large it was not necessary for correct observa- size have a bony heart for the sake of tion to know the habits of the elephant in support” (olov épí opatos xúplv).* The seal its wild state ; a captive specimen would and some swine are said to have no gallhave equally answered such a purpose. bladder. The absence of a gall-bladder Aristotle's assertion * that the male ele. the seal is again stated in his treaphant arrives at puberty when he is five tise “On the Parts of Animals ; ” | its or six years old is quite erroneous; how- absence from the liver of some swine ever, in another passage † be correctly may possibly be explained, as MM. Augives the age at twenty years.
But the bert and Wimmer conceive, by supposing most astonishing assertion is that “the that the gall-bladder in certain fat pigs elephant cannot swim (vɛiv d' où Trúvu dúvaral) disappears in the substance of the liver. on account of the weight of its body.” I The gall-bladder is by no means constant Such a statement is one of Aristotle's the mammalia, and Aristotle is correct many erroneous generalizations.
in saying it is not present in the ele. Aristotle's account of the camel is on phant, horse, stag, ass, and mule. It is the whole graphic and correct; he de difficult to know what he means when he scribes both the one-humped Arabian and says that the Achaïpian stags appear to the Bactrian species. He mentions the have a gall in the tail; we are quite in the walk of the camel, stating that it moves dark as to what these stags are. M. Saintwith the hind foot following the fore foot Hilaire, in a note, I considers the state. on the same side. He twice repeats the ment not absolutely fabulous as one would statement that the camel has no teeth in be inclined to think, because there is a the upper jaw. Doubtless he alludes to species of stag, with large horns, which the front teeth, but the camel has two in- secretes under the tail a liquid not unlike cisors in the upper jaw and two canines; bile, and he refers to MM. Aubert and so that Aristotle has “not perfectly de. Wimmer. Aristotle is probably referring scribed and characterized the two species to some story he has heard from hunters ; of camel.” Among other strange notions but his mention of such a gland in conheld by Aristotle, apparently without any nection with true gall-bladders in certain misgivings, may be mentioned the lion's animals is certainly curious; however, having no cervical vertebræ, but only one one cannot regard the animal otherwise bone in the neck, ş its bones, which are than as fabulous, because in another small and slight, being without marrow place ş he mentions the same kind of except a little in the thigh and fore leg. stag, which when captured was found to Aristotle's notions with respect to the have a considerable quantity of green ivy skull are peculiar: the brain is placed be growing on its horns as on green wood. neath the sinciput, “and the occiput is Buffon, however, seems to have thought empty,” an error twice repeated; women's the story possible. It will be noticed that skulls have only one suture, placed in a Aristotle expressly says that such an ani. circle. He mentions as an extraordinary mal had been captured, and, with his thing the fact of a man's skull having authority to stamp the fable, no wonder once been seen without any suture; he is it appears in Pliny, Albertus, and other copying Herodotus (ix. 83), who says such writers. That Aristotle placed too much a skull was found on the battle-field of reliance on animal·lore, often marvellous Platæa. The skull sutures in aged per- or even impossible, current in his age is sons are frequently obliterated. Again, abundantly evident to any one who will be “ The cranium of the dog consists of a at the pains to examine his zoological single bone" — he must have got hold of writings. The deer come in for a full an old specimen.
share of wonderful anecdote, e.g.: * Hist. An. v, 12, § 14.
The hind, as soon as she has produced her + Ibid. vi. 25, $ 2.
I Ibid. ix. 33. § He repeats this statement in the De Part. iv. 10, p. young, eats the chorion (fetal sac),ll and then 686, ed. Bekker, and joins wolves with lions, and gives his reason, "Nature saw that these animals wanted the • De Part. An iii., cap. 4. neck more for strength than for other purposes." cervical bones of the hyæna sometimes become anchy
I ji. I, § 7. losed, and this may possibly have given rise to the one- § ix. 0, $ 3: neckbone theory,
Many animals will occasionally eat the ampion or
t iv, 2.
runs to the plant called seselis, which she eats, organisms to exist in the fire without being and then returns to her offspring. The male burnt, the case of the salamander clearly sheds his horns in difficult and inaccessible shows, for this creature, they say, extinguishes places, hence the proverb, “Where the stag the fire as it walks through it.* sheds its horns,” for they take care not to be seen, since they have lost their means of de
M. Saint-Hilaire has the following footfence. It is said that the left horn has never note on this curious passage : “ This fable yet been seen, for the animal hides it because of the salamander is without doubt poste. it has some medical properties. When stagsrior to the time of Ari and its meno are bitten by the phalangium, or other such tion here clearly shows that the passage is creature, they collect together a number of apocryphal.” + As the story, however, is crabs and eat them.
told by Theophrastus, Aristotle's favorite These statements are made by Aris. pupil, to whom the philosopher bequeathed toile without a single bint that he does his library and original writings, M. Saintnot believe them; bad be regarded them Hilaire is not quite correct as to the late as fabulous it is probable that he would date of the salamander story. Theophrasbave so expressed binself, as he is in the tus, speaking of certain things which exhabit of doing when stories are regarded tinguish fire, says, “ If to such a moisture by him as “unworthy of credit.”
cold be also added, this operates towards Mr. G. H. Lewes mentions Cuvier as extinction, as happens in the case of the having instanced four generalizations to salamander.” He considered that the prove the immense acquaintance Aristotle combination of the three qualities of cold, must have had with particulars :
stickiness, and moisture was efficacious
in extinguishing fire, all of which quali. I will quote four others [he adds) ; forty ties he says are found in the salamanmight be found, all taken from the first book, der. We suspect the salamander fable which exemplify plainly enough how easily was long anterior to the time of Aristotle, large and careful induction could be dispensed and that it had its original source in the with.
1. The lion has no cervical vertebræ; East, perhaps in Persia, for the name of but a single bone in its neck. 2. Long-lived persons have one or two lines which extend a fire-dwelling lizard occurs in Sanskrit, through the whole hand; short-lived persons and our word salamander, like the Greek have two lines, and these do not extend through and Latin, appears under the form of the whole hand. 3. Man has, in proportion samandar in Persian. Moreover, Pliny to his size, the largest and the moistest brain. expressly tells us that the story comes 4. The forehead is large in stupid men, small from the Magi, and it is probable that it in lively men, broad in men predisposed to in; found its way into Greece and Rome sanity (ékotarikoi), and round in high-spirited through Democritus, who had travelled men. (Aristotle, p. 272.)
much in Eastern countries and who, ac. All these beliefs, it is probable, were cur-cording to Diogenes Laertius, had been a rently in vogue in Aristotle's time. pupil of the Magi and Chaldeans. It is
It is not certain whether Aristotle be certain that many of the popular beliefs lieved in the fable that the salamander among the Greeks and Romans were inwas able to live in the fire, because the troduced from an Eastern source; and passage may be an interpolation, which is though Aristotle, supposing that the pasthe opinion of M. Saint-Hilaire as well as sage is authentic, does not mention De. of MM. Aubert and Wimmer. The pas. Inocritus in connection with the salamansage runs thus :
der fable, this absence of the quotation In Cyprus, where the stone called chalcitis is supposition of this source, because Aris
of his authority is no proof against the burnt by those who keep it up for many days, small winged creatures are produced in the totle not unfrequently quotes from author. fire, and there walk and leap about; and as ities without mentioning their names when certain larvæ, when taken from the snow, he does not consider it necessary to conperish, so do these creatures wben taken from fute their statements. It is not improba. the fire. That it is possible for some living ble that the fable had originally some
connection, in zoological mythology, with the placenta, but it is not their normal habit to do so, as certain cosmical phenomena. Gubernatis Aristotle imagines in the case of deer,: The seselis is writes : “ The Salamander of popular su. an umbelliferous plant, perhaps Seseli tortuosu111, or the allied genus Tordylium, which, under the English perstition seems to me to represent the Dome of hartwort, tradition has associated with the seselis of Aristotle, on account of its supposed efficacy moon, which lights itself, which lives by in aiding parturition in deer and other ruminanis. Dioscorides (iii. 53) says that a decoction of the seeds • Hist. An. v. 17, $ 12, 13. and roots of the seselis used to be given to goats and + Histoire des Aniinaux, v. xvii., § 19. εheep, προς ευτoκίαν ποτών.
De Igne, $ 60; vol. i., p. 726, ed. Schneider,
its own fire, which has no rays or hairs of which were supposed to operate in the its own, and which makes the rays or production of certain colors in sheep. hairs of the sun fall.” One of the super- 3. There are certain waters in many places stitions concerning the salamander was which produce black lambs if the sheep that though devoid of hairs itself, it causes drink of them before conception, as at the hairs of others to fall out by means of that in the Thracian Chalcis, which is its saliva, whence Martial, cursing the called Cold-river; in Antandria there baldness of a woman's head, –
are two rivers, one of which turns the Hoc salamandra caput aut sæva novacula sheep black and the other white." * Stranudet.
bo, Pliny, Seneca, and others mention
certain rivers which produce differentAristotle evidently had no high opinion of colored sheep. Perhaps of all domesti. Herodotus's natural history stories, and cated animals the sheep is liable to the doubtless he is right, but if the Father of
greatest variety in respect to its wool, History is not always to be relied upon horns, etc.; and this difference is doubt. and inerits the epithet of “ mythologist "less to be attributed to the conditions of given to him by Aristotle, sometimes even climate and food principally. From time The " Father of Natural History” is found immemorial there have been white, black, credulous of impossible fable and popular and pied sheep; color is generally es. folk-lore. In his treatise “ On the Genera- teemed of little importance, and there is tion of Animals”* Aristotle very severely not the slightest reason for supposing reproves Herodotus for believing in the that the color of the wool is in any way silly current talk (nòv eújon Tóyov kai teopuan. affected by the water which the animals uévou) which fishermen indulge in, “that drink. The presence of some particular female fishes are impregnated by gulping plant in a locality where sheep feed might down the milt of the male, not seeing how possibly determine the prevalence of one inpossible this is, for the entrance through color rather than another in a flock, be. the mouth leads to the belly and becomes food to nourish the fish, and not to the one color and fatal to another, as for in
cause such a plant may be harmless to womb wbich contains the eggs.” But
stance in the case which Darwin mentions equally absurd is that which Aristotle of the inhabitants in the Tarentino, who asserts concerning the formation of eggs keep black sheep alone, because the Hyin hen partridges. “They become preg: pericum crispum abounds there; and this pant if the wind blows to them from the plant does not injure the black sheep, but males,f and often if they hear the voice kills the white ones in about a fortnight's of the male when they are excited, or if time. This, however, is a very different the males fly above them they become thing from water when drunk by the ewes pregnant from their breath.” So again influencing the color of the lamb, in his treatise “On the Generation of
Aristotle's account of the halcyon, or Animals” & the same story is repeated. kingfisher, is a curious mixture of fact It is clear that Aristotle accepts as an and fiction, the latter, however, predomi. absolute fact the silly assertions of the nating largely. fowlers. On turning to M. Saint-Hilaire's note on these wind-produced eggs, we The halcyon is not much larger than a spar. find that the passage in the “ History of row; its color is blue and green and inclining Animals ” is regarded by him as a proba. to purple ; its whole body is a mixture of these ble interpolation. But if we have to ex- colors, as well as the wings and the parts about punye this paragraph, what are we to do the neck. The bill is somewhat yellow, long
and slight. Such is its external form. The with a great deal of matter, bearing on this question, which occurs in the “Gen- except in color, for the nest is somewhat red.
nest resembles the sea-balls called halosachnæ, eration of Animals"?
In shape it resembles those sicye (sea-cucuinAs another instance of Aristotle's ready bers) which have long necks; it is about the acceptance of popular folk-lore, we may size of a large sponge, but some are greater, mention what he states as to the causes others less. The nests are covered over and
are thick and hard, as well as the inside. They * Vol. i., P. 756, ed. Bekker.
are not easily cut by a person using a sharp * The quarter whence the wind blew was also sup; knife, but when struck and crushed by the posed to intluence the young of the sheep and goat; if hands they quickly break up, like the haloat the time of coupling the parents faced the north, males would be produced, if the south females,
sachnæ. The mouth is narrow- - only a little that it was necessary to see that they stood to the entrance — so that the water cannot get into it, north" is male young were desired. (Hist. An. vi. 19, even when the sea is rough. The hollow parts § 2.)
'Hist. An. v. 4, § 7.
* Hist. An. iii. 10, $ 12.
are like those of a sponge. It is a question as from her desire to have eggs, she drops them to what it is composed of, but it seems to con- wherever she may happen to be if the male be sist chiefly of the spines of the belone. The (not) present. bird itself lives on fish. It also ascends rivers. It lays generally about five eggs, and repro
Few birds attracted more general attenduces throughout its life, beginning when four tion amongst the Greeks than the hoopoe, months old.*
and Aristotle, on the whole, has given a It is certain that the halcyon here de- good description of its babits, though he scribed is the kingfisher,' a bird well has exaggerated the change in its pluknown to the ancients chiefly in connec:
mage. tion with the old myth of Alcyone and its color and form. The poet says:
He quotes Æschylus on the change of Ceyx, but one whose natural habits they (Aristotle among the number) paid little
Now this hoopoe, the spectator of its own attention to. In another place (v. 8, SS 2 evils (éÓTINU Ērona tūv autoŨ KakūV), he has and 3) he says:
marked with various colors, and has displayed
In the beBirds generally breed in the spring and the the bold rock-bird in full armor. beginning of summer, but the kingfisher is an
ginning of spring it brandishes the wing of the exception, for it produces its young about the white circus (hawk); for it will exhibit two time of the winter solstice; † wherefore fine forms, that of the young bird and of itself from days which happen at this season are called one origin; and when the young ears of the halycon days, seven days before the solstice corn have grown, it is clothed in variegated and seven days after it, as Simonides has writ- plumage. ten, as when Jupiter in the winter month pre- Aristotle's own words are: "The hoopares fourteen days, which mortals call the poe changes its color and its form, as windless season, the sacred nurse of the varie. Æschylus writes.” Now, the plumage of gated halcyon. ... These halcyon days do not always happen in this country at the season of the hoopoe is subject to less variety than the solstice, but they nearly always occur in occurs in most birds; the male and fethe Sicilian Sea.
male do not differ, except that the colors
of the male bird are a little more rich These extracts are sufficient to show that than in the female; there is no perceptiAristotle accepted, without any misgivings ble difference in the plumage in the spring as to their truth, the old fable, first appar. and autumn, and the young closely resemently alluded to by Homer, and has re ble the parents. What is stated, however, corded as actual natural-history fact most with regard to the change in form is corof the errors and absurdities which the rect enough, and refers to the great develfable embodies. With the exception of the description of the kingfisher and of the spring, while the beak of the young
opment of the crest of the male during its fish diet, there is hardly a single state. bird is comparatively short and straight ment that is true. I
compared with that of the old one. In The nest of the kingfisher reminds us of that of another bird – viz., the part. hoopoe makes no real nest, but lays its
one passage he correctly states that the ridge, which is said to make two nests (wwv onkoús), upon one of which the male eggs in the stumps of hollow trees with.
out building (vi. I, § 3); but in another he incubates, on the other the female, and
astonishes each hatches and brings up its own brood.
us by quite another state
ment. And then follows the astounding state. *Aristotle has some curious stories about ment that the male has intercourse with the young ones as soon as he leads them eagles, and here too seems to depeod from the nest!
upon (The same is said of pigeons.) Again :
The eagle lays three eggs, but hatches only
two, as is also related in the poems of Musæus,f The male partridge, being a bird of strong “the bird which lays three eggs, hatches two, passions, tries to prevent the female from in- and cares only for one.” Such things often cubating by rolling upon the eggs and breaking them. The female, by a counter artifice, lays her eggs as she runs along, and frequently,
* ο δ' έποψ την νεοττίαν μάλιστα ποιείται εκ της
úvoponívno kompov (ix. 16, § 1). The offensive smell # Hist. An. ix. 15.
of the nest, from the droppings of the young, and the † The kingfisher breeds in the spring, as most birds materials, such as pieces of drieá cowdung, may have do. The patural bistory fact is altered to make the given rise to the story, which, however, when taken as season harmonize with the popular myth.
it stands, can give only a very wrong idea of a hoopoe's # M. Saint-Hilaire, in his note on ix. 15, § 3, as to the nests of these birds, writes: “Buffon conteste
† Apparently some semi-mythological person like quelques-uns des détails donnés ici sur le nid de l'Hal- Orpheus. His line runs ôs tpia liv TikTEL, Súo ' cyon, mais la minutie même de ces détails atteste que éKLETTEL, èv s úheyišel, whici Scaliger well renders les anciens avaient observé les choses de très-près." by “Terna parit, binis exclusis educat unum.'
occur, yet even three young ones have been The old notion that the cubs of the seen in the nest. As the young grow, the old bear are, when first born, shapeless, and bird throws out one, because she grieves at the require to be moulded into form by the idea of feeding it (ú xosuevos tī Édwy); at this mother's tongue, finds itself, in part at time it is said to go without food, so that it least, supported by the authority of Arisneed not capture the young of wild creatures.
totle. Its talons are then turned back for a few days. and its plumage becomes white, and it acts The female bear produces a young one, the cruelly towards its young. All eagles do smallest of any animal compared with the size not behave cruelly to their young. The eagle of her own body; it is less than a weasel and appears to eject its young from the nest through greater than a mouse; it is naked and blind, envy, for it is an envious and hungry bird by and its legs and all its members are almost nature, and quick at seizing its prey it without joints. ejects them before the proper time, when they still need food, and are as yet unable to fly. The young bear when just born is very The sea eagle (probably Haliæetus albicilla) is small, about the size of a large, fat rat, very quick-sighted, and compels its young ones, but it is covered with hair. Two or three while still naked, to look at the sun, and if one stuffed specimens of newly born bears, of them will not do so it beats it and turns it brown and polar, may be seen in the galround; and the young one which first weeps it leries of the British Museum at South kills, the other it rears.
Kensington. Aristotle makes no mention And then, after stating that certain sea
of the bear licking its cub into shape, birds called Kétbol (perhaps" petrels of later growth. "Ovid thus writes:
may or may not have been an idea are captured with foam which they de. vour,” and a few other remarks, Aristotle Nec catulus, partu quem reddidit ursa recenti, thus concludes his ornithological instruc. Sed malè viva caro est: lambendo mater in tions: “ This, then, is the nature of birds.”
There can be no doubt that Babylonia, Ducit, et in formam, qualem capit ipsa, rePersia, and Egypt supplied the Greeks
ducit.* and Romans with much of their animal.
The notion prevailed for ages
after lore; the old story, so celebrated in classic Aristotle, and the common English exliterature, about the swan singing before pression of an “unlicked cub” is doubtless her death, comes probably from an Egyp a relic of the old fable. Matthiolus (born tian source. Aristotle accepts the myth circ. 1500), the eminent physician of Tus. as if it were fact. “Swans are musical, cany and commentator on Dioscorides, especially when near the end of their life ; showed about the middle of the sixteenth for they fly out even to the sea, and century the error of the unformed-cub some persons sailing near Libya have met
says: with many of them in the sea singing a mournful song, and have seen some of
When I was in the valley of Anania above them die.” Horapollo says 6 that when
Trent, I saw a very large pregnant female bear, the Egyptians wished to symbolize an old The cubs were in the womb, with all their mem
which had been eviscerated by the hunters. minstrel they depict a swan, for when old bers distinct and formed, by no means without it sings the sweetest melody.” There is shape, as many think, relying more on the no very great difference between the two authority of Aristotle and of Pliny (who have myths; and when we know that certain handed down this story) than on their senses other Greek fables can be traced directly and experience.t to an Egyptian source it is probable the
According to Horapollo (ii. 83), if the same is the case with the swan.* It is curious to notice that Pliny discredits the Egyptians wished to symbolize a man who
was born deformed, but afterwards had story. 6. Horum morte narratur flebilis
acquired his proper shape, “they delineate cantus, falso, ut arbitror, aliquot experi- a pregnant bear which brings forth a mass mentis ” (x. 23).
of condensed blood, which is made into
shape by being licked with its tongue.” * The following old folk-lore beliefs may be found
Among other curiosities of zoological both in Horapollo and Aristotle, with some slight disference of detail - that eggs may be fertilized by the literature, mentioned by Aristotle, which wind ; that goats breathe through their ears; that the seem to receive his support, and which hyæna is double-sexed; that the lioness never con: ceives twice; that stags may be caught by music; that may be set down as the current folk-lore partridges are incontinent; that when eagles grow old of his time, we may enumerate the followtheir beaks cross and they die of hunger; that the hawk ing: “If any one make a noise as grasse lays three eggs, breaks two, and hatches only one. Aristotle disunctly refutes three of these as absurd One cannot assert positively that all these fables came * Met. xv. 379-381. originally from Egypt, but we think it probable.
t Comment. in Dioscor., p. 206, ed. 1558.