In Ceylon seven months in the year the shadows fell to the north, and during the remaining five to the south.
[43]The Seræ here spoken of must not be taken for the Seres 광명오피 or supposed Chinese.
[44]Or “Bacchus.” This means that he wears a long robe with a train; much like the dress, in fact, which was worn on the stage by tragic actors.
[45]We may hence conclude, that the practice of swathing young infants in tight bandages prevailed at Rome, in the time of Pliny, as it still does in France.
[46]This reminds us of the terms of the riddle proposed to Œdipus by the Sphinx: “What being is that, which, with four feet, has two feet and three feet, and only one voice; but its feet vary, and when it has most it is weakest?” to which he answered, That it is man, who is a quadruped in childhood, two-footed in manhood, and moving with the aid of a staff in old age.
[47]This is contrary to facts now well known.
[48]It was this feeling that prompted the common saying among the ancients, “Homo homini lupus”—“Man to man is a wolf;” and most true it is, that
“Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.”

[49]The figures of the Gryphons or Griffins are found not uncommonly on the friezes and walls at Pompeii. In the East, where there were no safe places of deposit for money, it was the custom to bury it in the earth; hence, for the purpose of scaring depredators, the story was carefully circulated that hidden treasures were guarded by serpents and dragons. There can be little doubt that these stories, on arriving in the western world, combined with the knowledge of the existence of gold in the Uralian chain and other mountains of the East, gave rise to the stories of the Griffins and the Arimaspi. It has been suggested that the Arimaspi were no other than the modern Tsheremis, who dwelt on the left bank of the Middle Volga, not far from the gold districts of the Uralian range. It has been conjectured, that the fabulous tales of the combats of the Arimaspi with the Griffins, were invented by the neighboring tribes of the Essedones, who were anxious to throw a mystery over the origin of the gold, that they might preserve the traffic in their own hands. The Altai Mountains, in the north of Asia, contain many gold mines, which are still worked, as well as traces of former workings.
[50]We have an account of the Arimaspi, and of Aristeas, in Herodotus, B. iv.
[51]One of the pleasures promised to the Gothic warriors, in the paradise of Odin, was to drink out of the skulls of their enemies.
[52]It is well known that nothing of this kind was ever observed in any human eye.
[53]In all ages, it has been a prevalent superstition, that those endowed with magical qualities will not sink in water, encouraged, no doubt, by the cunning of those who might wish to make the charge a means of wreaking their vengeance. If they sank, they were to be deemed innocent, but if they floated, they were deemed guilty, and handed over to the strong arm of the law.
[54]This remark is not contained in any of the works of Cicero now extant.
[55]Cuvier observes, that these people probably exercise some deception, analogous to that practised by a Spaniard, who exhibited himself in Paris, and professed to be incombustible, but who, eventually, was the dupe of his own quackery, and paid the penalty with his life.
[56]Plutarch relates these supposed facts in his life of Pyrrhus; they remind us of the supposed efficacy of the royal touch in curing the disease termed the “King’s evil.”
[57]Popularly known as the “banyan tree.”
[58]The bambos arundinacea, or bamboo cane, is a reed or plant of the grass kind, which frequently grows to the height of the tallest trees. The stem is hollow, and the parts of it between the joints are used by the natives to form their canoes. We have an account of them in Herodotus, B. iii.
[59]It does not appear that the stature of the Indians exceeds that of the inhabitants 광명오피 of the temperate zones.
[60]This account probably originated in a species of monkey generally considered to be the baboon, with a projecting muzzle, called, from this circumstance, “cynocephalus,” or the “Dog’s head.” This account of the cynocephali is repeated by Aulus Gellius. It is a pity that Pliny should have adopted so many ridiculous fables, on the doubtful authority of Ctesias.
[61]These are the great apes, which are found in some of the Oriental islands. We may suppose that this description is taken from some incorrect account of a large kind of ape; but it seems impossible to refer it to any particular species.
[62]Can these be the Chinese?
[63]Either silk or cotton.
[64]Cuvier remarks, that these accounts are not capable of any explanation, being mere fables.
[65]Iliad, B. iii. l. 3-6. Their story is also referred to by Ovid and Juvenal.
[66]Pliny, elsewhere, speaks of the use of vipers’ flesh as an article of diet, and gives some minute directions for its preparation. It was supposed to be peculiarly nutritive and restorative, and it has been prescribed for the same purpose by modern physicians. There is a medal in existence, probably struck by the Emperor Commodus, in order to commemorate the benefit which he was supposed to have derived from the use of the flesh of vipers.
[67]Cuvier remarks that this story must have been originally told with reference to the race of large apes.
[68]The dog-faced ape—the baboon.
[69]The gladiators called Samnites, were armed with the peculiar “scutum,” or oblong shield, used by the Samnites, a greave on the left leg, a sponger on the breast, and a helmet with a crest.
[70]Philippides must have gone one hundred and forty-two miles in two days, and the other one hundred and fifty miles in one day.
[71]This statement must have been in some of his lost works.
[72]His works in ivory were said to have been so small, that they could scarcely be seen without placing them on a black surface.
[73]Or Bacchus.—“Father Liber” is the name always given to him by Pliny.
[74]“Magnus.” Plutarch states, that, on his return from Africa, Sylla saluted him with the name of “Magnus,” which surname he ever afterwards retained. He also says that the law did not allow a triumph to be granted to any one who was not either consul or prætor.
[75]When a Roman overcame an enemy with whom he had been personally engaged, he took possession of some part of his armor and dress, which might bear testimony to the victory; this was termed the “spolium.” The words “hasta pura,” or victor’s spear, signify a lance without an iron head. We are told that it was given to him who gained the first victory in a battle; it was also regarded as an emblem of supreme power, and as a mark of the authority which one nation claimed over another.
[76]Among the Jews and other nations of antiquity, it was considered an essential point for the priests to be without blemish, perfect and free from disease.
[77]Some of these are given by Valerius Maximus. It is very doubtful, however, if Greece did not greatly excel Rome in this respect.
[78]This remark is not found in any of Cæsar’s works now extant.
[79]Cuvier remarks, that this account of the elephant’s superior intelligence is exaggerated, it being no greater than that of the dog, if, indeed, equal to it. The opinion may perhaps have arisen from the dexterity with which the animal uses its trunk; but this is to be ascribed not to its own intelligence, but to the mechanical construction of the part. The Indians, from whom we presume that Pliny derived his account, have always regarded the elephant with a kind of superstitious veneration.
[80]Plutarch informs us, that Pompey had resolved to have his chariot drawn by four elephants, but, finding the gate too narrow, he was obliged to use horses.
[81]However ill adapted the elephant may appear, from its size and form, for this feat, we have the testimony of Seneca, Suetonius, Dion Cassius, and Ælian, to the truth of the fact. Suetonius tells us that a horseman ascended a tight rope on an elephant’s back.
[82]Plutarch, in his treatise on the Shrewdness of Animals, tells us that this wonderful circumstance happened at Rome. But it would be curious to know in what way the elephant showed that he was “conning” over his lesson.
[83]Ælian informs us, that he had seen an elephant write Latin characters. Hardouin remarks, that the Greek would be Αὐτὸς ἐγὼ τάδ ἐγραψα, λαφυρά τε Κελτὰ ἀνὲθηκα.
[84]Probably the great quantity of fossil ivory which has been found may 광명오피 have given rise to this tale.
[85]Tables and bedsteads were not only covered or veneered with ivory among the Romans, but, in the later times, made of the solid material, as we learn from Ælian and Athenæus.
[86]It is scarcely necessary to remark, that these statements respecting the sagacity of the elephant in connection with their teeth, are without foundation.
[87]There are coins extant struck to commemorate this victory, in which there is the figure of an elephant.
[88]This remark is incorrect; when the water is sufficiently deep, they swim with ease; and if the end of the trunk remains exposed to the atmosphere, they can dive below the surface, or swim with the body immersed.
[89]Although these stories of the generosity and clemency of the lion are in a great measure fabulous, still the accounts of those who have had the best opportunity of becoming acquainted with the character of different animals, agree in ascribing to the lion less ferocity and brutality, in proportion to its size and strength, than to other animals of the same family.
[90]The description of the giraffe, here given, is sufficiently correct, but we have a more minute account of it by Dion Cassius, B. xliii. In the time of the Emperor Gordian, ten of these animals were exhibited at Rome at once; a remarkable fact, when we bear in mind that so few have ever been imported into Europe or America. The Giraffe is figured in the mosaic at Præneste and, under it, is inscribed its name—nabi. It has been found that the giraffe is unable to bear the winters of Europe and the United States.
[91]It seems impossible to identify Pliny’s description with any known animal, and it is not unlikely that he has confused the accounts of authors who were speaking of different animals. Some of the characteristics of the leucrocotta agree with those of the Indian antelope, while others seem to resemble those of the hyæna.
[92]It has been conjectured, that Ctesias took his description from the hieroglyphic figures in his time, probably common in the East, and still found in the ruins of Nineveh and Persepolis.
[93]This account of the basilisk’s eye, like that of the catoblepas, is entirely devoid of foundation.
[94]Hence the proverbial expression applied to a person who is suddenly silent upon the entrance of another; “Lupus est tibi visus.”—“You have seen a wolf.”
[95]This literally means “changing the skin;” it was applied by some ancient medical writers to a peculiar form of insanity, where the patient conceives himself changed into a wolf.
[96]It is rather curious to find Pliny censuring others for credulity; the fact is he loses no opportunity of a hit at the Greeks, to whom, after all, he is greatly indebted.
[97]Lucan mentions the jaculus, B. ix. l. 720, and l. 822. In the last passage he says: “Behold! afar, around the trunk of a barren tree, a fierce serpent—Africa calls it the jaculus—wreathes itself, and then darts forth, and through the head and pierced temples of Paulus it takes its flight: nothing does venom there affect, death seizes him through the wound. It was then understood how slowly fly the stones which the sling hurls, how sluggishly whizzes the flight of the Scythian arrow.”