Anno Urbis - The Roman Empire Online

Home | Prev | Next | Contents

"HIC INTERMISIMUS," to indicate that a part of the text is missing, with which judgment of some early student of the archetype Victorius, Scaliger and Ursinus, as well as their successors among the commentators on Varro, have all agreed. It is a pleasure to record the agreement on this point, because it is believed to be unique: but many precedents for plunging the reader in medias res, as does the surviving text, might be found in the modern short story of the artist in style. As M. Boissier points out Varro might have cited the beginning of the Odyssey as a precedent for this.]

[Footnote 110: This is a paraphase of a favorite locution of Homer's heroes, whose characteristic modesty does not, however, permit them to apply it to themselves, as Varro does. Thus in Iliad, VII, 114, Agamemnon advises Menelaos not to venture against Hector, whom "even Achilles dreadeth to meet in battle, wherein is the warrior's glory, and Achilles is better far than thou."]

[Footnote 111: Virgil (Aen. VII, 314) made a fine line out of this tradition, endowing the sturdy race of Fauns and Nymphs who inhabited the land of Saturn before the Golden Age, with the qualities of the trees on whose fruit they subsisted, "gensque virum truncis et duro robore nata."]

[Footnote 112: In the registers of the censors every thing from which the public revenues were derived was set down under the head of pascua, or "pasture lands," because for a long time the pasture lands were the only source of such revenue. Cf. Pliny, H.N. XVIII,

[Footnote 113: Olisippo is the modern Lisbon. This tradition about the mares of the region is repeated by Virgil (Geo. III, 272) by Columella (VI, 27) and by Pliny (VIII, 67). Professor Ridgeway in The Origin and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse describes it as "an aetiological myth to explain the swiftness of horses" for the fleetest horses came out of the West; thus Pegasus was born at the springs of the ocean, and there is the passage in Homer (Iliad, XVI, 149) about the horses "that flew as swift as the winds, the horses that the harpy Podarge (Swift Foot) bare to the West Wind as she grazed on the meadows by the stream of the Ocean." Hence we may conclude that there was a race of swift horses in Portugal in the earliest times, which Professor Ridgeway would doubtless like very much to prove, in support of his interesting thesis, were derived from Libya.]

[Footnote 114: Hypenemia, or barren eggs, are described intelligently by Aristotle (H.A.V. 1, 4, VI. 2, 5), and, with Varro's confidence in the country traditions, by Pliny, H.N. X, 80.

If he had known it, Varro might have here cited the fact that the unfertilized queen bee is parthenogenetic, though producing only male bees; i.e., drones: but it remained for a German clergyman, Dzierzon, to discover this in the eighteenth century.]

[Footnote 115: Cf. Plautus Menaechmi, II, 2, 279. One of the two Menaechmi is, on his arrival at Epidamnus, mistaken for his brother, of whose existence he does not know, and much to his amazement is introduced into the brother's life and possessions. At first he expostulates, accusing the slave of the brother, who has mistaken his identity, of being crazy and offers to exorcise him by a sacrifice of weanling pigs, wherefore he asks the question quoted in the text. Varro was evidently fond of this passage, as he quotes it again, post, p. 221. The Menaechmi is one of the immortal comedies and has survived in many forms on the modern stage all over Europe. From it Shakespeare derived the plot of the Comedy of Errors.]

[Footnote 116: It is interesting to compare these sane therapeutics with Cato's practice less than two hundred years previous (ante, p. 47), which was characteristic of the superstitious peasant who in Italy still seeks the priest to bless his ailing live stock.]

[Footnote 117: This Atticus was Cicero's intimate friend to whom he addressed so many of his charming letters. He changed his name as stated in the text, the new name being that of an uncle who adopted him, as we learn from his life by Nepos. As is well known to all students of Cicero, Atticus had dwelt in Athens many years and derived his income from estates in Epirus, which is the point of Scrofa's jest.]

[Footnote 118: This requirement of short legs is the more remarkable because of the long journeys which Varro says the Roman sheep were required to make between their summer and winter pastures. A similar necessity and bad roads created in England, before the eighteenth century, a demand for long legged sheep. Prothero (English Farming Past and Present) quotes a description of the "true old Warwickshire ram" in 1789: "His frame large and remarkably loose. His bone throughout heavy. His legs long and thick, terminating in large splaw feet."

One of the things which Bakewell accomplished was to shorten the legs as well as to increase the mutton on his New Leicesters. Of Bakewell, Mr. Prothero justly says, "By providing meat for the million he contributed as much to the wealth of the country as Arkwright or Watt."]

[Footnote 119: Shepherds still look for the black or spotted tongue in the mouth of the ram, for the reason given by Varro, but the warning is no longer put in the shepherds' manual.]

[Footnote 120: Varro would still feel at home in Apulia, for there the sheep industry is carried on much as it was in his time, and thence the calles publicae, to which he refers, still lead to the summer pastures in the Apennines. Cf. Beauclerk Rural Italy, chap. V. "The extensive pasturages of the 'Tavoliere di Puglia' (Apulia) are of great importance and have a history of their own. This vast domain covers 750,000 acres: its origin belongs to the time of the Roman Conquests and the protracted wars of the Republic, which were fought out in the plains, whence they became deserted and uncultivated, fit only for public pastures in winter time ... the periodical emigrations of the flocks continue as in the past times: they descend from the mountains into the plains by a network of wide grassy roads which traverse the region in every direction and are called tratturi. These lanes are over 100 yards in width and cover a total length of 940 miles.... Not less than 50,000 animals are pastured on the Tavoliere, requiring over 1,500 square miles of land for their subsistence.... Five thousand persons are employed as shepherds."]

[Footnote 121: Varro quite uniformly uses words which indicate that he was accustomed to see sheep driven (abigere, propellere, adpellere) but we can see the flocks led in Italy today, as they were in Palestine soon after Varro's death, according to the testimony of that beautiful figure of the Good Shepherd (St. John, X, 4): "And when he putteth forth his own sheep he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." R. Child, in his "Large Letter" in Hartlib's Legacie, gives the explanation of the difference in the custom:

"Our sheep do not follow their shepherds as they do in all other countries: for the shepherd goeth before and the sheep follow like a pack of dogs. This disobedience of our sheep doth not happen to us, as the Papist Priests tell their simple flocks, because we have left their great shepherd the Pope; but because we let our sheep range night and day in our fields without a shepherd: which other countries dare not for fear of wolves and other ravenous beasts, but are compelled to guard them all day with great dogs and to bring them home at night, or to watch them in their folds."]

[Footnote 122: Cf. Dante, Purg. XXVII, 79.

"Le capre
Tacite all' ombra mentre che'l sol ferve Guardate dal pastor che'n su la verga Poggiato s'e, e lor poggiato serve."]

[Footnote 123: It will be recalled that when Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, was making his way to his house in company with the faithful swineherd Eumaeus, they met the goatherd Melanthius "leading his goats to feast the wooers, the best goats that were in all the herds." (Odyssey, XVII, 216), and that subsequently he suffered a terrible punishment for this unfaithfulness to his master's interests.]

[Footnote 124: Pliny (VIII, 76) calls these excrescences lanciniae, or folds, and attributes them exclusively to the she goat, as Varro seems to do also, but Columella (VII, 6) attributes them to the buck.]

[Footnote 125: Aristotle (H.A. I, 9.1) refers to this opinion and denounces it as erroneous.]

[Footnote 126: The Roman denarius, which has been here and later translated denier, may be considered for the purpose of comparing values as, roughly, the equivalent of the modern franc, or lira, say 20 cents United States money.]

[Footnote 127: Macrobius (Saturn. I, 6) tells another story of the origin of this cognomen, which, if not so heroic as that in the text, is entertaining. It is related that a neighbour's sow strayed on Tremelius' land and was caught and killed as a vagrant. When the owner came to claim it and asserted the right to search the premises Tremelius hid the carcass in the bed in which his wife was lying and then took a solemn oath that there was no sow in his house except that in the bed.]

[Footnote 128: It would seem, as Gibbon says of the Empress Theodora, that this passage could be left "veiled in the obscurity of a learned language"; but it may be noted that the locus classicus for the play on the word is the incident of the Megarian "mystery pigs" in Aristophanes' Acharnians, 728 ff. Cf. also Athenaeus, IX, 17, 18.]

[Footnote 129: Cf. Pliny (H.N. VIII, 77): "There is no animal that affords a greater variety to the palate of the epicure: all the others have their own peculiar flavour, but the flesh of the hog has nearly fifty different flavours."]

[Footnote 130: In his stimulating book, Comment la route crée le type Social, Edmond Desmolins submits an ingenious hypothesis to explain the pre-eminence of the Gauls in the growing and making of pork, and how that pre-eminence was itself the explanation of their early success in cultivating the cereals. He describes their migrating ancestors, the Celts, pushing their way up the Danube as hordes of nomad shepherds with their vast flocks and herds of horses and cattle, on the milk of which they had hitherto subsisted. So long as they journeyed through prairie steppes, the last of which was Hungary, they maintained their shepherd character, but when they once passed the site of the present city of Vienna and entered the plateau of Bavaria, they found new physical conditions which caused them to reduce and to separate their herds of large cattle--an unbroken forest affording little pasture of grass. Here they found the wild boar subsisting upon the mast of the forest, and him they domesticated out of an economic necessity, to take the place of their larger cattle as a basis of food supply. Until then they had not been meat eaters, and so had known no necessity for cereals, for milk is a balanced ration in itself. But this change of diet required them also to take to agriculture and so to abandon their nomad life.

'By reason of the habits of the animal, swine husbandry has a tendency in itself to confine those engaged in it to a more or less sedentary life, but we are about to see how the Celts were compelled to accomplish this important evolution by an even more powerful force. Meat cannot be eaten habitually except in conjunction with a cereal ... and of all the meats pork is the one which demands this association most insistently, because it is the least easily digested and the most heating of all the meats.... So that is how the adoption of swine husbandry and a diet of pork compelled our nomad Celts to take the next step and settle down to agriculture.']

[Footnote 131: This Gallic tomacina was doubtless the ancestor of the mortadella now produced in the Emilia and known to English speaking consumers as "Bologna" sausage.]

[Footnote 132: The Gaul of which Cato was here writing is the modern Lombardy, one of the most densely populated and richest agricultural districts in the world. Here are found today those truly marvellous "marchite" or irrigated meadows which owe the initiative for their existence to the Cistercian monks of the Chiaravalle Abbey, who began their fruitful agricultural labours in the country near Milan in the twelfth century. There is a recorded instance of one of these meadows which yielded in a single season 140 tons of grass per hectare, equal to 75 tons of hay, or 30 tons per acre! The meadows are mowed six times a year, and the grass is fed green to Swiss cows, which are kept in great numbers for the manufacture of "frommaggio di grana," or Parmesan cheese. This system of green soiling maintains the fertility of the meadows, while the by-product of the dairies is the feeding of hogs, which are kept in such quantity that they are today exported as they were in the times of Cato and Varro. There is no region of the earth, unless it be Flanders, of which the aspect so rejoices the heart of a farmer as the Milanese. Well may the Lombard proverb say, "Chi ha prato, ha tutto."]

[Footnote 133: Virgil (Aen. VII, 26) subsequently made good use of this tradition of the founding of Lavinium, the sacred city of the Romans where the Penates dwelt and whither solemn processions were wont to proceed from Rome until Christianity became the State religion. The site has been identified as that of the modern village of Practica, where a few miserable shepherds collect during the winter months, fleeing to the hills at the approach of summer and the dread malaria.]

[Footnote 134: Cf. Polybius, XII, 4: 'For in Italy the swineherds manage the feeding of their pigs in the same way. They do not follow close behind the beasts, as in Greece, but keep some distance in front of them, sounding their horn every now and then: and the animals follow behind and run together at the sound. Indeed, the complete familiarity which the animals show with the particular horn to which they belong seems at first astonishing and almost incredible. For, owing to the populousness and wealth of the country, the droves of swine in Italy are exceedingly large, especially along the sea coast of the Tuscans and Gauls: for one sow will bring up a thousand pigs, or some times even more. They, therefore, drive them out from their night styes to feed according to their litters and ages. When if several droves are taken to the same place they cannot preserve these distinctions of litters: but they, of course, get mixed up with each other both as they are being driven out and as they feed, and as they are being brought home. Accordingly, the device of the horn blowing has been invented to separate them when they have got mixed up together, without labour or trouble. For as they feed one swineherd goes in one direction sounding his horn, and another in another and thus the animals sort themselves of their own accord and follow their own horn with such eagerness that it is impossible by any means to stop or hinder them. But in Greece when the swine get mixed up in the oak forests in their search for the mast, the swineherd who has most assistants and the best help at his disposal, when collecting his own animals drives off his neighbours' also. Some times, too, a thief lies in wait and drives them off without the swineherd knowing how he has lost them, because the beasts straggle a long way from their drivers in their eagerness to find acorns, when they are just beginning to fall.'

Bishop Latimer in one of his sermons quotes the phrase used in his youth, at the time of the discovery of America, in calling hogs: 'Come to thy minglemangle, come pur, come pur.' It would be impossible to transcribe the traditional call used in Virginia. One some times thinks that it was the original of the celebrated 'rebel yell' of General Lee's army.]

[Footnote 135: The use of the Greek salutation was esteemed by the more austere Romans of the age of Scipio an evidence of preciosity, to be laughed at: and so Lucienus' jesting apology for the use of it here doubtless was in reference to Lucilius' epigram which Cicero has preserved, de Finibus, I, 3.

"Graece ergo praetor Athenis Id quod maluisti te, quum ad me accedi, saluto [Greek: Chaire] inquam, Tite: lictores turma omni cohorsque [Greek: Chaire] Tite! Hinc hostis mi Albucius, hinc inimicus."

It was the word which the Romans taught their parrots. Cf. Persius, Prolog. 8.]

[Footnote 136: The working ox was respected by the ancient Romans as a fellow labourer. Valerius Maximus (VIII, 8 ad fin.) cites a case of a Roman citizen who was put to death, because, to satisfy the craving of one of his children for beef to eat, he slew an ox from the plough. Ovid puts this sentiment in the mouth of Pythagoras, when he agrees that pigs and goats are fit subjects for sacrifice, but protests against such use of sheep and oxen. (Metamor. XV, 139.)

"Quid meruere boves, animal sine fraude dolisque Innocuum, simplex, natum tolerare labores? Immemor est demum, nee frugum manere dignus Qui potuit curvi demto modo pondere arati Ruricolam mactare suum: qui trita labore Ilia quibus toties durum renovaverat arvum Tot dederse messes, percussit colla securi."]

[Footnote 137: The learned commentators have been able to discover nothing about either this Plautius or this Hirrius, but it appears that Archelaus wrote a book under the title Bugonia, of which nothing survives. It may be conjectured, however, on the analogy of Samson's riddle to the Philistines, "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness," (Judges, XIV, 14), that Plautius meant to imply that some good might be the consequence of the evil Hirrius had done: and that Vaccius cited the allusion to suggest to Varro that, while he might know nothing much about cattle, his attempt to deal with the subject might provoke some useful discussion.]

[Footnote 138: Darwin, Animals and Plants, II, 20, cites this passage and says that "at the present day the natives of Java some times drive their cattle into the forests to cross with the wild Banteng." The crossing of wild blood on domestic animals is not, however, always successful. A recent visitor to the German agricultural experiment station at Halle describes "a curious hairy beast with great horns, a wild look in his eye, a white streak down his back and a bumpy forehead, which had in it blood from cattle which had lived on the plains of Thibet, which had grazed on the lowland pastures of Holland, which had roamed the forests of northeast India and of the Malay Peninsular, and had wandered through the forests of Germany. We Americans had sympathy for this beast. He was some thing like ourselves, with the blood of many different races flowing through his veins."]

[Footnote 139: Pliny (VIII, 66) cites the fact that the Scythians always preferred mares to stallions for war, and gives an ingenious reason for the preference. Aristotle (H.A. VI, 22) says that the Scythians rode their pregnant mares until the very last, saying that the exercise rendered parturition more easy. Every breeder of heavy draft horses has seen a mare taken from the plough and have her foal in the field, with no detriment to either: and the story of the mare Keheilet Ajuz, who founded the best of the Arab families, is well known, but bears repetition. I quote from Spencer Borden, The Arab Horse, p. 44: "It is related that a certain Sheik was flying from an enemy, mounted on his favourite mare. Arab warriors trust themselves only to mares, they will not ride a stallion in war. The said mare was at the time far along toward parturition: indeed she became a mother when the flying horseman stopped for rest at noonday, the new comer being a filly. Being hard pressed the Sheik was compelled to remount his mare and again seek safety in flight, abandoning the newborn filly to her fate. Finally reaching safety among his own people, great was the surprise of all when, shortly after the arrival of the Sheik on his faithful mare, the little filly less than a day old came into camp also, having followed her mother across miles of desert. She was immediately given into the care of an old woman of the tribe (Ajuz = an old woman), hence her name Keheilet Ajuz, 'the mare of the old woman,' and grew to be the most famous of all the animals in the history of the breed."]

[Footnote 140: Varro does not describe the livery of the horses of his day, as he does of cattle, but Virgil (Georg. III, 81) supplies the deficiency, asserting that the best horses were bay (spadices) and roan (glauci) while the least esteemed were white (albi) and dun (gilvi), which is very interesting testimony in support of the most recent theory of the origin of the thoroughbred horse. Professor Ridgeway who, opposing Darwin's conclusion, contends for a multiple origin of the historic and recent races of horses, has collected a mass of information about the marking of famous horses of all ages in his Origin and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse. He maintains that a bay livery, with a white star and stockings, the development of protective coloration from an originally striped coat, such as has gone on more recently in the case of the quaggas, is absolute evidence of the North African origin of a horse, and he shows that all the swiftest horses mentioned in history are of that race, while the heavier and less mettlesome horses of Northern origin have been, when pure bred, dun coloured or white.

Of the Italian breeds mentioned by Varro, Professor Ridgeway conjectures that the Etruscan (or Rosean) was probably an improved Northern horse, while the Apulian, from the South of Italy, represented an admixture of Libyan blood.]

[Footnote 141: Aristotle (H.A. VI, 22) preceded Varro with this good advice, saying that a mare "produces better foals at the end of four or five years. It is quite necessary that she should wait one year and should pass through a fallow, as it were--[Greek: poiein osper neion]."]

[Footnote 142: Mules were employed in antiquity from the earliest times. In Homer they were used for drawing wagons: thus Nausicaa drove a mule team to haul out the family wash, and Priam made his visit to Achilles in a mule litter. Homer professes to prefer mules to oxen for ploughing. There were mule races at the Greek games. Aristotle (Rhetoric, III, 2) tells an amusing story of Simonides, who, when the victor in the mule race offered him only a poor fee, refused to compose an ode, pretending to be shocked at the idea of writing about "semi-asses," but, on receipt of a proper fee, he wrote the ode beginning: "Hail, daughters of storm-footed mares," although they were equally daughters of the asses.]

[Footnote 143: The breed of Maremma sheep dogs, still preferred in Italy, is white. He is doubtless the descendant of the large woolly "Spitz" or Pomeranian wolf dog which is figured on Etruscan coins.]

[Footnote 144: In his essay,Notre ami le chien, Maeterlinck maintains eloquently that the dog alone among the domestic animals has given his confidence and friendship to man. "We are alone, absolutely alone, on this chance planet: and amid all the forms of life that surround us not one excepting the dog has made alliance with us. A few creatures fear us, most are unaware of us, and not one loves us. In the world of plants, we have dumb and motionless slaves: but they serve us in spite of themselves.... The rose and the corn, had they wings, would fly at our approach, like birds. Among the animals, we number a few servants who have submitted only through indifference, cowardice or stupidity: the uncertain and craven horse, who responds only to pain and is attached to nothing ... the cow and the ox happy so long as they are eating and docile because for centuries they have not had a thought of their own.... I do not speak of the cat, to whom we are nothing more than a too large and uneatable prey: the ferocious cat whose side long contempt tolerates us only as encumbering parasites in our own homes. She at least curses us in her mysterious heart: but all the others live beside us as they might live beside a rock or a tree."

The effective use of this thesis in the scene of the revolt of the domestic animals in the Blue Bird will be remembered.]

[Footnote 145: This method of securing the faithful affection of a dog is solemnly recommended, without acknowledgment to Saserna, in the seventeenth century editions of the Maison Rustique (I, 27).]

[Footnote 146: Keil happily points out that in his book on the Latin language (VII, 31), Varro quotes the "ancient proverb" to which he here refers, viz.: "canis caninam non est" dog doesn't eat dog.]

[Footnote 147: Aristotle (H.A. VI, 20) says that puppies are blind from twelve to seventeen days, depending upon the season of the year at which they are born. Pliny (H N. VIII, 62) says from seven to twenty days, depending upon the supply of the mother's milk.]

[Footnote 148: It was among these hardy shepherd slaves that Spartacus recruited his army in 72-71 B.C., as did Caelius and Milo in 48 B.C., while their descendants were the brigands who infested Southern Italy even in the nineteenth century.]

[Footnote 149: Gaius, I, 119, II, 24, 41, describes in detail the processes here referred to by which a slave was acquired under the Roman law.]

[Footnote 150: Dennis, in his Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, draws a picture of modern Italy which may serve to illustrate Varro's sketch of the mountain life of the shepherds of his day:

"Occasionally in my wanderings on this site (Veii) I have entered, either from curiosity or for shelter, one of the capanne scattered over the downs. These are tall conical thatched huts which the shepherds make their winter abode. For in Italy, the lowlands being generally unhealthy in summer, the flocks are driven to the mountains about May, and as soon as the great heats are past are brought back to the rich pastures of the plains. It is a curious sight, the interior of a capanna, and affords an agreeable diversity to the antiquity hunter. A little boldness is requisite to pass through the pack of dogs, white as new dropt lambs, but large and fierce as wolves, which, were the shepherd not at hand, would tear in pieces whoever might venture to approach the hut: but with one of the pecoraj for a Teucer, nothing is to be feared. The capanne are of various sizes. One I entered not far from Veii was thirty or forty feet in diameter and fully as high, propped in the centre by two rough masts, between which a hole was left in the roof for the escape of smoke. Within the door lay a large pile of lambs, there might be a hundred, killed that morning and already flayed, and a number of shepherds were busied in operating on the carcases of others: all of which were to be dispatched forthwith to the Roman market. Though a fierce May sun blazed without, a huge fire roared in the middle of the hut: but this was for the sake of the ricotta, which was being made in another part of the capanna. Here stood a huge cauldron, full of boiling ewes' milk. In a warm state this curd is a delicious jelly and has often tempted me to enter a capanna in quest of it, to the amazement of the pecoraj, to whom it is vilior alga. Lord of the cauldron, stood a man dispensing ladlefuls of the rich simmering mess to his fellows, as they brought their bowls for their morning allowance: and he varied his occupation by pouring the same into certain small baskets, the serous part running off through the wicker and the residue caking as it cooled. On the same board stood the cheeses, previously made from the cream. In this hut lived twenty-five men, their nether limbs clad in goat skins, with the hair outwards, realizing the satyrs of ancient fable: but they had no nymphs to tease, nor shepherdesses to woo, and never

'sat all day
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love To amorous Phillida.'

They were a band of celibates without the vows. In such huts they dwell all the year round, flaying lambs or shearing sheep, living on bread, ricotta and water, very rarely tasting meat or wine and sleeping on shelves ranged round the hut, like berths in a ship's cabin. Thus are the dreams of Arcadia dispelled by realities."]

[Footnote 151: In modern Italy the shepherds do not take their women with them to the saltus, but, as Dennis says, lead there the life of "celibates, without the vows."]

[Footnote 152: In the Venitian provinces of Italy today the women are still seen at work in the harvest and rice fields with their babes in their bosoms: but the most amazing modern spectacle of this kind is that of women coaling ships in the East, carrying their unhappy youngsters up and down the coal ladders throughout the work.]

[Footnote 153: The author of Maison Rustique did not agree with Varro in this opinion. I quote from Surflet's translation of 1606 (I, 7):

"And for writing and reading it skilleth not whether he be able to doe it or no, or that he should have any other charge to looke unto besides that of yours, or else that he should use another to set downe in writing such expences as he hath laid out: for paper will admit any thing."]

[Footnote 154: This temple and fig tree stood in Rome at the foot of the Palatine hill, in the neighbourhood of the Lupercal. It was under this fig tree that Romulus and Remus were supposed to have been suckled by the wolf.]

[Footnote 155: 'That is the beste grease that is to a shepe, to grease hym in the mouthe with good meate,' says Sir Anthony Fitzherbert.]

[Footnote 156: Pliny (VII, 59) says that most nations learn the use of barbers next after that of letters, but that the Romans were late in this respect. Varro himself wore a beard, as appears on the coin he struck during the war with the Pirates. It is reproduced in Smiths Dict. Gr. and Rom. Biog., III, p. 1227.]

[Footnote 157: Cowper's verse in The Task seems to be all that is happy in the way of translation of Varro's text, "divina natura dedit agros, ars humana aedificavit urbes": but Cowley's "God the first garden made, and the first city Cain" was probably Cowper's source. Cowley was a reader of Varro, as his pleasant and sane essay Of Agriculture shows.]

[Footnote 158: Following the precedent of the first and second books in the matter of local colour, the scene of this third book, relating to villas and the "small deer," which were there reared, is laid in the villa publica at Rome, and the characters of the dialogue are selected for the suggestion which their names may make of the denizens of the aviary, the barn yard and the bee-stand.]

[Footnote 159: This Appius Claudius Pulcher served in Asia under his brother-in-law Lucullus, was Augur in B.C. 59, Consul in 54 and Censor in 50. He wrote a book on augural law and the habits of birds at which Cicero poked some rather mean fun. He fixes the date of the dialogue.]

[Footnote 160: In Varro's time, as today, the river Velinus drained the fresh pastures of the Umbrian prairie of Rosea, "the nurse of Italy," which lay below the town of Reate (the modern Rieti), and was originally the bed of a lake. Its waters are so strongly impregnated with carbonate of lime that by their deposit of travertine they tend to block their own channel. The drainage of Rosea has, therefore, always been a matter of concern to the live stock industry of Reate, and in B.C. 272 M. Curius Dentatus opened the first of several successful artificial canals (the last dating from the sixteenth century, A.D.), which still serve to lead the Velinus into the Nar at the renowned Cascate delle Marmore. For two hundred years the people of Interamna (the modern Terni) had complained that their situation below the falls was endangered by Curius' canal, and finally in B.C. 54 the Roman Senate appointed the commission to which Appius Claudius refers in the text, to hear the controversy. Cicero was retained as counsel for the people of Reate, and during the hearing stopped, as Appius Claudius did, with our friend Axius at his Reatine villa, and wrote about the visit to the same Atticus whom we met in Varro's second book, as follows (ad Atticum, IV, 15): "After this was over the people of Reate summoned me to their Tempe to plead their cause against the people of Interamna, before the Consul and ten commissioners, the question being concerning the Veline lake, which, drained by M. Curius by means of a channel cut through the mountain, now flows into the Nar: by this means the famous Rosea has been reclaimed from the swamp, though still fairly moist. I stopped with Axius, who took me also to visit the Seven Waters." What was once deemed a danger is a double source of profit to the modern folk of Interamna. Tourists today crowd to see the same waterfall which Cicero visited, taking a tram from the busy little industrial town of Terni: and the waters which flow from Velinus now serve to generate power with which armour plates are manufactured for the Italian navy on the site of the ancient Interamna.]

[Footnote 161: Sicilian honey was famous for its flavour because of the bee pasture of thyme which there abounded, especially at Hybla. Theophrastus (H.P. III, 15, 5) explains that the honey of Corsica had an acrid taste, because the bees pastured there largely on box trees.]

[Footnote 162: These denizens of the Roman villa are all enumerated by Martial in his delightful verses (III, 38) upon Faustinus' villa at Baiae. The picture of the barn yard is very true to life in all ages, especially the touch of the hungry pigs sniffing after the pail of the farmer's wife:

"Vagatur omnis turba sordidae cortis Argutus anser, gemmeique pavones
Nomenque debet quae rubentibus pennis, Et picta perdix, Numidicaeque guttatae Et impiorum phasiana Colchorum.
Rhodias superbi feminas prement galli Sonantque turres plausibus columbarum, Gemit hinc palumbus, inde cereus turtur Avidi sequuntur villicae sinum porci: Matremque plenam mollis agnus exspectat."]

[Footnote 163: The sestertius was one quarter of a denarius, or, say, the equivalent of five cents. It was also called nummus, as we say "nickel." The ordinary unit used by the Romans in reckoning considerable sums of money was 1,000 sesterces, which may accordingly be translated as the equivalent of (say) $50. Axius' jackass thus cost $2,000, while Seius' income from his villa was $2,500 per annum, that of Varro's aunt from her aviary was $3,000, and that of Axius from his farm $1,500. Cicero records that Axius was a money lender, which explains the fun here made of his avarice.]

[Footnote 164: Columella, writing about one hundred years after Varro, refers to this passage and says that luxury had so developed since Varro's time that it no longer required an extraordinary occasion, like a triumph, to bring the price of thrushes to three denarii a piece, but that that had become a current quotation.]

[Footnote 165: A minerval was the fee (of Minerva) paid to a school teacher.]

[Footnote 166: The inventor of the auspices ex tripudiis or the feeding of chickens was evidently an ingenious poultry fancier who succeeded in securing the care of his favourites at the public charge.]

[Footnote 167: This was L. Marcius Philippus, the orator mentioned by Horace (Epist. I, 7, 46), who was Consul in B.C. 91, and was celebrated for his luxurious habits, which his wealth enabled him to gratify. His son married the widow of C. Octavius and so became the step-father of the Emperor Augustus.]

[Footnote 168: This was turdus pilaris, the variety of thrush which is called field fare.]

[Footnote 169: The traveller by railway from Rome to Naples passes near Varro's estate of Casinum, and if he stops at the mediaeval town of San Germano to visit the neighbouring Badia di Monte Cassino, where the "angelic doctor" Thomas Aquinas was educated, he will find Varro's memory kept green: for he will be entertained at the Albergo Varrone ("very fair but bargaining advisable," sagely counsels Mr. Baedeker) and on his way up the long winding road to the Abbey there will be pointed out to him the river Rapido, on the banks of which Varro's aviary stood, and nearby what is reputed to be the site of the old polymath's villa which Antony polluted with the orgies Cicero described in the second Philippic. Antony's destruction of his library was a great blow to Varro, but one likes to think that his ghost can take satisfaction in the maintenance, so near the haunts of his flesh, of such a noble collection of books as is the continuing pride of the Abbey on the mountain above.]

[Footnote 170: Varro's Museum, or study where he wooed the Muses, on his estate at Casinum was not unlike that of Cicero at his native Arpinum, which he described (de Leg. II, 3) agreeably as on an island in the cold and clear Fibrenus just above its confluence with the more important river Liris, where, like a plebeian marrying into a patrician family, it lost its name but contributed its freshness. The younger Pliny built a study in the garden of his Laurentine villa near Ostia, which he describes (II, 17) with enthusiasm: "horti diaeta est, amores mei, re vera amores": and here he found refuge from the tumult of his household during the festivities of the Saturnalia, which corresponded with our Christmas. In the ante bellum days every Virginia gentleman had such an "office" in his house yard where he pretended to transact his farm business, but where actually he was wont to escape from the obligations of family and continuous hospitality.]

[Footnote 171: The commentators on this interesting but obscure description of Varro's aviary have at this point usually endeavoured to explain the arrangements of the chamber under the lantern of the tholus with respect to its use as a dining room which Varro frequented himself, and hence have been amused into all kinds of difficulties of interpretation. The references to the convivae are what lead them astray, and it remained for Keil to suggest that this was a playful allusion to the birds themselves, a conclusion which is strengthened by Varro's previous statement of the failure of Lucullus' attempt to maintain a dining room in his aviary.]

[Footnote 172: Cf. Vitruvius, I, 6: "Andronicus Cyrrhestes built at Athens an octagonal marble tower, on the sides of which were carved images of the eight winds, each on the side opposite that from which it blew. On the pyramidal roof of this tower he placed a bronze Triton holding a rod in his right hand, and so contrived that the Triton, revolving with the wind, always stood opposed to that which prevailed, and thus pointed with his rod to the image on the tower of the wind that was blowing at the moment." The ruins of this Tower of the Winds may still be seen in Athens. There is a picture of it in Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities in the article Andronicus.]

[Footnote 173: One ventures to translate athletoe comitiorum by Mr. Gladstone's famous phrase.]

[Footnote 174: Reading "tesserulas coicientem in loculum."]

[Footnote 175: A French translator might better convey the intention of the pun, contained in the ducere serram of the text, by the locution, une prise de bec.]

[Footnote 176: It probably will not comfort the ultimate consumer who holds in such odium the celebrated "Schedule K" of the Payne-Aldrich tariff, to realize that the American wool grower puts no higher value on his sheep than did his Roman ancestor, as revealed by this quotation from the stock yards of Varro's time. It is interesting, however, to the breeder to know that a good price for wool has always stimulated the production of the best stock. Strabo says that the wool of Turdetania in Spain was so celebrated in the generation after Varro that a ram of the breed (the ancestors of the modern Merino) fetched a talent, say $1,200; a price which may be compared with that of the prize ram recently sold in England for export to the Argentine for as much as a thousand pounds sterling, and considered a good commercial investment at that. Doubtless the market for Rosean mules comforted Axius in his investment of the equivalent of £400 in a breeding jack.]

[Footnote 177: In feudal times the right to maintain a dove cote was the exclusive privilege of the lord of the manor. According to their immemorial custom, which Varro notices, the pigeons preyed on the neighbourhood crops and were detested by the community in consequence. During the French revolution they were one of the counts in the indictment of the land-owning aristocracy, and in the event the pigeons as well as their owners had the sins of their forefathers justly visited upon them. The American farmer who has a pigeon-keeping neighbour and is restrained by the pettiness of the annoyance from making a point on their trespasses, feels something of the blind and impotent wrath of the French peasant against the whole pigeon family.]

[Footnote 178: It appears that the Romans actually hired men to chew the food intended for cramming birds, so as to relieve the unhappy victims even of such exercise as they might get from assimilating their diet. Columella (VII, 10) in discussing the diet of thrushes deprecates this practice, sagely saying that the wages of the chewers are out of proportion to the benefit obtained, and that any way the chewers swallow a good part of what they are given to macerate.

The typical tramp of the comic papers who is forever looking for occupation without work might well envy these Roman professional chewers. Not even Dr. Wiley's "poison squad" employed to test food products could compare with them.]

[Footnote 179: These prices of $10 and $50 and even $80 a pair for pigeons, large as they seem, were surpassed under the Empire. Columella says (VIII, 8): "That excellent author, M. Varro, tells us that in his more austere time it was not unusual for a pair of pigeons to sell for a thousand sesterces, a price at which the present day should blush, if we may believe the report that men have been found to pay for a pair as much as four thousand nummi." ($200.)]

[Footnote 180: The market for chickens and eggs in the United States would doubtless astonish the people of Delos as much as the statistics do us (ipsa suas mirantur Gargara messes!). It is solemnly recorded that the American hen produces a billion and a quarter dozen eggs per annum, of a value greater than that of either the wheat or cotton crops, and yet there are many of us who cannot get our hens to lay more than a hundred eggs a year!]

[Footnote 181: Reading ad infirma crura. This practice is explained more at length by Columella (VIII, 2, 3) who specifies the spurs, calcaribus inustis.

Buffon, who describes a 'practice of trimming the combs of capons, adds (V, 302) an interesting account of an experiment which he says he had made "une espece de greffe animale": after trimming the comb of a growing cockerel his budding spurs were cut out and grafted on the roots of the comb, where they took root and flourished, growing to a length of two and a half inches, in some cases curving forward like the horns of a ram, and in others turning back like those of a goat.]

[Footnote 182: The dusting yard which Varro here describes was in the open, but Columella (VIII, 3) advises what modern poultry farmers pride themselves upon having recently discovered,--a covered scratching pen strewn with litter to afford exercise for the hens in rough weather. It will be observed that, so far as ventilation is concerned, Varro recommends a hen house open to the weather: this is another standard of modern practice which has had a hard struggle against prejudice. Columella adds two more interesting bits of advice, that for the comfort of the hens the roosts should be cut square, and for cleanliness their water trough should be enclosed leaving only openings large enough to receive a hen's head. With so much enlightenment and sanitation one would expect one or the other of these Romans to tell us of some "teeming hen" like Herrick's who laid "her egg each day."

We are proud to be able to cite the eminent Roseburg Industrious Biddy who, in the year of grace 1912, achieved the championship of America with a record of 266 eggs in ten months and nineteen days, and was sold for $800: but Varro is content to suggest that a hen will lay more eggs in a season than she can hatch, and the conservative Columella (VIII, 5) that the number of eggs depends upon diet.]

[Footnote 183: The guinea fowl got their Greek name, meleagrides, because the story was that the sisters of Meleager were turned into guinea hens. Pliny (H.N. X, 38) says that they fight every year on Meleager's tomb. It is a fact that they are a pugnacious fowl. Buffon says that guinea fowl disappeared from Europe in the Dark Ages and were not known again until the route to the Indies via the Cape of Good Hope was opened when they were imported anew from the west coast of Africa.]

[Footnote 184: Reading, "propter fastidium hominum." Cf. Pliny (X, 38), whose explanation is "propter ingratum virus."]

[Footnote 185: There is a Virginia practice of feeding a fat turkey heavily on bread soaked in wine or liquor just before he is killed, the result being that as the turkey gets into that condition which used to put our ancestors under the table, he relaxes all his tendons and so is sweeter and more tender when he comes above the table. There is a humanitarian side to the practice which should recommend it even to the W.C.T.U. as well as to the epicure.]

[Footnote 186: Many thousands of geese used to be driven every year to Rome from the land of the Morini in Northern Gaul, but the Germans are the modern consumers. A British consular report says that in addition to the domestic supply a special "goose train" of from fifteen to forty cars is received daily in Berlin from Russia. It would seem that the goose that lays the golden egg has emigrated to Muscovy. Buffon says that the introduction of the Virginia turkey into Europe drove the goose off the tables of all civilized peoples.]

[Footnote 187: Columella (VIII, 14) repeats this myth, but Aristotle (H.A. V, 2, 9) says that geese bathe after breeding. Buffon gives a Gallic touch, "ces oiseaux preludent aux actes de l'amour en allant d'abord s'egayer dans l'eau."]

[Footnote 188: Reading seris. It is the Cichorium endivia of Linnaeus. Cf. Pliny (H.N. XX, 32.)]

[Footnote 189: Varro does not mention it, but the Romans knew and prized pâté de foie gras under the name ficatum, which indicates that they produced it by cramming their geese with a diet of figs. Cf. Horace's verse "pinguibus et ficis pastum iecur anseris albi."

In Toulouse, whence now comes the best of this dainty of the epicure, the geese are crammed daily with a dough of corn meal mixed with the oil of poppies, fed through a tin funnel, which is introduced into the esophagus of the unhappy bird. At the end of a month the stertorous breathing of the victim proclaims the time of sacrifice to Apicius. The liver is expected to weigh a kilogram, (say two pounds), while at least two kilograms of fat are saved in addition, to garnish the family plat of vegetables during the remainder of the year.]

[Footnote 190: Reading foeles, which Keller, in his account of the fauna of ancient Italy in the Cambridge Companion to Latin Studies, identifies with Martes vulgaris. Sir Anthony Fitzherbert calls them fullymartes. It does not appear that the Romans had in Varro's time brought from Egypt our household cat, F. maniculata. They used weasels and tame snakes for catching mice.]

[Footnote 191: Darwin (Animals and Plants, I, 8) cites this passage and argues that Varro's advice to cover the duck yard with netting to keep the ducks from flying out is evidence that in Varro's time ducks were not entirely domesticated, and hence that the modern domestic duck is the same species as the wild duck. It may be noted, however, that Varro gives the same advice about netting the chicken yard, having said that chickens had been domesticated from the beginning of time.]

[Footnote 192: The ancient Etruscan city of Tarquinii is now known as Corneto. The wild sheep which Lippinus there kept in his game preserves were probably the mouflon which are still hunted in Sardinia and Corsica, though they may have been the Phrygian wild sheep (Aegoceros argali) which Varro mentions in Book II. Pliny (H.N. VIII, 211) says that this Lippinus was the first of the Romans to keep wild animals enclosed; that he established his preserves shortly before the Civil Wars, and that he soon had imitators.]

[Footnote 193: Reading * * * * [Transcriber's note: the preceding four *s are actually four instances of the "infinity" symbol (like a digit 8 rotated horizontally)]_passum_. The Roman mile, mille passuum, was 142 yards less than the English mile.]

[Footnote 194: Of the three kinds of hares mentioned by Varro the "common Italian kind" was L. timidus, a roast shoulder of which Horace vaunts as a delicacy: the Alpine hare was L. variabilis, which grows white on the approach of winter: and the cuniculus was the common rabbit known to our English ancestors as the coney. Strabo records (Casaub, 144) that the inhabitants of the Gymnesian (Balearic) Islands in Spain sent a deputation to Augustus to request a military force to exterminate the pest of rabbits, for such was their multitude that the people were being crowded out of their homes by them, in which their plight was that of modern Australia. They were usually hunted in Spain with muzzled ferrets imported from Africa.]

[Footnote 195: The edible snail, helix pomatia, L., is still an article of commerce in France and Italy. They prey upon vines and give evidence of their appreciation of the best by abounding in the vineyards of the Cote d'or, the ancient Burgundy. There at the end of summer they are gathered for the double purpose of protecting the vines and delighting the epicure: are then stored in a safe place until cold weather, when they considerately seal up their own shells with a calcareous secretion and so are shipped to market.

Here is the recipe for 'escargots à la bourguignonne,' which despite the prejudice engendered by Leviticus (XI, 30.) may be recommended to the American palate jaded by beefsteak and potatoes and the high cost of living: "Mettre les escargots a bouillir pendant 5 a 10 minutes dans de l'eau salée, les retirer de leur coquille, les laver a l'eau froide pour les debarrasser du limon, les cuire dans un court-bouillon fortement assaisonné. Apres cuisson les replacer dans le coquille bien nettoyee, en les garnissant au fond et par dessus d'une farce de beurre frais manipule avec un fin hachis de persil, cerfeuil, ail, echalote, sel et poivre. Avant de servir, faire chauffer au four."]

[Footnote 196: Reading LXXX quadrantes. A comparison may be made of this capacity with that of the ordinary snail known to the Romans, for their smallest unit of liquid measure was called a cochlear, or snail shell, and contained.02 of a modern pint, or, as we may say, a spoonful: indeed the French word cuiller is derived from cochlear.]

[Footnote 197: It is perhaps well to remind the American reader that the European dormouse (Myoxus glis. Fr. loir. Ger. siebenschlafer) is rather a squirrel than a mouse, and that he is still esteemed a dainty edible, as he was by the Romans: indeed when fat, just before he retires to hibernate, he might be preferred to 'possum and other strange dishes on which some hospitable Americans regale themselves and the patient palates of touring Presidents. In his treatise De re culinaria Apicius gives a recipe for a ragout of dormice which sounds appetizing.]

[Footnote 198: Darwin (Animals and Plants, XVIII) says: "I have never heard of the dormouse breeding in captivity."]

[Footnote 199: Varro makes no mention of tea and bread and butter as part of the diet of a dormouse; so we are better able to understand his abstinence at the mad tea party in Alice in Wonderland. As Martial (III, 58) calls him somniculosus, it is probable that his table manners on that occasion were nothing new and that his English and German names were always justified.]

[Footnote 200: This is one of Varro's puns which requires a surgical operation to get it into one's head. Appius is selected to talk about bees because his name has some echo of the sound of apis, the word for bee.]

[Footnote 201: The study of bees was as interesting to the ancients as it is to us. There have survived from among many others the treatises of Aristotle, Varro, Virgil, Columella and Pliny, but they are all made up, as Maeterlinck has remarked, of "erreurs charmantes," and for that reason the antique lore of bees is read perhaps to best advantage in the mellifluous verses of the fourth Georgic, which follow Varro closely.]

[Footnote 202: He might have said also that the hexagonal form of construction employed by bees produces the largest possible result with the least labour and material. Maeterlinck rehearses (La Vie des Abeilles, 138) the result of the study of this problem in the highest mathematics:

"Réaumur avait proposé au célèbre mathematicien Koenig le problem suivant: 'Entre toutes les cellules hexagonales a fond pyramidal compose de trois rhombes semblables et égaux, determiner celle qui peut être construite avec le moins de matière?' Koenig trouva qu'une telle cellule avait son fond fait de trois rhombes dont chaque grand angle était de 109 degrés, 26 minutes et chaque petit de 70 degrés, 34 minutes. Or, un autre savant, Maraldi, ayant mesuré aussi exactement que possible les angles des rhombes construits par les abeilles fixa les grands à 109 degrés, 28 minutes, et les petits a 70 degrés, 32 minutes. Il n'y avait done, entre les deux solutions qu'une difference de 2 minutes. II est probable que l'erreur, s'il y en a une, doit être imputee a Maraldi plutot qu'aux abeilles, car aucun instrument ne permet de mesurer avec une precision infaìllible les angles des cellules qui ne sont pas assez nettlement definis."

Maclaurin, a Scotch physicist, checked Koenig's computations and reported to the Royal Society in London in 1743 that he found a solution in exact accord with Maraldi's measurements, thereby completely justifying the mathematics of the bee architect.]

[Footnote 203: The Romans were as curious and as constant in the use of perfumes as we are of tobacco. It is perhaps well to remember that they might find our smoke as offensive as we would their unguents.]

[Footnote 204: Indeed one of the marvels of nature is the service which certain bees perform for certain plants in transferring their fertilizing pollen which has no other means of transportation. Darwin is most interesting on this subject.]

[Footnote 205: The ancients, even Aristotle, did not know that the queen bee is the common mother of the hive. They called her the king, and it remained for Swammerdam in the seventeenth century to determine with the microscope this important fact. From that discovery has developed our modern knowledge of the bee; that the drones are the males and are suffered by the (normally) sterile workers to live only until one of them has performed his office of fertilizing once for all the new queen in that nuptial flight, so dramatically fatal to the successful swain, which Maeterlinck has described with wonderful rhetoric, whereupon the workers massacre the surviving males without mercy. This is the "driving out" which Varro mentions.]

[Footnote 206: This picture of the queen bee is hardly in accord with modern observations. It seems that while the queen is treated with the utmost respect, she is rather a royal prisoner than a ruler, and, after her nuptial flight, is confined to her function of laying eggs incessantly unless she may be unwillingly dragged forth to lead a swarm. Maeterlinck thus pictures (La Vie des Abeilles, 174) her existence with a Gallic pencil:

"Elle n'aura aucune des habitudes, aucunes des passions que nous croyons inherentes à l'abeille. Elle n'eprouvera ni le desir du soleil, ni le besoin de l'espace et mourra sans avoir visite une fleur. Elle passera son existence dans l'ombre et l'agitation de la foule à la recherche infatigable de berceaux à peupler. En revanche, elle connaitra seule l'inquietude de l'amour."]

[Footnote 207: It would have interested Axius to know that the annual consumption of honey in the United States today is from 100 to 125 million pounds and that the crop has a money value of at least ten million dollars. To match Seius, we might put forward a bee farmer in California who produces annually 150,000 pounds of honey from 2,000 hives.]

[Footnote 208: Maeterlinck has made a charming picture of this habit of propinquity of the bee-stand to the human habitation. He describes (La Vie des Abeilles, 14) the old man who taught him to love bees when he was a boy in Flanders, an old man whose entire happiness "consistait aux beautés d'un jardin et parmi ces beautés la mieux aimee et la plus visitées etait un roucher, composé de douze cloches de paille qu'il avait peint, les unes de rose vif, les autres de jaune clair, la plupart d'un bleu tendre, car il avail observé, bien avant les experiences de Sir John Lubbock, que le bleu est la couleur preferée des abeilles. Il avait installé ce roucher centre le mur blanchi de la maison, dans l'angle que formait une des ces savoureuses et fraiches cuisines hollondaises aux dressoirs de faience ou étincalaient les etains et les cuivres qui, par la porte ouverte, se reflétaient dans un canal paisible. Et l'eau chargés d'images familières, sous un rideau de peupliers, guidait les regards jusqu'au répos d'un horizon de moulins et de prés."]

[Footnote 209: Reading Apiastro. This is the Melissa officinalis of Linnaeus. Cf. Pliny, XX, 45 and XXI, 86.]

[Footnote 210: Bee keepers attribute to Reaumur the invention of the modern glass observation hive, which has made possible so much of our knowledge of the bee, but it may be noted that Pliny (H.N. XXI, 47) mentions hives of "lapis specularis," some sort of talc, contrived for the purpose of observing bees at work. The great advance in bee hives is, however, the sectional construction attributed to Langstroth and developed in America by Root.]

[Footnote 211: Columella, (IX, 14) referring to the myth of the generation of bees in the carcase of an ox (out of which Virgil made the fable of the pastor Aristaeus in the Fourth Georgic), explains the practice mentioned in the text with the statement "hic enim quasi quadam cognatione generis maxime est apibus aptus." The plastering of wicker hives with ox dung persisted and is recommended in the seventeenth century editions of the Maison Rustique.]

[Footnote 212: Reading seditiosum.]

[Footnote 213: This is a mistake upon which Aristotle could have corrected Varro.]

[Footnote 214: After studying the commentators on this obscure passage, I have elected to follow the emendation of Ursinus, which, although Keil sneers at its license, has the advantage of making sense.]

[Footnote 215: Sinapis arvensis, Linn.]

[Footnote 216: Sium sisarum, Linn.]

[Footnote 217: The philosophy of the bee is not as selfish as that human principle which Varro attributes to them. The hive does not send forth its "youth" to found a colony, but, on the contrary, abandons its home and its accumulated store of wealth to its youth and itself ventures forth under the leadership of the old queen to face the uncertainties of the future, leaving only a small band of old bees to guard the hive and rear the young until the new queen shall have supplied a new population.]

[Footnote 218: Reading imbecilliores.]

[Footnote 219: Pliny (H.N. IX, 81) relates that this loan was made to supply the banquet on the occasion of one of the triumphs of Caesar the dictator, but Pliny puts the loan at six thousand fishes.]

[Footnote 220: It is impossible to translate this pun into English, dulcis being the equivalent of both "fresh" and "agreeable," and amara of "salt" and "disagreeable." A French translator would have at his command doux and amer.]

[Footnote 221: Cf. Pliny (H.N. II, 96): "In Lydia the islands called Calaminae are not only driven about by the wind, but may even be pushed at pleasure from place to place, by which means many people saved themselves in the Mithridatic war. There are some small islands in the Nymphaeus called the Dancers, because, when choruses are sung, they move in tune with the measure of the music."]

[Footnote 222: Reading in ius vocare, with the double entendre of service in a sauce and bringing to justice.]

Prev | Next | Contents

Links: - - - - -