Aristotle's History of animals. In ten books online

. (page 23 of 39)
Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 23 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

summer they are habituated to do without water; and if
the mice drink they die.

' 8. Other animals are produced by the intercourse of
heterogeneous creatures, as in Gyrene the woWes copulate
with the dogs, and produce young; and the Laconian dogs
are bred between a dog and a fox. They say that the In-
dian dogs are derired from the tigw and the dog ; not di-
rectly, but from the third mixture of the breeds ; for they
say that the first race was very fierce. They take the dogs
and tie them up in the desert. Many of them are deroured,
if the wild animal does not happen to desire sexual inter-


1. DiFTiBEifT localities produce a variety of dispositionSy
as mountainous and rough places, or smooth plains. GRiey
are more fierce and robust in appearance in mountains, as the
swine of Athos ; for the males of those which inhabit the

Slains cannot endure even the females of the other kind : and
ifferent situations have great influence on the bite of wild
animals. All the scorpions about Pharus and other places
are not painful, but in Caria and other localities they are
frequent, and large, and fierce, and their sting is fatal to
either man or beast, even to sows, which are but little influ*
enced by the bite of other creatures, and black sows
are more easily affected than others. The swine die very
soon after being stung, if they come near the water.

2. The bite also of serpents varies much ; for in Libya
the asp is found, from which they form a septic poison, . ^

whidi IS incurable. In the plant siiphium is found a smim 'f

serpent, for the bite of which a remedy has been discovered I

in a small stone, which is taken out of the tomb of one of I

the ancient kings : this they drink dipped in wine. In ^^

some parts of Italy the bite of the geoLo is found to be
fttsL If one poisonous animal eals anotberi ai^ if a


by Google


j 228 TBS EI8T0BT OF AKIlfALS. [b. TIIX.

j inper eati a scorpion, its bite is the most fatal of all.

! The saliTa of a man is hostile to most of them. There

is one small serpent^ which some persons call hiems,
which is avoided even by laive serpents. It is a cnbit
Ions, and appears rough. Whatsoerer it bites imme-

1 mecuatelj becomes putnd in a circle round the wound.

There is also a smail serpent in India^ the onlj one for

I which there isnoremedj.

! Chapteb XXIX.

1. AimcALs also differ in being in good condition or not
during gestation. The testacea^ as the pectens and the ma*
lacostra^ as the carabi and such like, are best when preg-
nant ; for this word is also used of the testacea. For the
malacostraca have been observed both in the act of copula-
tion and oviposition ; but none of the testacea have ever
been seen so occupied. The malada, such as the teuthis,
sepia, and polypus, ate most excellent when pregnant ; and
almost all nsh are good during the early part of the period ;
but as the time advances some are good and some not so.
' 2. The msenis thrives during gestation. The form of the

female is round, that of the niale longer and broader. And
when the period of gestation commences in the females, the
males become black and variegated, and are not fit to eat.
Some persons call them tra^ at this period. Those which
are called cotWphus and achla also change their colour;
and the caris also changes at this season and some birds,
which are black in spring and afterwards become white.

8. The phjds also changes its colour; for it is white at
all other seasons, and variegated in the spring. This is the
onlj sea fish that, as they say, makes a nest in which
it deposits its ova. The menis, as it was before 6th
served, and the smaris also change their colours, and from
* being white in summer become black. This is particu-
larly conspicuous about tiie fins and giDs. The coradnus
is best when pregnant^ and so is the menis. The cestreus,
]abraz,and nearly all ereatnxes that swim are inferior at this

4. There are a tew which are ffood, whether pregnant or
not, as the glaaeus. Old fish also are infisrior: and old
tvuues are not eveafit ior salting, ior much of the flesh is


by Google


disaolTed. The same thing also happeni with other fiaL
The oldw fish are diatiDgmahed bj toe aiae and haidneea
of their acalea; an old tosDj has been taken which weighed
fifteen talenta, and the length of the tail waa two cubita I

and a span. i

5. Biver and pond fiah are moat excellent, after depoaiting j

their OTa and aemen, and reco?ering their fleah. Some S ^

thenii however, are good while precnant^ a^ the aaperdia;
and others bad, aa tito glania. In ail the male ia better than
the female; but the female glania ia better than the male.
Thoae which thej call female eela are better than the malea.
They call them femaleai though tbsj are not ao^ but only
diffiv in appearanoOi









by Google

S80 THl HI8T0BT OF AJmUhB. [b. IXi


Chafteb L

1. Thi disporitioiiB of obscure and Bhoit-lived ammalfl are
lesa easilj obaenred than those of long-lired animals; for
thqr i^PPJBar to hare a certain inclination towards each na*
tural affection of the souli such as prudence and foUj,
courage and cowardice, mildness and cruelty, and such other
habits. Some also, which hare the sense of hearing, appear
to be capable of a certain degree of instruction and disci-
pline, both from one another and from mankind, for thej
not only distinguish the difference of sounds but also of

3. And in all animals in which there is a distinction of
the sexes nature has given a similar disposition to the males
and to the females. This is most conspicuous in man, and
the lar^r animals, and in yiTiparous quadrupeds ; for the
disposition of the female *is sotcer, and more tameable and
submissiTe, and more ingenious ; as the females of the Lace-
demonian dog are more gentie than the males. In the
Holossian race of dogs, those employed in hunting differ in
no respect fix>m other dogs ; while those employed in fol«
lowing sheep are larger and more fierce in their attack on
wild beasts. A mixture of the Molossian and Lacedemoniaa
races is both braver and more capable of enduring &tigue.

8. The females of all animals are less violent in their
passions than the males, except the female bear and pardalis,
for the female of these appears more courageous tnan the
male. In other animals tne females are more soft and insi-
dious, less simple, more petidant^ and more active in the
eare of their young. The disposition of the males is opposed
to lliis ; for they are more passionate and fierce, more straight-
ibrward, and leas invidious. The vestiges of these dis^isi*
tions exist, as we may say» in all, but are more conspicuous
in du)se iriiioh have the strongest moral habits^ and most of


by Google




all in mankind ; for the natore of the human subject is the
most complete, so that these habits appear more conspicuous
in mankind than in other animals.

4. Wherefore women are more compassionate and more
readily made to weep, more jealous and querulous, more

fond of railing,and more contentious. The female also is more i

subject to depression of spirits and despair than the male. '

She is also more shameless and false, more readilj deoeired, Tf

and more mindful of injury, more watchful, more idle, and 4

on the whole less excitable than the male. On the contraij, !t

the male is more ready to help, and, as it has been said, f

more brave than the female ; and eren in the malacia, if the |

sepia is struck with a trident, the male comes to help the j

female, but the female makes her escape if the male it |

struck. j

1. Akikals often fight with each other, particularly those 9

which inhabit the same places and eat the same food; for |?
when food becomes scarce, congeners fight together. They
say that seals which occupy the same legality will fight, the
males with the males and the females with the females, until
one party is either killed or ejected by the other, and their
cubs also will fight in the same way. All animals also will

fight with carnivorous creatures, and these will fight with i

other animals, for they feed upon living creatures ; for which ]

reason augurs observe the disputes and agreements of t

animals, considering that their disputes betoken war, and I

their agreements peace with each other. i

2. When supplied with plenty of food, animals that are • h

naturally afraid of man and fierce appear to submit them- f

selves to him, and to conduct themselves auietly towards };

each other. The care which is taken of animals in l^jpt i;

demonstrates this circumstance ; for even the fiercest crea- I

tures live together, when they have food aiough, and tm \

not in any want; for they become tame firom the suppfy of t

their vrants which they receive, as the crocodiles are tamed j

by the priests by the care which is bestowed on their food. li,

3jie same thing may bo observed in oUier countries and in v

their difierent parts. [ ;
< 8. Hie es^ and the dragon are enemiesi for the eagia
feeds on serpents* Iha iohneamon $dA the q^idsr are a&iot




by Google ^


' t

282 THl HI8T0BT OF AlTIlfALS. [B. XX.v

enemies, for the icbneumon hunts the spider. Among birds,
the poDcilis and the lark and the wood-pecker and chloreua
are enemies, for tbej eat each others* eggs. The crow and
the owl also are enemies ; for at mid-daj the crow, taking
adranta^ of the dim sight of the owl, secretly seizes ana
devours its e^gs, and the owl eats those of the crow during
the niffht ; and one of these is master during the day, the,
other during the night. The owl and orchilus are enemies ;
for the latter eats the eggs of the owL During the day
other birds fly round the owl, which is called "astonishbg
it,*' and as they fly round it pluck off its feathers. For this
reason fowlers use it in hunting for all kinds of birds.

4. The presbys contends witii the weasel and crow, for
they eat its eggs and young. The turtle and pyrallis are
foes, for their food and mode of life are the same. The
eeleus and libyus, kite and raven are enemies; for the
kite, from tiie superiority of its claws and flight, can
take from the raven anythioc it may have caught, so that
their food is the cause of their enmity also. Those that
obtain their food from the sea also are foes, as the brenthus,
lams, and harpa. The triorches is a foe to the toad and
the serpent; for the triorches eats the others. The turtle
and chloreus are foes, for the chlorous kills the turtle, and
the crow kills the bird called typanus. The little owl and
all other birds with crooked daws eat the calaris, from
whence their enmity arises.

5. The gecko and the spider are enemies, for the p;ecko
eats spiders. The pipe is a foe to the heron, for it de»
Tours tiie eggs and young of the heron. Enmity also exists
between the aegithus and the ass; for the ass frequents thorny >
places, that it may scratch its sores, and by this means, and
when it brays it overturns the eggs and voun^ of the legithus,. :
for iheyfall out of the nest from fear of tne noise, and the bird, :
to revenge tins injury, flies upon the ass and inflicts wounds. « '
llie wolf is the enemj of the ass, bull, and fox ; for being a
eamivorous animal, it attacks both oxen, asses, and foxes.
The fox and circus are enemies for the same reason; for
the eircus having crooked daws, and being carnivorous^
attacks and inflicts wounds with its daws.

0, The raven is an enem^ to the bull and ass, for it flies :
round them and strikes their eyes. QOie eagle and the hemi


by Google


are foes, for the eagle has crooked claws and attacks it^
and the other dies in defending itself. The r'^on is a foe
to the vidture, and the crex to the coleus, blackbird, and

chlorion, which some persons fabulouslj sar derires Itr I

ori^ from a ftineralpile, for it destroys both themselTes and- \

their youne. The sitta and trochilus are foes to the etgle, ^

and the eagle, as well for this reason, as becanseit is cami- I

Torous, is a foe to them all. [

7. The anthus is the enemj of the horse, for it drires the t
horse from its pasture, fur the anthus also feeds on grass ; I
it is dim-sighted and not quick ; it imitates the voice of the S
horse, whidi it frichtens by flying at it, and drives it from ;!
its pasture; if the horse can seize upon it» he will kill it. The I
antnus lives near rivers and marshes ; it is <tf a fine colour, i
and lives well. The ass attacks the colota, a creature which J
lives in the manger, and prevents it from eating, by making ')
its way into its nostrils. ^ L^

8. There are three kinds of heron, the black, the whito 7
sort, and the one called asterias ; of these, the black resta j'
and copulates with difficulty, for it utters a cry, and, as they * ^
say, bleeds from the eyes during coition, and the process w {
piurturition is severe and painful; it attacks creatures whidi \
injure it, as the eagle, for it seises upon it, and the fox, for !
this creature attacks it during the nighty and the laric, j
which steals its eg^. I

9. The serpent is an enemy to the weasel and the hog^ \
for if the weasel and serpent live in the same house they f
both reouire the same kind of food ; andswine eat serpents. ^
The lesalon is a foe to the fox, for it strikes and pecks it, and i
destroys its young, for it has crooked claws. Tne raven and *
the fox are friendly, for the raven also attacks the ssalon,

and so they help each other in the attack. The little owl ^

and the mnlon are mutual foes, for both have croolrad daws.

The little owl and the swan attack the easier and the swan

often comes off victorious. Of all birds toe swans are most

disposed to devour' each other. i^

10. Borne animals are always readj to attack eaeh other;

and others, as mankind, only at particular timea. The aaa ^

and the acanthia are foea, for the latter feeds entirely on ^]

thorns, but the former on^ when they are tender. ISieaii* !



by Google J

234 ' THl HI8T0BT OT AKIKALS. [b. TX^r

thuf, acanthif, and sgithus are foes, and it is said that the;
blood of the anthus and SBsithua will not mix. The crow
and heron are firiendi, and so are the achoonion, lark,
laSdna, and celena, for the celena lives by tiie side of riyers
and thickets, but the lafidus lives amons rocks and moun-.
tains, and is fond of the place in which it lires. The
piphudx, harpa, and kite are friends; the fox and the ser-.
pent also, for both Uto in holes ; and the blackbird and the

11. The lion and iackal are foes, for both are camiro*
reus, and live on the same substances. Elephants also
fight fiercely with each other, and strike with their tusks ;
the conquered submits entirely, and cannot endure the voice;
of the victor : and elephants differ much in the courage
they exhibit. The Indians use both male and female ele-
phants in war, though the females are smaller and fiur less
courageous. The elephant can overthrow walls by striking
them with its large tusks ; it throws down palm trees by
striking them with its head, and afterwards putting its feet
upon them, stretches them on the ground.

12. ISephant-hunting is conducted in the following way :
men mount upon some tame courageous animals ; when they
have seized upon the wfld animals they command the others
to beat them till ther £eu1 from fatigue. The elephant-driver
then leaps u^on its Dack and directs it with a lance ; very
soon after this they become tame and obedient. When the
elephant-drivers mount upon them they all become obedient,
but when they have no driver, some are tame and others
not so, and they bind the fore legs of those that are
wild with chains, in order to keep them quiet. They hunt
both fbll-grown animals and young ones. Such is the
friendship and enmity of tiiese wild animals originating in
the supply of foody and the mode of lift.

Charbb nL

1. Bomb fish are jgiregarious and friendly together, others
that are less gregarious are hostile. Some are mgarious while
they arepregnant, others during the season of parturition. On
the whefoi flie following are gregarious: the tunny, inoBiiis»
cobius, box, saums, coradnus, sinodon, trigla, murmiai
aathii^el^giB u s,athe n naS|Sarginqs,belana| (mMOUi) tenthns^


by Google


iuluf, pelamis, scombrua, and coliaa. Some of theae are both
gregarioua, and live in pain, for all the othera pair together ;
and aome are gregariooa at particular aeaaona, aa it haa been
aaid, while ihej are pregnant, and othera in the aeaaon of
depoeiting their OTa.

2. The labraz and ceatreua, though moat hoatOe, will at
certain aeaaona congregate with eadi other, for not only do
congenera oongre^te together, but all thoae which feed
upon the aame kind of food, where it ia abundant. Hie .j

eeatreua and the conger often aurrive after having been de- |j

pri ved of their tail up to the anna, for the eeatreua ia eaten ,^

D7thelabrax,andtheconcerbythemur»na. Theatronger t;

are hoatile to the weaker, for the atrong fiah eat the othera.
Thia much concerning marine creaturea. t,

Chjlptbb IV.

1. It haa been already obaerved, that the diapoaitiona of
animala vary in cowardice, mildneaa, courage, gentleneaa,
intelligence, and folly. The diapoaition of aheep, aa I have
aaid TOfore, ia fooliah, and without aenae ; they are the moat
cowardly of all animala, and ateal away into deaert placea
for no purpoae, and in winter often eacape from their fold. ''

When overtaken by a anow-atorm, the^ will not get away, |'

unleaa the ahepherd drivea them, but will atay behind and \

periah, unleaa the ahepherda cany off the malea, when the )

reat will follow.

2. If a peraon takea any of the goata by the beard fwhieh j

ia like hair), all the reat atand by aa if infatuated, ana look ^

' at it. Sheep will aleep in colder placea than goata, for aheep ^

are more quiet, and are ready to aubmit themaelvea to man-
kind. CkMita do not bear the cold BO wdl aa aheep. Shop*
herda teach aheep to come toother when they make a ncnae, • ;^

and if any of them ia left behmd and doea not join the flock
when it thundera, it will caat ita young;, if pregnant ; wheie-
fore, when a noiae ia made, they will collect together in
their aheda according to their cuatom. (Bulla are deatrojed
bywildbeaata,iftheywander away from their hard.) Shie^
and ffoaia lie down to reat aeparately in their vaoea,
and when the aun begina to deaoend, the ahepherda aay tturt i

the goata do not lie down with their &cea to eaeh otheTi Irak
they turn their baoka upon each other.



Dig tized by Google f


Chaptsb V.

1. Cows pasture in berds, and in oompanlea, and if one of
them wanden to a distance, all the rest follow, so tiiat the
herdsmen, if tbej do not find her, immediately examine all
the herds. Mares in herds, if one of them happens to die,
will bring up her foal among them, and the wnole race of
horses appeuv to haye warm natural affections, of which the
following is a j^roof : the barren mares will take away the
foals from their mothers, and treat them with affectioUi
though they soon die for want of mOk.

Chjlptsb VI.

1. Or an wild quadrupeds, the deer appears to be one of the
most prudent in producing its young dj the wayside (where
wild beasts do not come, for fear of men) ; as soon as the young
is bom, the dam eats the chorion, and runs to the plant
called seselis, which she eats, and haying so done, returns to her
kid. She then leads her kid to the station, to which it may
learn to retreat in case of danger ; this is usually a chasm
in a rock with a single entrance, which they say that it
stays and defends. When the male gets fat (which usually
happens in the autumn) he does not show himself^ but gets
out of the way, for his fat makes him an easy prey. He
• sheds his horns in difficult and scarcely accessible places,
from whence arises the proyerb, ** where the stag sheds its
horns,*' for they are afraid of beins seen, as if they had lost
their means of defence. It is said that the left horn neyer
has been seen, for he conceals it as if it had some medicinal

2. When a year old they haye no horns, but cnalj a com*
mencement, as it were a sign of what is to be ; this is short,
and coyered with thick down. When two years old, they
haye straight horns, like sticks, for which reason they are
adled pattolia (from warrdkHf a stake). In the third year
their horns are diyided. In the fourth year they become
rough. In this manner they are regularly deyeloped till
they are six years old. After this age their horns are al-
ways the same, so that their age cannot bo distinguished by
them* Old stags, howeyer, are Tecognised by two signs;
) of them kiye no teeth at aU| oraers only a few| and


by Google

fi. IX.] THl HI8T0BT OF ▲VIIIALS. 237 j

thej never have the defensiTe part of the horn, that part |

of the growing horn which benoa forwarda, with which tber

defend themselvea, thia the old stacks never poaaeaa, but aU

the increase of their horns is upwards. |

8. Thej cast their horns every year about the month of
April. When thej cast their horns thej hide themselves
durinc the day, as it has been already observed. They con- I

oeal themselves in thickets, to protect themselves from the ||

flies. During this period they teed (in the thickets) during r

the nighty until their horns are grown. They are produced I

at first under the skin, and are covered with down. When j

they grow they expose them to the sun, that the horn may !

be matured and hardened. When they cease to give them •

pain if rubbed ag^ainst trees, they leave such places, for I

they are confident in their means of defence. An Achainian if

stag ^ has been taken with a considerable Quantity of green *

ivy growing on its horns as in green wood, for the horns }

are tender when first produced. j

4. When the stags are bitten by the phalangium or any ,

such creature, they collect together a number of crabs and d

eat them. It appears to l^ wholesome for mankind to T

drink the same substance, but it is not pleasant The ;•

females, as soon as their young are bom, eat the chorium, |'

and it is not jpossible to obtain it, for they seise upon it *

before it can fan to the ground ; it appears to have some I

medicinal pro|)erties. Tike females are captured by the |

sound of the pipe and by singing, and they are charmed by 4

singing. When two persons go out to capture them, one .j

shows himself, and either plays upon a pipo> or sines, and i

the other strikes behind, when the first gives him the ^

signal ; when the ears of the deer are erect, it hears quickly, r

and cannot be deceived, as it maybe if they hang down. -


Chjlftbb Vn.

1. Whxk bears are in flight,they drive theircubs before them,

or take them up and carry them. When nearly overtaken, i

the^ climb up into trees. When they first come from their j

hidine place they eat the arum, aa it has bem already ob* 9

served, and gnaw the trees as if they were catting teeth. I

liany other animals also prudently provide themielvia wilk j
! A hnoksl^ or two Twr old slifi


by Google

288 Tin HI8T0BT OF avuials; [b. ix.^^

remedies, for they uj that the wild goats in Crete, when
stnick with an arrow, seek out the dittany, for this plant ,
assists in working the arrow from their boaj.

2. And dogs, when they are iU, proride themselves with .
an emetic from a certain kind of grass. The panther, when
it has eaten the poison called pardalianches,* seeks for human .
ordure, for this relieres it. This poison also will kill lions, '
the hunters, therefore, suspend oraure in a Tcssel from the^
trees, in order that the animal may not wander far from
them ; for the panther jumps at it and attempts to seise it^ ,
and dies before it can reach it. Thej saj that the panther •
is aware that its peculiar scent is gntteful to other wild
animals, and that it preys upon them in concealment, and
when deer approach near, it catches hinds. '

8. The Eg^rptian ichneumons, when they see the seroent
cslled the asp, do not attack it until they faiaTe inrited others |
to assist. They roll themselres in mud as a protection
acainst its blows and wounds ; they first bathe in water and

Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 23 of 39)