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Pliny's Natural history. In thirty-seven books online

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hath ceased to be a Man : as if the Manner of Man's Breath-
ing differed from that of other living Creatures ; or as if
there were not to be found many other Things in the World,
that live much longer than Men, and yet no Man foretells
the like Immortality to them. But what is the Body that
followeth the Material of the Soul ? where lieth her
Thought? how is her Seeing, how is her Hearing per-
formed ? what toucheth she ? nay, what doth she at all ?
How is she employed ? or what Good can there be without
these ? I would know where she hath her abiding Place ?
and what Multitudes of Souls, like Shadows, would there be
in so many Ages ? Surely these are but fantastical and
childish Toys, devised by Men that would fain live always.
The like Foolery there is in preserving the Bodies of Men.
And the Vanity of Democritus is no less, who promised a
Restoration to Life, and yet himself hath not come to Life
again. And what an Instance of Madness to think (an Evil
in itself) that Death should be the Way to a life ! What
Repose should ever Men have that are born, if the Sense of
their Souls should remain on high, while their Shadows are
among those below ? Certainly, this sweet Inducement,
and Credulity, destroyeth the Benefit of the best Gift of
Nature, which is Death ; and it doubleth the Pain of a Man
who is to die, if he happen to consider what shall befall him
in the Time to come. For if it be sweet to live, what Plea-
sure can one have, that hath already lived ? But how much
more easy and certain is it for each Man to trust to himself,
and to gather Reasons from the Experience that he had
before he was born?

The first Inventors of Things in Life.

BEFORE we depart from this Discourse of Men's Nature,
it seemeth convenient to point out their Inventions, and
what each Man hath discovered. In the first Place, Liber

250 History of Nature. [ BOOK VII.

Pater appointed buying and selling ; he also devised the
Diadem, the Ornament of Kings, and the Triumph. Ceres
shewed the use of Corn, whereas before Men lived on Mast.
She taught also how to grind Corn, to knead Dough, and
make Bread of it, in Attica, Italy, and Sicily ; for which she
was reputed a Goddess. She it was that began to make
Laws ; but others have thought that Rhadamanthns was the
first Lawgiver. I am of opinion, that Letters ever were in
Assyria ; but some think, as particularly Gellius, that they
were invented by Mercury in Egypt, and others will have it
that they came first from Syria. True it is, that Cadmus
brought into Greece from Phcenice to the Number of sixteen;
to which Palamedes, in the Time of the Trojan War, added
four, in these characters, 0, 3, <, X. And after him Simon-
ides Melicus 1 produced the same Numbers, z, H, T, a : the
Force of all which Letters we acknowledge among ourselves.
Aristotle is rather of opinion, that there were eighteen an-
cient Letters : A, B, r, A, E, z, i, K, A, M, N, o, n, p, 2, T, r, $,
and that the other two, and X, were added by Epicharmus,
and not by Palamedes. Anticlides writeth, that one in Egypt
named Menon was the Inventor of Letters, fifteen Years be-
fore the Time of Phoroneus, the most ancient King of Greece :
and he endeavoureth to prove the same by Monuments. On
the other Hand, Epigenes, an Author as renowned as any,
sheweth, that among the Babylonians there were found
Observations of the Stars for 7*20 Years, written on Bricks ;
and they who speak of the least, as Berosus and Critodemus,
report the like for 480 Years. Whereby it appeareth that
the use of Letters was eternal. The Pelasgi brought their
use into Latium. Euryalus and Hyperbius, two Brothers at
Athens, invented the first Manufacture of Bricks and the
Formation of Houses ; for before their Time Caves were used
for Houses. Gellius is of opinion that Doxius, the Son of
Ccelus, devised the first Houses that were made of Clay ;
taking his Pattern from the Nests of Swallows. Cecrops
called a Town after his own Name, Cecropia ; which at this

1 Some copies read Medicus, " a physician." Wern. Club.

BOOK VI L] History of Nature. 251

Day is the Castle in Athens. Some will have it that Argos
was built before it by King Phoroneus; and others again,
that Sycione was before them. The Egyptians affirm, that
long before that, their City Diospolis was founded. Cinyra,
the Son of Agriopa, invented the Slating of Houses, and
Mines of Brass : both within the Isle of Cyprus. He also
invented Pincers, the little Hammer, the Lever, and the
Anvil. Danaus, who was brought from Egypt to Greece,
which was then called Argos Dipsion, first sunk Wells.
Cadmus at Thebes, or, as Theophrastus saith, in Phoenice,
found out Stone Quarries. Thrason was the first Builder
of Walls : of Towers, the Cyclops, as Aristotle thinketh ;
but the Tyrinthii, according to Theophrastus. Weaving
was the Invention of the Egyptians ; and Dyeing Wool,
of the Lydians in Sardis. Closter, the Son of Arachne,
taught the first making of the Spindle for Woollen Yarn :
and Arachnb herself, the Flax and Nets. Nicias the Megaren-
sian invented the Fuller's Art : Boethius, the Art of Sewing.
The Egyptians will have Medicine to have been discovered
among them ; but others, that Arabus, the Son of Babylo
and Apollo, was its Author. The first Herbarist and Apothe-
cary was Chiron, Son of Saturn and Phyllira. Aristotle
thinketh that Lydus the Scythian displayed the melting and
tempering of Brass ; Theophrastus, that it was Delas the
Phrygian. Some think the Chalybse devised the working
into Vessels of Brass, arid others attribute it to the Cyclopae.
The Discovery of Iron was the Invention of those in
Crete, who were called Dactyli Idaei, according to Hesiod.
Erichthonius the Athenian discovered Silver, or, as others
say, JEacus. The Gold Mines, together with the melting of
the Metal, Cadmus the Phrenician first found out at the
Mountain Pangaeus ; but others say, Thoas and Eaclis in
Panchaia ; or else Sol the Son of Oceanus, to whom Gellius
attributeth the Discovery of Medicine, and of Honey.
Midacritus was the first that brought Lead out of the Island
Cassiteris. 1 And the Cyclops invented the working Iron to

1 The Islands of Scilly. Wern. Club.

252 History of Nature. [BooK VII.

use; Corcebus the Athenian, the Potter's Art; and therein
Anacharsis the Scythian, or according to some, Hyperbios
the Corinthian, invented the forming into a Globe. The
Carpenter's Art was the Invention of Dcedalus, as well as
the Tools : the Saw, the Hatchet, the Perpendicular, the
Auger, Glue, Fish-glue. The Square, the Level, the Lathe,
and the Key, were invented by Theodorus Samius. Phidon
the Argive, or Palamedes, as Gellius rather thinketh, found
out Measures and Weights. Pyrodes, the Son of Cilix, first
obtained Fire from the Flint; and Prometheus, the Means to
preserve it in Ferula (or Fennel). The Phrygians invented
the Waggon with four Wheels : the Poeni (Carthaginians),
Merchandise: Eumolpus the Athenian discovered the culti-
vation of Vines arid Trees. Staphylus, the Son of Silenus,
taught how to mix Wine with Water. Aristceus the Athenian
invented the making of Oil, and also the Press belonging to
it. The same Man taught to draw Honey from the Combs.
Buzyges the Athenian, or as others have it, Triptolemus,
employed Oxen for the Plough. The Egyptians were the
first that had a royal City, and the Athenians a popular
City. After Theseus, the first Tyrant was Phalaris of Agri-
gentum. The Lacedaemonians first invented the Condition
of Slavery. The first Judgment for Death WHS in the Court
of Areopagus. The first Battle was fought between the Afri-
cans and Egyptians ; and the same was done with Clubs,
which they call Phalangae. Shields were contrived by
Prcetus and Acrisius, when they warred against each other ;
or by Calchus, the Son of Athamas. Midias of Messene in-
vented the Cuirass, and the Lacedaemonians the Helmet,
Sword, and Spear. The Carians contrived Greaves, and
Crests (upon Helmets): Scythes, the Son of Jupiter, the Bow
and Arrows; although some say that Perses, the Son of
Perseus, invented Arrows. The ^Etolians invented the
Lance ; the Dart with a Loop was by JEtolus, the Son of
Mars : the light Javelins and the Pilum by Tyrrhenus ; and
Penthesilea the Amazon, the Battle-axe. Piseus found out
the Boar-spear and Chasing-staff. Among Engines to throw
with, the Cretes invented the Scorpion: the Syrians, the

BOOK VII.] History of Nature. 253

Catapult : the Phoenicians, the Balista and the Sling. Piseus
the Tyrrhenian first used the hrazen Trumpet; and Arthemon
the Clazomenian, Tortoises. The Engine to batter Walls
(called sometimes the Horse, and now the Ram) was the
Device of Epeus at Troy. Bellerophon shewed first how to
ride on Horseback : Pelethronius invented the Saddle and
Bridle for the Horse. The Thessalians, called Centaurs,
inhabiting near the Mountain Pelius, were the first that
fought on Horseback. The Nation of the Phrygians first
joined two Horses to a Chariot ; and Erichthonius four.
Palamedes, during the Trojan War, invented the manner
of setting an Army in array: also the giving of a Signal,
the Watch-word, and the Outposts (VigiliaB). In the same
War, Sinon devised Watch-towers. Lycanor was the first
Maker of a Truce : Theseus, of Alliances : Car, from whom
Caria took its Name, observed first the Flight of Birds
(Augury) ; to which Orpheus added the Signs from other
Animals. Delphus invented Divination from the Entrails
(Aruspices) : Amphiaraus, that of the Inspection of Fire
(Ignispex) : Tyresias, the Theban, that of the Auspices of
Birds. Amphictyon gave the Interpretation of portentous
Sights, and of Dreams. Atlas, the Son of Libya (or,
as some say, the Egyptians, and as others the Assyrians),
invented Astrology ; and in that Science, Anaximander the
Milesian devised the Sphere. The Explanation of the
Winds was given by JEolus, the Son of Helen. Amphion
invented Music. The Flute and the single Pipe 1 were
the Invention of Pan, the Son of Mercury. The oblique
Cornet was by Midas in Phrygia ; and in the same Country
Marsyas invented the Double Flute ; Amphion taught the
Lydian Measures; Thamyras the Thracian, the Dorian; and
Marsyas of Phrygia, the Phrygian. Amphion, likewise (or,
as some say, Orpheus, and according to others, Linus}, played
first on the Lute. 2 Ter pander added seven Strings to it;
Simonides added the eighth ; and Timotheus the ninth. Tha-
myras was the first that played on the Lute without Song,

1 Fistula and Monaiilus. Wern. Club. a Cithara. Wern. Club.

254 History of Nature. [ BOOK VII.

and Amphion sung with it, or, according to some, Linus.
Terpander adapted Songs to the Lute. Dardanus, the Tro3-
zenian, began first vocal Music to the Flute. 1 The Curetes
taught to dance in Armour ; and Pyrrhus the Pyrrhic Dance ;
and both these were first practised in Crete. The Heroic
Verse we owe to the Oracle of Pythius (Apollo}. About the
Original of Poems there is a great Question. They are
proved to have existed before the Trojan War. Pherecydes
of Syros, in the Days of King Cyrus, invented the Writing
in Prose. Cadmus the Milesian founded History. Lycaon
appointed the first public Games of Strength in Arcadia ;
Acastus in lolcum, the first solemn Games at Funerals ; and
after him Theseus, in the Isthmus. Hercules instituted the
Athletic Exercises at Olympia : and Pythus those of Play at
Ball. Gyges the Lydian first practised Painting in Egypt;
but in Greece, Euchir, a Relative of Dcedalus, as Aristotle
supposeth ; and according to Theophrastus, it was Polygnotus
the Athenian. Danaus was the first that sailed with a Ship,
and so he passed the Sea from Egypt to Greece ; for before
that time they used Rafts, which were invented by King
Erythra, to cross from one Island to another in the Red Sea.
But we meet with some Writers who suppose that the Tro-
jans and Mysians were the first that devised Navigation be-
fore them in the Hellespont, when they passed over-against
the Thracians. And even at this Day in the British Ocean,
there are made W T icker Boats covered with Leather, and
stitched round about ; in the Nile, of Papyrus, Cane-reed,
and Rushes. Philostephanus witnesseth, that Jason first used
in Navigation the long Ship ; but Egesias saith, that it was
Paralus. Ctesias attributeth it to Samyras ; Saphanus, to
Semiramis ; and Archimackus, to JEgeon. Damastes testi-
fieth, that the Erythraeans first made the Bireme (or Galley
with two Ranks of Oars) : Thucydides, that Aminocles the
Corinthian built the first Trireme (with three Rows of Oars) :
Aristotle saith, that the Carthaginians were the first that set
to Sea the Quadrireme (with four Ranks of Oars): and

1 Tibia. Wern. Club.

BOOK VII.] History of Nature. 255

Nesichthon the Salaminian, set afloat the first Quinquireme
(with five Ranks of Oars). Zenagoras of Syracusa brought
up those of six Rows ; and from it to those of ten, Mnesigeton
was the Inventor. It is said that Alexander the Great built
Galleys with twelve Banks ; and Philostephanus reporteth,
that Ptolemy Soter rose to fifteen : Demetrius, the Son of
Antiaonus, to thirty : Ptolemy Philadelphus, to forty ; and
Ptolemy Philopater, surnamed Tryphon, to fifty. Hippus
the Tyrian invented Ships of Burden. 1 The Cyrenians first
built the Pinnace ; the Phoenicians, the Ferry-boat ; the
Rhodians, the Wherry ; and last, the Cyprians, the Hulk.
The Phoenicians were the first that in sailing observed the
Course of the Stars. The Copeans devised the Oar, and the
Plateans its broad End : Icarus, the Sails : Dcedalus, the
Mast and the Yard. Vessels for transporting Horses were
the Invention of the Samians, or else of Pericles the Athe-
nian. The Thasii formed the long-covered Ships : for before
their Time they fought only from the Stern and the Bow.
Piseus added the Rostra ; the Tyrrhenians, the Anchor ; to
which Eupalamus added the two Claws, and Anac/tarsis the
Grappling-hooks. The Stock was by Pericles the Athenian ;
and finally, the Steering-tackle by Typhis. The Chief that
first fought in a Fleet was Minos. The first that killed a
Beast was HyperHus, the Son of Mars; and Prometheus first
killed an Ox. 2

1 The names of these ships in the original are, Oneraria, Cymba,
Celox, Cercuros. Wern. Club.

8 It has been already remarked, that the Greeks regarded as the
inventor of any art him who had communicated it to them ; and Pliny
seeks no further than to their writings for authority in these particulars,
In the Book of Genesis (chap. iv. &c.) we have more authentic particulars
of the invention of musical instruments, of tents to dwell in, and of
working in metal : the latter by one whose name seems to have been the
origin of that of Vulcan ; and the following catalogue of discoveries in
the most ancient times is derived from Sanchoniatho, the Phoenician :

"From Genus, the son of Protogonus and (Eon, other mortal issue
were begotten, whose names were Light, Fire, and Flame. These found
out the way of generating fire by the rubbing of pieces of wood against
each other, and taught men the use thereof. These begat sons of vast
bulk and height, whose names were given to mountains on which they

256 History of Nature. [ BOOK VII.

Wherein first appeared the general Agreement of Nations.

THE first silent Consent of all Countries hath agreed in
this, That they should use the Ionian Letters.

first seized : so from them were named Mounts Cassius and Libanus,
Antilibanus and Brathys. Perhaps it is to these that allusion is made,
Genesis, vi. 4. The Protogonus and (Eon here spoken of, being the
first generation of mortals, were the discoverers of the way of taking
food from trees; and their children, Genus and Genea, in a time of
scarcity in Phanicia, first worshipped the sun, as Beelsamin, or only
Lord of Heaven.

" Hypsuranius, a Tyrian, first made huts of reeds and rushes, and the
paper-reeds. His brother Usoiis first invented covering for his body, out
of the skins of wild beasts which he could catch ; which may be reconciled
with the narrative in Genesis, iii. 21. He consecrated two rude stone
pillars to the fire and wind, and worshipped them with the sprinkling of
the blood of wild beasts taken in hunting. He first ventured on the sea
in a kind of raft ; and on his death were first instituted anniversary feasts.
Many years after him, Agreus and Halieus were the inventors of the arts,
and it would appear, the fathers of tribes who pursued hunting and fish-
ing. The two brothers who invented the working of iron were their
sons. One of these, named Chrysor, the same as Vulcan, employed
charms and divinations ; he invented the hook, bait, and fishing-line, and
boats slightly made : perhaps those covered with leather, mentioned by
Pliny as used in his day in Britain, and originally derived from this
Eastern source. This Coracle, employed so late as the fourth or fifth cen-
tury of Christianity in crossing the British Channel, is still used in Welsh
rivers, and is figured, in its modern structure, by Mr. Yarrell (" History
of British Fishes," vol. ii. p. 62, 2d edit.) : a copy from an ancient relievo
in Montfaucon is at the end of this volume. It was a subsequent race,
the Cabiri, that formed the first complete ship. From the last generation,
or Chrysor and his brother, sprang two brothers : one called Technites, or
the artist, and the other, Ge'inus Autochthon, the home-born man of the
earth. These first mingled stubble with the brick earth, and dried the
tiling in the sun. This accommodation was further improved by the for-
mation of courts, fences, and cellars about houses. They were husband-
men, and worshipped a statue carried about in a movable temple, drawn
by oxen. This practice is alluded to by the prophet Amos, v. 26, and
perhaps 2 Samuel, vi. 3 and 7. These were the first that employed dogs
in the hunting of wild animals. Amynus and Magus, their sons, first

BOOK VII .]. History of Nature. 257

Of the ancient Letters. 1

THAT the old Greek Letters were almost the same as the
present Latin appeareth by an antique Table of Brass, which
came from the Temple at Delphos, and which at this Day is
in the Library of the Palatium, dedicated to Minerva by the
Emperors, with an Inscription like this on it: Nau<r/x.arj
T/tfa/xit/ou ' Adqvatbg, xooa xa/ ' AQqva aveQqxsv : i.e. Nausicrates (the

Son) of Tisamenus an Athenian, caused this Table to be made
and set up to Minerva.

formed villages and flocks ; and their sons, Misor and Sydyc (Wellfreed
and Just), discovered the use of salt.

" Cronus first made a scimitar and spear : Dagon invented the use of
bread and the plough. Inachus, whom Archbishop Usher makes contem-
porary with the Scriptural Nahor, was the inventor of honorary gold and
silver chains. The purple dye from shell-fish was discovered by the Phre-
nician Hercules, the great navigator Melcartus, who first passed through
the Straits of Gibraltar, and visited Cornwall. It is true, there seems some
doubt whether there be not two individuals referred to under this name,
one of whom lived in the days of Canaan ; but if so, at least they were
natives of the same country, and were both honoured by their country-
men as inventors of the arts by which the nation acquired riches and
eminency. Cronus first taught the use of the bow as a weapon; which
took place in Crete, an island afterwards famous for this kind of skill.
4 Eupolemus says of Enoch, that he was the true Atlas, the inventor of
astronomy.' Finally, the infamy of having first practised persecution for
religion is ascribed to Cronus, who is supposed to be Ham, the son of
Noah, with the concurrence of the Egyptian Thoth ; but the Jews are
inclined to derive its origin from the city of Ur, in Chaldaea, where Terah
was put to death in the fire (Ur) : but in either case the act was devised
in support of false religion, or idolatry." Wern. Club.

1 In the beginning of the 56th chapter, Pliny has expressed his belief
that the Assyrian letters are the most ancient in the world : but whether
these were the same as in recent times have been discovered among the
antique monuments of Nineveh and Babylon ; the Chaldsean characters
afterwards introduced among the Jews by Ezra ; or the ancient Pho2ni-
cian, now termed the Samaritan; in either case it is only by passing
through great mutations that they can be traced to the Greek and Latin
forms of the days of Pliny. Sanchoniatho says that Taautus, called by


258 History of Nature. [BoOK VII.

When Barbers were first at Rome.

THE next Consent of all People was to entertain Bar-
bers; but they were later among the Romans. The first that
entered Italy came from Sicily, in the 454th Year after the
Foundation of Rome. They were brought in by P. Ticinius
Mena, as Varro reporteth: for before this they were un-
shorn. The first that took up the practice to Shave every
day was Scipio Africanus : and after him cometh Divus
Augustus, who always used the Rasor. 1

When was the fast Dial. 2

THE third Consent of all Nations was in the observation of
the Hours ; and this was grounded upon Reason : but at
what Time, and by whom this was Invented in Greece, we
have declared in the Second Book ; and it was late before
this came up at Rome. In the Twelve Tables the East and
West alone are mentioned ; after some Years the Noon was
added, and the Consul's Officer proclaimed Noon when,
standing at the Hall of the Council, he beheld the Sun in

the Greeks Hermes, found out the first letters ; but these appear, from
his subsequent remarks, to have been what we now term hieroglyphics.
It may be the phonetic characters, of which Pliny ascribes the invention
to Meno the Egyptian ; but it is probable that they are all much more
ancient. Wern. Club.

1 Slaves and servants were not permitted to be shaved. The Egyp-
tians were the only people who universally used the rasor. Wern. Club.

2 Lumisden has some observations on the Roman method of measur-
ing time. " I do not conceive," he says, " how a sun-dial or any other
instrument could point out the various hours, as time was computed by
the ancient Romans. The time the earth takes to revolve once round its
axis, or the space between the rising of the sun till its next rising, which
makes a day and a night, divided into twenty-four equal parts, we call
hours. Now, the Romans divided the day and the night into twenty-four
hours. Twelve of these, from the rising of the sun to its setting, con-

BOOK VII.] History of Nature. 259

that Quarter between the Rostra and the Grecostasis. But
when the Sun inclined downward from the Column named
Moenia, to the Prison, he proclaimed the last Quarter (of the
Day). But this observation would serve only on clear Days ;
and yet it was so until the first Punic War. Fabius Vestalis
writeth, that L. Papyrius Cursor, the Prince, twelve Years
before the War with Pyrrhus, to do the Romans a pleasure
set up a Sun-dial on the Temple of Quirinus, when it was
dedicated, his Father having vowed it before him. But
this Author sheweth not either the method of that Dial, or
the Workman ; nor yet from whence it was brought, nor in
what Writer he found it so written. M. Varro reporteth,
that the first Dial was set up in the common Market-place,
upon a Column near the Rostra, in the first Punic War, by
M. Valerius Messala, the Consul, presently after the taking
of Catana, in Sicily ; from whence it was brought, thirty
Years after the report of the aforesaid Dial of Papyrius, in
the Year of the City 477. And although the Lines of this
Dial did not agree with the Hours, yet were the People
governed by it for an hundred Years save one, until
Q. Martius Philippus, who was Censor, with L. Paulus,
set another by it, made more carefully. And this gift,
among other things done by the Censor, was highly
acceptable to the People. But notwithstanding this, if it
were a cloudy Day the Hours were uncertain ; and thus it

stituted their day ; and the other twelve, from the setting of the sun to
its rising, constituted their night. Thus, as the seasons changed, the
length of their hours must have varied. In winter the twelve hours of
the day were short, and those of the night long : in summer they were
the reverse. How then could these hours, of an unequal length, and
which daily varied, be measured by an instrument ? I have not been
able to discover any method by which this could be done. However,
they had two fixed points, namely, mid-day and midnight, which they
called the sixth hour. So that a meridian line would always point out
the sixth hour, or mid- day."

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