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On the tenth day after conception, pains are felt in the head, vertigo, and dimness of the sight; these signs, together with loathing of food and rising of the stomach, indicate the formation of the future human being. If it is a male that is conceived, the colour of the pregnant woman is more healthy,2 and the birth less painful: the child moves in the womb upon the fortieth day. In the conception of a child of the other sex, all the symptoms are totally different: the mother experiences an almost insupportable weight, there is a slight swelling of the legs and the groin, and the first movement of the child is not felt until the ninetieth day. But, whatever the sex of the child, the mother is sensible of the greatest languor at the time when the hair of the fœtus first begins to grow, and at the full moon; at which latter time it is that children newly born are exposed to the greatest danger. In addition to this, the mode of walking, and indeed everything that can be mentioned, is of consequence in the case of a woman who is pregnant. Thus, for instance, women who have used too much salted meat will bring forth children without nails: parturition, too, is more difficult, if they do not hold their breath. It is fatal, too, to yawn during labour;3 and abortion ensues, if the female should happen to sneeze just after the sexual congress. (7.) It is a subject for pity, and even for a feeling of shame, when one reflects that the origin of the most vain of all animated beings is thus frail: so much so, indeed, that very often the smell even of a lamp just extinguished is a cause of abortion.4 From such beginnings as these springs the tyrant, from such the murderous dispositions of men. Thou man, who placest thy confidence in the strength of thy body, thou, who dost embrace the gifts of Fortune, and look upon thyself, not only as her fosterling, but even as her own born child, thou, whose mind is ever thirsting for blood,5 thou who, puffed up with some success or other, dost think thyself a god—by how trifling a thing might thy life have been cut short! Even this very day, something still less even may have the same effect, the puncture, for instance, of the tiny sting of the serpent; or even, as befell the poet Anacreon,6 the swallowing of the stone of a raisin, or of a single hair in a draught of milk, by which the prætor and senator, Fabius, was choked, and so met his death. He only, in fact, will be able to form a just estimate of the value of life, who will always bear in mind the extreme frailty of its tenure.

1 Most of the statements made in this Chapter appear to be taken from Aristotle's History of Animals; they are, however, either without foundation or much exaggerated, and very incorrect.—B.

2 This opinion, although without foundation, is supported by the authority of Hippocrates, Aphor. B. v. c. 42.—B.

3 This singular opinion is referred to by Aulus Gellius, B. iii. c. 16.—B.

4 Ælian, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 54, mentions the smell of an extin- guished lamp, as producing abortion in a mare.—B.

5 "Tinctoria mens;" there has been much discussion, whether the text does not require correction here; and various conjectural emendations have been proposed, but not with much success. If the word "tinctoria" was employed by Pliny, it may be regarded as one of those bold, and somewhat metaphorical expressions, which are not unfrequently found in his writings.—B.

6 Valerius Maximus makes the same statement as to the death of Anacreon, and says that "having lived to an extreme old age, he was supporting his decayed strength by chewing raisins, when one grain, more obstinate than the rest, stuck in his parched throat, and so ended his life." This story has been looked upon by some of the modern scholars as a fiction of the poets.

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