CHAP. 53.—WONDERFUL THINGS DONE BY THEM; PRICES AT
WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN SOLD.
In addition to this, pigeons have acted as messengers in
affairs of importance. During the siege of Mutina, Decimus
Brutus, who was in the town, sent despatches to the camp of
fastened to pigeons' feet. Of what use to Antony
then were his intrenchments, and all the vigilance of the be-
sieging army? his nets, too, which he had spread in the river,
while the messenger of the besieged was cleaving the air?
Many persons have quite a mania for pigeons—Building towns
for them on the top of their roofs, and taking a pleasure in
relating the pedigree and noble origin of each. Of this there
is an ancient instance that is very remarkable; L. Axius, a
Roman of the equestrian order, shortly before the Civil War of
Pompeius, sold a single pair for four hundred denarii, as we learn
from the writings of M. Varro.2
Countries even have gained
renown for their pigeons; it is thought that those of Campania
attain the largest size.