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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 the consuls1 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.

1 Hirtius and Pansa. Frontinus, B. iii. c. 13, says that pigeons were sent by Hirtius to Brutus. At the present day, letters are sent fastened under their wings.

2 B. iii. c. 7.

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