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It is universally known that well-formed parents often produce defective children; and on the other hand, defective parents children who are well formed, or else imperfect in the same part of the body as the parents. It is a well-known fact also, that marks, moles, and even scars, are reproduced in members of the same family in successive generations. The mark which the Daci make on their arms for the purpose of denoting their origin, is known to last even to the fourth generation.1

(12.) We have heard it stated that three members of the family of the Lepidi have been born, though not in an uninterrupted succession, with one of the eyes covered with a membrane.2 We observe, too, that some children strongly resemble their grandfather, and that of twins one child is like the father, while the other resembles the mother; and have known cases where a child that was born a year after another, resembled him as exactly as though they had been twins. Some women have children like themselves, some like their husband, while others again bear children who resemble neither the one nor the other. In some cases the female children resemble the father, and the males the mother. The case of Nicæus, the celebrated wrestler of Byzantium, is a well-known and un- doubted instance. His mother was the produce of an act of adultery, committed with a male of Æthiopia; and although she herself differed in no way from the ordinary complexion of other females, he was born with all the swarthy complexion of his Æthiopian grandfather.3

These strong features of resemblance proceed, no doubt, from the imagination of the parents, over which we may reasonably believe that many casual circumstances have a very powerful influence; such, for instance, as the action of the eyes, the ears, or the memory, or impressions received at the moment of conception. A thought4 even, momentarily passing through the mind of either of the parents, may be supposed to produce a resemblance to one of them separately, or else to the two combined. Hence it is that the varieties are much more numerous in the appearance of man than in that of other animals; seeing that, in the former, the rapidity of the ideas, the quickness of the perception, and the varied powers of the intellect, tend to impress upon the features peculiar and diversified marks; while in the case of the other animals, the mind is immovable, and just the same in each and all individuals of the same species.5 A man named Artemon, one of the common people,6 bore so strong a resemblance to Antiochus, the king of Syria, that his queen Laodice, after her husband Antiochus was slain, acted the farce of getting this man7 to recommend her as the successor to the crown. Vibius, a member of the plebeian order,8 and Publieius as well, a freedman who had formerly been a slave, so strongly resembled Pompeius Magnus in appearance as to be scarcely distinguishable from him; they both had that ingenuous countenance9 of his, and that fine forehead,10 which so strongly bespoke his noble descent. It was a similar degree of resemblance to this, that caused the surname of his cook, Menogenes, to be given to the father of Pompeius Magnus, he having already obtained that of Strabo, on account of the cast in his eye,11 a defect which he had contracted through imitating a similar one in his slave. Scipio, too, had the name of Serapion given him, after the vile slave of a pig-jobber: and after him, another Scipio of the same family was surnamed Salvitto, after a mime12 of that name. In the same way, too, Spinther and Pamphilus, who were respectively actors of only second and third rate parts, gave their names to Lentulus and Metellus, who were at that time colleagues in the consulship; so that, by a very curious but disagreeable coincidence, the likenesses of the two consuls were to be seen at the same moment on the stage.

On the other hand again, L. Plancus, the orator, bestowed his surname on the actor Rubrius: the player, Burbuleius, again, gave his name to the elder Curio, and the player, Menogenes, to Messala, the censor.13 There was a certain fisherman, too, a native of Sicily, who bore a strong resemblance to the proconsul, Sura, not only in his features, but in the mode even of opening his mouth, and the spasmodic contraction of his tongue, and his hurried and indistinct utterance when speaking. Cassius Severus,14 the celebrated orator, had it thrown in his teeth how strongly he resembled Armentarius, the gladiator.15 Toranius, a slave-dealer, sold to Antony, while he was one of the Triumvirs, two boys of remarkable beauty, as being twins, so strong was their resemblance; whereas, in reality, one of them was born in Asia, and the other beyond the Alps. The fraud, however, having been soon afterwards discovered through the difference in the language of the youths, Antony, who was greatly exasperated, violently upbraided the dealer, and, among other things, complained that he had fixed the price at so high a sum as two hundred thousand sesterces.16 The crafty slave-merchant, however, made answer that that was the very reason for his having set so high a price upon them; for, as he said, there would have been nothing particularly striking in the resemblance of the boys, if they had been born of the same mother, whereas, children found to be so exactly like each other, though natives of different countries, ought to be deemed above all price; an answer which produced such a reasonable feeling of surprise and admiration in the mind of the proscriber,17 that he who was but just before frantic under the injury he had received, was led to set a higher value on no part whatever of all the property in his possession.

1 There has been much discussion respecting the meaning of this passage and the fact to which it refers. Aristotle, Hist. Anim., says, that marks made on the arm are transmitted for three generations; and Pliny, in B. xxii. c. 2, informs us, that the Daci and the Sarmatæ "make written marks upon their bodies." The same custom prevails among the lower orders, sailors especially, in our own times. We may also remark the analogy which it bears to the practice of tattooing, so general among the Polynesian and other barbarous nations.—B.

2 The reader may be amused by a perusal of the collection of wonderful cases of this kind, which has been made by Dalechamps; see Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 65, note 4.—B.

3 Aristotle, in his History of Animals, relates a similar, but not the same, story; he says that it occurred in Sicily, though he afterwards speaks of it as having happened in Elis. It is conjectured by Ajasson, that the individual might have been born in Sicily, and have exhibited himself in Elis, as a wrestler. If we are really to believe that his complexion was that of an Æthiopian, it is much more probable that his mother may have had connection with a negro.—B.

4 Few readers will fail here to recall to mind the story about the clock, in the opening chapter of "Tristram Shandy."

5 Dalechamps refers us to a remark of the same kind in Cicero, Tusc. Quæst. B. i. e. 80; but Ajasson remarks, that the resemblance mentioned by Cicero refers to the mind and manners, not to the body; Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 67.—B.

6 Aulus Gellius says, that he was one of the royal family.

7 This man resembled Antiochus III., surnamed the Great, to such a degree, that when that monarch had been slain in a tumult by his people, his wife, Laodice, daughter of Mithridates V., King of Pontus, put Artemon into a bed, pretending that he was the king, but dangerously ill. Many persons were admitted to see him; and all believed that they were listening to the words of their king, when he recommended to them Laodice and her children.

8 This circumstance is related by Valerius Maximus, but he speaks of Vibius as being "ingenuæ stirpis," "of good family."—B.

9 Hardouin expands the words "os probum," into "liberale, venustum, gratum, venerandum, probandum," B. xxxvii. c. 6.—B.

10 See B. xxxvii. c. 6.

11 The Latin word "strabo," means "squinting," or "having a cast" or "defect in the eye."

12 The word "mimus" was applied by the Romans to a species of dramatic performance, as well as to the persons who acted in them. The Roman mimes were imitations of trivial and sometimes indecent occurrences in life, and scarcely differed from comedy, except in consisting more of gestures and mimicry than of spoken dialogue. Sylla was very fond of these performances, and they had more charms for the Roman populace than the regular drama. As to the mime Salvitto, here mentioned, see B. xxxv. c. 2.

13 This anecdote, and the one respecting Spinther and Pamphilus, are mentioned also by Val. Maximus, B. ix. c. 24.—B.

14 A celebrated orator and satirical writer of the time of Augustus and Tiberius. He is mentioned in the Index of authors at the end of B. xxxvi., where he is called Longulanus, as being a native of Longula, a town of Latium. It was even thrown in his teeth, that he was the offspring of adultery, and that this low-born person was his father.

15 "Mirmillonis." Many of the editions make this word to be a proper name, and "Armentarius" to signify the calling of the person described, as being a herdsman. The "Mirmillones" were a peculiar class of gladiators, said to have been so called from their having the image of a fish, called "mormyr," on their helmets.

16 We assume the sestertium to be equivalent to somewhat more than eight pounds sterling; this sum will be about £1600.—B.

17 "Proscripter animus." According to Hardouin, this means "delighting in proscription," alluding to the well-known proscriptions of the triumvirate, in which Antony acted so conspicuous a part.—B.

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