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There exists a kind of peculiar antipathy between the bodies of certain persons, which, though barren with respect to each other, are not so when united to others;1 such, for instance, was the case with Augustus and Livia.2 Certain individuals, again, both men and women, produce only females, others males; and, still more frequently, children of the two sexes alternately; the mother of the Gracchi, for instance, who had twelve children, and Agrippina, the mother of Germanicus, who had nine. Some women, again, are barren in their youth, while to others it is given to bring forth once only during their lives. Some women never go to their full time, or if, by dint of great care and the aid of medicine, they do give birth to a living child, it is mostly a girl. Among other instances of rare occurrence, is the case of Augustus, now deified, who, in the year in which he departed this life, witnessed the birth of M. Silanus,3 the grandson of his granddaughter: having obtained the government of Asia, after his consulship, he was poisoned by Nero, on his accession to the throne.

Q. Metellus Macedonicus,4 leaving six children, left eleven grandsons also, with daughters-in-law and sons-in-law,5 twenty-seven individuals in all, who addressed him by the name and title of father. In the records of the times of the Emperor Augustus, now deified, we find it stated that, in his twelfth consulship, Lucius Sylla being his colleague, on the third day before the ides of April,6 C. Crispinus Hilarus, a man of a respectable family of the plebeian order, living at Fæsulæ,7 came to the Capitol, to offer sacrifice, attended by eight children (of whom two were daughters), twenty-eight grandsons, nineteen great-grandsons, and eight granddaughters, who all followed him in a lengthened train.

1 This opinion is maintained by Hippocrates, and by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. vii. c. 8, and is referred to by Lucretius, B. iv. c. 1242, et seq.—B.

2 The case of Livia and that of Agrippina, referred to by Pliny, are mentioned by Suetonius, in the Life of Augustus, c. 63; and that of Caligula, c. 7.—B.

3 M. Junius Silanus, consul under Claudius, A.D. 46, with Valerius Asiaticus. He was poisoned by order of the younger Agrippina, that he might not stand in the way of Nero.

4 He is first mentioned in B.C. 168, when he was serving in the army of Æmilius Paulus, in Macedonia, and was sent to Rome with two other envoys to announce the defeat of Perseus. He united with the aristocracy in opposing the measures of the Gracchi; and the speech which he delivered against Tiberius Gracchus, is spoken of by Cicero m high terms, as replete with true eloquence.

5 He left four sons and two daughters; some writers say three. The ten individuals, over and above his children and grandchildren, may have consisted of the wives and husbands of his sons and daughters then living, as also of others who had died in his lifetime.

6 11th of April.

7 See B. iii. c. 8.

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