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It is a well-known fact, that, at the age of three years, the body of each person is half the height that it will ever attain. Taking it all in all, it is observed that in the human race, the stature is almost daily becoming less and less, and that sons are rarely taller than their parents, the fertility of the seed being dried up by the heat of that conflagration to which the world is fast approaching.1 A mountain of the island of Crete having been burst asunder by the action of an earthquake, a body was found there standing upright, forty-six cubits in height;2 by some persons it is supposed to have been that of Orion;3 while others again are of opinion that it was that of Otus.4 It is generally believed, from what is stated in ancient records, that the body of Orestes, which was disinterred by command of an oracle, was seven cubits in height.5 It is now nearly one thousand years ago, that that divine poet Homer was unceasingly complaining, that men were of less stature in his day than they had formerly been.6 Our Annals do not inform us what was the height of Nævius Pollio;7 but we learn from them that he nearly lost his life from the rush of the people to see him, and that he was looked upon as a prodigy. The tallest man that has been seen in our times, was one Gabbaras8 by name, who was brought from Arabia by the Emperor Claudius; his height was nine feet and as many inches.9 In the reign of Augustus, there were two persons, Posio and Secundilla by name, who were half a foot taller than him; their bodies have been preserved as objects of curiosity in the museum of the Sallustian family.10

In the reign of the same emperor, there was a man also, remarkable for his extremely diminutive stature, being only two feet and a palm in height; his name was Conopas, and he was a great pet with Julia, the grand-daughter of Augustus. There was a female also, of the same size, Andromeda by name, a freed-woman of Julia Augusta. We learn from Varro, that Manius Maximus and M. Tullius, members of our equestrian order, were only two cubits in height; and I have myself seen them, preserved in their coffins.11 It is far from an unknown fact, that children are occasionally born a foot and a half in height, and sometimes a little more; such children, however, have finished their span of existence by the time they are three years old.12

1 It was one of the tenets of the Stoics, that the world was to be alternately destroyed by water and by fire. The former element having laid it waste on the occasion of the flood of Deucalion, the next great catastrophe, according to them, is to be produced by fire. Pliny has previously alluded to this opinion, B. ii. c. 110.—B.

2 Cuvier remarks, that in the alluvial tracts throughout Europe, Siberia, and America, and probably also in other parts of the world, bones have been found, which have belonged to very large animals, such as elephants, mastodons, and whales; and when discovered, the common people, and sometimes even anatomists, have mistaken them for the bones of giants. He especially mentions the case of the bones of an elephant, found near Lucerne, in the sixteenth century, and supposed by Plater to have belonged to a man seventeen feet in height. Cuvier conceives that no man in modern times has exceeded the height of seven feet, and even these cases are extremely rare; for further information he refers to his Recherches sur les Ossemzens Fossiles. Some of the best authenticated facts of unusually tall men are in Buffon, Nat. Hist. vol. ii. p. 276, and vol. iii. p. 427.—B. The skeleton of O'Brien, in the Museum of the College of Surgeons, in London, is about seven feet and a half in height.

3 The story of the birth of Orion is beautifully told by Ovid, Fasti, B. v. 1. 493. et seq. He was often represented by the poets as of gigantic stature, and after his death was fabled to have been placed among the stars, where he appears as a giant. It is not improbable that, like the Cyclopes, Hercules, and Atlas, he may have been one of the earliest benefactors of mankind, and an assiduous improver of their condition; whence the story of his gigantic size.

4 A gigantic son of Poseidon or Neptune, and Iphimedeia, one of the Alöeidæ.

5 We have an account of this supposed discovery of the body of Orestes in Herodotus, B. i. c. 68, and a reference to it, with some pertinent remarks, in Aulus Gellius, B. iii. c. 10.—B.

6 Il. B. v. 1. 303, 4, B. xii. 1. 449: this opinion of Homer was adopted by many of the Latin poets; for example, by Virgil, B. xii. 1. 900; by Ju- venal, Sat. xv. 1. 69, 70; and by Horace, Od. B. iii. O. 6, sub finem.

7 Columella speaks of Cicero as mentioning this Pollio, and stating that he was a foot taller than any one else. It is most probably in Cicero's lost book, "De Admirandis," that this mention was made of him.

8 Hardouin supposes that this was not an individual name, but a term derived from the Hebrew, descriptive of his remarkable size.—B. He supposes also that not improbably this was the same individual that is mentioned by Tacitus, Annals, B. xii. c. 12, as Acharus, a king of the Arabians.

9 According to our estimate of the Roman measures, this would correspond to about nine feet four and a half inches of our standard.—B.

10 "Conditorio Sallustianorum." The more general meaning attributed to the word "conditorium," is "tomb" or burial-place. We learn from other sources that the famous "gardens of Sallust" belonged to the emperor Augustus, and it is not improbable that there was a museum there of curiosities, in which these remarkable skeletons were kept.

11 "Loculis." It is not quite clear whether this word has the meaning here of chest or coffin, or of a niche or cavity made in the wall of the tomb.

12 Among the objects of curiosity which were exhibited by Augustus to the Roman people, as related by Suctonius, c. 43, was a dwarf named Lucius, who is there described; but he would appear to be a different person from any of those here mentioned.—B.

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