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1 Columella, B. viii. c. 8, speaks of the fecundity of the Egyptians, but without ascribing any particular cause for it.—B.
2 "Quinos." The old reading was "binos," "two" children only but Aristotle, in reference, no doubt, to the same circumstance, says, Hist. Anim. B, vii., "One woman, at four births, gave birth to twenty children. For she brought forth five at a time, and the greater part of them were reared."
3 It was a very general opinion, that the waters of the Nile possess the property of promoting fecundity. Seneca mentions it as an acknowledged fact, Nat. Quæst. B. iii. c. 25.—B.
4 There are well-authenticated accounts of four children having been produced at one birth; but, beyond this, we have no statements in which we can place much confidence. In a note by Dalechamps, we have an example of the credulity of the authors who have treated on this topic, as well modern as ancient.—B. In the recent volumes, however, of "Notes and Queries," we find some apparently well-authenticated cases of women being delivered of five children at a birth. Nathaniel Wanley, in his "Wonders of the Little World," also gives some apparently authentic instances of as many as five children being born at a birth: but we must be excused giving credit to the story, quoted by him, of Matilda or Margaret, Countess of Henneberg, who was said to have been delivered, on the Friday before Palm-Sunday, in 1276, "of 365 children, half sons and half daughters, with the exception of one, which was an hermaphrodite, all complete and well-fashioned, of the bigness of chickens new hatched, saith Camerarius."
5 From Hermaphroditus, the son of Hermes or Mercury, and Aphrodite or Venus. According to the poetic story as told by Ovid, Met. B. iv., he was united in one body, which bore the characteristics of both sexes, with the nymph Salmacis.
6 Two cases of this description are mentioned by Livy, B. xxvii. c. 37, and B. xxxi. c. 12. In this latter passage, Livy enumerates the following prodigious births; among the Sabines, two children of doubtful sex; at Frusino, a lamb with a sow's head; at Sinuessa, a pig with a human head; and among the Lucani, a foal with five feet. He informs us that the hermaphrodites were thrown into the sea.—B.
7 Cuvier says, "From time to time we do see persons of this nature; and it is not long ago that such a being was exhibited in Paris, though certainly not of a nature to have been ' in deliciis,' at the present day."
8 Pliny gives further particulars of this theatre in B. xxxvi. c. 24. It was the first stone theatre erected at Rome, and was built B.C. 55, and contained 40,000 spectators.
9 Solinus, the ape of Pliny, absolutely takes the meaning of this passage to be, that Eutychis herself was exhibited on the stage by the orders of Pompey.
10 For Tralles, in Asia Minor, see B. v. c. 29.
11 Cuvier speaks of the wife of a porter at the Jardin du Roi, at Paris, who, to his knowledge, had been the mother of thirty children.
12 It seems doubtful whether Pliny means that the statue of Alcippe was also to be seen in the Theatre of Pompey. Tatianus tells the same story of one Glaucippe, and it is not improbable that under that name he refers to the same person. He says that a bronze statue of her was made by Niceretus, the Athenian. Hardouin suggests that this is the story alluded to by Livy, B. xxvii., and by Valerius Maximus, B. i. e. 6, in their statement that, among other portents, a boy was born with the head of an ele- phant.
13 Cuvier remarks, that it is not an uncommon circumstance, both in man and in other animals, for an atrophy of the maxillary bones to cause the nose to sink down, and produce some resemblance to the trunk of an elephant. To this circumstance, he refers the tales met with, of women, sows, and dogs having produced elephants; see also Val. Maximus, B. vi. c. 5.—B.
14 As to this war, see B. ii. c. 85. The portents observed on this occasion were collected by the historian Sisenna, as we learn from Cicero, De Divin. B. ii.
15 We find that this incredible tale is not only told by Julius Obsequens, but, according to Dalechamps, by Cornelius Gemma, a comparatively modern writer.—B.
16 Cuvier remarks, that, in certain quadrupeds, individuals are occasionally born with the upper jaw preternaturally small, so much so, that the lower jaw, by its projection, bears some resemblance to a human chin. He had seen a case of this description at Geneva, in a calf, supposed, even by persons of information, to be the produce of an unnatural connection of a cow with a Savoyard shepherd. This subject is treated very philosophically by Lucretius, B. v. c. 876, et seq. With respect to the supposed Hippocentaur of Thessaly, Cuvier remarks upon the successive additions which the story had gained, in the writings of various authors. Cicero, in various parts of his writings, refers to the account of the Hippocentaur as a fabulous tale; Tusc. Quæst. B. i. e. 27; de Nat. Deor. B. ii. c. 38, and B. ii. c. 2; De Divin. B. ii. c. 21.—B.
17 Consuls A.U.C. 581.
18 See B. iii. c. 9. Hardouin remarks that Aulus Gellius, in copying from this passage, seems to have read the word "Casini," as though it were C. Asinü, meaning that the boy belonged to one C. Asinius. However, it is pretty clear that the reading adopted is the right one, Pliny having been careful to give the various localities at which these wonderful facts occurred.
19 Phlegon tells us that this happened in the first year of Nero, and that the name of the youth, while supposed to be a girl, was Philotis.
20 See B. v. c. 4, 5.
21 A case of this description is mentioned by Ambrose Paré. The individual was brought up as a girl, but, in consequence of a sudden muscular exertion, the organs of the male were developed, which had previously been concealed internally. It may be remarked, that a great proportion of the well-authenticated cases of a supposed change of sex have been from the female to the male, evidently of the kind mentioned by Paré, where the male organs have been concealed in childhood, and become subsequently developed. Cases, however, have occasionally occurred of the contrary kind, arising probably from the unusual size of the clitoris; there are also certain cases, where, from the malformation of the parts, the sex is actually doubtful, or where even a certain degree of the two may exist, as has been stated above, in Note 51 to Chapter 2. This paragraph of Pliny is quoted by Aulus Gellius, B. ix. c. 4.—B.
22 This does not correspond with the fact, as it exists in our time; a circumstance which may probably depend upon our improvement in the obstetrical art. Nor is the opinion, that both twins are less likely to live, if of different sexes, sanctioned by modern experience.—B.
23 "Feminas gigni celerius quam mares;" there has been much discussion among the commentators, both with respect to the meaning of these words, and the fact to which they are supposed to refer. Hardouin interprets the phrase, "crescere, perfici, vigere, adolescere;" Cuvier translates it, "les filles sont portées moins long-temps par leur mere." There is, however, no foundation for this opinion as to a difference in the period of the gestation.—B.
24 There may be some ground for this opinion; it is maintained by Aristotle in his Hist. Anim.—B. As also by Gale.
25 This statement is made upon the authority of Hippocrates, Aphor. B. v. c. 48, and Aristotle, Hist. Anim.; but is probably without foundation.—B.
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