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Not only the differences of climate, but the multitude of instances named, and the peculiar destiny attached to each of us from the moment of his birth,1 tend to render one very uncertain in forming any general conclusion respecting the length and duration of human life. Hesiod, who was the first to make mention of this subject, while he states many circumstances about the age of man, which appear to me to be fabulous, gives to the crow nine times the ordinary duration of our life, to the stag four times the length of that of the crow, to the raven three times the length of that of the stag, besides other particulars with reference to the phœnix and the Nymphs of a still more fabulous nature. The poet Anacreon gives2 one hundred and fifty years to Arganthonius,3 the king of the Tartessii; ten more to Cinaras,4 the king of Cyprus, and two hundred to Ægimius .5 Theopompus gives one hundred and fifty-three years to Epimenides of Cnossus; according to Hellenicus, some of the nation of the Epii, in Ætolia, have completed their two hundredth year; and his account is confirmed by Damastes, who relates that Pictoreus, one of this nation, who was remarkable for his size and strength, lived even to his three hundredth year. Ephorus says that some kings of Arcadia have lived three hundred years; Alexander Cornelius, that there was one Dandon, in Illyricum, who lived five hundred years. Xenophon, in his Periplus, gives to a king of the island of the Lutmii six hundred years, and, as though in that instance he had lied too sparingly, to his son eight hundred.6 All these statements, however, have originated in a want of acquaintance with the accurate measurement of time. For some nations reckon the summer as one year, and the winter as another; others again, consider each of the four seasons a year; the Arcadians, for instance, whose years were of three months each. Others, such as the Egyptians, calculate by the moon, and hence it is that some individuals among them are said to have lived as many as one thousand years.

Let us proceed, however, to what is admitted to be true. It is pretty nearly certain, that Arganthonius of Gades7 reigned eighty years, and he is supposed to have commenced his reign when he was forty. Masinissa, beyond a doubt, reigned sixty years,8 and Gorgias, the Sicilian, lived one hundred and unwittingly the father of Adonis, by his own daughter Myrrha (or Smyrna), in consequence of the anger of Venus or Aphrodite. He was said to have founded the city of Cinyra in Cyprus. eight.9 Quintus Fabius Maximus was an augur for sixty- three years.10 M. Perperna, and more recently, L. Volusius Saturninus, survived all those whose suffrages each had solicited on the occasion of his consulship;11 Perperna lived ninety-eight years, and left after him only seven of those whose names, when censor, he had enrolled. Connected with this fact, it also suggests itself, and deserves to be remarked, that it has happened only once, that five successive years have ever passed without the death of a senator taking place; this was the case from the occasion on which the censors Flaccus and Albinus performed the lustration, in the year of the City 579, until the time of the succeeding censors.12. M. Valerius Corvinus completed one hundred years, forty-six of which intervened between his first and sixth consulship.13 He occupied the curule chair twenty-one times,14 a thing that was never the case with any one besides. The pontiff Metellus also attained the same age.15

Among women also, Livia, the wife of Rutilius, exceeded her ninety-sixth year; during the reign of Claudius, Statilia, a member of a noble family, died at the age of ninety-nine; Terentia, the wife of Cicero, lived one hundred and three years, and Clodia, the wife of Ofilius, one hundred and fifteen; she had fifteen children.16

Lucceia, an actress in the mimes, performed on the stage when one hundred years old, and Galeria Copiola returned to the stage, to perform in the interludes,17 at the votive games which were celebrated for the health of the deified Augustus, in the consulship of C. Poppæus and Q. Sulpicius.18 She had made her first appearance when eight years of age, just ninety-one years before that time, when M. Pomponius was ædile of the people, in the consulship of C. Marius and Cn. Carbo.19 When Pompeius Magnus dedicated his great theatre, he brought her upon the stage, as being quite a wonder, considering her old age. Asconius Pedianus informs us, that Sammula also lived one hundred and ten years. I consider it less wonderful that Stephanio, who was the first to dance on the stage in comedy descriptive of Roman manners, should have20 danced at the two secular games, those celebrated by the deified Augustus, and by Claudius Cæsar, in his fourth consulship, considering that the interval that elapsed between them was no more than sixty-three years;21 indeed, he lived a considerable time after the last period. We are informed by Mutianus, that, on the peak of Mount Tmolus, which is called Tempsis, the people live one hundred and fifty years, and that T. Fullonius, of Bononia, was set down as of the same age, in the registration which took place under the censorship of Claudius Cæsar; and this appeared to be confirmed by comparing the present with former registrations, as well as many other proofs that he had been alive at certain periods—for that prince greatly interested himself in ascertaining the exact truth of the matter.

1 Pliny here alludes to the doctrine of astrology, which forms the especial subject of the next Chapter.—B.

2 These statements are not found in any of the works of Hesiod now extant; it is scarcely necessary to observe, that they are entirely without foundation, and contrary to all observation and experience.—B.

3 The great age of Arganthonius is referred to by Lucian, in his treatise "De Macrobiis," "on Long-lived Men;" by Herodotus, B. i. c. 163; by Cicero, de Senect. sec. 19; and by Valerius Maximus, B. viii. c. 13; the three latter writers agree in making his age 120 years, and hence Pliny assigns to him the same age in the next page.—B. St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, B. xv., quotes this passage of Pliny, and mentions the age of Arganthonius, as stated by him, to have been 152 years. For Tartessus, in Spain, see B. iii. c. 3, and B. iv. c. 36.

4 His story is told by Ovid, Met. B. x., where he is said to have become

5 Callimachus mentions a person of this name, who wrote a treatise on the art of making cheesecakes. There was also a physician so called, who flourished in the fifth century B.C. , and who is said by Galen to have been the first who wrote a treatise on the probe. Whether either of these individuals is the person here alluded to, is unknown.

6 We have the same statement as to the age of Epimenides, in Valerius Maximus, B. viii. s. 13; he also, in the same section, gives an account of the Epii, of Pictoreus, of Dandon, and of the king of the island of the Tyrians, all of which agree with the present statement, except that the person mentioned by Damastes is called Literius, and the last-named individual is styled the king of the island of the Lutmii.—B.

7 The king of the Tartessi, mentioned above.—B.

8 Pliny has already spoken of the vigorous old age of Masinissa, in the 12th Chapter of the present Book.—B.

9 We have an account of Gorgias in Cicero, de Seneet. sec. 9; in Valerius Maximus, B. viii. c. 13, and in Lucian.—B.

10 Valerius Maximus, ubi supra, reduces this to sixty-two years.—B.

11 We have the same statement respecting Peperna in Valerius Maximus, but he does not mention his age.—B.

12 The names of the succeeding censors were C. Claudius Pulcher, and T. Sempronius Gracchus.

13 V. Maximus gives the same account of the age of Corvinus, but he states the interval between his consulships to have been forty-seven years. According to the Fasti, in Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities, the interval was forty-eight years, from A.U.C. 406 to A.U.C. 455.—B.

14 The honour of the curule-chair—"sella curulis." It was attached to the offices of consul, prætor, and ædile; Corvinus had, therefore, been elected to one or other of these offices twenty-one times.—B.

15 Valerius Maximus gives the same account of Metellus. He also informs us that Metellus, although of an advanced age when created pontiff, held the office for twenty-two years; so also Cicero, de Senect. sec. 9.—B.

16 We have the same account of these females in Valerius Maximus. He adds, that Clodia survived all her children; Seneca, Epist. 77, also refers to the great age of Statilia.—B.

17 "Emboliaria," an actress in the "embolium," or interlude of the Roman stage; also called "acroama," by Cicero. It appears to have been a concert of musical instruments, perhaps accompanied by dancing.

18 Their consulship was A.U.C. 761.—B.

19 Their consulship was A.U.C. 671, which would leave an interval of ninety years between her first appearance and her appearance at the votive games.—B.

20 "Togatus saltare instituit." He acted in the "togatæ fabulæ," comedies representing Roman life, or the life of those who wore the toga, the civic costume of the Romans. The Greek comedies were called "palliatæ."

21 The secular games of Augustus are stated by Suetonius, in his Life of Augustus, c. 31, and by Dion Cassius, to have taken place A.U.C. 739.—B.

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