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We find it stated by the historians, that the son of Euthymenes of Salamis had grown to be three cubits in height, at the age of three years; that he was slow of gait and dull of comprehension; that at that age he had attained puberty even, and his voice had become strong, like that of a man. We hear, also, that he died suddenly of convulsions of the limbs, at the completion of his third year.1 myself, not very long ago, was witness to exactly similar appearances, with the exception of the state of puberty, in a son of Cornelius Tacitus, a member of the equestrian order, and procurator2 of Belgic Gaul.3 The Greeks call such children as these, εχτραπέλοι; we have no name for them in Latin.

(17.) It has been observed, that the height of a man from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is equal to the distance between the tips of the middle fingers of the two hands when extended in a straight line; the right side of the body, too, is generally stronger than the left; though in some, the strength of the two sides is equal; while in others again, the left side is the strongest. This, however, is never found to be the case in women.4

1 Seneca also mentions him in his Consolation to Marcia, c. 23.

2 The procurator of a province was an officer appointed by the Cæsar to perform the duties discharged by the quæstor in the other provinces.

3 We have an ingenious dissertation by Ajasson, the object of which is to show, that the Tacitus here referred to, is not the historian, but his father, and consequently, that the boy prematurely born must have been the historian's brother, not his son.—B.

4 It is not clear whether Pliny intended to apply all these three observations to the female, or only the last of them; it appears, however, that the remark is, in either case, without foundation.—B. He appears to intend that his observations should apply more especially to the strength of the arm.

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