previous next


The panther and the tiger are nearly the only animals that are remarkable for a skin distinguished by the variety of its spots;1 whereas others have them of a single colour, appropriate to each species. The lions of Syria alone are black. The spots of the panther are like small eyes, upon a white ground. It is said that all quadrupeds are attracted in a most wonderful manner by their odour,2 while they are terrified by the fierceness of their aspect; for which reason the creature conceals its head, and then seizes upon the animals that are attracted to it by the sweetness of the odour. It is said by some, that the panther has, on the shoulder, a spot which bears the form of the moon; and that, like it, it regularly increases to full, and then diminishes to a crescent. At present, we apply the general names of varia3 and pard, (which last belongs to the males), to all the numerous species of this animal, which is very common in Africa and Syria.4 Some writers distinguish the panther, as being remarkable for its whiteness: but as yet I have not observed any other difference between them.

1 Pliny, in B. xiii. c. 15, speaks of "tables of tiger and panther pattern," as articles of ornamental furniture among the Romans, named from the peculiar patterns of the veins in the citrus wood, of which they were formed.—B.

2 This, though mentioned by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 8, is probably incorrect; and still more the addition made by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. v. c. 40, that this odour is grateful to man. It has, however, induced some to conjecture, that the animal here described might be the civet but the description given is inapplicable to that animal; nor, indeed, does the civet appear to have been known to the ancients. For further information, see the remarks of Cuvier, Ajasson, vol. vi. p. 420, and Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 386. Pliny, in B. xxi. c. 18, says that no animal, except the panther, has any odour.—B.

3 Meaning the "spotted" or "parti-coloured" female.

4 Xenophon, in his Cynegetieon, says, that the pard is found on Mount Pangæus, in Macedonia; the truth of which is denied by Aristotle, who says that it is not to be found in Europe.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (10 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: