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CHAP. 77. (51.)—THE HOG. 1

The period for coupling the hog lasts from the return of the west wind to the vernal equinox; the proper age commences in the eighth month, indeed, in some places, in the fourth even, and continues until the eighth year2 They bring forth twice in the year, the time of gestation being four months; the number at a birth amounts to twenty even, but they cannot rear so large a number.3 Nigidius informs us, that those which are produced within ten days of the winter solstice are born with teeth. One coupling is sufficient, but it is repeated, on account of their extreme liability to abortion; the remedy for which is not to allow coupling the first time the female is in heat, nor until its ears are flaccid and pendant. The males do not generate after they are three years old. When the females become feeble from old age, they receive the males lying down.4 It is not looked upon as anything portentous when they eat their young. The young of the hog is considered in a state of purity for sacrifice when five days old,5 the lamb on the seventh day, and the calf on the thirtieth. Coruncanius asserts, that ruminant animals are not proper for victims until they have two teeth.6 It has been supposed, that when a pig has lost one eye, it will not live long;7 otherwise, these animals generally live up to fifteen, or sometimes twenty years. They sometimes become mad; besides which, they are liable to other diseases, especially to quinsy8 and to scrofula.9 It is an indication that the hog is diseased, when blood is found at the root of a bristle pulled from its back, and when it holds its head on one side while walking. When the female becomes too fat, she has a deficiency of milk; the first litter is always the least numerous. Animals of this kind delight in rolling in the mud.10 The tail is curled, and it has also been remarked, that those are a more acceptable offering to the gods, whose tail is turned to the right than those which have it turned to the left. They may be fattened in sixty days, and more especially if they have been kept without food for three days before fattening. The swine is by far the most brutish of all the animals, and it has been said, and not unaptly, that life has been given them in place of salt.11 And yet it has been known, that these animals, when carried away by thieves, have recognized the voice of their keeper; and when a vessel has been under water through the inclination of one of its sides, they have had the sense to go over to the other side. The leader of the herd will even learn to go to market, and to different houses in the city. In the wild state also, they have the sense to pass their urine in plashy places, that they may destroy all traces of them, and so lighten themselves for flight.12 The female is spayed, just as is done with the camel; after they have fasted two days, they are suspended by the hind feet, and the orifice of the womb is cut; after this operation, they fatten more quickly.13

M. Apicius14 made the discovery, that we may employ the same artificial method of increasing the size of the liver of the sow, as of that of the goose;15 it consists in cramming them with dried figs, and when they are fat enough, they are drenched with wine mixed with honey, and immediately killed. There is no animal that affords a greater variety to the palate of the epicure; all the others have their own peculiar flavour, but the flesh of the hog has nearly fifty different flavours. Hence it is, that there are whole pages of regulations made by the cen- sors, forbidding the serving up at banquets of the belly, the kernels,16 the testicles, the womb, and the cheeks. However, notwithstanding all this, the poet Publius,17 the author of the Mimes, when he ceased to be a slave, is said to have given no entertainment without serving up the belly of a sow, to which he also gave the name of "sumen."

1 We have an account of the hog in Varro, B. ii. c. 4, from whom most of Pliny's remarks are probably derived.—B.

2 Varro, B. ii. c. 4, and Columella, B. vii. c. 9. fix upon the seventh year.—B.

3 Varro, and Columella, ubi supra, recommend that the sow should not he allowed to rear more than eight young ones at each birth.—B.

4 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. v. c. 13.—B.

5 Varro, ubi supra, says on the tenth day; Hardouin endeavours to prove that the number in Varro was originally five.—B.

6 The term "bidens," employed by Pliny, although it literally means "having two teeth," has been referred to the age of the animal, as indicated rather by the respective size of the teeth than by their number. It has been supposed to designate an animal of two years old, when the canine teeth of the lower jaw had become prominent.—B

7 This is also referred to by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. vi. c. 18, but is without foundation.—B.

8 Aristotle, ubi supra, B. viii. c. 26. It is mentioned as a frequent occurrence by Plautus, Trinum. A. ii. s. 4, 1. 139.—B.

9 Columella, B. vii. c. 10, gives directions for the treatment of hogs affected with scrofula. The name of the disease has been supposed to be derived from the frequency of its occurrence in this animal, anciently called "scrofa."

10 It may appear unnecessary to refer to authorities on this subject, which is a matter of daily observation; it has, however, been stated by some naturalists, that the hog, in its wild state, does not exhibit any of the filthy propensities so generally observed in it when domesticated.—B.

11 This saying is found in Varro, B. ii. c. 4; it is referred to by Cicero, De Nat. Deor. B. ii. c. 64, and ascribed to Chrysippus; "ne putisceret, ani- mam ipsam pro sale datam."—B. "That they are only of use for their flesh, which is kept from putridity by their life, which acts as salt."

12 Pliny speaks of this more at large in B. xxviii. c. 60.—B.

13 This operation, and the effect of it, are mentioned by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 79, and by Columella, B. vii. c. 9.—B.

14 There were three Romans of this name, celebrated for their skill in gastronomy; of these the most illustrious lived in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. A treatise (probably spurious) is extant, to which his name is attached, entitled "De Arte Culinariâ"—"On the Art of Cookery." Pliny refers to him again, B. xix. c. 41, and he is mentioned by many others of the classical writers.—B.

15 See B. x. c. 1. A much more cruel mode of increasing the liver of this animal, by confining it in hot ovens, is practised at the present day, to satisfy the palate of the admirers of the Strasburg patés de foies gras.

16 Pliny, in B. ix. c. 66, employs the expression "tonsilæ in homine, in sue glandule," as if he considered them analogous parts.—B. See Plautus passim.

17 Publius Syrus was a comic performer and a writer, who acquired considerable celebrity; he lived during the reign of Augustus.—B.

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