When Masurius had said this, and when all had admired his wisdom, after silence was restored Ulpian said,— You seem to me, O guests, to be overwhelmed with impetuous speeches which come upon you unexpectedly, and to be thoroughly soaked in unmixed wine;—
For a man drinking wine, as a horse does water,as says Parmeno the Byzantian. Have you been all turned into stone by the before-mentioned Gorgons? Concerning whom, that there really have been some animals who were the causes of men being turned into stone, Alexander the Myndian speaks at length, in the second book of his History of Beasts, saying—“The Nomades in Libya (where it is born) call the animal named the Gorgon, 'The Looking-down:' and it is as most people say, conjecturing from its skin, something like a wild sheep; but as some say, it is like a calf. And they say that it has such a breath that it destroys every one who meets it; and that it has a mane let down from its forehead over its eyes, and when it has shaken it aside, which it does with difficulty by reason of it weight, and then looks out through it, it slays the man who is beheld by it, not by its breath, but by some natural violence which proceeds from its eyes. And it was discovered in this way: Some of the soldiers of Marius, in his expedition against Jugurtha, having beheld the Gorgon, thought because it held its head down, and moved slowly, that it was a wild sheep, and in consequence they rushed upon it, intending to kill it with the swords which they had about them; but it, being disturbed, shaking aside the mane which hung down over its eyes, immediately caused the death of those who were rushing upon it. And when others again and again did the same thing, and lost their lives by so doing, and when all ho proceeded against it were invariably killed, some of the soldiers inquired the nature of the animal from the natives; and by the command of Marius some Nomad horsemen laid an [p. 352] ambush against it from a distance, and shot it with darts, and returned to the camp, bringing the dead monster to the general.” And that this account is the true one, the skin and the expedition of Marius both prove. But the statement made by the historian is not credible, namely, that there are in Libya some oxen which are called Opisthonomi,1 because they do not advance while feeding, but feed constantly returning backwards, for their horns are a hindrance to their feeding in the natural manner, inasmuch as they are not bent upwards, as is the case with all other animals, but they bend downwards and overshadow the eyes; for this is incredible, since no other historian testifies to such a circumstance.
Speaks like a Scythian, not knowing even koppa,
But voiceless, lies immersed in a cask,
And sleeps as if he'd drunk medicinal poppy;