But Alexander the Myndian says, that the pigeon never lifts up his head when it drinks, as the turtle-dove does; and that it never utters any sound in the winter except when it is very fine weather. It is said, also, that when the species called œnas has eaten the seed of the mistletoe, and then leaves its droppings on any tree, mistletoe after that grows upon that tree. But Daimachus, in his history of India, says that pigeons of an apple-green colour are found in India. And Charon of Lampsacus, in his history of Persia, speaking of Mardonius, and of the losses which the Persian army sustained Off Mount Athos, writes as follows—“And that was the first time that white pigeons were ever seen by the Greeks; as they had never existed in that country.” And Aristotle says, that the pigeons, when their young are born, eat a lot of earth impregnated with salt, and then open the mouths of their young and spit the salt into them; and by this means prepare them to swallow and digest their food. And at Eryx in Sicily, there is a certain time which the Sicilians call The Departure, at which time they say that the Goddess is departing into Africa: and at this time all the pigeons about the place disappear, as if they had accompanied the Goddess on her journey. And after nine days, when the festival called καταγώγια, that is to say The Return, is celebrated, after one pigeon has first arrived, flying across the sea like an avant-courier, and has flown into the temple, the rest follow speedily. And on this, all the inhabitants around, who are comfortably off, feast; and the rest clap their hands for joy. And at that time the whole place smells of butter, which they use as a sort of token of the return of the Goddess. But Autocrates, in his history of Achaia, says that Jupiter once changed his form into that of a pigeon, when he was in love with a maiden in Aegium, whose name was Phthia. But the Attic writers use the word also in the masculine gender, περιστερός. Alexis, in his People Running together, says—
For I am the white pigeon (περιστερὸς) of Venus;[p. 623] But in his play of the Rhodian, or the Woman Caressing, he uses the word in the feminine gender; and says in that passage that the Sicilian pigeons are superior to all others—
But as for Bacchus, he knows nothing more
Than how to get well drunk; and nothing cares
Whether 'tis new wine that he drinks or old.
Breeding within some pigeons from Sicily,And Pherecrates, in his Painters, says—
The fairest shaped of all their species.
Send off a pigeon (περιστερὸν) as a messenger.And in his Petale he uses the diminutive form περιστέριον, where he says,—
But now, my pigeon, fly thou like Callisthenes,And Nicander, in the second book of his Georgics, mentions the Sicilian doves and pigeons, and says,—
And bear me to Cythera and to Cyprus.
And do you in your hall preserve a flock
Of fruitful doves from Sicily or Dracontium,
For it is said that neither kites nor hawks
Incline to hurt those choice and sacred birds.