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WE have now given an account of the animals which we call terrestrial, and which live as it were in a sort of society with man. Among the remaining ones, it is well known that the birds are the smallest; we shall therefore first describe those which inhabit the seas, rivers, and standing waters.

(2.) Among these there are many to be found that exceed in size any of the terrestrial animals even; the evident cause of which is the superabundance of moisture with which they are supplied. Very different is the lot of the winged animals, whose life is passed soaring aloft in the air. But in the seas, spread out as they are far and wide, forming an element at once so delicate and so vivifying, and receiving the generating principles1 from the regions of the air, as they are ever produced by Nature, many animals are to be found, and indeed, most of those that are of monstrous form; from the fact, no doubt, that these seeds and first principles of being are so utterly conglomerated and so involved, the one with the other, from being whirled to and fro, now by the action of the winds and now by the waves. Hence it is that the vulgar notion may very possibly be true, that whatever is produced in any other department of Nature, is to be found in the sea as well; while, at the same time, many other productions are there to be found which nowhere else exist. That there are to be found in the sea the forms, not only of terrestrial animals, but of inanimate objects even, is easily to be understood by all who will take the trouble to examine the grape-fish,2 the sword-fish,3 the sawfish,4 and the cucumber-fish,5 which last so strongly resembles the real cucumber both in colour and in smell. We shall find the less reason then to be surprised to find that in so small an object as a shell-fish6 the head of the horse is to be seen protruding from the shell.


But the most numerous and largest of all these animals are those found in the Indian seas; among which there are balænæ,7 four jugera8 in extent, and the pristis,9 two hundred cubits long: here also are found cray-fish10 four cubits in length, and in the river Ganges there are to be seen eels three hundred11 feet long. But at sea it is more especially about the time of the solstices that these monsters are to be seen. For then it is that in these regions the whirlwind comes sweeping on, the rains descend, the hurricane comes rushing down, hurled from the mountain heights, while the sea is stirred up from the very bottom, and the monsters are driven from their depths and rolled upwards on the crest of the billow. At other times again, there are such vast multitudes of tunnies met with, that the fleet of Alexander the Great was able to make head against them only by facing them in order of battle, just as it would have done an enemy's fleet. Had the ships not done this, but proceeded in a straggling manner, they could not possibly have made their escape. No noises, no sounds, no blows had any effect on these fish; by nothing short of the clash of battle were they to be terrified, and by nothing less than their utter destruction were they overpowered.

There is a large peninsula in the Red Sea, known by the name of Cadara:12 as it projects into the deep it forms a vast gulf, which it took the fleet of King Ptolemy13 twelve whole days and nights to traverse by dint of rowing, for not a breath of wind was to be perceived. In the recesses of this becalmed spot more particularly, the sea-monsters attain so vast a size that they are quite unable to move. The commanders of the fleets of Alexander the Great have related that the Gedrosi,14 who dwell upon the banks of the river Ara- bis,15 are in the habit of making the doors of their houses with the jaw-bones16 of fishes, and raftering the roofs with their bones, many of which were found as much as forty cubits in length. At this place, too, the sea-monsters, just like so many cattle,17 were in the habit of coming on shore, and, after feeding on the roots of shrubs, they would return; some of them, which had the heads of horses,18 asses, and bulls, found a pasture in the crops of grain.


The largest animals found in the Indian Sea are the pistrix and the balæna; while of the Gallic Ocean the physeter19 is the most bulky inhabitant, raising itself aloft like some vast column, and as it towers above the sails of ships, belching forth, as it were, a deluge of water. In the ocean of Gades there is a tree,20 with outspread branches so vast, that it is supposed that it is for that reason it has never yet entered the Straits. There are fish also found there which are called sea-wheels,21 in consequence of their singular conformation; they are divided by four spokes, the nave being guarded on every side by a couple of eyes.


A deputation of persons from Olisipo,22 that had been sent for the purpose, brought word to the Emperor Tiberius that a triton had been both seen and heard in a certain cavern, blowing a conch-shell,23 and of the form under which they are usually represented. Nor yet is the figure generally attributed to the nereids24 at all a fiction; only in them, the portion of the body that resembles the human figure is still rough all over with scales. For one of these creatures was seen upon the same shores, and as it died, its plaintive murmurs were heard even by the inhabitants at a distance. The legatus of Gaul,25 too, wrote word to the late Emperor Augustus that a considerable number of nereids had been found dead upon the sea-shore. I have, too, some distinguished informants of equestrian rank, who state that they themselves once saw in the ocean of Gades a sea-man,26 which bore in every part of his body a perfect resemblance to a human being, and that during the night he would climb up into ships; upon which the side of the vessel where he seated himself would instantly sink downward, and if he remained there any considerable time, even go under water.

In the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, a subsidence of the ocean left exposed on the shores of an island which faces the province of Lugdunum27 as many as three hundred animals or more, all at once, quite marvellous for their varied shapes and enormous size, and no less a number upon the shores of the Santones;28 among the rest there were elephants29 and rams, which last, however, had only a white spot to represent horns. Turranius has also left accounts of several nereids, and he speaks of a monster30 that was thrown up on the shore at Gades, the distance between the two fins at the end of the tail of which was sixteen cubits, and its teeth one hundred and twenty in number; the largest being nine, and the smallest six inches in length.

M. Scaurus, in his ædileship, exhibited at Rome, among other wonderful things, the bones of the monster to which Andromeda was said to have been exposed, and which he had brought from Joppa, a city of Judæa. These bones exceeded forty feet in length, and the ribs were higher than those of the Indian elephant, while the back-bone was a foot and a half31 in thickness.


The balæna32 penetrates to our seas even. It is said that they are not to be seen in the ocean of Gades before the winter solstice, and that at periodical seasons they retire and conceal themselves in some calm capacious bay, in which they take a delight in bringing forth. This fact, however, is known to the orca,33 an animal which is peculiarly hostile to the balæna, and the form of which cannot be in any way adequately described, but as an enormous mass of flesh armed with teeth. This animal attacks the balænain its places of retirement, and with its teeth tears its young, or else attacks the females which have just brought forth, and, indeed, while they are still pregnant: and as they rush upon them, it pierces them just as though they had been attacked by the beak of a Liburnian34 galley. The female balænæ, devoid of all flexibility, without energy to defend themselves, and over-burdened by their own weight, weakened, too, by gestation, or else the pains of recent parturition, are well aware that their only resource is to take to flight in the open sea and to range over the whole face of the ocean; while the orcæ, on the other hand, do all in their power to meet them in their flight, throw themselves in their way, and kill them either cooped up in a narrow passage, or else drive them on a shoal, or dash them to pieces against the rocks. When these battles are witnessed, it appears just as though the sea were infuriate against itself; not a breath of wind is there to be felt in the bay, and yet the waves by their pantings and their repeated blows are heaved aloft in a way which no whirlwind could effect.

An orca has been seen even in the port of Ostia, where it was attacked by the Emperor Claudius. It was while he was constructing the harbour35 there that this orca came, attracted by some hides which, having been brought from Gaul, had happened to fall overboard36 there. By feeding upon these for several days it had quite glutted itself, having made for itself a, channel in the shoaly water. Here, however, the sand was thrown up by the action of the wind to such an extent, that the creature found it quite impossible to turn round; and while in the act of pursuing its prey, it was propelled by the waves towards the shore, so that its back came to be perceived above the level of the water, very much resembling in appearance the keel of a vessel turned bottom upwards. Upon this, Cæsar ordered a great number of nets to be extended at the mouth of the harbour, from shore to shore, while he himself went there with the prætorian cohorts, and so afforded a spectacle to the Roman people; for boats assailed the monster, while the soldiers on board showered lances upon it. I myself saw one of the boats37 sunk by the water which the animal, as it respired, showered down upon it.


Balænæ have the mouth38 in the forehead; and hence it is that, as they swim on the surface of the water, they discharge vast showers of water in the air. (7.) It is universally agreed, however, that they respire, as do a very few other animals39 in the sea, which have lungs among the internal viscera; for without lungs it is generally supposed that no animal can breathe. Those, too, who are of this opinion are of opinion also that no fishes that have gills are so constituted as to inhale and exhale alternately, nor, in fact, many other kinds of animals even, which are entirely destitute of gills. This, I find, was the opinion of Aristotle,40 who, by his learned researches41 on the subject, has induced many others to be of the same way of thinking. I shall not, however, conceal the fact, that I for one do not by any means at once subscribe to this opinion, for it is very possible, if such be the will of Nature, that there may be other organs42 fitted for the purposes of respiration, and acting in the place of lungs; just as in many animals a different liquid altogether takes the place of blood.43 And who, in fact, can find any ground for surprise that the breath of life can penetrate the waters of the deep, when he sees that it is even exhaled44 from them? and when we find, too, that it can even enter the very depths of the earth, an element of so much greater density, a thing that is proved by the case of animals which always live under ground, the mole for instance? There are other weighty reasons as well, which induce me to be of opinion that all aquatic animals respire, conformably to their natural organization; for, in the first place, there has been often remarked in fishes a certain degree of anhelation during the heat of summer, and at other times again, a kind of leisurely gaping,45 as it were. And then, besides, we have the admission of those who are of the contrary opinion, that fishes do sleep; but what possibility is there of sleeping46 without respiring as well? And again, we see their breath disengaged in bubbles which rise to the water's surface, and the influence too of the moon makes even the very shells47 grow in bulk.

But the most convincing reason of all is, the undoubted fact that fishes have the power of hearing48 and of smelling, two senses for the operation of both of which the air is a necessary vehicle; for by smell we understand nothing else than the air being charged with certain particles.49 However, let every person form his own opinion on these subjects, just in such way as he may think best.

Neither the balæna nor the dolphin has any gills.50 Both of these animals respire51 through vent-holes, which communicate with the lungs; in the balæna they are on the fore- head,52 and in the dolphin on the back. Sea-calves, too, which we call "phocæ,"53 breathe and sleep upon dry land—sea- tortoises also,54 of which we shall have more to say hereafter.


The swiftest55 not only of the sea animals, but of all animals whatever, is the dolphin.56 He is more rapid in his move- ments than a bird, more instantaneous than the flight of an arrow, and were it not for the fact that his mouth is situate much below his muzzle,57 almost, indeed, in the middle of the belly, not a fish would be able to escape his pursuit. But Nature,58 in her prudence, has thrown certain impediments in his way; for unless he turns, and throws himself on his back, he can seize nothing, and it is this circumstance more especially that gives proof of his extraordinary swiftness. For, if pressed by hunger,59 he will follow a fish, as it flies down, to the very bottom of the water, and then after holding his breath thus long, will dart again to the surface to respire, with the speed of an arrow discharged from a bow; and often, on such occasions, he is known to leap out of the water with such a bound, as to fly right over the sails60 of a ship.

Dolphins generally go in couples; the females bring forth their young in the tenth month, during the summer season, sometimes two in number.61 They suckle their young at the teat like the balæna, and even carry them during the weakness of infancy; in addition to which, long after they are grown up, they accompany them, so great is their affection for their progeny. The young ones grow very speedily, and in ten years are supposed to arrive at their full size. The dol- phin lives thirty years; a fact that has been ascertained from cutting marks62 on the tail, by way of experiment. It conceals itself for thirty days, at about the rising of the Dog-star, and hides itself so effectually, that it is not known whither it goes; a thing that is more surprising still, if it is unable to respire under water. Dolphins are in the habit of darting upon the shore, for some reason or other, it is not known63 what. They do not die the moment that they touch the dry land, but will die much more speedily if the vent-hole is closed. The tongue, contrary to the nature of aquatic animals in general, is moveable, being short and broad, not much unlike that of the pig. Instead of a voice, they emit a moaning sound64 similar to that made by a human being; the back is arched, and the nose turned up. For this reason65 it is that they all recognize in a most surprising manner the name of Simo, and prefer to be called by that rather than by any other.


The dolphin is an animal not only friendly to man, but a lover of music as well; he is charmed by melodious concerts,66 and more especially by the notes of the water-organ.67 He does not dread man, as though a stranger to him, but comes to meet ships, leaps and bounds to and fro, vies with them in swiftness, and passes them even when in full sail.

In the reign68 of the late Emperor Augustus, a dolphin which had been carried to the Lucrine Lake69 conceived a most wonderful affection for the child of a certain poor man, who was in the habit of going that way from Baiæ to Puteoll70 to school, and who used to stop there in the middle of the day, call him by his name of Simo, and would often entice him to the banks of the lake with pieces of bread which he carried for the purpose. I should really have felt ashamed to mention this, had not the incident been stated in writing in the works of Mæcenas, Fabianus, Flavius Alfius, and many others. At whatever hour of the day he might happen to be called by the boy, and although hidden and out of sight at the bottom of the water, he would instantly fly to the surface, and after feeding from his hand, would present his back for him to mount, taking care to conceal the spiny projection of his fins71 in their sheath, as it were; and so, sportively taking him up on his back, he would carry him over a wide expanse of sea to the school at Puteoli, and in a similar manner bring him back again. This happened for several years, until at last the boy happened to fall ill of some malady, and died. The dolphin, however, still came to the spot as usual, with a sorrowful air and manifesting every sign of deep affliction, until at last, a thing of which no one felt the slightest doubt, he died purely of sorrow and regret.

Within these few years also,72 another at Hippo Diarrhytus,73 on the coast of Africa, in a similar manner used to receive his food from the hands of various persons, present himself for their caresses, sport about among the swimmers, and carry them on his back. On being rubbed with unguents by Flavianus, the then proconsul of Africa, he was lulled to sleep, as it appeared, by the sensation of an odour so new to him, and floated about just as though he had been dead. For some months after this, he carefully avoided all intercourse with man, just as though he had received some affront or other; but at the end of that time he returned, and afforded just the same wonderful scenes as before. At last, the vexations that were caused them by having to entertain so many influential men who came to see this sight, compelled the people of Hippo to put the animal to death.

Before this, there was a similar story told of a child at the city of Iasus,74 for whom a dolphin was long observed to have conceived a most ardent affection, until at last, as the animal was eagerly following him as he was making for the shore,75 it was carried by the tide on the sands, and there expired. Alexander the Great appointed this boy76 high priest of Neptune at Babylon, interpreting this extraordinary attachment as a convincing proof of the favour of that divinity.

Hegesidemus has also informed us, that in the same city77 of lasus there was another boy also, Hermias by name, who in a similar manner used to traverse the sea on a dolphin's back, but that on one occasion a tempest suddenly arising, he lost his life, and was brought back dead; upon which, the dolphin, who thus admitted that he had been the cause of his death, would not return to the sea, but lay down upon the dry land, and there expired.

Theophrastus78 informs us, that the very same thing happened at Naupactus also; nor, in fact, is there any limit to similar instances. The Amphilochians79 and the Tarentines80 have similar stories also about children and dolphins; and all these give an air of credibility to the one that is told of Arion,81 the famous performer on the lyre. The mariners being on the point of throwing him into the sea, for the purpose of taking possession of the money he had earned, he prevailed upon them to allow him one more song, accompanied with the music of his lyre. The melody attracted numbers of dolphins around the ship, and, upon throwing himself into the sea, he was taken up by one of them, and borne in safety to the shore of the Promontory of Tænarum.82


There is in the province of Gallia Narbonensis and in the territory of Nemausus83 a lake known by the name of Latera,84 where dolphins fish in company with men. At the narrow outlet

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