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It is a matter beyond doubt, that in young children the front teeth are produced at the seventh month, and, nearly always, those in the upper jaw the first. These are shed in the seventh year, and are then replaced by others.1 Some infants are even born with teeth:2 such was the case with Manius Curius, who, from this circumstance, received the name of Dentatus; and also with Cn. Papirius Carbo, both of them distinguished men. When this phenomenon happened in the case of a female, it was looked upon in the time of the kings as an omen of some inauspicious event. At the birth of Valeria, under such circumstances as these, it was the answer of the soothsayers, that any city to which she might happen to be carried, would be destroyed; she was sent to Suessa Pometia,3 at that time a very flourishing place, but the prediction was ultimately verified by its destruction. Some female children are born with the sexual organs closed,4 a thing of very unfa- vourable omen; of which Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, is an instance. Some persons are born with a continuous bone in the mouth, in place of teeth; this was the case with the upper jaw of the son of Prusias, the king of Bithynia.5

The teeth are the only parts of the body which resist the action of fire, and are not consumed along with the rest of it.6 Still, however, though they are able thus to resist flame, they become corroded by a morbid state of the saliva. The teeth are whitened by certain medicinal agents.7 They are worn down by use, and fail in some persons long before any other part of the body. They are necessary, not only for the mastication of the food, but for many other purposes as well. It is the office of the front teeth to regulate the voice and the speech; by a certain arrangement, they receive, as if in concert, the stroke communicated by the tongue, while by their structure in such regular order, and their size, they cut short, moderate, or soften the utterance of the words. When they are lost, the articulation becomes altogether confused and indistinct.8

In addition to this, it is generally supposed that we may form prognostics from the teeth. The number of teeth allotted to all men, with the exception of the nation of the Turduli,9 is thirty-two; those persons who have a greater number, are thought to be destined to be long-lived. Women have fewer teeth than men.10 Those females who happen to have two canine teeth on the right side of the upper jaw, have promise of being the favourites of fortune, as was the case with Agrippina,11 the mother of Domitius Nero: when they are on the left side, it is just the contrary. It is the custom of most nations not to burn the bodies of children who die before they have cut their teeth. We shall have more to say on this subject when we give an account of the different parts of the body.12

We find it stated that Zoroaster was the only human being who ever laughed on the same day on which he was born. We hear, too, that his brain pulsated so strongly that it repelled the hand when laid upon it, a presage of his future wisdom.

1 This account is correct, to the extent that the first teeth that appear are the two central incisors of the upper jaw; the next are the two lower central incisors, then the upper lateral incisors, the lower lateral incisors, and the upper and lower canines. The molars follow a different order, the lower ones appearing before the upper.—B.

2 Hardouin mentions a number of authors who relate cases of this nature. It is said to have taken place with our king Richard III. See Shakespeare, Richard III., Act i. Scene 4. An individual of very different character and fortune, Louis XIV., is said to have been born with two teeth in the upper jaw.—B.

3 A town of Latium we learn from Livy, B. i. c. 53, that it was captured and plundered by Tarquinius Superbus, but he makes no mention of Valeria. See B. iii. c. 9.

4 It is stated by Seneca, De Consol. c. 16, that Cornelia survived a large family of children, all of whom were carried off early in life; of these the two celebrated Gracchi, Tiberius and Caius, met with violent deaths. The peculiarity here referred to, probably consisted in an imperforated hymen, a mal-formation which not very unfrequently exists, and requires a surgical operation.—B.

5 This circumstance is mentioned by Val. Maximus, B. i. c. 8.—B. We learn from Plutarch, that the same was the case also with Pyrrhus, king of Epirus: Euryphæus also, the Cyrenian, and Euryptolemus, the king of Cyprus. Herodotus, B. ix., speaks of a skull found on the plain of Pla- tæa, with a similar conformation.

6 Although the teeth, and especially their enamel, form the most indestructible substance which enters into the composition of the body, it is not absolutely so; a certain proportion of them consisting of animal matter, which is consumed, when exposed to a sufficient heat; the earthy part may also be dissolved by the appropriate chemical re-agents.—B.

7 Powerful acids for instance; but they destroy the enamel. Lord Bacon recommends the ashes of tobacco as a whitener of the teeth; but that has been found to have a similar effect.

8 We find in Haller, El. Phys. B. ix. c. 2, 4, 8, and in other physiologists, a minute account of the effects produced by the teeth in the articulation of the various letters which compose the alphabet.—B.

9 See B. iii. c. 3, and B. iv. c. 35. He does not say how many teeth the Turduli naturally had, but no doubt he is mistaken.

10 Pliny repeats this statement in B. xi., c. 63, and extends it to the females of the sheep, goat, and hog. In the natural condition of the mouth, the number of the teeth is the same in both sexes; but, according to the observations of Cuvier, what are called the "wisdom" teeth, though occasionally deficient in both sexes, are most frequently so in the female.—B.

11 He seems to allude to the younger Agrippina, the mother of the emperor Domitius Nero; neither her life, her character, nor her ultimate fate seem, however, to have entitled her to be called a favourite of Fortune. Her mother, the first Agrippina, grand-daughter of Augustus, appears, on the other hand, to have been a woman of virtuous character, and spotless chastity, without a vice, with the exception, perhaps, of ambition.

12 See B. x. c. 10.

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