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1 As already mentioned, there is considerable doubt what fish of the whale species is meant under this name. Cuvier says, that even at the present day whales are occasionally found in the Mediterranean, and says that there is the head of one in the Museum of Natural History, that was thrown ashore at Martigues. He also observes, that in the year 1829, one had been cast upon the coasts of Languedoc. Ajasson suggests, that not improbably whales once frequented the Mediterranean in great numbers, but that as commerce increased, they gradually retreated to the open ocean.
2 Rondelet, B xvi. c. 13, says that this animal was called "espaular" by the people of Saintonge. Cuvier is of opinion, also, that it is the same animal, which is also known by the name of "bootskopf," the Delphinus orca of Linnæus. (See N. 28.) This cetaceous animal, he says, is a most dangerous enemy to the whale, which it boldly attacks, devouring its tongue, which is of a tender quality and enormous size. He thinks, however, that the orca taken at the port of Ostia was no other than a cachelot.
3 The Liburna, or Liburnica, was usually a bireme, or two-oared galley, with the mast in the middle, though sometimes of larger bulk. From the description given of these by Varro, as quoted by Aulus Gellius, B. xvii. c. 3, they seem, as it has been remarked, somewhat similar to the light Indian massooliah boats, which are used to cross the serf in Madras roads. Pliny tells us, in B. xvi. c. 17, that the material of which they were constructed was pine timber, as free from resin as it could possibly be obtained. The beak of these vessels was of great comparative weight, and its sharpness is evidently alluded to in the present passage, as also in B. x. c. 32. The term "Liburna" was adopted from the assistance rendered to Augustus by the Liburni at the battle of Actium.
4 These works were completed by Nero the successor of Claudius, and consisted of a new and more capacious harbour on the right arm of the Tiber. It was afterwards enlarged and improved by Trajan. This harbour was simply called "Portus Romanus," or "Porbus Augusti;" and around it there sprang up a town known as "Portus," the inhabitants of which were called "Portuenses."
5 "Naufragiis tergorum." This may probably mean a shipwreck, in which some hides had fallen into the sea.
6 It is remarked by Rezzonico, that Palermus, in the account of this story given by him in B. i. c. 1, has mistaken Pliny's meaning, and evidently thinks that "unum" refers to the soldiers, and not the boats en- gaged in the attack.
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