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1 Cuvier remarks upon this and the following Chapter, that they are entirely fabulous. The diseases, remedies, and instructions given by the animals are equally imaginary, although Pliny has taken the whole from authors of credit, and it has been repeated by Plutarch, De Iside, and by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. ii. c. 35, and many others. Ajasson, vol. vi. p. 446; Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 426.—B.
2 Cuvier has given an interesting account of the ibis, the opinions entertained of it by various travellers and naturalists, and a detail of the examination which he made of two of its mummies, which were brought by Grobert to Paris, from the wells of Sakhara. These mummies were found to be similar to those previously examined by Buffon, Shaw, and others, and proved the ibis of the ancient Egyptians to have been a species of curlew. This opinion he further supports by a reference to various sculptures and mosaics, where this bird is represented, and he remarks upon the errors into which most travellers and historians have fallen as to it; the only correct account he conceives to be that of the African traveller, Bruce, who describes and figures it under the name of Abou hannès. See the extract in Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 633, et seq., from his Recherches sur les Ossements Fossiles, vol. i. p. 141, et seq. Herodotus gives an account of the ibis, B. i. c. 75, 76, but it is not correct.—B.
3 The fabulous account of the powers of this herb is referred to in B. xxv. c. 53, and supported by the highest authorities; among others, by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 6.; Cicero, De Nat. Deor. B. ii. c. 50; Virgil, Æn. B. xii. c. 412.—B.
4 See B. xxii. c. 45, for a similar cure. It is not known what plant is here alluded to, but it has been thought to be the cinara, or artichoke.
5 The Chelidonium majus of Linnæus. It probably derived its name from the swallow, χελίδων, because its flowers appear at the time that bird makes its first appearance in the spring. This supposed property is mentioned by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. iii. c. 25. Pliny speaks of its efficacy in diseases of the eyes, B. xxv. c. 50, and c. 91.—B.
6 Pliny speaks of the medical virtues of cunile bubula, in B. xx. c. 61 Columella, B. vi. c. 13, says that it is a cure for scabies. It is not certain what is the plant here referred to; it is considered identical with origanum, by Hardouin, and has been supposed by some to be marjoram, or pennyroyal. The effect of the cunile on the tortoise is mentioned by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 6; by Plutarch, Nat. Quæst.; Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. vi. c. 12; and by Albertus Magnus, B. viii. Tr. ii. c. 2; but there is some difference in their statements. Some speak of it as an antidote, enabling the tortoise to counteract the poison of the serpent, while others regard it as giving the tortoise increased vigour to resist the attacks.
7 Aristotle, ubisupra, and Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. iv. c. 14, refer to this supposed fact, which is without foundation, so far, at least, as the contest of the weasels with the serpents and the rue are concerned. The hostility of the weasel to the mouse is probably correct. Pliny again refers to it, B. xx. c. 51, and it forms the subject of one of Phædrus's Fables, B. iv. c. 2.—B.
8 We have the same account in Plutarch.—B. Plutarch speaks, however, of the river crab.
9 Pliny refers to this effect, B. xx. c. 95; he speaks also of its application to the eyes of the animal; it is probable, that feniculum and marathrum both refer to the same plant; the latter being the ordinary Greek, and the former the Latin, name. This effect of the feniculum is also mentioned by Ælian, B. ix. c. 16.—B.
10 "Si vero squamæ obtorpuere;" Hardouin supposes that this applies particularly to the eyes.—B. There can be little doubt that he is correct in that supposition.
11 Aristotle, ubi supra, and Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. vi. c. 4, state that the dragon takes the juice of the picris into the stomach, when overloaded with food. The exact plant referred to, under that name, cannot be ascertained for certain; but it appears probable, that it is a wild lettuce or endive, or some plant belonging to that family.—B.
12 This effect of aconite, and the antidote for it, are mentioned in B. xxvii. c. 2; they are also mentioned by Aristotle, ubi supra; and by Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. iv. c. 49, and alluded to by Cicero, De. Nat. Deor. B. ii. c. 50. It appears from a statement of Tavernier, as referred to by Hardouin, that the same antidote against poisoned weapons is still employed in the island of Java.—B.
14 This is again referred to, B. xxix. c. 39.—B.
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