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In the sheep, it is considered a proof of its being of a very fair breed, when the legs are short, and the belly is covered with wool; when this part is bare, they used to be called apicæ, and were looked upon as worthless.1 The tail of the Syrian sheep is a cubit in length,2 and it is upon that part that most of the wool is found. It is considered too early to castrate lambs before they are five months old. (49.) There is in Spain, and more especially in Corsica, a peculiar kind of animal called the musmon,3 not very unlike a sheep, but with a fleece which more resembles the hair of the goat than the wool of the sheep. The ancients gave the name of umbri4 to the breed between this animal and the sheep. The head of the sheep is the weakest part of all, on which account it is obliged, when it feeds, to turn away from the sun.5 The animals which are covered with wool are the most stupid of all.6 When they are afraid to enter any place, if one is only dragged into it by the horns, all the rest will follow. The longest duration of their life is ten years; but in Æthiopia it is thirteen. Goats live in that country eleven years, but in other parts of the world mostly eight years only. Both of these animals require to be covered not more than four times to ensure conception.

1 Pliny probably took this from Varro, B. ii. c. 2. This term is derived from πείκω, "to shear," with the negative prefix.—B.

2 The word "cubitales" alone is used, which might be supposed to refer only to the length of the tail; but Hardouin conceives that it must also apply to the breadth, and refers to Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. viii. c. 28, and others, in proof of the great size which the tails of the Syrian sheep attain, and which would not be indicated by merely saying that they are a cubit long; this being little more than the ordinary length in other countries.—B.

3 According to Hardouin, this term, or some word nearly resembling it, was applied to mules or mongrels, as well as to individual animals of di- minutive size or less perfect form.—B. Called "moufflon" by the French.

4 The term "umbri" appears to have been applied to a mongrel or less perfect animal; like "musmon," it is of uncertain derivation.—B.

5 So also Varro, ubi supra, and Columella, B. vii. c. 3.—B. See also B. xviii. c. 76.

6 This remark, and the others in the remainder of this Chapter, appear to be taken from Aristotle, list. Anim. B. ix. c. 3.—B.

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