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Aviola,1 a man of consular rank, came to life again when on the funeral pile; but, by reason of the violence of the flames, no assistance could be rendered him, in consequence of which he was burnt alive. The same thing is said to have happened to L. Lamia, a man of prætorian rank. Messala, Rufus,2 and many other authors, inform us, that C. Ælius Tubero, who had filled the office of prætor, was also rescued from the funeral pile. Such then is the condition of us mortals: to these and the like vicissitudes of fortune are we born; so much so, that we cannot be sure of any thing, no, not even that a person is dead. With reference to the soul of man, we find, among other instances, that the soul of Hermotinus of Clazomenæ was in the habit of leaving his body, and wandering into distant countries, whence it brought back numerous accounts of various things, which could not have been obtained by any one but a person who was present. The body, in the meantime, was left apparently lifeless.3 At last, however, his enemies, the Cantharidæ,4 as they were called, burned the body, so that the soul, on its return, was deprived of its sheath, as it were. It is stated also, that in Pro- connesus,5 the soul of Aristeas was seen to fly out of his mouth, under the form of a raven;6 a most fabulous story, however, which may be well ranked with the one that follows. It is told of Epimenides7 of Cnossus, that when he was a boy, being fatigued by heat and walking, he fell asleep in a cave, where he slept for fifty-seven years; and that when he awoke, as though it had been on the following day, he was much astonished at the changes which he saw in the appearance of every thing around him: after this, old age, it is said, came upon him in an equal number of days with the years he had slept, but his life was prolonged to his hundred and fifty-seventh year.8 The female sex appear more especially disposed to this morbid state,9 on account of the misplacement of the womb;10 when this is once corrected, they immediately come to themselves again. The volume of Heraclides11 on this subject, which is highly esteemed among the Greeks, contains the account of a female, who was restored to life, after having appeared to be dead for seven days.

Varro informs us,12 that when he was one of the "viginti. viri," or twenty commissioners,13 appointed to superintend the division of the lands at Capua, a man who had been carried to the funeral pile, returned on foot from the Forum to his own house, and that the very same thing happened also at Aquinum. He states also, that Corfidius, who had married his maternal aunt, came to life again, after the funeral had been all arranged, and that he afterwards attended the funeral of the person who had so arranged his own. He gives in addition some other marvellous relations, the whole of which it may be as well to set forth; he says that there were two brothers, members of the equestrian order, and named Corfidius:14 it so happened that the elder of these was seen to breathe his last to all appearance, and on opening his will, it was found that he had named his brother his heir, who accordingly ordered his funeral. In the meanwhile, however, he who had been thought to be dead, clapping his hands,15 summoned the servants, and told them that he was just come from his brother's house, who had placed his daughter in his charge; in addition to which, he had mentioned to him the place where he had secretly buried some gold, and had requested that the funeral preparations which had been made, might be employed for himself. While he was stating to this effect, the servants of his brother came in the greatest haste, and informed them that he was dead: the gold too, was found in the place just as he had stated. But throughout the whole of our lives we are perpetually hearing of such predictions as these; they are not, however, worth collecting, seeing that they are almost always false, as we shall illustrate by the following remarkable instance.

In the Sicilian war, Gabienus, the bravest of all Cæsar's naval commanders, was taken prisoner by Sextus Pompeius, who ordered his throat to be cut; after which, his head almost severed from his body, he lay the whole of the day upon the seashore. Towards evening, with groans and entreaties, he begged the crowds of people who had assembled, that they would prevail upon Pompeius to come to him, or else send one of his most confidential friends, as he had just returned from the shades below, and had some important news to communicate. Pompeius accordingly sent several of his friends, to whom Gabienus stated that the good cause and virtuous partisans of Pompeius were well pleasing to the infernal deities, and that the event would shortly prove such as he wished: that he had been ordered to announce to this effect, and that, as a proof of its truthfulness, he himself should expire the very moment he had fulfilled his commission; and his death actually did take place.

We have instances also of men who have been seen after their burial; but, for the present, we are treating of the operations of nature, and not of miracles.

1 We have an account of the death of Aviola, in Valerius Maximus, B. i. c. 8. This name occurs in the Consular Fasti, A.U.C. 806; but it could not be that of the person referred to by Valerius Maximus, as his work was published under the reign of Tiberius, who died A.U.C. 789. We have also an account of the death of Lamia in Valerius Maximus, as occurring under the same circumstances with that of Aviola.—B.

2 Poinsinet, vol. iii. pp. 251, 252, supposes, that Messala and Rufus are the names of two writers, and not, as usually supposed, of one only. The conjecture appears not improbable.—B.

3 Plutarch, "De Deo Socratis," gives us the same account of Hermotinus. Ajasson has remarked, not inaptly, that this story is very similar to the modern statements as to the effect of animal magnetism, Lemaire, iii. 207.—B. Apuleius, in his "Defence," has a passage which is remarkable as clearly bearing reference to the doctrines inculcated by the mesmerists of modern times; he says, "Quin et illud mecum reputo, posse animum humanum, præsertim puerilem et simplicem seu carminum avocamento, sine odorum delenimento, soporari et ad oblivionem præsentium externari; et paulisper remotâ corporis memoriâ, redigi et redire ad naturam suam quæ est immortalis scilicet et divina; atque ita veluti quodam sopore futura rerum præsagire."

4 We have no notice of any people, under this appellation, in Greece; Cantharus, however, occurs as the name of an individual, and possibly these may have been his descendants, or the members of his family.—B.

5 See B. v. c. 44.

6 We have an account of Aristeas in Herodotus, iv. 13, but somewhat different from that here given; Aristeas is also mentioned by Apollonius in his Hist. Mirab., and A. Gellius, B. ix. c. 4.—B. He was an epic poet, who flourished in the time of Crœsus and Cyrus. Herodotus mentions a story that he reappeared at Metapontum, in Italy, 340 years after his death. He is generally represented as a magician, whose soul could leave, and reenter his body at pleasure.

7 A poet and prophet of Crete. The story was, that being sent by his father to fetch a sheep, he went into a cave, and fell into a sleep, from which he did not awake for fifty-seven years. On awaking, he sought for the sheep, and was astonished on finding everything altered. On returning home, he found that his young brother had in the meantime become an aged man. His story is only equalled by the famous one of the Seven Sleepers of Da- mascus, who fell asleep in the time of the Decian persecution of the Christians, and slept in a cave till the thirtieth year of the reign of the Em- peror Theodosius, 196 years. It is not improbable that it is to this story about Epimenides, that we are indebted for the amusing story of Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving.

8 We have the life of Epimenides by Diogenes Laertius, who gives an account of this long-continued sleep. It is also mentioned by other writers, but there is some difference in their statements as to its length.—B.

9 According to the interpretation of Dalechamps, "spiritus et animæ interceptioni ac privationi," "the interception and privation of the breath and faculties;" Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 208.—B.

10 He probably alludes to what are known among us as hysteria, or hysterical affections.

11 We have an account of Heracüdes in Diogenes Laertius; he was a native of Pontus, and a pupil of Aristotle.—B.

12 This circumstance is not mentioned in either of the two works of Varro which have come down to us, "De Re Rusticâ," and "De Linguâ Latinâ."—B.

13 They were a body of commissioners appointed for the distribution of lands in Campania; Julius Cæsar, when consul, having caused a law to be passed, dividing that territory among such of the Roman citizens as should have three or more children.

14 We are not informed, whether these persons of the name of Corfidius, were in any way connected, nor, indeed, do we appear to have any certain knowledge of their history.—B. L. Corfidius, a Roman eques, is mentioned by Cicero, in his oration for Ligarius, B.C. 46, as one of the distinguished men who were then interceding with Cæsar on behalf of Ligarius; but after the oration was published, Cicero was informed that he had made a mistake in mentioning the name of Corfidius, as he had died before the speech was delivered. It does not appear certain that he was one of the parties here mentioned: but it is not improbable that he was the brother whose sudden death is mentioned below.

15 Among the ancients, servants used to be summoned by clapping the hands, as they are, in modern times, by ringing of bells.—B. The same practice still prevails in the east.

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