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numerous and better. Sometimes it is found on the surface of the sea, hence called aphrus ("foam") during fine weather; here it is whirled about, and like the little maggots in dung, so this is found in the foam which floats on the surface.'
Some worm-like creatures, called entrails of the earth,' which perhaps denote the gordius aquaticus, were also believed to be produced spontaneously from mud and moist earth ; many insects, too, were supposed to spring from putrid matter.
Although Aristotle's Natural History contains little that is minutely descriptive, here and there he gives us complete pictures of his animals. Here is an admirable account of those attached semi-transparent, sub-cylindrical masses familiar to every dredger under the name of tunicated molluscs, the simple or solitary ascidians:
• The creatures called tethya have a most distinct character, for in these alone is the whole body concealed in a shell. Their shell is intermediate between skin and shell, so that it can be cut like hard leather; this shell-like substance is attached to rocks, in it there are two perforations, quite distinct from each other, and not easily seen, by which it emits and receives water when laid open there is first of all a sinewy membrane lining the shell-like substance, within this the fleshy substance of the tethyon. Unlike any other creature, its flesh, however, is alike throughout, and it is united in two places to the membrane and the skin from the side, and at its points of union it is narrower on each side; by these places it reaches to the external perforations which pass through the shell; there it both parts with and receives food and moisture as if one were the mouth, the other the anus, the one is thick, the other thinner. Internally there is a cavity at each end, and a passage passes through it; there is a fluid in both the cavities. Besides this, it has no sensitive or organic member. The colour of the tethyon is partly ochreous, partly red.' (IV. 6, SS 1-3.)
There cannot be the slightest doubt that the small-framed, thin-legged lisping pupil of Plato, notwithstanding his conspicuous dress and the rings on his delicate fingers,* was occasionally found by his fellow-disciples at Athens, or his friends in Macedonia, busily dissecting some fish or cephalopod. Sponges afforded matter for speculation to our philosopher's inquiring mind :
* The sponge-fisheries,' we are told by the late Edward Forbes, “were probably conducted among the ancient Greeks, as they are now. Hence, information being obtainable with facility, we find a full account of the sponge in the writings of Aristotle. He appears to have been deeply interested in its history on account of the link it
The description given of Aristotle's personal appearance by Diogenes Laertius.
seemed to present between the animal and vegetable natures. Therefore the question whether sponges possessed sensation is discussed by him more than once, and left undecided. The statements for and against their capacity of feeling are, however, fairly put forward. Aristotle distinguishes sponges under two heads, those that might be cleaned, and those which could not. Of the last he states that their substance was compact, but perforated by large canals. They were more viscous than other sponges, and when dried remained black. The description exactly applies to the common coast-line sponges of the Ægean, useless for economic purposes. His account of the sponges of commerce is more detailed. He distinguishes three varieties : those which are lax and porous ; those of thick and close texture; and a third kind, called sponges of Achilles, finer, more compact, and stronger than the others. These last were rarest and used to be placed in helmets and in boots, as protections from pressure for the head and feet. They all grow on the rock, adhering not by one point only, nor by the whole surface, but by some extent of their surface. The best kinds grow on the coasts which become suddenly deep. He attributes the superior fineness of texture in these deep-sea kinds to the greater uniformity of temperature of the water in such places. When alive and before they are washed they are black. Their canals are often inhabited by little crustacea. Such are the leading points of the account given of sponges in the fifth book of the “History of Animals.” The statements are very exact, and must have been the result of careful observation and inquiry.' *
Some of our readers have doubtless seen a small round crab (Pinnotheres veterum), that lives parasitically within the valves of the 'wing-shell’ mollusc (Pinna), or the common muscle. This little crustacean was known to Aristotle and the ancients under the name of pinnophylax or pinnotheres, both of which terms show that the story about the friendship between the crab and the mollusc is older than the time of Aristotle. The pinna,' he says, “contain a pinnophylax, either a caris or a cancer, of which, if they are deprived, they quickly die.' Among the bivalve testacea, mentioned by Aristotle, we find,' says Edward Forbes, ‘on the shores of Asia Minor, the pinna, living, as he described it, fixed by one extremity, and standing upright in sand or mud, moving itself by a byssus. Open a few, and in five out of ten you find the little crab, the TIVVOT“pns, the fabled guardian and cherished friend of the pinna. It is pleasant to find this little crab in a pinna grown at home, but pleasanter to find it in a free pinna, the descendant possibly of those in which Aristotle caught that little crab's progenitor.' † The story of the partnership between the pinnotheres and the wing-shell, mentioned by Pliny, Oppian,
* Spratt and Forbes's Travels in Lycia,' ii. P.
and others, is doubtless a fable; but it is curious to observe that Hasselquist seems to have credited it, for he says :
· The Pinna muricata, or great silk muscle, is here found in the bottom of the sea in large quantities, being a foot long; the oktwróòa or cuttlefish with eight rays, watches the opportunity when the muscle opens her shell, to creep into it and to devour her; but a little crab, which has scarcely any shell, or has at least only a very thin one, lives constantly in this shellfish ; she pays a good rent, by saving the life of her landlady, for she keeps a constant look out through the aperture of the shell, and, on seeing the enemy approach, she begins to stir when the niva (for so the Greeks call the shell), shuts up her house, and the rapacious animal is excluded. I saw this shellfish first at the island of Milo, and found such a little crab in all I opened. I wondered not a little what was her business there; but when I came here (Smyrna), I was first informed of it by the secretary of our consul, Mr. Justi, a curious and ingenious man, who has travelled much and lived long in this place. This was afterwards confirmed by several Greeks, who daily catch and eat both these animals.' *
The mention of the cuttlefish suggests our making a few remarks on Aristotle's observations with regard to the habits and structure of the Maláxia, or cephalopod molluscs. The terin palácia, corresponding etymologically with the modern mollusca, now employed to denote one of the great classes or primary divisions of the animal kingdom, was used by Aristotle to signify the cephalopoda or cuttlefishes. “Respecting the living habits of the cephalopods, Professor Owen remarks, ' Aristotle is more rich in details than any other zoological author, and Cuvier has justly observed that his knowledge of this class, both zoological and anatomical, is truly astonishing.'
• The remarkable changes of colour,' writes Professor Forbes, presented by the polypus was noticed by the ancients, and the truth of the statement of Aristotle that such change is suddenly produced by fear, † may be easily verified by observing one of these creatures when suddenly taken out of the water.' Aristotle notices four species of polypus, of which, however, only two appear to be identified with certainty, viz., the Octopus vulgaris and the Elidone macropodia. Some of these cephalopoda were articles of food; they were said to be best when in spawn. That
* Voyages and Travels,' Lond. 1766, p. 406.
† That the changes of colour in the skin of the Loligo is not caused by mental emotion,-an explanation sanctioned by modern naturalists of pote,-has been proved by Mr. Lewes, who observed the colour specks to appear and disappear in detached portions of the skin of the dead animal. See this author's charming Sea-side Studies,' pp. 94-97, 1st Ed. I. Lycia,' ii. p. 98.
cuttle-fish were considered delicacies by the ancient Greeks is evident from numerous passages cited by Athenæus.
Every visitor to the sea-side, if he uses his eyes at all, is familiar with the sight of that curious occupant of empty univalves, popularly called the “hermit' or the soldier' crab—the drollest of the droll order of stalk-eyed crustacea.
There are several species, one of which is thus described by Aristotle :
• The creature called carcinium resembles both the malacostraca (crustacea) and the testacea, for this in its nature is similar to the animals that are like carabi, and it is born without a shell ; but because it makes its way into a shell and lives in it, it resembles the testacea, and for these reasons it partakes of the character of both classes. Its shape, to speak plainly, is like that of a spider, except that the lower part of the head and throat is larger. It has two thin red horns and two large eyes below these, not within, nor turned on one side, like those of the crab, but straightforwards. Below these is the mouth, and round it many hair-like appendages; next to these, two divided feet with which it seizes its prey, and two besides these on each side, and a third pair smaller. Below the thorax the whole creature is soft and when laid open is yellow within ... it is not united with the shell like the purpura and ceryx, but is easily liberated from it.' (IV. 4, § 14.) Edward Forbes remarks on Aristotle's observations
the hermit crab, as follows:
• Curiously enough the truth of this statement was made a matter of controversy among naturalists in the early part of last century, for Swammerdam denied the assertion of Aristotle that the hermit was not the true owner of his shell, and maintained that the contrary was the case, and that there was a muscular attachment connecting the crustacean to its house. Although old Rondeletius and others had previously certified to the truth of Aristotle's narrations, yet the faith of many, such as the French Commentator Camus, was shaken by the great Dutchman's positive assertion and reputation for accurate observation. Yet was the Father of Natural History right after all. And that he had observed most carefully is evident from his details respecting the several kinds of these hermit crabs and the variety of their borrowed habitations. (* Lycia,' p. 114.)
The account Aristotle gives of the crocodile is evidently taken from Herodotus, and there is no proof that Aristotle had ever seen a crocodile. Cuvier, indeed, crediting a story purporting to have as its author Ammonius, son of Hermeas (A.D. 480 circ.) thought that Aristotle had gone with Alexander's expedition into Egypt and brought back from thence considerable materials for his History of Animals. Subsequently, however, Cuvier abandoned this idea. Aristotle notices the smallness of the eggs of
the crocodile when compared with the size which the mature animal attains. The river crocodile produces as many as sixty eggs, which are white.
She sits upon them for sixty days, for they live a long while. A very large animal is produced from these small
is not larger than that of a goose and the young is in proportion, but when full-grown the creature measures seventeen cubits.' Herodotus's words are : • Of all known animals this is the one which, from the smallest size, grows to be the greatest, for the egg of the crocodile is but little bigger than that of the goose, and the young crocodile is in proportion to the egg; yet when it is full grown the animal measures frequently seventeen cubits, and even more. The moving of the upper jaw, erroneously ascribed by Herodotus to the crocodile, is repeated by Aristotle. The well-known story about the trochilus flying into the crocodile's mouth and picking the leeches out, as told by Herodotus, finds a place in Aristotle's account. We may
here remark that this habit of a little bird—which appears to be some species of plover-entering the jaws of the huge saurian, has been confirmed by Geoffroy St. Hilaire, and is so far from being contrary to all reason,' as maintained by Sir Gardner Wilkinson,* that it is supported by several curious analogous cases in nature.
It must be confessed that Aristotle appears to have made use of the observations of other writers without due acknowledgment. That he borrowed from other sources is unquestionable; but whether he intended his readers to suppose that his descriptions were the result of his own investigations or not we cannot undertake to affirm. He does not hesitate to quote their names when he is opposing their theories or their statements : then Herodotus is the mythologist' and Ctesias utterly unworthy of credit.'
Aristotle's observations upon bees and wasps are very curious. The queen-bee is called a king. The drone, therefore, was not recognised as being the male bee. He seems to have been a useless sort of personage, making no honey, and supported by the other bees. The bee (uéritta), the king-bee (Baoilevs των μελιττών) and the drone, κηφήν (ο εν ταις μελίτταις), though living together in the same establishment, were regarded as distinct kinds (yévn). The drones which were produced after the death of the king in the cells of the bees (uédettal) were supposed to be very passionate ; they were therefore called stingers (KEVTPWToi), for the following strange reason, that, though being really destitute of stings, and without the power to sting, they yet had the will! The honey-dealers used to fumigate the hives
* Notes on Rawlinson's Herodotus,' ii. p. 97. See also · Ancient Egyptians,' iii. pp. 79, 80.