Solinus: Collectanea rerum memorabilium [trans. Golding] – Dedication and Book I


The epistle dedicatorie of the Author written to the same Autius

[1] Inasmuch as I understande, that both in favourable perusing the dooings of other men and also in knowledge of the lyberall Sciences, you excell al others, wherof I my self also have had so good experience, so as I cannot seeme to have presumed unadvisedly upon your courtesie, any further than becometh me: I thought to dedicate the web of this my little worke specially unto you, as at whose hand I hoped eyther for your learninges sake to bee the sooner allowed, or for your courtesies sake to be the easier borne withall.

[2] The booke is framed to a breefenesse, and (as farre as reason would suffer) so moderatlye abridged, that there is not in it, eyther to lavash aboundance, or to nigardly skantnesse. And if you consider it advisedly, you shall finde it rather levened with knowledge, then vernished with eloquence.

[3] For I confesse myselfe to have studied earnestly certayne choyse Bookes, to the intent to digresse further of from thinges knowne, and to make longer tariance in things more strange. Recitall of places occupyeth the most part of this worke, as whereunto the whole matter is somewhat inclined of it selfe. And heerof I minded in such wyse to entreate, as I might set out the platts of the famous Lands, & the notable Bayes of the Sea, every one in theyr order, keeping the accustomed distinction of the world.

[4] Also I have interlaced many thinges some what differing (but not disagreeing) from the matter, to the intent that (if nothing els, yet at leastwyse) the varietie of itselfe myght ease the wearines of the Readers. Heerwythall I have expressed the natures of men and other lyving things. And not a few things are added concerning straunge Trees and Stones: concerngin the shapes of farborne people: and concerning the diversities of customes of unknown nations.

[5] Moreover, there are divers thinges worthy to be intreated of, which to passe over, I thought had been a poynt of negligence, inasmuch as they be avouched by the authority of most allowed wryters, which thing inespecially I would your wysedome should understand. For what can wee callenge properly for our owne, sith the dilygence of menne in olde tyme hath beene such, that nothyng hath remayned untouched unto our dayes. Wherefore I beseech you waygh not the credite of this woorke that I put foorth, in the ballance of thys present tyme. For I ensuing the print of the olde stampe, thought good rather to take my choyse of all the olde opinions, then to alter them.

[6] Therefore if any of these thynges shall sound otherwyse to your understanding, then I wish they shold: I pray you beare wyth my unskylfulnes, and let those Authors which I have followed stande to the avouchment of the trueth.

[7] And even as they that drawe the Images of men, setting all the rest aside, doo first and formost proportion out the head, & meddle not with portraying out the other limbes before they have taken theyr begynning (as yee woulde say) at the very topcastle of shape and proportion: so wyll I also take my begynning at the heade of the world, (that is to weete) the Cittie of Rome. And although the best learned Authors have left nothing that may bee spoken a newe to the prayse thereof, and that therefore it be almost a superfluous matter to trace the pathe, that hath beene troden over in so many Chronicles, [8] yet nevertheles, because it shal not be altogether over slipped, I wyll set forth the Originall thereof wyth as much faythfulnesse as may be. 

Book I

I 1–10

[1] There are some which wold have it seeme, that the name of Rome was gyven first of all by Evander: who finding there a Towne built before by the yong men of Latium which they called Valentia, kept the signification of the firste name, & called it in Greeke Rhome, which is the same that Valentia is in Latin. And forasmuch as the Arcadians planted themselves there uppon the highest top of an Hill, it came to passe that ever after the Latines termed the strongest places of Citties by the name of Arces.

[2] Heraclides is of the opinion, that after the taking of Troy certain Achives came by the River Tyber, & arrived in the place where Rome is now: and that afterward by perswasion of one Rome a noble Lady, (who was prisoner among them and at that time in their companie,) they did set fire one of their ships, setled themselves to abide, reared the wals, & called the Towne Rome, after the name of the Ladie.

[3] Agathocles wryteth, that it was not this Rome the prisoner as is aforesaid, but the daughter of Ascanius, and grandchilde to Aeneas, that was the cause of this foresaide name of thys Cittie.

[4] There is also registered a peculiar name of Rome: but it is not lawful to be published, forasmuch as it is enacted among other secretes of our Ceremonies, that it should not be blazed abrode, to the intent that the reverence given to the inacted secrecie, might abolish the knowledge thereof.

[5] And Valerius Soranus (because he durst be so bold as to disclose it contrary to the Law) was put to death in recompence of his over-liberall talke.

[6] Among the auncientest Religions, we worship the Chappelll of Angerona, to whom wee doo sacrifice before the twelfth day of the Calends of Januarie, which Goddesse (as the Governour of silence) hath her Image there with mouth closed, and lyppes sealed fast together.

[7] As concerning the times of the building of the Cittie, it hath raysed doubtfull questions, inasmuch as certayne things were builded there long before the time of Romulus. For Hercules (according to the vowe that hee had made for the punishing of Cacus, and the recovery of his Oxen,) dedicated an Altar to his Father Iupiter, whom he surnamed the the finder.

[8] This Cacus inhabited a place named Salines whereas is now the Gate called Trigemina. Who (as Coelius reporteth) beeing sent to ward by Tarchon the Tyrrhenian (to whom he came of Ambassate from King Marsias, accompanied with Megales the Phrygian) brake out of prison, and returning from whence he came, raysed a greater puissaunce, and subdued all the Country about the River Vulturnus & Campane. Wherewith beeing not content, as he attempted the conquest of those thinges that were come in possession of the Arcadians, he was vanquished by Hercules, who by chance was there at the same time.

[9] And the Sabines receyving Megales again, were taught by him the art of Byrdspelling [augury].

[10] Hercules also having learned of Nicostrate the mother of Evander (who for her skill in prophesying, was also called Carmentis) that he should become immortall, erected an Altar to hys own maiestie, which among our Byshops is had in very great reverence. Moreover, he made the consept, within the which he taught the Potits, howe they shoulde solemnize his rites and ceremonies in offering Oxen. Hercules Chappell is in the Oxe-market, wherein are remayning the monuments of hys banquet and maiestie, even unto this day.

I 11–20

[11] For such a gyft is given it from Heaven, that neither dogs nor flyes can enter into the place. For at such time as hee was offering the inwards of his sacrifice, it is sayd that he cursed the God Myagrus, and left his Clubbe in the Porche, at the smell whereof dogges ran away, and so it continueth to this howre.

[12] The Church also which is called the Treasory of Saturne, was builded by hys companions in the honor of Saturne, whom they had learned to have beene an inhabiter of that Country. Furthermore they named the Hill where now is the Capitoll, Saturnes Hyll.

[13] Of the Castle also which they builded, they named the Gate Saturnes Gate, which afterward was called Pandangate. At the foot of the Hill Capitoline, was the dwelling of Carmentis, whereof the Gate of Carmentis taketh his name.

[14] As for the Pallace it is not to be doubted but that the Arcadians were founders thereof, who also before that time builded the Towne Palanteum, which the Aborigens inhabityed a whyle, but afterward (for the noysomnesse of the fenne and marrys which the Tyber running by it had made) left it by and removed to Rhaeatee.

[15] There are that thinke thys Hill tooke hys name of the bleating of sheepe by chaunging of Letters, or of Pale the Goddesse of Sheepeheardes, or (as Silenus prooveth) of Pallas the daughter of Hyperboreus, whom Hercules bestowed on that Hyll.

[16] But howsoever these thyngs agree: it is manifest that the glorye of the Romaine name did cheefely spring out of that luckye foretoken: specially seeing that the account of the yeeres bringeth good reason to ground the trueth uppon. [17] For (as Varro a most exquisite Author affirmeth) Romulus the Sonne of Mars and Rhea Silvia, or (as divers other suppose) of Mars and Ilia, builded Rome. And at the first Rome was called square, because it was plotted out by line and levell.

[18] It beginneth at the Grove that is in the floore of Apollo, and endeth at the upper brew of Cacus staiers, where as was the cotage of Faustulus. And there dwelleth Romulus that luckely layde the foundation of the walles in the 18. yeare of his age the eleventh Calends of May betweene two and three of the clock, as Lucius Tarutius the famous Mathematick hath left in wryting. Iupiter being at that time in Pisces, Saturne, Mars, Venus, & Mercurie in Scorpio: the Sunne in Taurus: and the Moone in Lybra.

[19] And it was ever after kept for a custome, that no sacrifice should be slayne by men on theyr byrth-days, to the intent that that day should be pure from bloodshed. The signification whereof (men holde opinion) was taken of the deliveraunce of Ilia. The said Romulus raigned thiry and seaven yeeres.

[20] Hee ledde the first Tryumph that ever was. And first he triumphed over the Ceninenses, and spoyled Acron theyr King, whose Armour he first dedicated to Iupiter Feretrius, and hung it up in hys Temple, terming it by the name of a Rich spoile. Secondly he triumphed over the Antenuates: and lastly over the Vients. Finally at the Fen of Caprea he vanished away, the Nones of July.

I 21–30

[21] Now will I shew in what places the other Kinges dwelt. Tatius dwelt in the Towre where as nowe is the Temple of Iuno Moneta: who in the fift yeere after his comming into the Cittie, being murthered by the Laurents, departed out of this life, the 27 Olimpiad. Numa dwelt first on Quirins Hill, and afterward by Vestaas Church, in the Court, which yet styll beareth the same name. Hee raigned 43 yeeres, and is buried under Ianiculum.

[22] Tullus Hostilius dwelt in Velia, where afterward was made the Temple of Houshold Gods. He raigned two and thirty yeeres, and died in the thirty-five Olympiade.

[23] Ancus Martius dwelt in the upper ende of the holy streete, wher now is the Temple of the Gods called Lares. Hee raigned thirty and foure yeeres, and dyed the 41 Olympiade.

[24] Tarquine the elder, Dwelt at the Gate Mugonia, above the New streete, and raigned seaven and thirty yeres.

[25] Servius Tullius dwelt in the Exquilies above Olbyes Hyll, and raigned forty and two yeeres.

[26] Tarquine the proude dwelt in the Exquilies also, upon Mount Pullus, by the Beechie Lake, and raigned twentie & five yeeres.

[27] Cincius thinketh that Rome was builded in the twelfth Olympiad. Fabius Pictor thinketh it was buiilded in the eyght. Nepos and Lactatius (approoving the opinions of Eratosthenes and Apollodorus) suppose it was builded in the second yeere of the seventh Olympiad. Pomponius Atticus, and Marcus Tullius Cicero, hold opinion, that it was builded the third yeere of the first Olympiad. Therefore by conferring our times with the Greekes, wee finde that Rome was builded in the beginning of the seaventh Olympiad, the foure hundred and three and thirty yeere after the taking of Troy.

[28] For the gaming of Olympus (which Hercules made in the honor of Pelops hys great Grandfather by the mothers side,) beeing left of, was by Iphiclus (one of hys posteritie) renued after the destruction of Troy, the foure hundred and eyght yeere. Whereupon it cometh to passe, that the first Olympiad is reckoned from Iphiclus. So letting passe sixe Olimpiads betweene Iphiclus & the building of Rome, of which every Olympiad contayneth foure yeeres, seeing that Rome was builded in the beginning of the seaventh Olimpiad, it must needes fall out that there were iust foure hundred thirty and three yeeres betweene the destruction of Troy, and the foundation of Rome.

[29] To the proofe of this argument maketh, that when Caius Pompeius Gallus, and Quintus Veranius were Consuls, it was the eyght hundred and first yere from the building of the Cittie: which time of theyr Cconsulshipp was registered in the common Recordes, to the two hundreth and seventh Olimpiad. Nowe multiplie two hundred and sixe Olimpiads by foure, and they shall amount to eyght hundred and twentye foure yeeres, to the which must bee added the first yeere of the seaventh Olimpiad, to make up full twenty and five abouve eyght hundred. Out of the which summe, abate twenty and foure yeeres for the sixe Olimpiads that were behind: and the remnant shall appeare to be eyght hundred and one yeeres.

[30] Wherefore seeing that the beginning of the two hundred and seaven Olimpiad is accounted for the eyght hundreth and firste yeere of the building of the Cittie, it is to bee beleeved that Rome was builded the first yeere of the seaventh Olimpiad.

I 31–40

[31] The which was governed by Kinges two hundred and one and forty yeeres. The estate of the Tennement was erected the three hundred and second yeere.The first Punick warre was begun the foure hundred fourescore and ninth yeere. The second Punick war, the five hundred and thirty-five yeere. The third Punick warre, the sixe hundred and fourth. The warre of the Confederats, the sixe hundred threescore and second yeere.

[32] Unto the yeere that Hircius and Pansa were Consuls, there had passed seaven hundred and tenne yeeres. In the time of whole Consulship, Caesar Augustus was created Consull in the eyghteenth yeere of his age. Who so behaved himself in the entrye of his raigne, that through hys circumspectnesse, the Empyre of Rome was not only in quiet, but also safe and free from all danger.

[33] The which time was almost alone to be found, wherein warres for the most part had longest discontinuance, and wits chiefly florished. Undoubtedly to the intent that during thys vacation time, when warres ceased, the exercise of vertue should not growe out of use.

[34] About thys tyme was the orderly course of the yeere perceived, which from the beginning of the worlde hadde beene deepely hidden in darknesse. For before Augustus Caesar, men reckoned the yeere diverslie and uncertainely. The Aegiptians determined it in foure monethes. the Arcadians in three. The Acarnanians in sixe. The Lavinians of Italy in thirteene: and this their yeere was reported to be of three hundred threescore and fourteene dayes.

[35] The Romaines at the firste, accounted ten monethes for a yeere, beginning at March. In so much that in the firste day thereof, they kindled fire on the altars of Vesta, they shifted theyr olde Baye Garlandes for Greene, the Senate and people chose newe Officers, the Matrons served theyr servaunts at the Table, in like sort as the Masters did at the feaste of Saturne; the Matrons to the intent through this courtesie to provoke them to the more obedience, the Maisters as it were to rewarde them in respect of theyr paynes taken: specially seeing this moneth is the first, and chiefe of all the rest, which may well be prooved, in that the fift moneth from it was called Quintilis, [36] when the full number was fulfilled, December did close up the whole circuit within the three hundred and foure day. For at that time thys number of dayes accomplished the yeere, so that sixe monethes were of thirty dayes a peece, and the other foure had thirty and one a peece.

[37] But forasmuch as that account before the comming of Numa differed from the course of the Moone, by putting thereto one and fiftye dayes.

[38] To the intent therefore to make up full twelve monethes, they tooke from each of the sayd sixe monethes on day, and put them to these one and fiftye and so made just fifty and seaven, the which were divided into two monethes, whereof the one contained twentie and nine dayes, the other twenty and eyght.

[39] So the yeere began to have three hundred fiftye & five dayes. Afterward, when they perceived the yeere to be unadvisedly determined within the foresayd daies, forasmuch as it appeared that the Sunne finished not hys ful course in the Zodiack before the three hundreth threescore and fift day, wyth the overplus welneere of a quarter of a day they added that quarter and tenne dayes, to the intent the yeere should consist of ful three hundred threescore and five dayes, and the fourth part of a day. Whereunto they were the rather induced for observing the odde number, which (according to the doctrine of Pythagoras) ought to be preferred in all thinges.

[40] And heereupon it commeth to passe, that January for hys odde dayes is dedicated to the Gods supernal, and February for hys even dayes as unlucky is alloted to the Gods infernall.

I 41–50

[41] Therefore when as thys order of account seemed allowable to the whole world, for the exacter keeping of the sayd quarter, it was of divers Nations diversly added, and yet it could never be brought to passe, to fal out even with the time.

[42] The Greekes abated out of every yeere eleven dayes, and the fourth part of a day: which being eyght tymes multiplied, they reserved to the ninth yeere, to the intent that the number of nine being gathered into one grosse summe, might be devided into 3 monethes of thirty dayes a peece. The which being restored againe the ninth yeere, made foure hundred forty and foure dayes, which they called odde or superfluous dayes.

[43] The Romaines liked well of this reckoning at the first. But afterward mislyking it in respect of the even number, they neglected it, and within short space forgot it, committing the order of the addition to the Priestes: who to pleasure the tolegatherers in theyr accounts, did after theyr owne fancy shorten or lengthen the yeere as they lysted.

[44] Whyle thinges stoode in this case, and that the manner of adding was sometime too short, and sometime too long, or els dissembled and let slip altogether: it happened oftentimes that the monethes which had been woont to pass in Winter, fell one whyle in Sommertime, and another while in the fal of the leafe.

[45] Caius Caesar therefore to the intent to set a stay in this variablenesse, did cutte of all this turmoyling of the tymes. And that the error foreslypped might be reduced to some certaine staiednesse: he added twenty and one dayes and five houres at a time, by meanes wherof the monethes being drawn backe to theyr accustomed places, might from thenceforth keepe theyr Ordinarie and appointed seasons. That onely yeere therefore had three hundred and foure and forty daies, and all the rest afterward had three hundred threescore and five days, and five howres. This nowithstanding, then also was was a default committed by Priestes.

[46] For whereas order was taken that they shoulde everye foure yeere adde one daie, which ought to have beene done at the ende of the fourth yeere, before the fifte yeere began, they reckoned it in the beginning of the fourth yeere, and not in the ende.

[47] By meanes wherof, in thirtie and five yeeres, whereas nine daies had been sufficient, twelve daies were reckoned. The which being espied, Augustus reformed in this wise. Hee commanded that twelve yeeres should passe without leape, to the intent that those three daies above the nine, which were superfluously added, might by this means be recompensed. Uppon which discipline was afterward grounded the order of all times.

[48] Notwithstanding, albeit that for these and many other things, we may thinke ourselves beholding to the raigne of Augustus, who was almost peerelesse in his government: yet there are to be found so manie mis-fortunes in his life, that a manne cannot easily discerne whither hee were more miserable or happy.

[49] First, for that in his sute to his Uncle for the Lieutenantship of the horsemen, Lepidus the Tribune was preferred before him, not without a certaine foyle of his first attempts. Secondlie, for that he was greatlie anoied by the authoritie of Antony ioyned with him in the office of the Threemen [triumvirate], and with the battell at Philippo. Thirdly, for the hatred that he raised against himselfe for proclaiming the Noblemen Traytors: The disheriting of Agrippa, (borne after the decease of his Father) whom he had adopted before to be his Sonne, and the great repentance he tooke thereof afterward, for the desire he had unto him. His shipwracks in Sicill: his shamefull lurking in a Cave there: the often mutinies of his Souldiours against him: the detecting of hys Daughters adoutrie, and of the intent shee had to murther him: and (as shamefull a matter as the other) the infamie of his Neece, blamed for the death of her Sonnes: the greefe of his solitarinesse for the losse of his Children, which was not a corzie (??) alone: The pestilence that raigned in the Cittie. The famine through all Italie, in the time of his warres in Illirick: the narrowe shifts that he was driven to for want of Souldiours: the crazednes of his body which was always sicklie: the spightfull discention of Nero hys Wyves Sonne: the unfaithfull imaginations of his wife and her Sonne Tiberius: and manie other thinges of the same sort.

[50] Notwithstanding, as though the World hadde bewailed this mans ende, the evils hanging over mens heads, were shewed before by tokens nothing doubtfull.

I 51–60

[51] For one Fausta a woman of the meaner sorte, brought foorth at one burthen foure Twinnes, two Sonnes and as manie Daughters: prognositcatinge by her monstrous fruitfulnesse, the great calamitie that was to come. Howbeit that Trogus the wryter of Histories affirmeth that seaven are borne together at one burthen in Aegypt: which thing in that Country is not so great a wonder, forasmuch as the Ryver Nilus with his fruitfull water, maketh plentifull, not onelie the soile of the grounde, but also mens bodyes.

[52] Wee reade that Cneus Pompeius did shewe openly in the Theater at Rome, one Eutichis a woman of Asia, with her twentie Children, which she was certainlie knowne to have beene delivered of at three burthens onelie.

[53] And therefore I thinke it expedient to treate in thys place concerning the generation of Man. For inasmuch as we are minded to make a note of thinges worthy to be touched, concerning lyving creatures, as the Countries of eche of them severally that put us in remembraunce. Reason would we should begin chiefly at that creature which nature hath preferred before al others in judgement of understanding, and capacitie of wisedome.

[54–58] These chapters are not translated by Golding, presumably because they deal with the 'unseemly' topic of menstruation. They draw on Pliny NA VII 64–65, from which the relevant extracts are reproduced to give an idea of the material covered by Solinus.

[54] [Pliny VII] Among the whole range of animated beings, the human female is the only one that has the monthly discharge [63] ... It would indeed be a difficult matter to find anything which is productive of more marvellous effects than the menstrual discharge. [64]. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

[55] [Pliny VII] On the approach of a woman in this state, must will become sour, seeds which are touched by her become sterile, grafts wither away, garden plants are parched up, and the fruit will fall from the tree beneath which she sits. Her very look, even, will dim the brightness of mirrors, blunt the edge of steel, and take away the polish from ivory. A swarm of bees, if looked upon by her, will die immediately; brass and iron will instantly become rusty, and emit an offensive odour; while dogs which may have tasted of the matter so discharged are seized with madness, and their bite is venomous and incurable. [64] [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

[56] [Pliny VII] In addition to this, the bitumen which is found at certain periods of the year, floating on the lake of Judæa, known as Asphaltites, a substance which is peculiarly tenacious, and adheres to everything that it touches, can only be divided into separate pieces by means of a thread which has been dipped in this virulent matter. It is said that the ant, even an insect so extremely minute, is sensible of its presence, and rejects the grains which it has been carrying, and will not return to them again [65] [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

[57] [Pliny XXVIII] Over and above these particulars, there is no limit to the marvellous powers attributed to females. For, in the first place, hailstorms, they say, whirlwinds, and lightning1 even, will be scared away by a woman uncovering her body while her monthly courses are upon her. The same, too, with all other kinds of tempestuous weather; and out at sea, a storm may be lulled by a woman uncovering her body merely, even though not menstruating at the time. As to the menstrual discharge itself, a thing that in other respects, as already stated on a more appropriate occasion, is productive of the most monstrous effects, there are some ravings about it of a most dreadful and unutterable nature. Of these particulars, however, I do not feel so much shocked at mentioning the following. If the menstrual discharge coincides with an eclipse of the moon or sun, the evils resulting from it are irremediable; and no less so, when it happens while the moon is in conjunction with the sun; the congress with a woman at such a period being noxious, and attended with fatal effects to the man. At this period also, the lustre of purple is tarnished by the touch of a woman: [77] [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

[58] [Pliny XXVIII] Bithus of Dyrrhachium informs us that a mirror, which has been tarnished by the gaze of a menstruous female, will recover its brightness if the same woman looks steadily upon the back of it; he states, also, that all evil influences of this nature will be entirely neutralized, if the woman carries the fish known as the sur mullet about her person. On the other hand, again, many writers say that, baneful as it is, there are certain remedial properties in this fluid; that it is a good plan, for instance, to use it as a topical application for gout, and that women, while menstruating, can give relief by touching scrofulous sores and imposthumes of the parotid glands, inflamed tumours, erysipelas, boils, and defluxions of the eyes. According to Laïs and Salpe, the bite of a mad dog, as well as tertian or quartan fevers, may be cured by putting some menstruous blood in the wool of a black ram and enclosing it in a silver bracelet; [82] [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

[59] Of Women, some bee barren for ever: othersome by change of Husbandes become fruitfull. Many beare but one Childe: and divers bring forth eyther onely Males, or onelie Females. After fiftie yeeres the fruitfulnesse of them all is at a point: but Men begetter Children until they be fourscore, like as King Masinissa begat his Sonne Metymathnus, when he was of the age of fourscore and five yeeres. Cato when he was full fourscore yeere old and upward, begat the Grandfather of Cato that killed himselfe at Utica, upon the Daughter of his Client Salonius.

[60 Thys is also found to be of a truth, that when two are conceived one somewhat after another, the Woman goeth out her full time of them both: like as hath beene seene in Hercules and his brother Iphiclus, who being carried both in one burthen, had notwithstanding like distaunce of time betweene their birthes, as there was distance betweene their begetting.

I 61–70

[61] And likewise in a wench called Proconesia, who committing advoutry [adultery] with two sundry men, was delivered of a payre of Twinnes eche of them resembling his Father. This Iphiclus begat Iolaus, who entering the Island Sardinia and there alluring unto concord the wavering minds of the inhabitants, builded Olbia and other Greeke Townes. They which after his name were called Iolenses, reared a Temple over his Tombe, because hefolowing the vertues of his Uncle, hadde delivered Sardinia from manie evilles.

[62] [Ante omnia subolem cogitantibus sternutatio post coitus cauenda, ne prius semen excutiat inpulsus repentinus, quam penetralibus se matris insinuet umor paternus.] The tenth day after conception will by some paine put the Mothers in remembraunce that they be with Child. For from that tyme forward, their heads shall begin to bee disquieted, and their sight shal ware dimme. Also the appetite of their stomach shall abate, and they shall begin to loathe meate. It is agreed upon among all men, that of the whole flesh, the first part that is formed is the harte, and that it increaseth unto the threescore and fift day, and afterward diminisheth againe: and that of gristles are made the backbones: [and therefore it putteth them in daunger of death if eyther of bothe those partes be hurt.]
Note: The first sentence of the Latin text is omitted from Golding's translation. The last clause in Golding's English is not present in the Mommsen's edition of the Latin text.

[63] Doubtlesse if it be a Malechild that is in fashioning, the Women that bear them are better coloured, and their deliveraunce is more speedy, and finally it beginneth to stirre at the fortie day. The Female stirreth not before the fourscore and tenth daie, and the conception thereof dyeth the countenaunce of the Mother with a pale colour, and also hindereth the legges with a faint slownesse in going.

[64] In bothe kindes, when the heare [hair] beginneth to growe, then is the greater disease, and the paine is more breeme [breme = ME ‘sharp’] in the full of the Moone, which time also is always noysome to them when they are borne. When a Woman wyth Child eateth meates that are oversalt, the Child shal be borne without nayles. At such time as the byrth being fully rype approcheth to the instant of deliveraunce, it greatlie availeth the Woman that laboreth to hold her breath, for asmuch as yawning dooth wyth deadlie delay prolong the delivery.

[65] It is againste nature for the byrth to come foorth with his feete forward: and therefore as Children hardly borne, they are called in Latin Agrippa. Such as are so borne, are for the moste parte unfortunate and short lived.

[66] Onely in one Man, namely Marcus Agrippa, it was a token of good lucke: howbeit not altogether so misfortuneless but that he suffered more adversitie thyan prosperity. For with miserable paine of his feete, and the open advoutry of hys wife, and certaine other marks of ill luck, hee did abye the foretoken of his awke byrth.

[67] There is also an unfortunate manner of byrth in the Female kinde, like as was seene by Cornelia the Mother of the Grachusses, who made satisfaction for her monstrous byrth, wyth the unluckye ende of her Children.
Note: the "unfortunate manner of byrth", which Golding's delicate sensibilities lead him to pass over, is that Cornelia was supposed to have been born with closed genitals.

[68] Againe the byrthe is the more luckie where the Mother dyes of it: as was seene by the first Scipio Affricanus, who after the death of his Mother, because he was ript out of her wombe, was the first of the Romaines that was called Caesar.

[69] Of Twynnes, if the one remaine still and the other perish by being borne before his time, hee that is borne at hys full tyme is called Vopiscus.

[70] Some are borne wyth teeth, as Cneus Papirius, Carbo, and Marcus Curius, who for the same cause was surnamed the toothed. Some insteede of teeth have the roome supplied with one whole bone. After which manner Prusias King of Bythinia had a Sonne.

I 71–80

[71] The teeth differ in number according to the difference of the kind. For in men are moe, and in women are fewer of those teeth which are called dogteeth. Unto such as have two double teeth growing by uppon the right side of theyr mouth, it behighteth the favour of Fortune. And unto such as have them on the left side, it betokeneth the contrary.

[72] The firste voyce of Children after they bee borne is wayling. For the declaration of myrth is delayed to the fortieth daie. Wee knowe of none that laughed the same howre he was borne, but onely one: that is to weete, Zoroastres, who became moste skilfull and cunning in all good artes. But Crassus, The Graundfather of him that was slayne in the battell againste the Parthians, because he never laughed, was surnamed Agelastos.

[73] Among other great thinges that were in Socrates, this is worthy to bee noted, that hee continued alwayes in one manner of countenaunce, even when hee was troubled with adversitie. Heraclitus and doggysh Diogenes did never abate one whitte of theyr stiffe stomackes, but treading under foote the stormes of all casualties, continued unchaungable in one purpose, against all greefes and miseries.

[74] It is Registred among other examples, that Pomponius the Poet, such a one as hadde beene Consull, did never rasp. It is verye well knowne, that Antonia the Wyfe of Drusis didde never spette. Wee have heard of dyvers that have beene borne wyth whole boanes not hollow wythin, and that such are wont neither to sweat nor to be a thirst: of the which sort Ligdamus of Syracuse is reported to be one: who in the thyrtie and three Olimpiad carried away the firste Garland of victory in the five exercises of adiuitie, from the gaming of Olympus, and his bones were founde to have no maroe in them.

[75] It is most certaine that the greatest substaunce of strength cometh of the sinewes: and that the thicker they bee, so much the more dooth the strength increase. Varro in his Register of monstruous strength, noted that there was one Tritanus a Swordplayer a Samnite borne that had sinewes both right out, and crosse overthwart, and that not only the bulke of his breast, but also his handes and his armes, were as it were lattised with sinewes: who foyled all his adversaries with a fillippe, and almost with carelesse encounters:

[76] And that the Son of the same Man a Souldiour of Cneus Pompeiussis, beeing borne in the same sort, did set so light by an enemie that did challenge him, that beeing himselfe unarmed, he overcame him, and taking him prisoner, carried him with one of his fingers into his Captaines Pavilion. Milo also of Croton is reported to have doone all thinges above the reache of Mans power. Of who this is left in wryting, that with the stroke of his bare fist, he felled an Oxe starke dead, and eate him upp himselfe alone the same day that he killed him, without overcharging his stomack. Hereof there is no doubt. For uppon hys Image is an inscription in witnesse of the facte, wyth these wordes. Hee died a conqueror in all attempts.

[77] There is a stone called Alectorius, of the bignes of a Beane, like unto Christall, founde in the bellies of Cockes, meete (it is reported) for them that goe to battell. Moreover, Milo florished in the time of Tarquine the Elder.

[78] Now who so bendeth hys minde to consider the causes of likenesses, shall perceive the wonderfull disposition of the workmanshippe of nature. For somtime such likenesses be long to some Stocke, and descende from issue to issue, into the succession: like as divers times young Children beare sometime Molles, sometimescarres, and sometime any other marks of theyr auncestors. As among the Lepids, of whom three of the same line (but not successivelie one after another) are found to have beene borne after one sorte, with a filme over theyr eye.

[79] As in the famous Poet of Byzance, who having a Mother that was the bastarde of an Aethiopian, although there were nothing in her resembling her Father, yet did he degenerate againe into the likenesse of the Aethiopian what was his Grandfather.

[80] But this is the lesse wonder, if wee consider those thinges that have beene seene betwist meere straungers. One Artemon a man of the baser sort in Syria, did so resemble King Antiochus in face, that afterwarde the Kinges wyfe Laodice, by shewing this rascall fellowe, kept close the death of her Husbande so long, until such a one was ordeyned successor of the Kingdome as shee listed to appoynt.

I 81–91

[81] There was such likenesse to all respects in personage and making, betweene Cneus Pompeius, and Caius Vibius a man of meane byrth, that the Romaines called Vibius by the name of Pompey, and Pompey by the name of Vibius. Rubrius the Stage-player did so fully expresse the Orator Lucius Plancus, that the people called him Plancus also.

[82] Mirmillo a Neatehearde [cattle-herd], and Cassius Severus the Orator did so resemble one another, that if they were seene together at any time, they coulde not be discerned which was which, unlesse there were a difference in theyr apparell. Marcus Messala Censorinus, and Menogenes a fellowe of the verye rascallest sort, were so like, that every Man thought Messala to be none other then Menogenes, nor Menogenes anie other than Messala.

[83] A Fysherman of Sicill was likened to the Proconsull Sura (besides other thinges,) even in the drawing or wringing of his mouth also. So fully dyd they agree, in the same impediment of speech, and slowe brynging foorth of theyr wordes, through the default of nature.

[84] Sometime also it hath beene a wonder to see the undiscernable likenesse of countenaunces, not onely in straungers, but also even in such as have beene brought together from the furthest partes of the whole worlde. For where as one Thoranius solde unto Antony bearing at that time the office of Triumvir, for threehundred Sesterties, two Boyes of excellent beautie for Twynnes, of which he had gotten the one in Fraunce and the other in Asia, so resembling eche other in all poyntes, that they might have beene taken bothe for one, if theyr speech had not betrayed them: and that therefore Antonie was displeased, thinking hymselfe to have beene deluded, because they were not Twynnes indeed.

[85] Thoranius pleasantlie avouched, that that thing was chiefely to be esteemed, which the Chapman [merchant] founde fault wyth. For it had beene no wonder to have had two Twyns like: But this was it which could by no meanes be prysed according to the value, that beeing of two divers Countryes so farre distaunt, they were borne more like one another than any Twinnes.

[86] With which aunswere Antonie was so appeased, that ever after hee woulde tell men, he had not any one thing of all hys possessions, that he did sette more store by.

[87] Nowe if wee shall moove question concerning the personages of menne, it will manifestly appeare, that antiquitie hath vaunted no lyes at all of it selfe: but that the offspring of our time beeing corrupted by succession growing out of kinde, hath through the decrease of them that are nowe borne, lost the comlinesse of the auncient beautie.

[88] Therefore although dyvers doo conclude, that no man can exceede the stature of seaven foote, because that Hercules was no hygher than so: yet notwithstanding, it was founde in the time of the Romaines under the Emperour Augustus, that Pusio and Secundilla were tenne foote high and more: the corses of whom, are yet to bee seene in the Charnelhouse of the Salusts.

[89] Afterward, in the raigne of Claudius, there was one named Gabbara brought out of Araby, that was nyne foot and as many inches hygh. But almoste a thousande yeeres before Augustus, there was no such personage seene, neither after the time of Claudius.

[90] For what is he in our dayes that is not borne lesser than his Parents? As for the hugenes of menne in olde time, the Reliques of Orestes doo testifie. Whose bones beeing founde of the Lacedemonians at Tegaea by the information of the Oracle the fiftie and eyght Olympiad, wee are assured were full seaven cubites long. Alsoo there are wrytings Registered in remembraunce of thinges doone in auncient time, which avouch the assurednesse of the trueth, wherein it is specified, that in the Candian warre, [91] at such time as the Rivers more outragiously flowing than freshe waters are woont, had broken up the ground there, after the fall of the sayd waters, among many clifts of the grounde, there was found a body of three and thirty cubits. For desire to see the which, Lucius Flaccus the Lieuetenant and Metellus himselfe also, beeing wonderfully amazed at the straungenesse thereof, went thither, and beheld the wonder wyth theyr eyes, which they thought a Fable to heare reported.

I 92–100

[92] I may not let passe the Son of Euthymines of Salymis, who grewe three cubits high in three yeeres. But he was slow of gate, dull wytted, boystrous of voyce, too soone rype, and immediatly beset with many diseases: so as hee recompensed hys overhasty growth with unmeasurable punishment of sicknesse.

[93] The manner of measuring agreeth two wayes. For looke how much a man is betweene the endes of his two longest fingers stretching hys armes out. So longe is hee betweene the sole of hys foote and the crowne of his head: and therefore the naturall Philosophers deeme man to bee a little Worlde.

[94] Unto the ryght is ascribed the handsomer mooving, and unto the lefte the greater firmenesse. And therefore the one is more apt to dauncing and other exercises of lyghtnesse, and the other better able to beare burthens.

[95] Nature hath decreed a kinde of reverence to bee observed even of bodyes disceased: so that if at anie time it happen the carkasses of such as are kylled, to bee borne uppe wyth the waves, Mennes bodyes fleete with their faces upwarde, and Womens with theyr faces downewarde.

[96] But to the intent we may passe to the title of swiftnesse: the pricke and prise in that behalfe, obtayned one Ladas, who ranne in such wyse upon the loose dust, that the sande hovered still up, and he left no printe of his footesteppes behinde him.

[97] Polymestor a Boy of Miletum beeing sette by his Mother to feede Goates, ranne after a Hare in sporte and caught it. For the which deede within a while after the owner of the hearde brought him to the gaming in the forty and five Olimpiad, (as Bocchus reporteth) and there in the race he gained the Garland.

[98] Phylippides ranne one thousand, two hundred and fortye furlongs from Athens to Lacedaemon in two dayes. Antistius a Lacedaemonian and Philomedes the Lackies of great Alexander, journied a thousande and two hundred furlongs from Sycion to Elis, in one day. The same yeere that Fonteius and Vipsanus were Consuls, a Boy in Italy of eyght yeeres olde, went 45. myles betweene noone and night.

[99] The quickest of sight was one Strabo, whom Varro avoucheth to have overlooked a hundred thirty & five miles, and that hee was wont exactlie to viewe from the watch Towre of Lyliby in Sicill, the Punicke fleete setting out of the Haven of Carthage, and to reporte the just number of their Shippes.

[100] Cicero maketh report, that the Ilias of Homer was so finely written in Velame [vellum], that it might be closed in a Nutshell. Callicrates carved Ants of Ivory so finely, that some of them could not be discerned from other Ants.

I 101–110

[101] Apollonides declareth that in Scythia there is a race of Women called Bythies, which have two balles in eche eye, and doo kill folke with their sight, if they happen to cast an angry looke uppon anie body. Such there bee also in Sardinia.

[102] That Lucius Sicinius the toothed excelled in valiantnesse among the Romaines, the number of hys titles doo declare. This man was one of the Protectors of the cominalty, not much after the dryving out of the Kinges, when Spurius Tarpeius, and Aulus Thermus were Consuls. Hee beeing vanquisher in eyght challenges hand to hande, hadde five and fortie scarres in the forepart of his bodye, and on hys back part not one. He tooke spoyle of his enemies foure and thirtie times.

[103] In horsetrappers [caparisons], pure speares, Bracelets and Crownes, hee earned three hundred & twelve rewards. Hee followed nyne Grandcaptaynes in tryumphe that had conquered by his meanes.

[104] Next after him Marcus Sergius serving twice in the warres, in the first time received thirty and three wounds on the forepart of his body, and in the second lost his ryght hande, and therefore made him a hande of yron. And whereas almost none of both his handes were able to doo him any service in fight, yet notwithstanding he fought foure times in one day, and gotte the victorie with his left hand, having had two Horses slayne under him.

[105] Beeing twise taken prisoner by Hannibal, he scaped awaie, when by the space of twentie moneths in which he had beene prisoner, he had at no time been without Gives and Fetters. In all the sharpest battels which the Romaines tasted of in those dayes, he beeing honoured with warlike rewards, brought Civill Crownes from Thrasymenus, Trebia, and Pavy. At the battell of Canuas also, (out of the which it was counted a poynt of valiantnesse to escape wyth lyfe) he onelie received a Crowne. Happie doubtlesse had hee beene in so manie advauncements of honor, if Catiline his next heyre by lineall descent, had not defaced his so renowned praises with the hatefulnesse of hys cursed name.

[106] As much as Sicinius or Sergius excelled among the Souldiours, so much among the Captaines (or rather among all men) excelled Caesar the Dictator. Under his conducte were slaine eleven hundred, fourescore and two thousand enemies. For he would not have it noted howe manie hee overthrewe in the civill wars. He fought in pitched fielde two and fiftie times, alonely surmounting Marcus Marcellus, [107] who in like sorte had fought nine and thirtie times. Besides this, no man wrote more swiftly, nor no man read more speedilie. Moreover, hee is reported to have indited foure Letters at once. He was of so good a nature, that such as he subdued by battell, he more overcame them with gentlenesse.

[108] Cyrus was notable for the good gifte of memorie, who in the most populous armie whereof he was Captaine, coulde call everie severall personne by his name. The same thing did Lucius Scipio among the people of Rome. But wee may beleeve that bothe Scipio and Cyrus were furthered by custome.

[109] Cyneas the Ambassador of Pyrrhus, the next day after he was entered into Rome, saluted both the Knights and also the Senators by their propper names. Mithridates King of Pontus ministred justice without an interpreter, to two and twenty Nations that were under his dominion. It is manifest that memorie may be made by arte, like as in the philosopher Metrodorus that was in the time of doggyshe Diogenes: who furthered himselfe so much by dailie practise, and beating with himselfe, that he kept in remembrance what many men spake at once, not only in order of sence, but also in order of wordes.

[110] Notwithstanding it hath beene often seene, that nothing may easiler be perished by feare, by falling, by chance, or by sicknesse. We have founde that he that was but striken with a stone, forgot to reade. Surely Messala Corvinus after a disease that hee had endured, was so striken with fogetfulnesse, that he remembered not his owne name, and yet otehrwise his wit was freshe enough.

I 111–120

[111] Feare astonieth the memorie. And again feare is an enforcement of speeche, the which it not onelie sharpeneth, but also extorteth although there were none before.

[112] Surely when Cyrus in the eyght and fiftie Olympiad entred by assault into Sardis, A Towne of Asia, where Croesus at that time lay hidden. Athis the Kinges Sonne (who unto that instaunt had alwaies beene dumbe,) burst out into speech by force of feare. For it is reported, that he cryed out: Cyrus spare my Father, and learn to know (at leastwise by our casualties) that thou art a Man.

[113] Nowe remaineth to intreate of manners, the excellentnes whereof appeared moste in two men. Cato the founder of the stocke of the Portians was a verye good Senator, a very good Orator, and a verie good Captaine. Neverthelesse, for divers quarrelles picked unto him of malice, he was endited and arrayned fortie and foure times, but yet was alwaies quitted.

[114] The praise of Scipio Aemilianus is yet greater: who besides the vertues for which Cato was renowned, surmounted also in love towards the common weale.

[115] Scipio Nasica was judged to bee the best man thyen lyving, not onely by the voice of the commons, but also by the othe of the whole Senate, inasmuch as none coulde bee founde worthier than he, to be put in truste with a misterie of chiefe Religion, when the Oracle gave warning to fetch into the Cittie the holy Ceremonies of the mother of the Gods from Pessinus.

[116] Many among the Romaines florished in eloquence, but this gift was not heritable at any time, saving to the house of the Curios, in the which, three were Orators successivelie one after another.

[117] Surely thys was counted a great thing in those dayes, when eloquence was had in chiefe estimation both of God and manne. For at that time Apollo bewrayed the murthers of the Poet Archilochus, and the deede of the felons was detected by God.

[118] And at such time as Lysander King of Lacedaemon besieged Athens (where the body of Sophocles the Tragedie wryter laye unburied) Bacchus sundry times warned the Captaine in his sleepe, to suffer hys darling to be buried, [119] and never ceased calling uppon him, untyll Lysander having knowledge who it was that was departed, and what the God demaunded, took truce with the Athenians, untill so worthy a corse might be buried accordinglie.

[120] Castor and Pollux standing wythout the dore in the sight of all men, called Pindarus the Harper out of a place where he was making merrie, (which was at the point to fall) to the intent he should not perrish with the rest. Whereby it came to passe, that hee onelie escaped the daunger that hunge over their heads.

I 121–127

[121] Next unto the Gods is Cneus Pompeius to be reconed: who when he should enter into the house of Possidonius, the notablest professor of wysedome in those dayes, forbadde his Mace-bearer to strike the dore as the custome was: and so holding downe his sheaf, albeit hee hadde at that time dispatched the warre agaynste Methridates, and was Conqueror of the East, yet of his owne free wyll he gave place to the Gate of Learning.

[122] The firste Scipio Affricanus commaunded that the Image of Quintus Ennius shoulde be sette uppon his Tombe. Cato that slewe himselfe at Utica, brought unto Rome two Phylosophers, one when he was Marshall of the Hoste, and another when he was Ambassador in Cyprus: alledging that in so dooing, he had greatlie benifited the Senate and people of Rome albeit that hys great Grandfather had oftentimes decreede, that al Greekes should be utterly driven out of the Citty.

[123] Dennis the Tyran of Sicill sent a Shyppe decked wyth Garlonds to meete Plato, and hee himselfe in a Charyot drawne with foure White steedes, entertained him honorably at his first comming to lande. Perfect wisedome was adjudged onely to Socrates by the Oracle of Apollo.

[124] The proofe of godlinesse and naturall affection toward the parents shined in the familie of the Metels. But it was found more evident in a poore childbearing Woman. This Woman was of lowe degree, and therefore not altogether so famous, beeing with much adooe (and after much serching oftentimes of the Gaolers, least shee shoulde have carryed any meate in with her) suffered to give to her father, (who was condemned to the punishment of perpetuall prysonne) was founde to feede him with the milke of her breasts: [125] which thing consecrated bothe the deede and the plae. For the Father which was condemned to death, beeing gyven unto his daughter, was reserved in remembraunce of so woorthy a deede, and the place beeing dedicated to the power that wrought the deede, was made a Chappell, and entitled the Chappell of godlines.

[126] The ship that brought the holy misteries out of Phrygia, in following the hearelace of Claudia, gave unto her the preheminence of chastitie. But Sulpitia the daughter of Paterculus and wyfe of Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, was by the verdite of all the Ladyes in Rome advisedlie chosen out of a hundred of the vertuousest of them, to dedicate the Image of Venus according as the bokes of Sybill gave warning to be done.

[127] As touching the title of happinesse, hee is not yet found that may rightly be judged happy. For Cornelius Sylla was happie rather in name than in deede. Surelie Cortina judged onelie Aglaus to be blessed: who beeing owner of a poore peece of ground in the narrowest nooke of all Arcadie, was never founde to have passed out of the boundes of his naturall soyle.