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Antigonus 50–52

 Citations / parallels in other classical sources

Cross-references Summary

50 Aristotle HA IX 37 622a 5–10 — Pliny IX 86–87 — cf Theophrastus: fr.173; fr.188
51 Aristotle HA IX 37 622b 5–7 — Pliny IX 88 — Oppian halieut. I 340-342 — Aelian NA IX 34
52(a) Aristotle HA IX 40 623b–627b (passim) — Pliny XI 13–15; 25 (passim) — Aelian NA I 10
(b) Aristotle HA IX 41 628b 20–22

Cross-references Text

Aelian NA I 10

Even among Bees there are some which are lazy, though they do not resemble drones in their habits, for they neither damage the combs nor have designs upon the honey, but feed themselves on the flowers, flying abroad and accompanying the others. But though they have no skill in the making and the gathering of honey, at any rate they are not completely inactive, for some fetch water for their king and for their elders, while the elders themselves attend upon the king and have been set apart to form his bodyguard. Meanwhile others of them have this for their task: they carry the dead bees out of the hive. For it is essential that their honeycombs should be clean, and they will not tolerate a dead bee in the hive. Others again keep watch by night, and their duty is to guard the fabric of honeycombs as though it were some tiny city. [Trans. Scholfield, via Internet Archive]

Aelian NA IX 34

The Argonaut also is one of the polyps and has one shell. Now it rises to the surface by turning its shell upside down to prevent it from taking in salt water and being thrust down again. And when it is on top of the waves, if the weather is calm and the winds are at rest, it turns its shell (which floats like a boat) on its back, and letting down two tentacles, one on either side, with a gentle motion rows and propels its natural vessel. And if there is a wind it extends still further what up till now were oars, using them as rudders, and raises other tentacles between which there is a web of most delicate texture, and this it spreads and turns into a sail. And in this way it navigates so long as it has nothing to fear. If however it is afraid of some of the larger and stronger fish, it submerges and fills its shell and sinks with the weight of water, and by disappearing escapes from its enemy. Then when it has peace again it rises and resumes its sailing. It is from these activities that it derives its name. [Trans. Scholfield, via Internet Archive]

Aristotle HA 622a 5–10

[The octopus] is neat and thrifty in its habits: that is, it lays up stores in its nest, and, after eating up all that is eatable, it ejects the shells and sheaths of crabs and shell-fish, and the skeletons of little fishes. It seeks its prey by so changing its colour as to render it like the colour of the stones adjacent to it; it does so also when alarmed. [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [622a]

Aristotle HA 622b 5–7

The nautilus (or argonaut) is a poulpe or octopus, but one peculiar both in its nature and its habits. It rises up from deep water and swims on the surface; it rises with its shell down-turned in order that it may rise the more easily and swim with it empty, but after reaching the surface it shifts the position of the shell. ... [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [622b]

Aristotle HA 623b–627b (passim)


Aristotle HA 628b 20–22

If you take a wasp by the feet and let him buzz with the vibration of his wings, wasps that have no stings will fly toward it, and wasps that have stings will not; from which fact it is inferred by some that one set are males and the other females. [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [628b]

Oppian halieut. I 340-342

Even as some youth, arrayed by the bridal women in white robes and purple flowers and breathing of the perfume of Palestine, steps into the bridal chamber singing the marriage song, so while the hasting horse neighs his bridal song, long time in front of his bride they stay her glorious spouse, foaming in his eagerness; and late and at last they let him go to satisfy his desire. [Trans. Mair, via LacusCurtius]

Pliny IX 86

They feed upon the flesh of shell-fish, the shells of which they can easily break in the embrace of their arms: hence it is that their retreat may be easily detected by the pieces of shell which lie before it. Although, in other respects, this is looked upon as a remarkably stupid kind of animal, so much so, that it will swim towards the hand of a man, to a certain extent in its own domestic matters it manifests considerable intelligence. It carries its prey to its home, and after eating all the flesh, throws out the debris, and then pursues such small fish as may chance to swim towards them. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Pliny IX 87

It also changes its colour according to the aspect of the place where it is, and more especially when it is alarmed. The notion is entirely unfounded that it gnaws its own arms; for it is from the congers that this mischance befalls it; but it is no other than true that its arms shoot forth again, like the tail in the colotus and the lizard. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Pliny IX 88

Among the most remarkable curiosities is the animal which has the name of nautilus, or, as some people call it, the pompilos. Lying with the head upwards, it rises to the surface of the water, raising itself little by little, while, by means of a certain conduit in its body, it discharges all the water, and this being got rid of like so much bilge-water as it were, it finds no difficulty in sailing along. Then, extending backwards its two front arms, it stretches out between them a membrane of marvellous thinness, which acts as a sail spread out to the wind, while with the rest of its arms it paddles along below, steering itself with its tail in the middle, which acts as a rudder. Thus does it make its way along the deep, mimicking the appearance of a light Liburnian bark; while, if anything chances to cause it alarm, in an instant it draws in the water, and sinks to the bottom. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Pliny XI 13–15; 25 (passim)

13. Bees keep within the hive during the winter—for whence are they to derive the strength requisite to withstand frosts and snows, and the northern blasts? The same, in fact, is done by all insects, but not to so late a period; as those which conceal themselves in the walls of our houses, are much sooner sensible of the returning warmth. With reference to bees, either seasons and climates have considerably changed, or else former writers have been greatly mistaken. They retire for the winter at the setting of the Vergiliæ, and remain shut up till after the rising of that constellation, and not till only the beginning of spring, as some authors have stated; nor, indeed, does any one in Italy ever think of then opening the hives.

They do not come forth to ply their labours until the bean blossoms; 14. and then not a day do they lose in inactivity, while the weather is favourable for their pursuits. First of all, they set about constructing their combs, and forming the wax, or, in other words, making their dwellings and cells; after this they produce their young, and then make honey and wax from flowers, and extract bee-glue1 from the tears of those trees which distil glutinous substances, the juices, gums, and resins, namely, of the willow, the elm, and the reed.

15. With these substances, as well as others of a more bitter nature, they first line the whole inside of the hive, as a sort of protection against the greedy propensities of other small insects, as they are well aware that they are about to form that which will prove an object of attraction to them. Having done this, they employ similar substances in narrowing the entrance to the hive, if otherwise too wide.
[Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

25. It is wonderful what strict watch is kept upon their work: all instances of idleness are carefully remarked, the offenders are chastised, and on a repetition of the fault, punished with death. Their sense of cleanliness, too, is quite extraordinary; everything is removed that might he in the way, and no filth is allowed to remain in the midst of their work. The ordure even of those that are at work within, that they may not have to retire to any distance, is all collected in one spot, and on stormy days, when they are obliged to cease their ordinary labours, they employ themselves in carrying it out. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]