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Antigonus 56–59

 Citations / parallels in other classical sources

Cross-references Summary

56 Aristotle HA VI 35 580a 14–19 — Pliny VIII 83 — Aelian NA IV 4
57 Aristotle HA IX 1 609a 8–12 — Pliny X 203 — Plutarch de inv. et od. 4 537b — Aelian NA III 9
58 Aristotle HA IX 1 609a 31–35 — Pliny X 204 — Aelian NA V 48 — Anon. Matth. 31
59 Aristotle HA IX 1 609b 30–34 — Pliny X 205 — Aelian NA II 51 — Hesychius s.v. αἰσάρων

Cross-references Text

Aelian NA II 51

Of the Raven you might say that it has a spirit no less daring than the eagle, for it even attacks animals, and not the smallest either, but asses and bulls. It settles on their neck and pecks them, and in many cases it actually gouges out their eyes. And it fights with that vigorous bird the merlin, and whenever it sees it fighting with a fox, it comes to the fox's rescue, for it is on friendly terms with the animal. The Raven must really be the most clamorous of birds and have the largest variety of tones, for it can be taught to speak like a human being. For playful moods it has one voice, for serious moods another, and if it is delivering answers from the gods, then its voice assumes a devout and prophetic tone. Ravens know that in summer they suffer from looseness of the bowels; for that reason they are careful to abstain from moist food. [Trans. Scholfield, via Internet Archive]

Aelian NA III 9

Crows are exceedingly faithful to each other, and when they enter into partnership they love one another intensely, and you would never see these creatures indulging freely in promiscuous intercourse. And those who are accurately informed about them assert that if one dies, the other remains in widowhood. I have heard too that men of old used actually, at weddings to sing 'the Crow' after the bridal song by way of pledging those who came together for the begetting of children to be of one mind. While those who observe the quarters from which birds come and their flight, declare that to hear a single Crow is an evil omen at a wedding. Since the Owl is an enemy of the Crow and at night has designs upon the Crow's eggs, the Crow by day does the same to her, knowing that at that time the Owl's sight is feeble. [Trans. Scholfield, via Internet Archive]

Aelian NA IV 4

Wolves are not easily delivered of their young, only after twelve days and twelve nights, for the people of Delos maintain that this was the length of time that it took Leto to travel from the Hyperboreans to Delos. [Trans. Scholfield, via Internet Archive]

Aelian NA V 48

It fills me with shame, you human beings, to think of the friendly relations that subsist between animals, not only those that feed together nor even those of the same species, but even between those that have no connexion through a common origin. For instance, Sheep are friends with Goats; there is friendship between Pigeon and Turtle-dove; Ring-doves and Partridges entertain friendly feelings towards one another; we have long known that the Halcyon and the Ceryl desire each other; that the Crow is friendly disposed towards the Heron, and the Sea-mew towards the Little Cormorant, as it is called, and the Shearwater towards the Kite. But there is war everlasting and without truce, so to say, between Crows and Owls. Enemies too are the Kite and the Raven, the Pyrallis and the Turtle-dove, the Brenthus and the Sea-mew, and again the Greenfinch(?) and the Turtle-dove, the Aegypius and the Eagle, Swans and Water-snakes(?), and Lions are the enemies of Antelopes and Bulls. The bitterest hate exists between the Elephant and the Python, between the Asp and the Ichneumon, between the Blue Tit and the Ass, for directly the Ass brays the Blue Tit's eggs are smashed and the young ones are spilt, still imperfect. And so to avenge its offspring the Blue Tit leaps upon the Ass's sore places and feeds on them. The Fox detests a Falcon and the Bull a Raven, and the Buff-backed Heron the Horse. And an educated man who attends to what he hears should know that the Dolphin is at feud with the Whale, the Basse too with the Mullet, and the Moray with the Conger Eel, and so on. [Trans. Scholfield, via Internet Archive]

Aristotle HA 580a 14–19

The sexes couple at one special period, and the female brings forth at the beginning of the summer. There is an account given of the parturition of the she-wolf that borders on the fabulous, to the effect that she confines her lying-in to within twelve particular days of the year. And they give the reason for this in the form of a myth, viz. that when they transported Leto in so many days from the land of the Hyperboreans to the island of Delos, she assumed the form of a she-wolf to escape the anger of Hera. [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [580a]

Aristotle HA 609a 31–35

The aegolius, and birds of prey in general, prey upon the calaris, and consequently there is war between it and them; and so is there war between the gecko-lizard and the spider, for the former preys upon the latter; and so between the woodpecker and the heron, for the former preys upon the eggs and brood of the latter. And so between the aegithus and the ass, owing to the fact that the ass, in passing a furze-bush, rubs its sore and itching parts against the prickles; by so doing, and all the more if it brays, it topples the eggs and the brood out of the nest, the young ones tumble out in fright, and the mother-bird, to avenge this wrong, flies at the beast and pecks at his sore places. [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [609a]

Aristotle HA 609b 30–34

The merlin is at war with the fox; it strikes and claws it, and, as it has crooked talons, it kills the animal’s young. The raven and the fox are good friends, for the raven is at enmity with the merlin; and so when the merlin assails the fox the raven comes and helps the animal. [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [609b]

Aristotle HA 609a 8–12

So also between the crow and the owl; for, owing to the fact that the owl is dim-sighted by day, the crow at midday preys upon the owl’s eggs, and the owl at night upon the crow’s, each having the whip-hand of the other, turn and turn about, night and day. [Trans. Thompson, via University of Adelaide] [609a]

Pliny VIII 83

It is also commonly supposed, that the tail of this animal contains a small lock of hair, which possesses an amatory power; and that when the creature is caught, this hair is shed by it, but has no virtue whatever, unless it is procured from the animal while alive. It is said that these animals couple for no more than twelve days in the year; and that when pressed by hunger they will eat earth. Among the points of augury, to have our progress cut short to the right by a wolf, if at the time its mouth is full, is the best of omens. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Pliny X 203

Hence there will be no difficulty in perceiving that animals are possessed of other instincts besides those previously mentioned. In fact, there are certain antipathies and sympathies among them, which give rise to various affections besides those which we have mentioned in relation to each species in its appropriate place. The swan and the eagle are always at variance, and the raven and the chloreus seek each other's eggs by night. In a similar manner, also, the raven and the kite are perpetually at war with one another, the one carrying off the other's food. So, too, there are antipathies between the crow and the owl, the eagle and the trochilus;—Between the last two, if we are to believe the story, because the latter has received the title of the "king of the birds:" the same, again, with the owlet and all the smaller birds. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Pliny X 204

Again, in relation to the terrestrial animals, the weasel is at enmity with the crow, the turtle-dove with the pyrallis, the ichneumon with the wasp, and the phalangium with other spiders. Among aquatic animals, there is enmity between the duck and the sea-mew, the falcon known as the "harpe," and the hawk called the "triorchis." In a similar manner, too, the shrew-mouse and the heron are ever on the watch for each other's young; and the ægithus, so small a bird as it is, has an antipathy to the ass; for the latter, when scratching itself, rubs its body against the brambles, and so crushes the bird's nest; a thing of which it stands in such dread, that if it only hears the voice of the ass when it brays, it will throw its eggs out of the nest, and the young ones themselves will sometimes fall to the ground in their fright; hence it is that it will fly at the ass, and peck at its sores with its beak. The fox, too, is at war with the nisus, and serpents with weasels and swine. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Pliny X 205

Æsalon is the name given to a small bird that breaks the eggs of the raven, and the young of which are anxiously sought by the fox; while in its turn it will peck at the young of the fox, and even the parent itself. As soon as the ravens espy this, they come to its assistance, as though against a common enemy. The acanthis, too, lives among the brambles; hence it is that it also has an antipathy to the ass, because it devours the bramble blossoms. The ægithus and the anthus, too, are at such mortal enmity with each other, that it is the common belief that their blood will not mingle; and it is for this reason that they have the bad repute of being employed in many magical incantations. [Trans. Bostock and Riley, via Perseus]

Plutarch de inv. et od. 4 537b

In animals it is not likely that envy of one another arises, as they have no notion of another's good or ill fortune, nor are they affected by glory or disgrace, things by which envy is most exasperated. But there is mutual hatred, hostility, and what might be called truceless war between eagles and snakes, crows and owls, titmice and goldfinches; indeed it is said that the blood of these last will not mingle when the animals are killed, but even if you mix it, separates again and runs off in two distinct streams. [Trans. De Lacy and Einarson, via LacusCurtius]