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phet," the emendation gurrulus augur, proposed by Heinsius, is unnecessary, for although the faculty assigned here to the jack-daw is attributed by Virgil and Horace to the crow
Tum cornix plena pluviam vocat improba voce. Virg. G.I. 388. .. aquæ nisi fallit augur=Annosa cornix. Hor. C. III. xvii. 12.
yet Pliny supports Ovid and informs us that when the jack-daws return home late from feeding, it is an indication of an approaching H. N. XVIII. 35.
35. (Cornix invisa Minerva.) In the Met. of Ov. II. 551, &c., the crow (cornix) in a conversation with the raven (corvus,) recounts her own history, declaring that she had once been the chosen bird of Minerva, but had lost the favour of the goddess in consequence of her chattering and tale-bearing propensities.
36. (Seclis....novem.) The popular idea with regard to the length of the crow's life is as old as Hesiod, who, in a line quoted by Plutarch,
Εννέα τοὶ ζώει γενέας λαγάρυζα κορώνη.
Ausonius Eid. xviii. translates the whole fragment.
Ter binos, deciesque novem super exit in annos
Observe that Ausonius here fixes the full period of the life of man at ninety-six years, and supposes the yɛvéαs åvògúv, “generations of men," in Hesiod to denote this space complete, but according to the usual acceptation of the term in the best writers Greek and Latin “a generation of men," signifies only thirty years, as when Horace exclaims Epod. XVI. 1.
Altera iam teritur bellis civilibus ætas.
41. (Phyllacida.) Protesilaus. See p. 234. 238.
41. (Thersites) was the son of Agrius, brother of Æneus prince of Ætolia, and hence was first cousin to Tydeus and Meleager, and first cousin once removed to Diomede. Homer represents him as the most loathly in form and the most base in spirit of all the Grecian host who warred against Troy.
Few animals, real or fabulous, have enjoyed the celebrity of the Phoenix. Its history and imaginary attributes have afforded a theme to poets in every age, and in our own and many other languages its name has passed into a proverb. By the fathers of the church it was frequently brought forward as an illustration of the doctrine of the resurrection, and it appears on the coins of several Roman Emperors, sometimes as a symbol of their own apotheosis, sometimes as an emblem of the renovation of the world and the revival of the golden age under their benignant sway. It may be interesting to quote some of the most important passages in the classics, which embody the ideas generally entertained by the ancients regarding this bird.
Our oldest authority2 is Herodotus who, in his description of Egypt and its wonders, tells us that there is a sacred bird called the Phoenix which, however, he had never seen except in a painting. Judging from this, he continues, it must resemble an eagle in form and size, the wings being partly golden coloured partly red. According to the account of the Heliopolitans, it visits them once in five hundred years under the following circumstances. Its father being dead, it forms a solid ball of myrrh as large as it can carry, and then hollowing it out places its father in the cavity and plasters up the hole, by which he was introduced, with fresh myrrh. The weight of the mass is now the same as at first. Laden with this, it wings its flight from Arabia to Egypt, and deposits its burden in the temple of the Sun.
This story is sufficiently marvellous, and even Herodotus expresses his incredulity, but it will be observed that nothing said here of the young Phoenix springing from the mouldering remains of its sire, a circumstance which, in later writers, forms its grand characteristic.
The account of Ovid (Met. XV. 391) is, in all probability, derived from the later Greek writers.
Una est, quæ reparet, seque ipsa reseminet, ales;
Hæc ubi quinque suæ complevit secula vitæ,
1 See Spanheim de usu et præstantia numismatum Diss. V. c. 15. In addition to the authors quoted below, the student may consult Elian. H. A. VI. 58. Athenæus XIV. 20. Mela 111. 28. Stat. S. II. iv. 36. Claud. Laud, Stil. 11. 417. Ep. ad. Seren. 15. Aurel. Victor de Cæs. IV. Solinus. XXXIII. and notes of Salmasius. Spanheim, as above, will supply numerous references to the Christian fathers. But every circumstance upon record, with regard to the Phoenix, has been chronicled with the most laborious precision by the author of the de poem Phoenice," usually attributed to Lactantins. It will be found in the third volume of Wernsdorfs Poetæ Minores, with a learned introduction prefixed by the Editor. ? Except Hesiod, who, in a fragnient quoted above, mentions the Phoenix as living nine times as long as the raven, or nine hundred and seventy-two generations of men. Observe that the expression "reparabilis avis," in the translation of Ausonius, has nothing to correspond to it in the Greek poet.
Ilicet in ramis, tremulæve cacumine palmæ,
Next we have the description of Pliny H. N. X. 2.
Æthiopes atque Indi, discolores maxime et inenarrabiles ferunt aues et ante omnes nobilem Arabia phoenicem: haud scio an fabulose, unum in toto orbe, nec visum magnopere. Aquila narratur magnitudine, auri fulgore circa colla, cetera purpureus, cæruleam roseis caudam pennis distinguentibus, cristis fauces caputque plumeo apice cohonestante. Primus atque diligentissimus togatorum de eo prodidit Manilius, Senator ille maximis nobilis doctrinis doctore nullo: neminem extitisse qui viderit vescentem: sacrum in Arabia Soli esse, vivere annis DCLX. senescentem casia thurisque surculis construere nidum, replere odoribus, et superemori. Ex ossibus deinde et medullis eius nasci primo ceu vermiculum: inde fieri pullum: principioque iusta funera priori reddere, et totum deferre nidum prope Panchaiam in Solis urbem, et in ara ibi deponere. Cum huius alitis vita magni conversionem anni fieri prodidit idem Manilius iterumque significationes tempestatum et siderum easdem reverti. Hoc autem circa meridiem incipere, quo die signum Arietis Sol intraverit. Et fuisse eius conversionis annum prodente se P. Sicinio, Cn. Cornelio Consulibus,' ducentesimum quintum decimum. Cornelius Valerianus Phoenicem deuolasse in Ægyptum tradit, Quinto Plautio, Sexto Papinio Consulibus. Allatus est et in urbem, Claudii Principis Censura, anno urbis DCCC. et in comitio propositus, quod actis testatum est, sed quem falsum esse nemo dubitaret,
Last of all, we may give the words of Tacitus (Annal. VI. 18) who, it will be seen, seems to have entertained no doubts of the existence of the Phoenix :
Paulo Fabio, Lucio Vitellio,3 consulibus, post longum sæculorum ambitum avis phoenix in Ægyptum venit, præbuitque materiam doctissimis indigenarum et Græcorum multa super eo miraculo disserendi; de quibus congruunt, et plura ambigua sed cognitu non absurda, promere libet; sacrum soli id animal, et ore ac distinctu pinnarum a ceteris
1 B. C. 97. 2 A. D. 36. 3 A. D. 34.
avibus diversum, consentiunt qui formam eius definiere; de numero annorum varia traduntur; maxime vulgatum quingentorum spatium: sunt qui asseverent, mille quadringentos sexaginta unum interici, prioresque alites Sesoside primum, post Amaside dominantibus, dein Ptolemæo qui ex Macedonibus tertius regnavit, in civitatem cui Heliopolis nomen advolavisse, multa ceterarum volucrum comitatu novam aciem mirantium: sed antiquitas quidem obscura: inter Ptolemæum ac Tiberium minus ducenti quinquaginta anni fuerunt; unde nonnulli falsum hunc phoenicem neque Arabum e terris credidere; nihilque usurpavisse ex his quæ vetus memoria firmavit: confecto quippe annorum numero, ubi mors propinquet, suis in terris struere nidum, eique vim genitalem affundere, ex qua fetum oriri; et primam adulto curam sepeliendi patris; neque id temere, sed sublato murrhæ pondere tentatoque per longum iter, ubi par oneri, par meatui sit, subire patrium corpus inque solis aram perferre atque adolere. hæc incerta et fabulosis aucta: ceterum aspici aliquando in Ægypto eam volucrem non ambigitur.
54. (Unica semper avis.) Unicus is properly applied, as here, to an object which stands alone, to which no parallel can be found. Thus "unicus filius" is "an only son." Archimedes is designated by Livy (xxiv. 34) as "unicus spectator cœli et siderum," because he stood alone (i.e., preeminent) among the astronomers of his time; and, again, in XXXIII. 21, it is said of Attalus "unicam fidem sociis præstitit."
OVID. AMORES. BOOK III. ELEGY IX.
1. (Memnona.) Tithonus, son of Laomedon, and brother of Priam, was chosen by Eos (Aurora) as her consort. The fruit of their union was Memnon, who came to the assistance of his kindred when Troy was beleaguered. He slew Antilochus, the son of Nestor, and, according to later writers, fell by the hand of Achilles. A detailed account of the grief of Aurora, and of the honors conferred by Jove, at her request, upon her son, will be found in Ov. Met. XIII. 576.
1 Od. IV. 188.
(Mater...Achillen.) Thetis, the sea goddess, who, although beloved of Jove, wedded the mortal Peleus.
quoi Iupiter ipse Ipse suos Divom genitor concessit amores
and by him became the mother of Achilles.
16. (Iuveni.) The beautiful Adonis, the boy beloved of Venus, cut off in the bloom of youth by a wound from the tusks of a wild boar. He was restored to life by Proserpine upon condition of spending one half the year with her in the realms below. Festivals were celebrated to commemorate his death and resurrection in many cities of Greece, Egypt and Syria.
The legend and worship of Adonis are universally recognised as Eastern in their origin, (the very name Adon or Adonai, i. e. Lord, is Hebrew), and he is generally believed to be the same with Tammuz of the prophet Ezekiel, the object of idolatrous services to the degenerate Jews. The accounts respecting this personage, preserved by the classical authors, are, as might be expected under such circumstances, extremely obscure and contradictory. This is not the proper place to enter upon a lengthened discussion, but the student who is desirous to investigate this curious topic, will find the principal data in Apollodorus III. 14. 3. in the Elegy of Bion, in Ov. Met. X. 298, et seqq., in a most lively and amusing description of the feast of Adonis at Alexandria, which forms the subject of the Adoniazusæ of Theocritus, and of the corresponding solemnities at Phoenician Byblos, in Lucian's treatise de Dea Syria; besides which, he may consult Tzetzes on Lycophron, the scholiast on Theocritus and the commentators on Ezekiel. The theories of the moderns are fully developed in Dupúis "Origine de Cultes," in Creuzer's "Symbolik," and Payne Knight “On the Symbolical Language of Antiquity.”
21, 24. Ovid in these lines alludes to the ancient legends with regard to the two mythic bards, Orpheus and Linus, whom the traditions of Greece pointed out as having first introduced civilization and the arts of life among wild and untutored hordes, who, in the glowing language of poetry, are said to have charmed not only savage beasts, but to have awakened to life and rapture even rocks and trees by the charms of song. They were represented by some as the sons of the muse Calliope and the Thracian monarch Oeagrus, while others assigned to them a still loftier parentage, by naming Apollo as their sire. Virgil says that Calliope was the mother of Orpheus, and Apollo the father of Linus, but his words do not necessarily imply that they were brothers.