Fantastic Friday 3: Final Adventures in Ethnography


Paradoxographus Vaticanus. 56-62 

56 “Among the Carthaginians it is impossible for those who have not served in the army to receive gold tribute. They receive as many payments in perpetuity as expeditions they served on.”

Παρὰ Καρχηδονίοις οὐκ ἔξεστι τοῖς ἀστρατεύτοις φορεῖν ἐνώτιον χρυσοῦν· ὅσας δ’ ἂν στρατεύσωνται στρατείας, τοσαῦτα ἀεὶ φοροῦσιν ἐνώτια.

57 “The Spartans shame/disfigure their elderly men no less than their fathers. And virgins have the same nude training as men do. It is not allowed for foreigners to live in Sparta nor for Spartans to offer them hospitality. These order women to get pregnant by the most well-formed men, both citizens and foreigners.”

Λακεδαιμόνιοι τοὺς γέροντας αἰσχύνονται οὐδὲν ἧττον ἢ πατέρας. γυμνάσια δ’ ὥσπερ ἀνδρῶν ἐστιν, οὕτω καὶ παρθένων. ξένοις δ’ ἐμβιοῦν οὐκ ἔξεστιν ἐν Σπάρτῃ
οὔτε Σπαρτιάταις ξενιτεύειν. οὗτοι ταῖς γυναιξὶν παρακελεύονται ἐκ τῶν εὐειδεστάτων κύειν καὶ ἀστῶν καὶ ξένων.

58 “First of the Greeks, the Cretans were possessing the laws which Minos set down. Minos claimed to have learned them from Zeus after he wandered for nine years over a certain month which is called the “cave of Zeus”. The children of the Cretans are raised in common and brought up hardy with on another. They learn the arts of war, and hunts, and they also practice uphill runs without shoes and they work hard on the pyrrhic dance which Purrikhos invented first.”

Κρῆτες πρῶτοι ῾Ελλήνων νόμους ἔσχον Μίνωος θεμένου· προσεποιεῖτο δὲ Μίνως παρὰ τοῦ Διὸς αὐτοὺς μεμαθηκέναι ἐννέα ἔτη εἴς τι ὄρος φοιτήσας, ὃ Διὸς ἄντρον ἐλέγετο. Οἱ Κρητῶν παῖδες ἀγελάζονται κοινῇ μετ’ ἀλλήλων σκληραγωγούμενοι καὶ τὰ πολέμια διδασκόμενοι καὶ θήρας δρόμους τε ἀνάντεις ἀνυπόδετοι ἀνύοντες καὶ τὴν ἐνόπλιον πυρρίχην ἐκπονοῦντες, ἥντινα πρῶτος εὗρε Πύρριχος.

59 “The Ligues hurl their parents from a cliff when they are no longer useful because of old age.”

Λίγυες τοὺς γονεῖς, ὅταν μηκέτι ὦσι διὰ γῆρας χρήσιμοι, κατακρημνίζουσιν.

60 “The Tauroi, a Skythian tribe, bury the kindest of the friends to the kings along with them. And the king, when a friend dies, cuts a little bit from his ear and takes away more when someone closer dies. When it is one of the closest companions of all, he takes the whole thing.”

<Ταῦροι, Σκυθικὸν ἔθνος, τοῖς βασιλεῦσι τοὺς εὐνουστάτους τῶν φίλων συγκαταθάπτουσιν>. ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς ἀποθανόντος φίλου μικρόν τι τοῦ ὠτίου ἀποτέμνει, ἀναγκαιοτέρου δὲ τελευτήσαντος πλεῖον ἀφαιρεῖ· ὅταν δὲ ὁ πάντων
εὐνούστατος ἀποθάνῃ, <τὸ ὅλον>.

61 “Some of the Skythians, after they butcher and salt one who has died, leave him out to dry in the sun. After that, they string the meat on a cord and tie it to their own neck. Then, whenever they meet one of their friends, they take out a little dagger,  cut some of the meat and give it to them. They do this until they consume it all.”

Σκυθῶν τινες τὸν τελευτήσαντα κρεονομήσαντες καὶ ἁλίσαντες ξηραίνουσιν ἐν ἡλίῳ· μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ ἐνείραντες ἁρπεδόνι τὰ κρέα ἐξάπτουσι τῷ ἑαυτῶν τραχήλῳ, καὶ μαχαίριον λαβόντες, ᾧ ἂν ἐντύχωσι τῶν φίλων, τεμόντες κρέα διδόασι. καὶ τοῦτο ποιοῦσι μέχρις ἂν πάντα δαπανήσωσιν.

62 “The Athenians when they are completing these [rites] to the grave and they bring all the grain, a sign of the discovery of by them of fruits of all kinds”

᾿Αθηναῖοι τοὺς τελευτήσαντες ἐπὶ τὸν τάφον ἄγοντες καὶ πᾶν ὄσπριον ἐπέφερον, σύμβολον τῆς παρ’ αὐτῶν εὑρέσεως τῶν καρπῶν τῶν ἁπάντων.

Miniature object

BNF Latin 9187 Coutumes de Toulouse, F34v

Fantastic Friday 2: Further Adventures in Ethnography

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 51-55

51 “The Assyrians sell their daughters in the marketplace to whoever wants to settle down with them. First the most well-born and most beautiful and then the rest in order. Whenever they get to the least attractive, they announce how much someone is willing to take to live with them and they add this consolation price from the fee charged for the desirable girls to these [last ones].”

᾿Ασσύριοι τὰς παρθένους ἐν ἀγορᾷ πωλοῦσι τοῖς θέλουσι συνοικεῖν, πρῶτον μὲν τὰς εὐγενεστάτας καὶ καλλίστας, εἶτα τὰς λοιπὰς ἐφεξῆς· ὅταν δὲ ἔλθωσι ἐπὶ τὰς φαυλοτάτας, κηρύττουσι πόσον τις θέλει προσλαβὼν ταύταις συνοικεῖν, καὶ τὸ συναχθὲν ἐκ τῆς τῶν εὐπρεπῶν τιμῆς ταύταις προστίθενται [ταῖς παρθένοις].

52 “If it is impossible to do something, the Persians do not mention it. Among the Persians, whoever considers a new pleasure, obtains heaps of it. [Among the Persians] whoever is discovered by the king grieves throughout his life and drinks a stone draft. Whenever the king dies, all of his claims are released and people take what they want and act lawlessly for three days until, once they arrive at the royal doors, they seek a new king who will resolve the lawlessness. [Among the Persians] if the king designates someone to whip, he is thankful as if he received something good.”

Πέρσαι, ὃ μὴ ποιεῖν ἔξεστιν, οὐδὲ λέγουσιν. παρὰ Πέρσαις, ὃς ἂν ἡδονὴν καινὴν ἐπινοήσῃ, σῶρα λαμβάνει. [Παρὰ Πέρσαις] ὃς ἂν καταγνωσθῇ παρὰ
βασιλέως, πενθεῖ διὰ βίον καὶ ποτηρίῳ πίνει πετρίνῳ. ὅταν δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἀποθάνῃ, ἀφίενται τῶν ἐγκλημάτων πάντες καὶ ἁρπάζουσιν ἂ θέλουσι καὶ παρανομοῦσιν ἐπὶ
τρεῖς ἡμέρας, ἕως ἂν ἐπὶ τὰς βασιλείους θύρας ἐλθόντες αἰτήσωνται βασιλέα, ὅστις αὐτοὺς ἀπαλλάξει τῆς ἀνομίας. [Παρὰ Πέρσαις] ἐάν τινα προστάξῃ βασιλεὺς μαστιγῶσαι, εὐχαριστεῖ ὡς ἀγαθοῦ τυχών.

53 “Among the Indians, if anyone ruins the hand or eye of an artisan he is punished with death.”

Παρὰ τοῖς ᾿Ινδοῖς ὁ τεχνίτου πηρώσας χεῖρα ἢ ὀφθαλμὸν θανάτῳ ζημιοῦται.

54 “Among the Egyptians it is not allowed for the illiterate to provide testimony.”

Παρ’ Αἰγυπτίοις μαρτυρεῖν ἀγραμμάτῳ οὐκ ἔξεστιν.

55 “the Libyan Atarantes judge the best of their daughters to be the ones who remained virgins for the longest time.”

᾿Ατάραντες Λίβυες τῶν θυγατέρων ἀρίστας κρίνουσι τὰς πλεῖστον χρόνον μεμενηκυίας παρθένους.


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The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 5, fol. 36v

Fantastic Friday: Adventures in Ethnography

Paradoxographus Palatinus 46-50

46 “The Dardanians, an Illyrian tribe, bathe themselves three times in their lives, when they are born and when they die. When they send an embassy to their enemies, they take a lamb and a branch of a tree. If their enemies accept their treaties, they leave what they brought. If they don’t, they take it back again.”

Δαρδανεῖς, ᾿Ιλλυρικὸν ἔθνος, τρὶς ἐν τῷ βίῳ λούονται, ὅταν γεννῶνται καὶ ὅταν τελευτῶσιν. ὅταν δὲ ἐπικηρυκεύωνται τοῖς πολεμίοις, ἄρνα κομίζουσι καὶ κλάδον δένδρου· καὶ ἐὰν μὲν δέχωνται οἱ πολέμιοι τὰς σπονδάς, καταλείπουσιν ἃ ἐκόμισαν, εἰ δὲ μή, πάλιν αὐτὰ ἀποφέρουσιν.

47 “Some of the Skythians are called man-eaters because they drink from human skulls. They also make handtowels by working the skin of the heads of their enemies. Then they flay the rest of the body with claws and put them on their horses.”

Σκυθῶν οἱ ἀνδροφάγοι λεγόμενοι ἐκ μὲν κρανίων πίνουσιν ἀνθρωπίνων, τὸ δὲ δέρμα τῆς κεφαλῆς τῶν πο-λεμίων ἐργαζόμενοι ποιοῦσι χειρόμακτρον, τὸ δὲ λοιπὸν σῶμα ἐκδείραντες σὺν τοῖς ὄνυξιν ἐπιβάλλουσιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἵππους.

48 “The Sauromatai dine for three days until they are full. They obey women in everything and themselves wear female vestments. If any of their enemies flee to the fire of their hearth and darken their forehead with ashes, they no longer harm them, as if they were a household slave. They do not allow a virgin to settle down with a man before she kills an enemy.”

Σαυρομάται διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν σιτοῦνται εἰς πλήρωσιν. ταῖς γυναιξὶ δὲ πάντα πείθονται, καὶ αὐτοὶ δὲ φοροῦσι γυναικεῖαν ἐσθῆτα. ἐὰν δέ τις τῶν πολεμίων
καταφύγῃ πρὸς τῷ ἐπὶ τῆς ἑστίας πυρὶ καὶ τοῖς ἄνθραξι τὸ πρόσωπον μολύνῃ, οὐκέτι αὐτόν, ὡς οἰκέτην, ἀδικοῦσιν. παρθένον δὲ οὐ πρότερον συνοικίζουσιν εἰς ἄνδρα, πρὶν ἂν πολέμιον κτάνῃ.

49 “Among the Phrygians, if someone kills a farming ox or steals some of the equipment for farming, he is punished with death.”

Παρὰ Φρυξίν, ἐάν τις γεωργὸν βοῦν ἀποκτείνῃ ἢ σκεῦος τῶν περὶ τὴν γεωργίαν κλέψῃ, θανάτῳ ζημιοῦται.

50 “The Lykioi honor women more than men and are named from the mother not the father. They leave their inheritance to daughters not to sons. If anyone who is free is caught stealing, he becomes a slave. They do not provide witnesses in trials immediately, but after a month.”

Λύκιοι τὰς γυναῖκας μᾶλλον ἢ τοὺς ἄνδρας τιμῶσι καὶ καλοῦνται μητρόθεν, οὐ πατρόθεν· τὰς δὲ κληρονομίας ταῖς θυγατράσιν ἀπολείπουσιν, οὐ τοῖς υἱοῖς. ὃς δ’ ἂν ἐλεύθερος ἁλῷ κλέπτων, δοῦλος γίνεται. τὰς δὲ μαρτυρίας ἐν ταῖς δίκαις οὐκ εὐθὺς παρέχονται, ἀλλὰ μετὰ μῆνα.

Wondrous Wednesday: How Sicily Became an Island and Shooting Arrows at the Gods

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 39-46

39 “Akulios the Roman Historian says that before a cataclysm Sicily was not an island as it is today but it was part of the mainland connected to what later became Italy. It was cut off from the Apennines from a deluge of floods at their roots, and the land was broken at Skullaion and the island was made. This is why that side of Italy is called Rhêgion.”

᾿Ακύλιος ὁ ῾Ρωμαῖος ἱστορικός φησι τὴν Σικελίαν πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ μὴ νῆσον εἶναι ὡς σήμερον, ἀλλ’ ἤπειρον γενέσθαι συνημμένην τῇ ὕστερον ᾿Ιταλίᾳ· ἐκ δὲ τῆς ἐπικλύσεως τῶν ῥευμάτων τῶν ῥιζῶν ἀποσπασθεῖσαν τοῦ ᾿Απεννίνου, κατὰ τὸ Σκύλλαιον ῥαγείσης τῆς ἠπείρου, νῆσον ἀποκαταστῆναι καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ῾Ρήγιον ἀποκληθῆναι τὸ πλευρὸν τῆς ᾿Ιταλίας ἐκεῖνο.

40 “The Persians punish those who bring harm to a pyre or piss in a river wash clean in it with death.”

Πέρσαι τοὺς προσφέροντας τῷ πυρὶ βλάβος ἢ ποταμῷ ἐνουροῦντας ἢ ἐναπονιζομένους θανάτῳ ζημιοῦσιν.

41 “They say that the Getai play drums along with Zeus’ thunder and shoot arrows into the sky to threaten the god.”

Γέτας φασὶ ταῖς τοῦ Διὸς βρονταῖς ἐπιτυμπανίζειν καὶ τοξεύοντας εἰς τὸν ἀέρα ἀπειλεῖν τῷ θεῷ.

42 “Among the Padaioi, an Indian tribe, the wisest of those who are present begin the sacrifices. And he asks from the gods for noting other than a sense of justice.”

᾿Εν Παδαίοις, ᾿Ινδικῷ ἔθνει, ὁ συνετώτατος τῶν παρόντων κατάρχεται τῶν ἱερῶν· αἰτεῖται δὲ παρὰ τῶν θεῶν οὐδὲν ἄλλο πλὴν δικαιοσύνης.

“Alexander the son of Philip ruled the Macedonians for 14 years. He conquered the Persians at the Granicus in his [24th year]. For this reason he used to honor that day especially and sacrified to the gods because it seem that the greatest things were accomplished in that fourth. And if he ever wanted to do something he waited for the fourth.”

43᾿Αλέξανδρος ὁ Φιλίππου τὴν τῶν Μακεδόνων ἀρχὴν <ἦρξεν> τεσσαρεσκαιδέκατος. ἐνίκησε δὲ Πέρσας ἐπὶ Γρανικῷ κδ’· διὸ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν σφόδρα ἐτίμα καὶ θεοῖς ἔθυεν, ὅτι ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ τετάρτῃ δηλονότι τὰ μέγιστα κατεπράχθη. καὶ εἴ ποτέ τι δρᾶν ἐβούλετο, περιέμενε τὴν τετράδα.

44 Among the Galataians, whoever flees after committing injustice in the worst ways, resolved it if he gave a horse or a trumpet.”

Παρὰ Γαλάταις ἐάν, <ὅσ>τις τὰ μέγιστα ἀδικήσας κατέφυγεν, ἐπι<δῷ> ἵππον ἢ σάλπιγγα, ἀπελύετο.

45 “These same people, when they are making plans about war, communicate with women and whatever the women decide wins the day. If they are defeated while they battle, they cut off the heads of the women who gave them advice about conducting the war, and they throw them from the land.”

οὗτοι περὶ πολέμου βουλευόμενοι ταῖς γυναιξὶν ἀνακοινοῦνται, καὶ ὅ τι ἂν γνῶσιν αἱ γυναῖκες, τοῦτο κρατεῖ· ἐὰν δὲ ἡττηθῶσι πολεμοῦντες, τῶν γυναικῶν, αἳ συνεβουλεύσαντο πόλεμον ἄρασθαι, τὰς κεφαλὰς ἀποτεμόντες ἔξω ῥίπτουσι
τῆς γῆς.

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Book of Hours, MS M.1004 fol. 43v -The Morgan Library & Museum

Fantastic Friday 3: Waters with Anaesthetic, Aphrodisiac, and Life-Changing Powers

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 33-38

33 “Aristôn the Peripatetic says that on the island Kios there is a spring of water and when people drink from it they lose all perception.”

᾿Αρίστων ὁ περιπατητικὸς ἐν τῇ νήσῳ Κία πηγήν φησιν ὕδατος εἶναι, ἀφ’ ἧς τοὺς πιόντας ἀναισθήτους γίνεσθαι.


34 “Near India there is a lake which admits everything except for gold and silver”

Περὶ τὴν ᾿Ινδικὴν ἔστι λίμνη, ἥτις πάντα †δέχεται† πλὴν χρυσοῦ καὶ ἀργύρου.


35 “Hellanikos says that among the Indians there is a spring called Sila from which even the lightest things are hurled back” [?]

῾Ελλάνικος ἐν ᾿Ινδοῖς εἶναί φησι κρήνην Σίλαν καλουμένην, ἐφ’ ἧς καὶ τὰ ἐλαφρότατα καταποντίζεται.


36 “In Hierapolis there is a place called Kharônios in which no animal walks at all. For, they immediately fall [there]”

᾿Εν ῾Ιεραπόλει τόπος ἐστὶ Χαρώνιος λεγόμενος, ἐν ᾧ οὐδὲν ζῷον δῆτα βαίνει· πίπτει γὰρ παραυτίκα.


37 “The river Selemnos flows through Arkadia and its water is an aphrodisiac.”

Σέλεμνος ποταμὸς ῥέει διὰ τῆς ᾿Αρκαδίας, καὶ ἔστι τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ ἔρωτος φάρμακον.


38 “Theopompos says that there is a spring in Thrace and those who have bathed in it change their life.”

Θεόπομπος κρήνην ἐν Θρᾴκῃ λέγει εἶναι, ἐξ ἧς οἱ λουσάμενοι μεταλλάττουσι τὸν βίον.

Fantastic Friday 2: Some Shape Shifters

Paradoxographus Vaticanus 31-32

This is probably the briefest version of the Teiresias story I know. Here’s another paradoxographical account.

31 “Teiresias the son of Euêros, after he witnessed two snakes having sex, killed them and immediately turned into a woman. After not much time he was a man and was selected as a judge of the pleasure of a man and woman in sex before Zeus and Hera. He said that a woman has more.”

Τειρεσίας <ὁ> Εὐήρους δύο δράκοντας μιγνυμένους θεασάμενος κτείνει αὐτοὺς καὶ παραυτίκα γυνὴ ‘κγίνεται, μετ’ οὐ πολὺ δὲ ἀνήρ, καὶ δικαστὴς ἡδονῆς γυναικὸς καὶ ἀνδρὸς τῆς ἐν τῆ μίξει παραλαμβάνεται πρὸς Διὸς καὶ ῞Ηρας· καὶ πλείονα λέγει τὴν τῆς γυναικός.

32 “In Homer, Proteus changes into every kind of shape just as Thetis does in Pindar, Nereus does in Stesikhoros and Mêstra does in Hesiod.”

Παρ’ ῾Ομήρῳ Πρωτεὺς εἰς πάντα μετεμορφοῦτο, καθὰ Θέτις παρὰ Πινδάρῳ καὶ Νηρεὺς παρὰ Στησιχόρῳ καὶ Μήστρα <παρ’ ῾Ησιόδῳ>.

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der Höllisher Protheus (hellish proteus) Erasmus Finx 1694

Fantastic Friday: Singing Statues and Food For Dogs

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 14, 23, 29, 30

14 “In a certain part of Olympos near Prousa they record that Daphne was overcome as she was pursued by a lusting Apollo. And even to this day, the leaves of laurel can be found mixed among those rocks.”

Κατὰ μέρος τι τοῦ κατὰ Προῦσαν ᾿Ολύμπου ἱστοροῦσι τὴν Δάφνην καταπεπόσθαι διωκομένην ὑπὸ ᾿Απόλλωνος ἐρῶντος· καὶ ἕως τοῦ νῦν πέταλα δάφνης ἐν τοῖς λίθοις ἀναμεμιγμένα εὑρίσκεσθαι.

[15-17: Some Miraculous Misogyny]

[18-22: River Stories]

23 “In Egypt, there is a statue of Memnon, which sings when the sun rises just as if it were addressing it.”

Κατὰ τῆν Αἴγυπτον ἀνδριὰς ἵσταται Μέμνονος, ὃς ἀνατέλλοντος τοῦ ἡλίου ᾄδει οἱονεὶ προσαγορεύων αὐτόν.

[24: More Misogyny]

[25-28: Marriage Customs]

29 “The Persians give meat to their household dogs as they would to wealthy and famous people.”

Πέρσαι τοῖς οἰκείοις κυσὶ βοράν, <οἵαν> τοῖς πλουσίοις καὶ ἐνδόξοις, τιθέασιν.

30 “Pherecydes of Syros became extremely prophetic after drinking water from a certain spring on the island of Syros. He then predicted some earthquakes and other things.”

Φερεκύδης ὁ Σύριος ἀπό τινος ἐν Σύρῳ τῇ νήσῳ πηγῆς ὕδωρ πιὼν μαντικώτατος γέγονε καί τινας προεμήνυσε σεισμοὺς καὶ ἄλλα.

Late 13C France U 964 Biblia Porta Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire

Late 13C France U 964 Biblia Porta Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire


Wondrous Wednesday: Some Wicked Waters

We posted previously about paradoxographical records of magical waters. Here are some more.

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 10-13

10 “The Skamandros [river] makes hair light colored. This is why it is called Xanthus in Homer.”

῾Ο Σκάμανδρος ξανθὰς ποιεῖ τὰς τρίχας· ὅθεν καὶ Ξάνθος παρ’ ῾Ομήρῳ προσηγορεύθη.

11 “Antigonos says that the warm water in Hierapolis turns everything into stone—and when the water itself [ripens] it also becomes stone.”

᾿Αντίγονος τὸ μὲν ἐν ῾Ιεραπόλει θερμὸν ὕδωρ πάντα ἀπολιθοῦν φησι, καὶ αὐτὸ δὲ πέσσεσθαι καὶ λίθον γίνεσθαι.

12 “Theopompos says that among the Lungkêstai there is a certain bitter water which makes those who drink it drunk.”

Θεόπομπος ἐν Λυγκήσταις φησίν τι εἶναι ὕδωρ ὀξύ, ὃ τοὺς πίνοντας μεθύσκει.

13 “Herakleides says that there is a lake among the Sauromati which does not support any birds; any bird which approaches dies because of a smell. For this reason, indeed, [other lakes?] seem to be birdless throughout Italy.”

῾Ηρακλείδης [φησὶ] τὴν ἐν Σαυρομάταις λίμνην οὐδὲν τῶν ὀρνέων ὑπεραίρειν φησί, τὸ δὲ προσελθὸν ὑπὸ τῆς ὀσμῆς τελευτᾶν. ὃ δὴ καὶ περὶ τὴν ἄορνιν κατὰ τὴν ᾿Ιταλίαν δοκεῖ γίνεσθαι.

Crane Tricks and Tortoise Homes

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 1-2 A few of these are really rough because the Greek does not make sense to me. Any suggestions are welcome

1 “Hegesias the Megarian says that there are cranes and whenever they are about to leave from Thrace, they are all sprinkled by one in a circle [?]. And then, whenever that one cries out, one is selected out as if a command were issued, and, after cleansing, it remains there. When they cross the sea, two stretch out their wings, but one goes beneath takes a break while resting upon them.”

῾Αγησίας ὁ Μεγαρεὺς τὰς γεράνους φησίν, ὅταν ἐκ τῆς Θρᾴκης ἀπαίρειν μέλλωσιν, ὑπὸ μιᾶς περιρραίνεσθαι κύκλῳ πάσας· εἶθ’ ὅταν βοήσῃ ἐκείνη, τὴς μὲν ἐξαίρειν καθαπερεὶ κελευστοῦ παραγγείλαντος, τὴν δ’ ἁγνίσασαν καταμένειν αὐτοῦ. ὅταν δὲ τὸ πέλαγος διαπεραιῶνται, δύο μὲν ἐκτείνειν τὰς πτέρυγας, τὴν δὲ γινομένην ὑπόκοπον ἐπὶ τούτων ἐφίζουσαν ἀναπαύεσθαι.

2 [Krokotta]

 3 “Politês says that damp-mud [pêla-muda] is made from mud in the Black sea. For this reason, he explains, it also has that name.”

Πολίτης τὴν πηλαμύδα ἐν τῷ Πόντῳ ἐκ πηλοῦ γίνεσθαί φησι· διὸ καὶ ταύτης τυχεῖν τῆς προσηγορίας λέγει.

 9“Polykleitos says that there are tortoises in the Ganges whose shell is just short of five measures large. Agatharkhides [claims] that they use these shells as as roofs for huts.”

Πολύκλειτος χελώνας γίνεσθαί φησιν κἂν τῷ Γάγγῃ, ὧν τὸ χελώνιον μεδίμνας χωρεῖν πέντε. ὁ ᾿Αγαθαρχίδης δὲ τοῖς χελωνίοις χρῆσθαι †πλήοις† ὡς ὀροφώμασι τῶν καλυβῶν.



Flammable Bones and Renewable Eyes: Some Amazing Animal Facts

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 4-8

4 “Aristotle says in his work On Animals that all land animals have respiration—as many as have lungs—except for the wasp and bee which do not breathe. However many animals have a bladder also have bowels. But not all animals who have bowels also have a bladder.”

᾿Αριστοτέλης φησὶν ἐν τοῖς περὶ ζῴων τὰ χερσαῖα πάντα ἀναπνεῖν, ὅσα πνεύμονας ἔχει, σφῆκαν δὲ καὶ μέλισσαν οὐκ ἀναπνεῖν. ὅσα τε κύστιν ἔχει, πάντα καὶ κοιλίαν· οὐχ ὅσα δὲ κοιλίαν καὶ κύστιν.

5 “Many of the animals are bloodless, and and, in general they are animals who have more than four feet.”

῎Αναιμα πολλὰ τῶν ζῴων, καθόλου δὲ ὅσα πλείους πόδας ἔχουσι τῶν τεσσάρων.

6 “Fish do not have a throat[?]. For this reason, if a smaller fish is pursued by a bigger one, it pushes the stomach under the mouth [?]”

Οἱ ἰχθύες οὐκ ἔχουσι στόμαχον· διό, ἐὰν διώκηται ὁ ἐλάττων ὑπὸ μείζονος, ἄγει τὴν κοιλίαν ὑπὸ τὸ στόμα.

7 “Snakes have thirty ribs, and their eyes, if anyone strikes them, grow back again. The swallow’s qualities are similar.”

Οἱ ὄφεις πλευρὰς ἔχουσι τριάκοντα. καὶ τὰ ὄμματα αὐτῶν, ἐάν τις ἐκκεντήσῃ, πάλιν γίνονται, καθὰ καὶ τὰ τῶν χελιδόνων.

8 “The bones of a lion are so stiff that when they are struck often they burst into fire.”

Τοῦ λέοντος τὰ ὀστᾶ οὕτως εἰσὶ στερεά, ὥστε πολλάκις κοπτόμενα πῦρ ἐκλάμπειν.

Image result for medieval manuscript lion fire

British Library, Royal MS 12 C. xix, Folio 6r. Lion

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