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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

3. Aristotle and his disciples / Aristote et ses disciples

7. Aristotle and His History of Animals

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1Philosophy, before Aristotle, was entirely speculative, losing itself in abstractions deprived of foundations; science did not exist. Science seems to have sprung full-blown from the mind of Aristotle, like Minerva fully armed from the mind of Jupiter. In fact, alone, without antecedents, borrowing nothing from the centuries preceding him, since they produced nothing solid, the disciple of Plato discovered and demonstrated more truths, carried out more scientific works in his lifetime of 62 years, than 20 centuries after him were able to do with the aid of his ideas, assisted by the increase of mankind over the habitable surface of the globe, by the printing press, engraving, the compass, gunpowder, alcohol, and by the cooperation of so many men of genius who have been able to glean scarcely anything from his tracks in the vast field of science.

2Aristotle was the first, after Socrates, to teach and follow, but on a more extensive scale, the method of observation, and in this way he placed the sciences in their true terrain. This method, in spite of the admirable results he produced with it, was disregarded for a long time; but at last the seventeenth century rehabilitated it and forever made of it the tool that is the most productive and the most certain to advance the natural sciences.

3All human learning before Aristotle was confounded in one sole science called “philosophy,” and the objects of this learning composed one great whole called “nature.” Aristotle subjected this one great whole to several divisions of great importance, and so, with him, analysis had its beginning. The sciences known in his time– natural philosophy, metaphysics, natural history, chemistry, political science, poetics, theory of the arts– were classed separately and became specialties. These specialties were each subdivided according to analogies as natural as those that had served as bases for the first divisions, and thus Aristotle could devote himself with precision to the deepest and most detailed studies. He then reunited the various parts of his work and made of them the greatest body of doctrine, the most comprehensive system that had ever been produced. This is a unique result from the almighty power of the patience that gathers details, and from the genius for generalizing that brings forth from the comparison of these details the most exalted methods and theories.

4Everything in Aristotle is astonishing, prodigious, and colossal. He lived only 62 years and was able to make thousands of observations in extreme detail, the accuracy of which has not been nullified by the severest criticism. Public professor for a third of his life, – responsible for a prince’s education that lasted seven years, usually living in the midst of the tumult of teaching, he wrote hundreds of works on the most diverse subjects, and all are rich in facts and fertile in ideas that surpass the imagination.

5Aristotle had the gift of inexhaustible invention; his genius is revealed in every manner. The innumerable quantity of his notes and scientific documents hardly permitted him to find his bearings in them; he had the idea of classifying them in an order corresponding to the letters of the alphabet, and thus he invented the dictionary method.

6Realizing that simple anatomical descriptions would be unclear, he added drawings, and again, he was the first to have the idea of showing with the help of illustration the details of animal organization that could scarcely in fact be perfectly understood otherwise.

  • 1 [Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (born 18 January 1689, Château La B (...)

7Every time this unique man opens up a new path, it is a scientific path, rich in important results, which shows the soundness of his incomparable spirit. Thus, when he wishes to study the science of the relations between the citizens and their government and to establish a political theory, he leaves speculation alone and consults experience. He collects and compares the constitutions of 158 states that existed in his time. This is the excellent method that has given us Montesquieu’s Esprit des Lois1.

8In short, one must think of Aristotle as one of the greatest observers that ever lived; without any doubt, he is the most extraordinary classifier-genius that nature has produced.

9The favorable circumstances in which he was placed can alone explain how he could be equal to the immense works we owe him. Therefore, we shall enter into some details about his life.

  • 2 [Amyntas III (died 370/369 B.C.), king of Macedonia from about 393 to 370/369. His skillful diploma (...)
  • 3 [Philip II, or Philip of Macedon (born 382 B.C.; died 336, Asia Minor), 18th king of Macedonia (359 (...)

10Aristotle was born at Stagira, a small town in Macedonia, in 384 B.C. His father, Nicomachus, was physician to Amyntas III, king of Macedonia2, and so he was raised in the court of this prince with the greatest care and became a sort of companion to Philip3, son of Amyntas and father of Alexander. Philip’s mother especially had a great affection for Aristotle.

11At the age of 16, he left Macedonia and was at Athens studying philosophy under Plato. The latter, who straightway recognized his genius, said that “he needed reins rather than spurs.”

  • 4 [Epicurus (born 341 B.C., Samos, Greece; died 270, Athens), Greek philosopher, author of an ethical (...)

12The claim is made, based on a letter written by Epicurus4, that Aristotle dissipated his fortune at Athens and had to practice medicine and sell medicaments in order to survive. The fact of selling drugs is a possibility, for at that time the various areas of the art of healing were not separate, and physicians themselves prepared and sold the remedies they prescribed for their patients; but the letter by Epicurus is anything but authentic, and if it were, the glory of Aristotle would lose nothing by it.

13During his sojourn at Athens, Aristotle received from Philip in 356 B.C. a letter conceived in these terms: “A son has been born to me. I thank the gods less for having given him to me than for having given him to me during the lifetime of Aristotle; for I hope that you will make him a king worthy of succeeding me and commanding the Macedonians.”

14Aristotle was only 28 years old at the time, a simple student of Plato’s, and far from having the celebrity that he acquired later; but we must remember that he had spent a part of his youth in close company with Philip and in this way the prince had been able to appreciate the power of his mind.

15Plato is thought to have been jealous over Philip’s letter. Also, some authors report that Aristotle set up a school at Athens in opposition to that of his master, and that there resulted a coldness between them. This is likely, but it has not been definitely proved.

  • 5 [Hermeias of Atarneus, a Greek soldier of fortune, who first acquired fiscal and then political con (...)
  • 6 [Artaxerxes II, see Lesson 6, note 27.]
  • 7 [Aristotle was on good terms with his patron, Hermeias, and married his niece, Pythias. She bore Ar (...)

16Aristotle attended Plato’s lectures for 20 years and did not leave Athens until 346, when war broke out between Macedonia and the Athenians. He went to live close to his friend Hermeias5, ruler of Atarneus in Mysia in Asia Minor. This prince died a victim of betrayal by the brother of Memno, general of the Greek troops, in the pay of Artaxerxes the king of Persia6; Aristotle sheltered Pythias, the sister of his friend, and married her7. At her death he paid her great honor; he was even accused of deifying her and of having vowed a cult for her very like the cult of the Athenians for Ceres. This story seems to have been an invention.

  • 8 [Mytilene, modern Greek Mitilíni, chief town of the island of Lesbos and of the nomós (department) (...)

17Aristotle went to Mytilene8 after the death of Hermias and it was from there that in 343, Philip had him come to the court to begin tutoring Alexander, then 13 years old.

  • 9 Aristotle was Greek and consequently hated the Persians, especially after the death of his friend H (...)

18This education kept him busy for seven years, and we can say that never did so powerful a prince receive lessons from so fine a genius. But these lessons were not completely successful for Alexander, as they did not protect him from the deadly faults into which prosperity leads the majority of men9.

  • 10 [Callisthenes of Olynthus (c. 360-327 B.C.), ancient Greek historian. Callisthenes was appointed to (...)
  • 11 [Antipater (born c. 397 B.C., died 319), Macedonian general, regent of Macedonia (334-323) and of t (...)

19When Alexander departed on his great expedition, Aristotle gave him for a companion and guide his kinsman and follower Callisthenes10, who was worthy of so handsome a role. But his remonstrances and frankness importuned Alexander and he fell into disgrace. Callisthenes’s enemies profited from the occasion by accusing him of treason and plotting, and Alexander had him put to death in a moment of fury. It is claimed that he had sent orders to Macedonia to subject Aristotle to the same fate but that Antipater11, who was then governor of the country, did not execute his wish. It is a fact that Antipater, the friend of Aristotle, never contributed to his death. But on the other hand, there is no proof that Aristotle’s death had been demanded of him.

20According to some authors, Aristotle went with Alexander to Egypt; there is no proof of this assertion, either; all the evidence offered actually proves the contrary, for the descriptions of Egyptian animals, upon which the evidence is based, have not been made from nature and have evidently been drawn from Herodotus, with all their inaccuracy.

  • 12 [Lyceum, Athenian school founded by Aristotle in 335 B.C. in a grove sacred to Apollo Lyceius. Owin (...)
  • 13 [Xenocrates (died 314 B.C., Athens), Greek philosopher, pupil of Plato, and successor of Speusippus (...)
  • 14 [Academy, Greek Academeia, Latin Academia, in ancient Greece, the academy, or college, of philosoph (...)
  • 15 [Caracalla, byname of Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, original name (until A.D. 196) Se (...)
  • 16 [Peripatetics, see note 12, above.]

21Shortly after the assassination of Philip in 336, Aristotle returned to Athens, and there, in a promenade planted with trees called the Lyceum12, where young soldiers were drilled, he opened a school, which was not slow in becoming famous. He taught there twice each day; in the mornings he developed the more esoteric parts of his philosophy; in the evenings, he discussed the fundamentals of philosophy and subjects that did not require previous study. He taught like this for a dozen years, and during this time, he did not cease corresponding with Alexander. There was, however, between them a marked coldness over the murder of Callisthenes, and one sees that Alexander in some of his letters tries to wound him by praising the merits of Xenocrates13, who presided over the Academy14, the rival of the Lyceum. The hatred that Philip’s son had for his master in the last years of his life was so well known that four or five hundred years later, Caracalla15, who took pride in imitating Alexander the Great, pushed this folly to the point of expelling the Peripatetics16 from Rome because they had been hated by the conqueror.

22During his expedition, Alexander, who had acquired from Aristotle a taste for natural science, sent to his master all the remarkable productions of the countries he conquered, and each of his victories was thus a source of riches for science. In fact, one can see from the accuracy with which Aristotle describes several animals from India and Persia that he had the objects themselves before his eyes.

  • 17 [Pliny the Elder, see Lesson 13, note 1.]

23Not only was Aristotle aided by his pupil’s conquests, he still received from him considerable sums of money: it cost more than three million in our own money for him to collect the materials for the History that made him immortal. Pliny17 states that Aristotle kept several thousand men constantly busy, at Alexander’s expense, hunting and fishing and making the observations that he needed.

24Doubtless, such resources are immense, but the use that Aristotle made of them far surpasses the result one might have expected.

25This astonishing genius not only served science by his observations and classifications; he made of his observations and classifications yet another eminent service when he created, still by means of Alexander’s munificence, the first library ever established in antiquity.

  • 18 [Ptolemy I Soter (born 367/366 or 364 B.C., Macedonia; died 283/282, Egypt), the son of the noblema (...)
  • 19 [Library of Alexandria, the most famous library of classical antiquity. It formed part of the resea (...)

26In imitation of him, Ptolemy Lagus18, who had been his pupil, founded the library at Alexandria19, and later the one at Pergamum was established.

  • 20 [Eurymedon, not to be confused with Eurymedon of a century earlier, one of the Athenian generals du (...)
  • 21 [Chalcis, modern Greek Khalkís, capital, nomós (department) of Euboea, on the island of Euboea, Gre (...)
  • 22 [Wilhelm Gottlieb] Tennemann [(born 1761, at Erfurt; died 1819, at Marburg) German historian of phi (...)

27As long as Alexander was alive, the seeming protection that Aristotle received from him assured his tranquility, but as soon as the vanquisher of Asia was dead, the Athenians gave rein to the resentments that fear had restrained. Demagogues who confused in their aversion the king of Macedonia with his preceptor; sophists whose quibbles he had pulverized; Platonists whose philosophy he had abandoned at first, and later attacked; all these were leagued together to persecute him. They invented absurd fables in order to disparage him, such as, for example, his having been an accomplice of Alexander’s assassins. They also brought forward against him the hierophant Eurymedon20 to accuse him of impiety. But when Aristotle saw that the storm would not become dissipated, warned as he was by Socrates’s example, he retired to Chalcis in Euboea21 with most of his disciples, in order, he said, to spare the Athenians a new outrage upon philosophy. He died in this retreat shortly after leaving Athens. It was claimed that he threw himself into the Euripus, in despair that he could not understand the cause of the flux and reflux he had observed there, and he is said to have uttered upon this occasion the pun, Since I cannot grasp thee, thou shalt grasp me. A like anecdote is told of Empedocles, who was thought to have thrown himself into the crater of Etna, pronouncing the same words as Aristotle22.

  • 23 [For Theophrastus, see Lesson 8, note 36.]

28Aristotle in his will settled the fate of his children and his friends, and freed his slaves. For executors of his last will and testament he named Antipater, the king of Macedonia, and Theophrastus23, his successor in the professorial chair at the Lyceum.

29Among Aristotle’s contemporaries were Democritus of Abdera, Hippocrates, Xenophon, and his master Plato.

30Democritus was 86 years old when the founder of the Lyceum was born, but since he lived to 110, he was Aristotle’s contemporary for 24 years.

31Hippocrates was 76 years old when Aristotle was born, but lived to 104. Xenophon was 61 when the preceptor of Alexander came into the world, and consequently was his contemporary for 29 years.

32Finally, Plato, at first his master, and for the past 2,000 years and more his antagonist, was 45 years old when his pupil was born, and he lived for another 36 years.

33It is worthwhile noting all these circumstances, because the direct or indirect communication that Aristotle must have had with the various sages whom we have just named doubtless had an influence on the development of his mind.

  • 24 [Strabo, see Lesson 12, note 29.]
  • 25 [The old story about Aristotle’s treatises being lost for years when they were hidden by the heirs (...)
  • 26 [Attalus I Soter (“Preserver”) (born 269 B.C., died 197 B.C.), ruler of Pergamum from 241 to 197 B. (...)
  • 27 [Johann Jakob] Brucker [born 1696, died 1770] says 130 years [in his Historia Critica Philosophiae, (...)
  • 28 [Apellicon of Teos (died c. 84 B.C.), a wealthy Greek book collector, who became an Athenian citize (...)

34We have only an incomplete idea of the extent of Aristotle’s knowledge, for one part of his work is entirely lost and the other has come down to us only in altered form. It is from Strabo24, in the thirteenth book of his Geography, that we learn the various fates of Aristotle’s books. He willed his library to Theophrastus, his favorite disciple and his successor at the Lyceum; Theophrastus entrusted it to Neleus25, who transported it to Scepsis, a town in Mysia under the rule of Attalus, king of Pergamum26. The heirs of Neleus hid in an underground vault the works contained in this library, because at that time, Attalus was setting up a library on the model of Alexandria’s, and so passionate a rivalry on the subject had arisen between him and King Ptolemy of Egypt that he was resorting to violence to obtain the volumes he desired. Aristotle’s books remained buried in their cavern for 60 years27, where they were partly destroyed by humidity. Apellicon of Teos28 became their proprietor, for a considerable sum, and brought them to Athens, his homeland, and supplied the missing parts of the books with interpolations that did more harm than good, for I have been able to single out some of them.

  • 29 [Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Felix), (born 138 B.C.; died 78 B.C., at Puteoli or Pozzuoli, near Naples) (...)
  • 30 [Andronicus of Rhodes, also called Andronicus Rhodius (fl. first century B.C.), Greek philosopher n (...)

35When Sulla29 took Athens, he found Aristotle’s books and had them transported with great care to Rome. A grammarian named Tyrannion, a supporter of Aristotle’s doctrine, was put in charge of making several copies. Andronicus the Rhodian30, who supervised the publication, divided the works into chapters. This division was very imperfect; the specific titles rarely indicate correctly the subjects treated in the chapters. Moreover, the body of Aristotle’s works needed to be distributed differently than was done.

  • 31 [Diogenes Laërtius (fl. third century), Greek author noted for his history of Greek philosophy, the (...)

36Diogenes Laërtius31 has preserved for us the titles of nearly 300 of Aristotle’s books, but several very important works of his have not come down to us. We are missing eight books of anatomical descriptions accompanied by colored illustrations corresponding to the text by means of references. The second work we are lacking is a collection of divers objects belonging to the natural sciences and arranged alphabetically. This was a veritable dictionary of natural history, which probably contained all the individual observations that Aristotle summarized in his other works. It was composed of 38 scrolls and would have made a large volume in-quarto. The third loss, although foreign to our subject, is very great withal. It is a collection of constitutions from 158 independent states, which Aristotle had gathered for composing his Politics. These constitutions would have been an extremely valuable source to consult on the history of the Greek republics.

37It would be outside our subject to examine those works of Aristotle that do not relate to the natural sciences. Nevertheless, I cannot dispense with informing you of them so that you may know the prodigious extent of their author’s knowledge.

38The first books of Aristotle treat of logic or psychology, and in fact it was natural that the study of human understanding should precede any other study, since it serves as the basis of our learning. These works contain the first explanation ever given of the rules of the syllogism, the procedure by which it is possible to discover whether the conclusion drawn from an argument is true or false. True, Plato had already used the syllogism in his Dialogues, but without explaining the mechanism, and, as it were, instinctively; Aristotle on the other hand treated it didactically.

39After his Logic came his Rhetoric and Poetics. The rules he gives here are still excellent, because they rest upon observation. Rules that people have arbitrarily tried since as substitutes have one by one been abandoned as false or incomplete.

40His Ethics, his Politics, and his Economics are also founded on observation, the first being based on the study of man, the others on the comparison of laws and facts. However, we notice in his Politics some ideas that we no longer share today, such as, for example, those on slavery. But these were generally received opinions at the time; all the efforts of Christianity, carried on over many centuries, were needed in order that less barbarous sentiments might prevail.

41In his Metaphysics, where he treats of what it means to exist, Aristotle no longer uses in his writing the clarity that distinguishes his other works. The reason for this is twofold; first, the subject is more abstract, more profound; second, the author’s ideas are less distinct, less precise. However, we do not find, even in metaphysics, Aristotle being surpassed by his successors; rather we find that it is his works on this science that have contributed the most to spreading his influence and causing it to dominate the schools of the Middle Ages.

42Now we come to the works of Aristotle that ought most especially to fix our attention, the ones that discuss the physical sciences. There are eight volumes on the physical sciences per se, four on the heavens, one on meteorology in which he also speaks of mineralogy, one on colors, two on the generation and decay of bodies, that is, on the movement of dissolution and recomposition of organized beings, ten on the history of animals, four on their parts, one on their means of progression, two on their generation, and various essays on waking and sleeping.

43In these different works, Aristotle uses the same method as in his Poetics, his Ethics, and his Politics; all general propositions that he expresses are inductions, resulting from observation and comparison of particular facts; he never states an a priori rule. Moreover, this procedure is a consequence of his theory on the origin of general ideas, which he gives as entirely human.

44Plato, as we have found in analyzing the Timaeus, proclaims that general ideas have an existence of their own and they are innate in man, since man’s soul possessed them when it was united with divinity, so that all general truths that it thinks to have discovered are only memories of its earlier notions. From this principle, it follows that the senses are completely useless in the acquisition of our knowledge, and we must keep them inactive in order thus to benefit the recall of ideas that we have received from divinity. Aristotle professes a contrary doctrine. He states as a rule that there are no innate ideas – divinity no doubt possesses essentially all general ideas, but as for man, he can acquire them only by means of abstraction, that is, by the comparison of individual facts in order to distinguish what they have in common and what in them is different. As facts cannot come to our intelligence except through the senses, he reasonably concludes that the action of the senses, or observation, is the true source of all knowledge. This basic principle, stated by Aristotle in his Logic and applied in his various works, is what has given his philosophy its special character.

45Of all the works of Aristotle that we have named, the first, treating of general physical sciences, is the most imperfect, and it could not be otherwise, for in physical science any progress is difficult and excessively slow when facts occurring naturally are the only ones that can be studied. It is necessary to generate them at will, to repeat their manifestation often –in a word, to experiment– in order for science to progress rapidly and with certainty. Now, in Aristotle’s time, experimentation was nearly impossible; the industrial arts were so undeveloped that they offered the scholar precious little help. Moreover, men possessed but very few observations; it was thus impossible for abstractions of very great generality to be constructed. Several principles stated by Aristotle have therefore been recognized as false or incomplete; but for his time, at least, they were based on observation and they summed up all known facts. For example, he had seen that solid bodies and liquid bodies fell to earth when they lost their support, that aeriform or gaseous bodies rose from the bottom of the water to its surface, and that a flame rose to the sky – he inferred from this that earth and water tended to descend and air and fire to rise. Today we know that these motions in opposite directions are the result of the same force, but it is only through observation of new facts that we have made this discovery that has demonstrated the inaccuracy of Aristotle’s explanations. Still, naturalists are not yet in agreement on the question as to whether fire is or is not subject to the universal law of gravitation.

  • 32 [Evangelista Torricelli (born 15 October 1608, Faenza, Romagna; died 25 October 1647, Florence), It (...)
  • 33 [Blaise Pascal (born 19 June 1623, at Clermont-Ferrand, France; died 19 August 1662), a mathematici (...)

46The remark that we have just made in regard to the fall or rise of bodies is applicable to the principle of the horror of the void, a principle for which Aristotle has been greatly reproached. Clearly, this principle was not, any more than the preceding one, conceived a priori, and was the result of generalizing from a fact when not all the details were known. If Aristotle had seen water in pumps not going past a height of 32 feet, or the mercury remaining at 28 inches in Toricelli’s tube, doubtless by comparing the specific weights of the two liquids and the heights of their columns, he would have discovered, like Torricelli32, and Pascal33 before him, the true cause of the phenomenon that he attributed to the horror of the void, namely, the weight of the air. Also, before experimentation had shown the falsity of Aristotle’s principle, it was just as logical to suppose that bodies had a tendency to seek the void, as to assume, as we do today, that bodies attract one another. Aristotle’s induction has nothing irrational in it; it can only seem so to persons who insist on taking a figurative expression literally, as we do a host of other expressions that we use without difficulty, since language does not provide us with rigorous ones.

47However that may be, Aristotle gave much more exact syntheses in the various branches of natural history than he did in physical science. Also, his writings on this science are the ones that offer to our admiration the greatest number of truths. The main one of these writings is his History of Animals, which I cannot read without being carried away by wonder. We cannot conceive how one man alone was able to gather and compare the multitude of individual facts that support the numerous general rules, the great quantity of aphorisms, contained in this work, and of which his predecessors never had any idea.

48The History of Animals is not properly speaking a zoology, that is, a series of descriptions of various animals; rather it is a sort of general anatomy in which the author treats of the general principles of organization evinced by various animals, in which he points out their differences and similarities, employing the comparative examination of their organs, and in which he proposes the bases of wide classifications of the greatest accuracy.

49The first volume describes the parts that make up the body of animals, not by species but by natural groups. It is evident that a work of this sort could result only from a profound knowledge of the details of animal organization. However, since Aristotle did not judge it necessary to form a zoological framework, some persons claimed that his work lacked method. I assure you, these persons had but a very superficial mind.

50The beginning of the book we are talking about is somewhat separate from the rest and serves as an introduction. It is composed almost entirely of general rules, presented without development, in the form of aphorisms; but in a manner clear enough so that anyone can understand them and apply them to familiar objects. Aristotle’s intention was, as he himself says, to inspire, by expounding a great number of remarkable results, an interest in the study of nature. Here are a few of those aphorisms, which, as we have said, imply observation and the comparison of an immense quantity of individual facts:

  1. no terrestrial animal is fixed to the ground (this aphorism is perfectly true; the zoophytes that are fixed to the place where they develop are not terrestrial animals but aquatic beings);

  2. no animal lacking feet has wings (this correct observation contradicts the existence of flying dragons, so much talked of before and after Aristotle, and which in reality are only fabulous animals);

  3. all animals, without exception, have a mouth and the sense of touch (these two attributes are basic constituents of animality; nothing is more true that this principle, despite the extreme variety of shape and structure present in animals overall);

  4. all winged insects having their stinger in the anterior part of their body have only two wings, as in the horsefly and the gnat – those having their stinger in the posterior part have four, as, for example, the ant.

51How many observations he must have had to make in order to state propositions that are so general and so accurate! They imply a nearly universal examination of all species. How, especially, could one find a priori the last of these aphorisms, since the reason for the natural law that it expresses is still not known.

52Aristotle, as early as his introduction, also expounds a zoological classification that leaves only a very few things for the centuries after him to do. His divisions and subdivisions of the animal kingdom are amazing for their precision and have almost all of them withstood science’s subsequent acquisitions of knowledge.

53He divides the animals into two large classes, animals that have blood and animals that do not; in other terms, he distinguishes, as we do, animals with red blood from animals with white. The former are the quadrupeds, the birds, snakes, fishes, and cetaceans. Although these last two classes both live in water and have some similarity in exterior form, Aristotle is far from confounding them, as do explorers in our own day who do not know natural history. He is no less informed than we are about the nature of cetaceans; he knows that these animals are warm-blooded, that their young are born live and are nourished with their breast milk. He also establishes among the quadrupeds a sharp distinction as to whether they are viviparous or oviparous. He remarks that the latter have a close analogy with snakes in their internal organization and integumentary system.

54One sees that Aristotle’s groups are formed in a quite natural manner, and that only their placement could be open to criticism.

55Animals without blood, or with white blood according to our present knowledge, are divided into four classes: mollusks, crustaceans, testaceans, and insects.

  • 34 [Carolus Linnaeus, also called Carl Linnaeus, Swedish Carl Von Linné (born 23 May 1707, Råshult, Sm (...)

56This distribution is not altogether irreproachable, but it was maintained up until Linnaeus34, whose classification is basically the same, and who subdivides the two sections of testaceans and insects, the first into mollusks and testaceans and the second into insects and crustaceans.

57Aristotle fixes among the mollusks in particular the cuttlefish, the squid, the octopus, the nautilus, and calls to our attention a fact that was still denied only a short time ago, that this last animal is not attached to its shell as are the other testaceans. He briefly describes all the organs of the mollusks and mentions even their brain.

  • 35 [Hemionus or onager (Equus hemionus onager), a subspecies of the wild ass of Asia that ranged from (...)

58The subdivisions established by Aristotle for animals with white blood are better than his main divisions, although the latter certainly have excited our wonder. For example, his classification of the insects is the same as is found in Linnaeus’s works. He divides insects according to whether they have wings or not, and of the first he sets up three suborders according to whether they have two or four naked wings or wings covered with horny sheaths. He then explains the genus, or the gathering of several species into one group, and he gives as an example the genus of solipeds that comprises the horse, the ass, and the wild mule of Syria (the hemionus)35. This genus is in fact one of the more distinct and one that we may cite the more justifiably.

  • 36 Monsieur Cuvier claims, like Aristotle, that mollusks have a brain. Monsieur [Antoine Étienne Renau (...)
  • 37 [Herophilus (born c. 335 B.C., Chalcedon, Bithynia; died c. 280), Alexandrian physician who was an (...)
  • 38 [Erasistratus of Ceos (fl. c. 250 B.C.), Greek anatomist and physician in Alexandria, regarded by s (...)

59After these generalities, Aristotle begins on the details of animal organization. He takes as his point of departure and for comparison, in his descriptions of the various organisms and in his nomenclature, the organization of the human body. The large regions and everything visible externally are the first object of his inspection. Then he examines the internal parts. But in this regard his ideas no longer have the same accuracy. Nevertheless, he recognizes well enough the broad characteristics of the organization, and even on some finer points he has made better observations than the majority of his successors. It is likely that he knew the function of the Eustachian tube, for, when refuting the opinion of Alcmeon – who maintained, as we have said, that goats breathe through their ears – he said that in fact there exists a connection between the ear and the throat but that it was not used in respiration. His first description is that of the brain; he affirms that this organ exists in all animals with red blood, but that among animals with white blood it is found only in the mollusks. This last statement is remarkable, for it is only in our time that it has been verified36. Man, according to Aristotle, is the animal whose brain is proportionally the most voluminous. The famous naturalist satisfactorily describes the membranes surrounding this organ. He also knows several of the nerves that lead to the eye and he indicates with some accuracy the origin and path of these nerves, which he calls the pores of the brain. But his neurological knowledge goes no further: he does not know the distribution and the functions of nerves; for him, as for his predecessors, these essential elements of organization are only tendons, ligaments – in a word, blank spots. Knowledge of the true nature of nerves was not acquired until later. Such knowledge is attributed to Herophilus37 and to Erasistratus38, his grandson and student.

60Aristotle describes the veins and recognizes that they all come from the heart, where their main vessels end. He is in this regard quite superior to Hippocrates, whose own description seems to be a work of the imagination. Aristotle distinguishes the vena cava from the pulmonary vein. He also describes the aorta, from the heart to its division in the lower trunk; he calls it a sinewy, cartilaginous vein. But he does not recognize the function of this vein, although he was first to distinguish it from other vessels. He does not know that it contains blood in life, and this lack of knowledge extends to all the other arteries. Nevertheless, he knows about the pulse, from which Hippocrates long before him drew conclusions about the treatment of disease.

61Aristotle assumes that the trachea-artery continues to the heart, and consequently seems to believe that air penetrates it. Moreover, he attributes to this organ only three cavities, an error proving that at least he had looked into its structure. He then briefly treats of the lungs, diaphragm, stomach, omentum, liver, spleen, bladder, and the kidneys and their appendages. He says that the right kidney is placed higher than the left. And he assigns no other function to the lungs than the receiving of air to cool the blood.

62These descriptions by Aristotle are incomplete and even incorrect in several respects; nevertheless, they have all been made a posteriori, that is, after having the seen the objects.

63The author then passes on to animals as such. He describes first their members and remarks when he examines those of the elephant that the existence of the prehensile organ, called the trunk, had been necessitated by the length of the anterior legs of this animal and the placement of their joints, which would have rendered extremely difficult the action of drinking and taking up food from the ground.

  • 39 [Georges-Louis Leclerc, Count (Comte) de Buffon, original name (until c. 1725) Georges-Louis Lecler (...)

64He thinks as we do that this trunk is actually a nose. He also gives very interesting details on the mode of reproduction of the elephant, on its habits and characteristics, etc. Ctesias had already written about them, but he was far from knowing them as precisely as Aristotle, who has not been surpassed in this matter even by the moderns, for Buffon39 was nearly always mistaken when he contradicted Aristotle, as is seen from observations recently made in India.

  • 40 [Aurochs, also spelled Auroch (Bos primigenius), extinct wild ox of Europe, family Bovidae (order A (...)
  • 41 [Hippelaphus is the European red-deer, Cervus elaphus hippelaphus, the largest of the red deer and (...)
  • 42 [Pierre Médard Diard, a student of Cuvier, born at Saint-Laurent in 1794. In 1817, with Alfred Duva (...)
  • 43 [Alfred Duvaucel, son from Madame Cuvier’s first marriage, a voyager-naturalist of the Museum, born (...)

65In considering animals according to the classification of their skin, Aristotle mentions among those having a mane the bonasus or aurochs40, which lived in his time in Macedonia, and today is found only in the forests of Poland. Then he mentions three other animals of India, apparently unknown to any other naturalist before him. These animals are the hippelaphus, the hippardium, and the buffalo. The hippelaphus, or horse-deer, a deer with a mane41, was found again a short time ago by Messieurs Diard42 and Duvaucel43; the hippardium, or hunting tiger, was not so well known to us until a very few years ago, for Buffon did not see it in the royal menagerie when it was there. And it is known that the buffalo was not introduced into Europe until the time of the Crusades. Aristotle describes this animal with much exactitude: he tells its color and the direction of its horns, and remarks that it differs as much from the domestic bull as the boar differs from the pig.

66Aristotle also knows and describes with great precision the two species of camel, one proper to Arabia, the other to Bactria. Knowledge of the latter clearly could not have come to him except through Alexander, for the Conqueror was the first of Greeks to have penetrated Bactria. The same remark applies to the elephant and the other three animals mentioned above; Aristotle owes his knowledge of them to Alexander, who had sent them to him from India.

67After finishing with the subject of the coats of animals, the author of the History of Animals writes about horns, and he expresses some general propositions that observation later will entirely confirm. We shall cite some of them.

68Every animal that has two horns has a cloven hoof; but the converse is not true, and so the camel has no horns, although it has a cloven hoof.

69Every animal with two horns and a cloven hoof, and are lacking teeth in the upper jaw, belong to the order of ruminants, and conversely these three characteristics are found in every ruminant.

70The horns are either hollow or solid; the former do not fall away; the latter are deciduous and are renewed each year.

71Aristotle observed teeth as closely as horns. He describes very well their way of being renewed in man and in animals, and the different forms they have according to the kind of food peculiar to each species: In carnivores they are sharp and pointed, in herbivores they are level and shaped like grindstones. In some animals, two teeth project from their mouth and constitute a defense; but such teeth never coexist like this with horns.

72The tusks of the female, in the elephant, are small and turned towards the ground, says Aristotle, whereas those of the males are larger and turned up at their extremity. This remark is true about the Asian elephants but not about the African. In the latter, the female’s tusks have a conformation that is no different from that of the male’s tusks. Ignorance of this fact could be put forward to refute the opinion of writers who claim that Aristotle accompanied Alexander in Egypt. For if in fact Aristotle had visited this country, it is not likely he would have committed the inadvertence of not stating the difference between the tusks of African elephants and those of the Asian. He doubtless would have also studied the hippopotamus, a poor description of which succeeds that of the elephant’s teeth, the reason for such proximity being not exactly clear. I do not think its inclusion was due to Aristotle. This description of the hippopotamus, borrowed, furthermore, from Herodotus, might have been written in the margin of Aristotle’s work by one of the early owners of the book, and then confounded with the text by some unintelligent copyist. We have many examples of such interpolations.

73Aristotle ends his description of the viviparous quadrupeds with that of the monkeys, which he regarded as beings lying between these quadrupeds and man. He shows quite well the main lineaments of their organization, the structure of their hands, and he designates several of their species, some having a tail, others lacking one. He finally arrives at the oviparous quadrupeds, discusses the characteristics they have in common and the nature of their teguments. At this point he describes the Egyptian crocodile; he calls attention to the hardness of their scales, the shape and length of their teeth, the location of their hearing organ, and gives their principal habits.

  • 44 [Mathurin Jacques Brisson, born at Fontenay-le-Comte on 30 April 1723, assisted René Antoine Fercha (...)

74Aristotle’s observations of birds have been used as a basis for modern classifications, and one could almost say that nothing in this regard has been changed since his writings; for Brisson44 does not classify the birds according to principles other than Aristotle’s. He shows that their wings are analogous to the anterior members of quadrupeds. He then gives in detail the shape of their feet and notes the differences seen there. He points out that their eyes are provided with a third eyelid, and several of these animals, mainly those with a fleshy tongue, have the ability to pronounce the words of languages. His aphorisms prove that he has seen all the objects that he writes about, for it would be impossible to establish a priori such general rules as these, for example: “Birds with spurs never have hooked claws, and conversely.” It is to his excellent method that Aristotle owes such astonishing results, almost at the birth of science.

75He is all the more admirable in ichthyology, and it appears that in this science he had even more extensive knowledge than our own in some respects.

  • 45 [Gobius niger Linnaeus, 1758, the black goby, widely distributed in the eastern Atlantic from Norwa (...)
  • 46 [Giuseppe Olivi (Italian naturalist, born 1769, died 1795) in his Zoologia adriatica, ossia catalog (...)
  • 47 [Fucus, also called Rockweed, genus of brown algae, common on rocky seacoasts and in salt marshes o (...)

76Although his goal was not to describe species but only to express general results, he introduces us, in various parts of his book, to 117 species of fishes. Some of the details that he reports on these animals are still regarded as doubtful, but from time to time we recognize the accuracy of even the details that had seemed most incredible. For example, Aristotle reports that a fish called Phycis (Gobius niger of Linnaeus) builds its nest like the birds45. The truth of this statement was always doubted; only recently, an Italian naturalist, Monsieur Olivi, has had occasion to verify it in a most positive way46. He saw the male, in the mating season, hollow out a hole in the mud, surround the hole with fucus47 –make, in short, a true nest– and wait there for the female to lay her eggs there, and near which he remains until they are hatched. It is remarkable that Monsieur Olivi does not seem to have known that this fact had been affirmed by Aristotle, and that thus his observation was but a confirmation of an ancient one.

  • 48 [“No man in Homeric times would eat fish when he could get meat” (book 4, line 369; see Homer, Odys (...)

77Moreover, Greece is a country extremely favorable for fishing; it has a multitude of gulfs and straits filled with a considerable quantity of fishes. In all eras, this circumstance has led the Greeks to devote themselves to doing research on fishes, and despite the contempt spread by Homer on this industry48, it is seen to be honored within a few years of his death. The prejudice disappeared quickly, great fisheries were established, salted fish became the object of a very lucrative commerce. It is for this reason that the port of Byzantium, from which a considerable quantity of salted fish was shipped, received the name of the Golden Horn.

78We have gone beyond the usual length of our meeting and shall finish the discussion of Aristotle’s History of Animals in our next lesson.

Annexes

THE PTOLEMIES IN EGYPT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE THIRD CENTURY B.C.

NAME

GREEK

BIRTH AND DEATH

REIGNED

COMMENTS

Ptolemy I Soter

Saviour

Born 367/366 or 364 BC, Macedonia; died 283/282, Egypt

323-285 BC

Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, who became ruler of Egypt and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which reigned longer than any other dynasty established on the soil of the Alexandrian empire and only succumbed to the Romans in 30 BC.

Ptolemy II
Philadelphus

Brotherloving

Born 308 BC, Cos; died 246

285-246 BC

Son of Ptolemy I Soter, king of Egypt, second king of the Ptolemaic dynasty, who extended his power by skillful diplomacy, developed agriculture and commerce, and made Alexandria a leading center of the arts and sciences.

Ptolemy III
Euergetes

Benefactor

Fl. 246-221 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt, son of Ptolemy II; he reunited Egypt and Cyrenaica and successfully waged the Third Syrian War against the Seleucid kingdom.

Ptolemy IV
Philopator

Loving His Father

Born c. 238 BC; died 205 BC

221-205 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt under whose feeble rule, heavily influenced by favorites, much of Ptolemaic Syria was lost and native uprisings began to disturb the internal stability of Egypt.

Ptolemy V
Epiphanes

Illustrious

Born c. 210; died 180 BC

205-180 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt, son of Ptolemy IV, under whose rule Coele Syria and most of Egypt’s other foreign possessions were lost.

Ptolemy VI
Philometor

Loving His Mother

Fl. c. 180-145 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt, son of Ptolemy V and Cleopatra I, under whom an attempted invasion of Coele Syria resulted in the occupation of Egypt by the Seleucids. After Roman intervention and several ventures of joint rule with his brother, however, Ptolemy was able to reunite his realm.

Ptolemy VII
Neos Philopator

Philopator, the Younger

Died 144 BC

About July to late August 145 BC

Younger son and co-ruler with Ptolemy VI, king of Egypt, whom he succeeded in 145 BC. Still a minor, he was the ward of his mother, who also served as his co-ruler. He was soon displaced by his uncle, Ptolemy VIII, who executed him the following year.

Ptolemy VIII
Euergetes II, also called Physcon

Benefactor II

Died 116 BC

170-164, 145-131, and 129-116 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt who played a divisive role in trying to win the kingship, making himself subservient to Rome and encouraging Roman interference in Egypt. He ruled jointly with his brother, Ptolemy VI, in 170-164 BC and alone during the next year; he was king of Cyrenaica (in modern Libya) in 163-145, and sole ruler of Egypt from 145 to his death in 116, except for a brief exile in 131-129.

Ptolemy IX Soter II, byname Lathyrus

Saviour II

Fl. second-first century BC

116-110, 109-107, and 88-81 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt who, after ruling Cyprus and Egypt in various combinations with his brother, Ptolemy X, and his mother, Cleopatra III, widow of Ptolemy VIII, gained sole rule of the country in 88 and sought to keep Egypt from excessive Roman influence while trying to develop trade with the East.

Ptolemy X
Alexander I

Died 88 BC

107-88 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt who, under the direction of his mother, Cleopatra III, ruled Egypt alternately with his brother Ptolemy IX and around 105 became involved in a civil war in the Seleucid kingdom in Syria.

Ptolemy XI
Alexander II

Born c. 115, died 80 BC

80 BC

A son of Ptolemy X Alexander I, last fully legitimate Ptolemaic king of Egypt, who married Berenice III, Ptolemy IX Soter II’s widow, in 80 BC, and joined her as co-ruler. Unable to coexist with the queen, who insisted on ruling alone, Ptolemy murdered her after about 19 days of joint rule. The people of Alexandria, who had greatly admired the queen, killed him in revenge.

Ptolemy XII
Auletes, in full Ptolemy XII Theos Philopater Philadelphus Neos Dionysos Auletes

Flute Player

Born c. 112, died 51 BC

80-51 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt, whose quasi-legitimate royal status compelled him to depend heavily upon Rome for support for his throne (although known as a son of Ptolemy IX Soter II, the identity of his mother is not certain). During his reign Egypt became virtually a client kingdom of the Roman republic.

Ptolemy XIII
Theos Philopator

God Loving His Father

Born 63; died 47 BC, near Alexandria

51-47 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt, a son of Ptolemy XII Auletes, and co-ruler with his famous sister, Cleopatra VII. He was killed while leading the Ptolemaic army against Julius Caesar’s forces in the final stages of the Alexandrian War.

Ptolemy XIV
Theos Philopator II

God Loving His Father

Born c. 59, died July 44 BC

47-44 BC

Macedonian king of Egypt, co-ruler with his elder sister, the famous Cleopatra VII, by whom he was reportedly killed in 44 to make way for Ptolemy XV Caesar (Caesarion), her son by Julius Caesar.

Ptolemy XV Caesar, in full, Ptolemy Philopator Philometor Caesar, byname Caesarion

Born June 47, died 30 BC

44-30 BC

King of Egypt, son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra VII. Co-ruler with his mother, he was killed by Octavian, later the emperor Augustus, after her death in 30.

Notes

1 [Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (born 18 January 1689, Château La Brède, near Bordeaux, France; died 10 February 1755, Paris), French political philosopher whose major work, The Spirit of Laws, published in 1748, was a major contribution to political theory (see Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat), The Spirit of Laws [by M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu; with D’Alembert’s analysis of the work; translated from the French by Nugent Thomas; new ed., revised by Prichard J. V. ], Littleton (Colorado): F. B. Rothman, 1991, 2 vols).]

2 [Amyntas III (died 370/369 B.C.), king of Macedonia from about 393 to 370/369. His skillful diplomacy created a minor role for Macedonia in Greek affairs and prepared the way for its emergence as a great power under his son Philip II (ruled 359-336). Amyntas came to the throne during the disorders that plagued Macedonia after the death of the powerful king Archelaus (ruled c. 413-399). Amyntas soon had to fight off attacks by the Illyrians (of present-day Albania) and by the Chalcidian League, a confederation of cities of the Chalcidice peninsula, east of Macedonia. The threat from the latter was removed when intervention by Sparta led to the dissolution of the league in 379. Amyntas continued to maintain his independence by siding with the powers ascendant in Greece, including first Athens and then Thessaly, under its tyrant Jason of Pherae (ruled c. 385-370).]

3 [Philip II, or Philip of Macedon (born 382 B.C.; died 336, Asia Minor), 18th king of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.), who restored internal peace to his country and then, by 339, had gained domination over all Greece by military and diplomatic means, thus laying the foundations for its expansion under his son Alexander III the Great.]

4 [Epicurus (born 341 B.C., Samos, Greece; died 270, Athens), Greek philosopher, author of an ethical philosophy of simple pleasure, friendship, and retirement (see Epicurus, Epicurus, the Extant Remains [with short critical apparatus, translation and notes by Bailey Cyril], Oxford: Clarendon press, 1926, 432 p.) He founded schools of philosophy that survived directly from the 4th century B.C. until the 4th century A.D.]

5 [Hermeias of Atarneus, a Greek soldier of fortune, who first acquired fiscal and then political control of northwestern Asia Minor, as a vassal of Persian overlords. After a visit to the Athenian Academy he invited two of Plato’s graduates to set up a small branch at Assus to help spread Greek rule as well as Greek philosophy to Asian soil. Aristotle came to this new intellectual center. To this period may belong the first 12 chapters of Book 7 of Aristotle’s Politics (see Aristotle, The Complete Works of Aristotle [The revised Oxford translation, edited by Barnes Jonathan], Princeton (New Jersey): Princeton University Press, 1984, 2 vols). There he sketches the connection between philosophy and politics; namely, that the highest purpose of a city-state is to secure the conditions in which those who are capable of it can live the philosophical life. Such a life, however, lies only within the capacity of the Greeks, whose superiority qualifies them to employ the non-Greek tribal peoples as serfs or slaves for the performance of all menial labor. Thus, citizenship and service in the armed forces are considered to be the exclusive rights and duties of the Greeks. Aristotle’s espousal of an enlightened oligarchy, nonetheless, actually constituted an advance over the political concepts flourishing at the time and it should be viewed in its context as a positive development in the establishment of the noble civilization created by the Greeks.]

6 [Artaxerxes II, see Lesson 6, note 27.]

7 [Aristotle was on good terms with his patron, Hermeias, and married his niece, Pythias. She bore Aristotle a daughter, whom he called by her mother’s name. In the Politics, Aristotle prescribed the ideal ages for marriage – 37 for the husband and 18 for the wife. Because Aristotle was himself 37 at this time, it is tempting to guess that Pythias was 18. It is also possible that their own marital relations are reflected in his further, somewhat cryptic, observation: “As for adultery, let it be held disgraceful for any man or woman to be found in any way unfaithful once they are married and call each other husband and wife.” In his will Aristotle ordered that “Wherever they bury me, there the bones of Pythias shall be laid, in accordance with her own instructions.” Pythias did not live long, however; and after her death Aristotle chose another companion, Herpyllis (whether concubine or wife is uncertain), by whom he then had a son, Nicomachus. She outlived Aristotle, and he made ample and considerate provision for her in his will “in recognition of the steady affection she has shown me.”]

8 [Mytilene, modern Greek Mitilíni, chief town of the island of Lesbos and of the nomós (department) of Lesbos, Greece.]

9 Aristotle was Greek and consequently hated the Persians, especially after the death of his friend Hermeias. Therefore, he did not deflect Alexander from his plans of conquest; but he made them serve civilization. [M. de St.-Agy.]

10 [Callisthenes of Olynthus (c. 360-327 B.C.), ancient Greek historian. Callisthenes was appointed to attend Alexander the Great as historian of his Asiatic expedition on the recommendation of his uncle and former tutor, Aristotle. Callisthenes offended Alexander by censuring him for the adoption of certain Oriental customs. He was subsequently accused of being privy to a conspiracy against Alexander and was thrown into prison, where he died. His death was commemorated by his friend Theophrastus in Callisthenes or a Treatise on Grief. Callisthenes wrote a history of Greece from the peace of Antalcidas (386) to the Phocian War (355); a history of the Phocian War; an account of the Asiatic expedition; and other works, all of which have perished. It is known that he alluded to the story of Alexander’s divine birth and may have been the first to do so.]

11 [Antipater (born c. 397 B.C., died 319), Macedonian general, regent of Macedonia (334-323) and of the Macedonian Empire (321-319) whose death signaled the end of centralized authority in the empire. One of the leading men in Macedonia at the death of Philip II in 336, he helped to secure the succession to the Macedonian throne for Philip’s son, Alexander the Great, who upon departure for the conquest of Asia (334) appointed Antipater regent in Macedonia with the title of general in Europe.]

12 [Lyceum, Athenian school founded by Aristotle in 335 B.C. in a grove sacred to Apollo Lyceius. Owing to his habit of walking about the grove while lecturing his students, the school and its students acquired the label of Peripatetics (Greek peri, “around,” and patein, “to walk”). The peripatos was the covered walkway of the Lyceum. Most of Aristotle’s extant writings comprise notes for lectures delivered at the school as edited by his successors.]

13 [Xenocrates (died 314 B.C., Athens), Greek philosopher, pupil of Plato, and successor of Speusippus as the head of the Greek Academy, which Plato founded about 387 B.C. In the company of Aristotle he left Athens after Plato’s death in 348/347, returning in 339 on his election as head of the Academy, where he remained until his death.]

14 [Academy, Greek Academeia, Latin Academia, in ancient Greece, the academy, or college, of philosophy in the northwestern outskirts of Athens, where Plato acquired property about 387 B.C. and used to teach. At the site there had been an olive grove, park, and gymnasium sacred to the legendary Attic hero Academus (or Hecademus). The designation academy, as a school of philosophy, is usually applied not to Plato’s immediate circle but to his successors down to the Roman Cicero’s time (106-43 B.C.) Legally, the school was a corporate body organized for worship of the Muses, the scholarch (or headmaster) being elected for life by a majority vote of the members. Most scholars infer, mainly from Plato’s writings, that instruction originally included mathematics, dialectics, natural science, and preparation for statesmanship. The Academy continued until A.D. 529, when the emperor Justinian closed it, together with the other pagan schools.]

15 [Caracalla, byname of Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus, original name (until A.D. 196) Septimius Bassianus, also called (A.D. 196-198) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Caesar (born 4 April A.D. 188, Lugdunum [Lyon], Gaul; died 8 April 217, near Carrhae, Mesopotamia), Roman emperor, ruling jointly with his father, Septimius Severus, from 198 to 211 and then alone from 211 until his assassination in 217. His principal achievements were his colossal baths in Rome and his edict of 212, giving Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the empire. Caracalla, whose reign contributed to the decay of the empire, has often been regarded as one of the most bloodthirsty tyrants in Roman history.]

16 [Peripatetics, see note 12, above.]

17 [Pliny the Elder, see Lesson 13, note 1.]

18 [Ptolemy I Soter (born 367/366 or 364 B.C., Macedonia; died 283/282, Egypt), the son of the nobleman Lagus, Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, who became ruler of Egypt (323-285 B.C.) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which reigned longer than any other dynasty established on the soil of the Alexandrian empire and only succumbed to the Romans in 30 B.C.]

19 [Library of Alexandria, the most famous library of classical antiquity. It formed part of the research institute at Alexandria in Egypt that is known as the Museum, or Alexandrian Museum. The Alexandrian museum and library were founded and maintained by the long succession of the Ptolemies in Egypt from the beginning of the third century B.C. (see the table to the next page). The library’s initial organization was the work of Demetrius Phalereus, who was familiar with the achievements of the library at Athens. Both the museum and the library were organized in faculties, with a president-priest at the head and the salaries of the staff paid by the Egyptian king. A subsidiary “daughter library” was established about 235 B.C. by Ptolemy III in the Temple of Sarapis, the main museum and library being located in the palace precincts, in the district known as the Brucheium. It is not known how far the ideal of an international library –incorporating not only all Greek literature but also translations into Greek from the other languages of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India– was realized. It is certain that the library was in the main Greek; the only translation recorded was the Septuagint. The library’s editorial program included the establishment of the Alexandrian canon of Greek poets, the division of works into “books” as they are now known (probably to suit the standard length of rolls), and the gradual introduction of systems of punctuation and accentuation. The compilation of a national bibliography was entrusted to Callimachus. Though now lost, it survived into the Byzantine period as a standard reference work of Greek literature. The museum and library survived for many centuries but were destroyed in the civil war that occurred under the Roman emperor Aurelian in the late third century A.D.; the “daughter library” was destroyed by Christians in A.D. 391.]

20 [Eurymedon, not to be confused with Eurymedon of a century earlier, one of the Athenian generals during the Peloponnesian War, who in 428 B.C. he was sent by the Athenians to intercept the Peloponnesian fleet, which was on the way to attack Corcyra.]

21 [Chalcis, modern Greek Khalkís, capital, nomós (department) of Euboea, on the island of Euboea, Greece, at the narrowest point (measured only in yards) of the Euripus (Evrípos) channel, separating Euboea from the Greek mainland and dividing the Gulf of Euboea into northern and southern gulfs.]

22 [Wilhelm Gottlieb] Tennemann [(born 1761, at Erfurt; died 1819, at Marburg) German historian of philosophy, whose great work is an eleven-volume history of philosophy, which he began at Jena and finished at the University of Marburg, where he was professor of philosophy from 1804 till his death; see Tennemann (Willem Gottlieb), Geschichte der Philosophie von Wilhelm Gottlieb Tennemann, Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1798-1819, 11 vols; A manual of the history of philosophy [translated from the German of Tennemann by Johnson Arthur], Oxford: D. A. Talboys, 1832, xi + 494 p.] says that probably Aristotle poisoned himself. Tennemann is mistaken, and I must say, since the occasion for it presents itself, that I have noticed other errors in this learned and laborious German. Therefore, he should be consulted only with caution. [M. de St.-Agy.]

23 [For Theophrastus, see Lesson 8, note 36.]

24 [Strabo, see Lesson 12, note 29.]

25 [The old story about Aristotle’s treatises being lost for years when they were hidden by the heirs of Neleus of Scepsis has been challenged effectively by Gottschalk (Hans), “Aristotelian Philosophy in the Roman World from the Time of Cicero to the End of the Second Century AD”, Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, vol. 36, n ° 2, 1987, pp. 1079-1174.]

26 [Attalus I Soter (“Preserver”) (born 269 B.C., died 197 B.C.), ruler of Pergamum from 241 to 197 B.C., with the title of king after about 230. He succeeded his uncle, Eumenes I (reigned 263-241), and by military and diplomatic skill created a powerful Pergamene kingdom.]

27 [Johann Jakob] Brucker [born 1696, died 1770] says 130 years [in his Historia Critica Philosophiae, a mundi incunabulis ad nostrum usque aetatem deducta, Leipzig: Breithopf, 1742-1744, 6 vols]. [M. de St.-Agy.]

28 [Apellicon of Teos (died c. 84 B.C.), a wealthy Greek book collector, who became an Athenian citizen. He had bought from the descendants of Neleus of Scepsis in the Troad the libraries of Aristotle and Theophrastus, which were in a damaged condition but might have contained the only copies of the Aristotelian treatises to survive. Apellicon is said to have published them with corrections and supplements. After his death, when Sulla captured Athens, the books were carried offto Rome where eventually they formed the basis of a famous edition by Andronicus of Rhodes (see note 30, below; Andronicus of Rhodes, The paraphrase of an anonymous Greek writer (hitherto published under the name of Andronicus Rhodius) on the Nicomachean ethics of Aristotle [translated from the Greek by Bridgman William], London: C. Whittingham, 1807, v-xviii + 478 p.)]

29 [Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Felix), (born 138 B.C.; died 78 B.C., at Puteoli or Pozzuoli, near Naples), victor in the first full-scale civil war in Roman history (88-82 B.C.) and subsequently dictator (82-79), who carried out notable constitutional reforms in an attempt to strengthen the Roman Republic during the last century of its existence. In late 82, he assumed the name Felix in belief in his own luck. In 88 Sulla set off for Greece in charge of the war against Mithradates. By the spring of 87 most of Greece was in his power, and after a long siege he captured Athens in 86. Mithradates’s general was pursued into Boeotia and finally defeated in two battles in 86.]

30 [Andronicus of Rhodes, also called Andronicus Rhodius (fl. first century B.C.), Greek philosopher noted for his meticulous editing and commentary of Aristotle’s works, which had passed from one generation to the next in such a way that the presumed quality of the original texts had been lost and much superfluous material added to many of the major treatises. Andronicus studied the original texts to sift out extraneous material and arranged them in an order that he thought reflected the workings of Aristotle’s mind. After completing the editing, he wrote a treatise that covered four topics: a defense of his procedure, a biography of Aristotle, an exploration into the question of authenticity, and an examination of the Aristotelian system of thought (see note 28, above).]

31 [Diogenes Laërtius (fl. third century), Greek author noted for his history of Greek philosophy, the most important existing secondary source of knowledge in the field (see Athenaeus of Naucratis, The Deipnosophists or Banquet of the Learned of Athenaeus [literally translated by Yonge Charles Duke; with an appendix of poetical fragments rendered into English verse by various authors, and a general index], London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854, 2 vols). One of its traditional titles, Peri bion dogmaton kai apophthegmaton ton en philosophia eudokimesanton (“Lives, Teachings, and Sayings of Famous Philosophers”), indicates its great scope. The work is a compilation, the excerpts of which range from insignificant gossip to valuable biographical and bibliographical information, competent summaries of doctrines, and reproductions of significant documents such as wills or philosophical writings. Though he quoted hundreds of authorities, he knew most of them only by second hand; his true sources have not been ascertained except in a few cases. The work itself consists of an introductory book and nine others presenting Greek philosophy as divided into an Ionian and an Italic branch (Books 2-7, 8) with “successions,” or schools, within each and with “stray” philosophers appended (Books 9 and 10). In all extant manuscripts, the oldest of which belongs to the twelfth century, part of Book 7 is missing.]

32 [Evangelista Torricelli (born 15 October 1608, Faenza, Romagna; died 25 October 1647, Florence), Italian physicist and mathematician who invented the barometer and whose work in geometry aided in the eventual development of integral calculus. Inspired by Galileo’s writings, he wrote a treatise on mechanics, De Motu Gravium (on the motion of fluids), which impressed Galileo (see “De Motu gravium”, in Torricelli (Evangelista), Opera geometrica, Florentiae: typis Amatoris Masse & Laurentii de Landis, 1644; Berkeley (George), De Motu and The Analyst [a modern edition, with introductions and commentary; edited and translated by Jesseph Douglas M.], Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992, x + 230 p.) In 1641, Torricelli was invited to Florence, where he served the elderly astronomer as secretary and assistant during the last three months of Galileo’s life. Torricelli was then appointed to succeed him as professor of mathematics at the Florentine Academy.]

33 [Blaise Pascal (born 19 June 1623, at Clermont-Ferrand, France; died 19 August 1662), a mathematician, physicist, religious philosopher, and master of French prose, laid the foundation for the modern theory of probabilities, formulated what came to be known as Pascal’s law of pressure, and propagated a religious doctrine that taught the experience of God through the heart rather than through reason. The establishment of his principle of intuitionism had an impact on such later philosophers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Henri Bergson and also on the Existentialists (see Pascal (Blaise), œuvres complètes [édition présentée, établie et annotée par Le Guern Michel], Paris: Gallimard, 2004, 764 p.]

34 [Carolus Linnaeus, also called Carl Linnaeus, Swedish Carl Von Linné (born 23 May 1707, Råshult, Smâland, Sweden; died 10 January, 1778, Uppsala), Swedish botanist and explorer who was the first to frame principles for defining genera and species of organisms and to create a uniform system for naming them (see Blunt (Wilfrid), Linnaeus, the Compleat Naturalist [with an introduction by Stearns William T.], Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001, 264 p.)]

35 [Hemionus or onager (Equus hemionus onager), a subspecies of the wild ass of Asia that ranged from northwest Iran to Turkmenistan. Pale-colored and small, it has a short erect mane and fairly large ears. It was domesticated in ancient times but was replaced by the domestic horse and donkey. It now is found in limited numbers and may be approaching extinction. The name onager is sometimes used for the Asian wild ass (Equus hemionus).]

36 Monsieur Cuvier claims, like Aristotle, that mollusks have a brain. Monsieur [Antoine Étienne Renaud Augustin] Serres [born 1786, died 1868] maintains the contrary in his Anatomie comparée du cerveau [dans les quatre classes des animaux vertébres, appliquée a la physiologie et à la pathologie du système nerveux, Paris: Chez Gabon & Compagnie, 1824-1827, 2 vols + atlas]. [M. de St.-Agy.]

37 [Herophilus (born c. 335 B.C., Chalcedon, Bithynia; died c. 280), Alexandrian physician who was an early performer of public dissections on human cadavers; and often called the father of anatomy.]

38 [Erasistratus of Ceos (fl. c. 250 B.C.), Greek anatomist and physician in Alexandria, regarded by some as the founder of physiology. Known especially for his studies of the circulatory and nervous systems, Erasistratus noted the difference between sensory and motor nerves, but thought that the nerves were hollow tubes containing fluid. He believed that air entered the lungs and heart and was carried through the body in the arteries, and that the veins carried blood from the heart to the various parts of the body. He correctly described the function of the epiglottis and the valves of the heart, including the tricuspid, which he named (Cole (Francis Joseph), A History of Comparative Anatomy, from Aristotle to the Eighteenth Century, London: Macmillan and Co Ltd, 1949, viii + 524 p.; Wright (John P.) & Potter (Paul), Psyche and Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment, Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, XII + 298 p.]

39 [Georges-Louis Leclerc, Count (Comte) de Buffon, original name (until c. 1725) Georges-Louis Leclerc, or (c. 1725-1773) Georges-Louis Leclerc De Buffon (born 7 September 1707, Montbard, France; died 16 April 1788, Paris), French naturalist and philosopher, member of the French Academy, perpetual treasurer of the Academy of Science, fellow of the Royal Society of London, and member of most of the learned societies of Europe (Roger (Jacques), Buffon, a Life in Natural History [translated by Bonnefoi Sarah Lucille; edited by Williams L. Pearce], Ithaca (New York); London: Cornell University Press, 1997, xvii + 492 p.) At the age of 25, he inherited a considerable fortune from his mother and from this time onward he devoted himself to scientific study. In 1739, he became keeper of the Jardin du Roi and there began to collect materials for his great Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, the first work to present the previously isolated and disconnected facts of natural history in a popular and generally intelligible form. Passing through several editions and translated into various languages, the Histoire naturelle was first published in Paris in 44 quarto volumes between 1749 and 1804. The first fifteen volumes of this edition (1749-1767) were prepared with the help of Louis Jean Marie Daubenton (French naturalist who was a pioneer in the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology, born 29 May 1716, Montbard, Côte d’Or, France; died 1 January 1800, Paris) and subsequently by Philibert Guéneau de Montbeillard (born 1720, died 1785), the abbé Gabriel Leopold Charles Aimé Bexon (born 1748, died 1784), and Charles Nicolas Sigisbert Sonnini de Manoncourt (born 1751, died 1812). The following seven volumes (1774-1789) form a supplement to the preceding; these were later followed by nine volumes on the birds (1770-1783) and five volumes on minerals (1783-1788). The remaining eight volumes, which complete this edition, appeared after Buffon’s death, and include the reptiles, fishes, and cetaceans, completed by Bernard Germain Étienne de la Ville, the Comte de Lacepède (born 1756, at Agen; died 1826) and published in successive volumes between 1788 and 1804. A second edition was begun in 1774 and completed in 1804, in 36 volumes in quarto.]

40 [Aurochs, also spelled Auroch (Bos primigenius), extinct wild ox of Europe, family Bovidae (order Artiodactyla), from which cattle are probably descended. The aurochs survived in central Poland until 1627. The auroch was black, stood 1.8 m (6 feet) high at the shoulder, and had spreading, forward-curving horns. Some German breeders claim that since 1945 they have re-created this race by crossing Spanish fighting cattle with longhorns and cattle of other breeds. Their animals, however, are smaller and, though they resemble the aurochs, probably do not have similar genetic constitutions. The name aurochs has sometimes been wrongly applied to the European bison, or wisent (Bison bonasus).]

41 [Hippelaphus is the European red-deer, Cervus elaphus hippelaphus, the largest of the red deer and the largest and most important herbivorous species of Europe, weighing up to 300 kg, with a shoulder height of 1.4 m.]

42 [Pierre Médard Diard, a student of Cuvier, born at Saint-Laurent in 1794. In 1817, with Alfred Duvaucel (see note 43, below), Cuvier’s step-son, he left for India where they made collections for the Museum. Later, in 1819, he went to Cochin China to collect plants on his own, ascended the Mekong, visited the ruins at Angkor, and then went to Malacca. At the end of 1824, he settled in Batavia where he collected for the Leiden museum. He died on Java in 1863, accidentally poisoned by the arsenic he used for scientific purposes (see Bauchot (Marie-Louise), Daget (Jacques) & Bauchot (Roland), “Ichthyology in France in the beginning of the 19th century: the Histoire Naturelle des Poissons of Cuvier (1769-1832) and Valenciennes (1794-1865)”, in Pietsch (Theodore W.) & Anderson Jr (William D.) (eds), “Collection Building in Ichthyology and Herpetology”, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Special Publication, no 3, 1997, pp. 27-80).]

43 [Alfred Duvaucel, son from Madame Cuvier’s first marriage, a voyager-naturalist of the Museum, born in 1793. Given a scientific mission to India in 1817, he left France with Diard (see note 42, above). After a brief stay at Calcutta and Chandannagar, where he established a botanical garden, he left in 1818 for Sumatra and Java where he gathered collections that were later seized by the English East India Company at the behest of Sir Stanford Raffles. Much provoked by this incident, he returned to Calcutta, then departed again for Sumatra where he succeeded in making other collections for Cuvier. Returning to India, he collected fishes from the Ganges and its tributaries, and from Assam and Nepal. He died at Madras in 1825 of a fever contracted during his expedition (see Bauchot (Marie-Louise), Daget (Jacques) & Bauchot (Roland), “Ichthyology in France in the beginning of the 19th century...”, op. cit.)]

44 [Mathurin Jacques Brisson, born at Fontenay-le-Comte on 30 April 1723, assisted René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur in arranging his cabinets; later a member of the Académie des Sciences and professor of physical science at the Collège de Navarre, he died in Croissy near Paris on 23 June 1806. He began a general zoology under the title of Le règne animal, divisé en neuf classes, published at Paris in 1756, one volume in quarto. This first volume, which contains the quadrupeds and the cetaceans, was followed by an “ornithology” in six volumes in quarto, 1760. For more on Brisson, see Allen (Elsa G.), “The history of American ornithology before Audubon”, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n. ser., vol. 41, no 3, 1951, pp. 386-591 (pp. 498-499).]

45 [Gobius niger Linnaeus, 1758, the black goby, widely distributed in the eastern Atlantic from Norway and the Baltic Sea to Mauritania, and the Mediterranean and Black seas, including Azov, the Suez canal and northern Gulf of Suez; also in the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. Attaining a maximum length of 17 cm, it spawns from May to August, the eggs laid inside a cavity, such as under loose rocks or the shells of larger mollusks. As with other gobies, the eggs are laid in a dense patch in a single layer, and guarded by the male.]

46 [Giuseppe Olivi (Italian naturalist, born 1769, died 1795) in his Zoologia adriatica, ossia catalogo ragionato degli animali del golfo e delle lagune di Venezia, published by the editor Bassano in Venice in 1792.]

47 [Fucus, also called Rockweed, genus of brown algae, common on rocky seacoasts and in salt marshes of northern temperate regions. Adaptations to its environment include bladder-like floats, disk-shaped holdfasts for clinging to rocks, and mucilage-covered blades for resisting desiccation and temperature changes. The plant is between 25 and 30 centimeters (9.8 to 11.8 inches) in total length; growth of the thallus is localized and occurs at the tip of forked shoots that arise from the holdfasts. The male and female reproductive organs may occur on the same or separate organisms; some species produce eggs and sperm all year long. Fucus is a perennial alga with a lifespan of up to four years. In Roman times it was the source of a brown facial cosmetic. Today Fucus species, along with kelp, are an important source of alginates – colloidal extracts with many industrial uses similar to those of agar.]

48 [“No man in Homeric times would eat fish when he could get meat” (book 4, line 369; see Homer, Odyssey, Books I-XII [with introduction, notes, etc. by Merry W. Walter; 2 pts. in 1: Pt. 1, Introduction and text; Pt. 2, Notes and index], Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895, pt. 2, p. 57)].

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