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Cuvier’s History of the Natural Sciences

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Georges Cuvier

6. The waning of the Empire / Le déclin de l’Empire

17. The Last Centuries of the Empire

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1We have found scarcely any original author in the second century. Athenaeus, Aelian, and Oppian, although of interest, are mere compilers. Galen alone was an observer and graced the natural sciences with discoveries. But after his death all progress ceased, and we must traverse many fruitless centuries before finding further scientific riches.

2The third century possessed no author of any importance. The authors I am about to cite did not write about the natural sciences per se; it is in works of a different sort that they give us details relative to these sciences, but details intermingled with many fables.

3This absence of notable authors is to be attributed to three causes, which we are going to discuss.

4Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, and Marcus Aurelius had brought peace to the world; but unfortunately, they had not taken steps to make Roman prosperity lasting; they had established neither an orderly right of succession in the empire nor institutions for protecting the people.

5Upon the death of Marcus Aurelius, and after the disastrous reign of Commodus, the history of the Roman Empire is nothing but a series of disturbances and bloody rebellions for a whole century. Scarcely had an emperor mounted the throne when he was massacred by his soldiers; and the latter would sell the empire to a newly elected one, only to subject him, too, forthwith, to the fate of his predecessor.

6In the space of a century, twenty-seven or twenty-eight emperors sat upon the throne; in other words, the average rule of a princeps was no longer than three or four years. Out of this great number of rulers, only three died of illness; all the rest were slain by the soldiers or perished at war.

  • 1 [Diocletian, Latin in full Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, original name Diocles (born A.D. (...)
  • 2 [Code of Justinian, Latin Codex Justinianeus, formally Corpus Juris Civilis (“Body of Civil Law”), (...)

7At the end of the third century, Diocletian1 finally succeeded in containing these turbulent legions that unmade their emperors as readily as they made them. Under his rule the empire soon regained its early splendor. The Gauls, Africans, Egyptians, and English, rising up at various times, were all brought back to obedience to the Roman Empire: even the Persians were conquered. There was great success outside Rome, and an administration all the happier within; laws both humane and wise and which are still seen in the Justinian Code;2 Rome, Milan, Autun, Nicomedia, and Carthage embellished by Diocletian’s generosity; all these things brought Diocletian the respect and affection of the East and the West, to the extent that 240 years after his death, the calendar was still reckoned from the first year of his reign, as formerly it had been reckoned from the foundation of Rome.

  • 3 [Maximian, Latin in full Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus (born Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior; die (...)

8Diocletian had no qualms in taking on a partner in his rule, in the person of a soldier of fortune like himself; it was his friend Maximian.3

  • 4 [Galerius, in full Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus (born near Serdica, Thrace, now Sofia, Bulga (...)
  • 5 [Constantius I Chlorus (“The Pale”), original name Flavius Valerius Constantius (died summer 306, (...)
  • 6 [Claudius II Gothicus, original name Marcus Aurelius Valerius Claudius (born May 214, Dardania, Mo (...)

9He had already created two Caesars; the first was another Maximian, surnamed Galerius,4 who had been a sheep herder. The second Caesar was of noble birth; this was Constantius Chlorus,5 grandnephew, through his mother, of the emperor Claudius II.6 But Diocletian knew well how to be master of his associates and he always made them respect him and even be of accord with each other. These princes, called Caesars, were, in the main, merely his foremost subjects: we see that he was like an absolute master in his treatment of them; for when Galerius Caesar was defeated by the Persians and had come to Mesopotamia to give him an account of his defeat, Diocletian left him to walk a mile following his chariot and did not receive Galerius back into his good graces until he had paid the price for his mistake and misfortune.

  • 7 [Salona or Solin, a town on the Dalmatian Coast, near modern Split, Croatia, founded by Greeks who (...)

10Diocletian fell ill after a reign of twenty years, and realizing he was weak, gave to the world the first example of abdication from power. He recovered his health and lived another nine years, in honor as well as in peace in his retirement at Salona,7 in the place of his birth. Pressed to re-ascend the throne after his abdication, he preferred the tranquility of his life to ruling the world.

11After his reign, political revolutions were less frequent, but other conditions kept the sciences from progressing, and it is especially in the intellectual ferment produced by the struggle waged to establish Christianity that we must look for these causes.

12During the first century, Christian ideas became widespread especially in the worker class, to which they offered consolation. The Apostles, and the Early Fathers of the Church as well, those designated by the name apostolical, took as the subject of their preachings only moral principles, enunciated in language that was both simple and clear so as to be perfectly understood by the men they were addressing.

13But in the second century, and especially in the third, the state of things changed. Christianity began to penetrate the upper classes of society. Consequently, its defenders had to modify their language and use the weapons of philosophy itself in order to combat the philosophical ideas that were an obstacle to them in the social classes they wished to win over. Thenceforth, a very active struggle began between the partisans of Christianity and the Neoplatonists, who used allegory in defending themselves against the new religious ideas. The heat of metaphysical discussions was such that it diverted minds away from the study of the natural sciences, which required travel, meticulous research, and special apparatus. On both sides, all educated minds were absorbed in the important dispute that was to determine the beliefs of a large part of the globe, and cause paganism gradually to go down in defeat.

14After Christianity became established, it was not in the nature of things that its proponents immediately abandon the abstract philosophical ideas to which they owed their triumph and return at once to studies of another kind. They continued to march in the same direction. Their aversion for all that smacked of the ancient beliefs extended to any writings pertaining to the secular sciences, and this of course resulted in great losses for these sciences.

15The three main causes that seem to us to have contributed to the decline of the sciences in the last centuries of the Empire were (1) civil unrest, (2) the struggle that was waged between paganism and Christianity, and (3) Christian aversion for everything to do with paganism. In addition to these three causes were the invasions by the barbarians, which succeeded in rendering any scholarship utterly impossible.

16Yet, some works containing passages relative to the natural sciences were written during this long agony of the human spirit. We are going to try to give you some idea of them.

  • 8 [By citing a “native of Lemnos,” Cuvier indicates Philostratus the Lemnian (born c. A.D. 190) but (...)
  • 9 [Julia Domna, see Lesson 15, note 28.]
  • 10 [Damis was an (alleged) student and lifelong companion of Apollonius of Tyana (see Lesson 12, note (...)

17The principal one of these works in the third century is The Life of Apollonius of Tyana by Philostratus,8 a Pythagorean and native of Lemnos. This philosopher enjoyed great favor with the emperor Severus, and particularly with his wife, the empress Julia,9 who loved rhetoric and at whose bidding he composed his history. For this work Philostratus made use especially of notes written by a certain Damis,10 a disciple of Apollonius and companion of his travels.

18Apollonius was one of a few philosophers who traveled by land to India. Philostratus recorded in the life of this renowned thaumaturge, who was made an opponent to Jesus Christ, many new observations, particularly on elephants, which, he says, vary somewhat, according as they come from the mountains, the marshes, or the plains. According to Apollonius, the ivory of the marsh elephants is ashen in color and full of knots that make it difficult to be worked. The ivory of the mountain elephants is very white and easy to work, but small in volume. The best ivory is that of the plains elephants; it is very white, large in dimensions, and very easy to turn. The Indians say that the marsh elephants are stupid and those of the mountains are ill-natured, but those of the plains are gentle and docile, and they dance and leap to the sound of the flute.

  • 11 [Porus (fl. fourth century B.C.), Indian prince who ruled the region between the Hydaspes (Jhelum) (...)
  • 12 [Taxila, ancient city of northwestern India, the ruins of which are about 22 miles (35 kilometers) (...)

19It is unlikely that in India Apollonius saw still living one of the elephants that had served Porus11 against Alexander four centuries earlier. Nonetheless, Philostratus reports that his travelers saw near the town of Taxila12 an elephant that the inhabitants perfumed and ornamented with ribbons because it had been taken from Porus by Alexander and consecrated to the sun by him because of its valor in combat. Around its tusks this animal had rings of gold upon which was engraved in Greek the following inscription: Alexander, son of Jupiter, has consecrated Ajax to the sun. Ajax was the name that Alexander gave the elephant.

20Otherwise, everything Philostratus recounts about the habits and the docility of elephants and the care they give their young is quite correct.

21What he says about the similarity of the productions of the Indus and the Nile is also true. One finds in both rivers the crocodile and the lotus. However, it is not certain that the hippopotamus has ever existed in the Indus.

22Philostratus correctly designates various fishes found in the tributaries of the Indus. But he uncritically includes the description of a mythological fish, which he says is called the peacock because, like the bird of the same name, it has a blue crest, scales of many colors, and a tail the color of gold.

23He also speaks of white camels and the rhinoceros of India; the latter’s horn was used in making drinking vessels which the inhabitants of the country attributed with neutralizing poison; the person who drank from them was protected from sickness for that day. These vessels were reserved for kings, who were, however, not immortal.

24Philostratus also reports that Apollonius found a woman who was white from her feet to her breast, and black the rest of her body. He noted that this woman had been consecrated to the Venus of India.

  • 13 Here is the explanation of the fable: At certain locations in the Caucasus inaccessible to man, an (...)

25Finally, he mingles with other fables some curious details on the habits of monkeys, and says they were given the task of cultivating pepper for human beings.13

26After Philostratus, the only authors of the third century that merit our attention are two poets –Nemesianus of Carthage and Titus Calpurnius, his pupil.

  • 14 [Marcus Aurelius Olympius Nemesianus (fl. c. A.D. 280), Roman poet born in Carthage who wrote past (...)
  • 15 [Numerian, Latin in full Marcus Aurelius Numerius Numerianus (died 284), Roman emperor 283-284. He (...)
  • 16 [Molosses or Molossus, an extinct breed of large working dog used as a guard and fighting dog in E (...)

27Nemesianus14 was highly esteemed at the court of Numerianus,15 who also was devoted to poetry. Under the reign of this prince, from 282 to 284, he published a poem on the hunt, of which only 325 lines remain. It contains details on various breeds of dogs, among them the dogs of Sparta called molosses,16 and the dogs of Brittany, similar to those called bassets today. We have seen in Oppian that this breed was already well known in his day.

  • 17 [Andalusian, any of a breed of horses of Spanish origin that have a high-stepping gait.]

28Nemesianus also distinguishes the horses of Iberia, or the Andalusians,17 a remarkable breed that has lasted to the present day.

29Nemesianus wrote another poem, this one on bird hunting, but we have only twenty-eight lines from it, in which he mentions woodcock and grouse.

  • 18 [Titus Calpurnius Siculus (fl. c. A.D. 60), Roman poet, author of seven pastoral eclogues (Calpurn (...)
  • 19 [Carinus, in full Marcus Aurelius Carinus (died 285, on the Margus River, Moesia Superior, now Mor (...)
  • 20 [Babiroussa or babirusa (Babirousa babyrussa), wild East Indian swine, family Suidae (order Artiod (...)

30Titus Calpurnius18 composed elegies, which were published during the reign of Carinus.19 Only the seventh is of interest to naturalists. In it the author describes public games in which were displayed white hares and the babiroussa horned boar of Java,20 an animal still regarded in recent times as fabulous. He also speaks of a bullock with hump and mane, which is evidently the bison. And he reports having seen bears fighting with seals at these games.

31You can see that the natural sciences can glean almost nothing from the works of the third century. Of the three authors we have mentioned, two were poets. We should note that, at this time when the decline of letters was no less evident than the decline of science, poetic style was sustained far better than prose style. This peculiarity is noticeable in all similarly decadent eras.

32The fourth century, which we are now going to explore, was even poorer than the third in the productions of science.

  • 21 [Constantine I (born on 27 February, probably in the later A.D. 280s, at Naissus, modern Nis, Yugo (...)

33Christianity at this time had made numerous important conquests in the Roman Empire: Constantine21 himself submitted to the law of Christ; but in adopting the new religion he did not completely destroy paganism. All thinking persons were occupied in either furthering Christian beliefs or combating them. Therefore, among the few works on the subject of the sciences, not a single one was written without a theological purpose –for example, the works by the archbishop Eustathius of Antioch, by St. Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, by the bishop Nemesius of Emesa in Mesopotamia, and by the bishop Epiphanius of Cyprus.

  • 22 [Saint Eustathius of Antioch, also called Eustathius the Great (born Side, Pamphylia; died c. 337, (...)
  • 23 [Arianism, see note 22, above.]
  • 24 [Commentary on the Hexaëmeron or On the Six Days of Creation; see Eustathius, Ancienne version lat (...)

34Eustathius,22 who was removed from church office during the controversy on Arianism,23 published a work on natural history entitled Commentary on the Hexaëmeron,24 organized according to the order of Creation, in which he discusses various physical questions on the nature of sunlight. He gives details on birds, quadrupeds, and fishes, but all these details are taken from Aristotle, Aelian, or Oppian. The only fact that comes from him is the first designation of the gazelle under the name of antholops [antelope].

  • 25 [Saint Ambrose, Latin Ambrosius (born c. A.D. 339, Augusta Treverorum, Belgica, Gaul; died 397, Mi (...)

35Saint Ambrose,25 who was born in 340 and died in 397, also wrote on the Hexahemeron, or the Creation in six days, organized like the one by Eustathius but written in a different spirit. He writes about animals only to uncover symbols and to develop certain moral principles that do not always come directly from the Gospel. He gives the names of some fishes.

  • 26 [Nemesius of Emesa (fl. late fourth century), Christian philosopher, apologist, and bishop of Emes (...)

36Nemesius26 wrote a short treatise on human physiology, taken almost entirely from Galen. He desired the reader to admire the Divine Providence evident in every part of the human body.

  • 27 [Saint Epiphanius of Constantia (born c. 315, Palestine; died May 403, at sea; feast day 12 May), (...)

37Epiphanius,27 the last of the theological writers of the fourth century mentioned above, is a rather ludicrous naturalist. He wrote A Commentary on the Physiologist who wrote about every kind of Animal and Bird, in which is found a multitude of invented facts, about which he gives himself over to bizarre reflections. We shall cite only one of them, to give an idea of the rest. He asserts (contrary to truth) that the lion effaces its own tracks with its tail, finding in this so-called fact an emblem for the care that Jesus Christ takes to hide his ways!

  • 28 [Oribasius (born c. 320, died c. 400) was a Greek medical writer and the personal physician of the (...)
  • 29 [Julian, byname Julian the Apostate, Latin Julianus Apostata, original name Flavius Claudius Julia (...)

38In the absence of all original composition, and in a century so fruitless for the sciences, we are happy to encounter a collection of some value, namely, that of Oribasius.28 Oribasius was physician to the emperor Julian29 and collected into one work many treatises on medicine. He was careful to indicate the names of the authors from whom he borrowed; it can be seen that he knew many works that are no longer extant and about which we know nothing except Oribasius’s excerpts.

39In a chapter on fish as food, this physician gives excerpts from a certain Xenocrates, thought to be the second of the Platonic philosophers. This opinion is erroneous, since the extracts found in Oribasius speak of fishes of the Tiber, which the Greek philosopher would certainly not have mentioned. The Xenocrates cited by Julian’s physician was probably another Roman physician, who is otherwise unknown to us.

40The twenty-fifth book of Oribasius’s work contains an abridgement of Galen’s Anatomy, which was printed separately for convenience in studying.

  • 30 [Veges, is Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, a writer of the Later Roman Empire. Nothing is known (...)
  • 31 [Gargilius is Gargilius Martialis who wrote an essay on veterinary surgery entitled Curae Bourn ex (...)

41Veges30 and Gargilius31 left two treatises on the veterinarian art, but we shall not go into these because of their mediocrity.

  • 32 [Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius, usually called just Palladius, was a Roman writer of the fo (...)

42Likewise, a treatise on agriculture by Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius32 was written in a barbarous style and published under the same title as the one by Columella on the same subject: De re rustica. It would be a waste of time to look for something of interest in these three works.

  • 33 [Decius Magnus Ausonius (born c. 310, Burdigala, Gaul, now Bordeaux, France; died c. 395, Burdigal (...)

43But in the same century we find a work that merits our attention, the poem by Decius Magnus Ausonius on The Moselle.33 The author wrote it at Trèves.

  • 34 [Gratian, Latin in full Flavius Gratianus Augustus (born 359, Sirmium, Pannonia, now Sremska Mitro (...)

44He had been professor of rhetoric, first at Bordeaux, then at Rome; in the latter city he became the tutor of the emperor Gratian,34 and ended up being named consul.

45In his poem, as the title indicates, he describes the fishes that inhabit the Moselle. Fourteen species are named in the poem that were virtually unknown to Aristotle.

46Ausonius is the first author to mention such fishes as the common trout, the salmontrout, and the barbel. Moreover, his descriptions of the silurus and the pike are much more nearly accurate than those given previously.

47The style of the poem on the Moselle is superior to the style of works in prose of the same epoch, which confirms again our remark about poets in an era of decadence being better able to sustain their style than are writers of prose.

  • 35 [Ammianus Marcellinus (born c. 330, Antioch, Syria, now Antakya, Turkey; died 395, Rome), last maj (...)

48Ammianus Marcellinus35 is barbarous in style but his work is commendable for its energy and great love of truth, and for several interesting descriptions regarding Egypt.

  • 36 [Saint Augustine (in Latin, Augustinus), bishop of Hippo in Roman Africa from 396 to 430, and the (...)
  • 37 [Hippo, an ancient port on the coast of North Africa, located near the modern town of Annaba (form (...)

49In Saint Augustine,36 the most renowned of the Church Fathers, who lived from 354 to 430, one also finds some details of interest to the natural sciences. This writer mentions fishes and some fossil remains that he believed to be the bones of giants. In particular, he speaks of having seen at Hippo37 a tooth forty times the size of an ordinary one. It was probably a mastodon tooth. It is not without interest to learn that in Augustine’s time, the remains of fossilized mastodons were found in Africa.

50The same author’s essay on generation contains details of physiology that are not without merit.

51Macrobius (Aurelius Ambrosius Theodosius) wrote two works that are of some importance for the history of science.

  • 38 [Aurelius Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius (fl. c. A.D. 400), Latin grammarian and philosopher whose (...)
  • 39 [Theodosius II (born 10 April 401, Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey; died 28 July 450), Easter (...)
  • 40 [The Saturnalia (see note 38, above), which is dedicated to Macrobius’s son Eustachius, purports t (...)

52Macrobius38 was a Greek and lived at the court of Theodosius the Younger,39 where he fulfilled duties analogous to those of high chamberlain. He was a Platonist and had not abandoned the beliefs of the pagans. His two works are a commentary on the Dream of Scipio and the Saturnalia.40 The first contains an account of ancient opinions on astronomy. The second resembles Athenaeus’s work. The author of this one also imagines that various philosophers have gathered together for a banquet and there they converse about divers subjects. This work furnishes information on the scientific opinions of the ancients that has not been found elsewhere.

53Macrobius’s style is inferior, since he is not writing in his own language, but the organization of his book is superior to Athenaeus’s, and his personae speak with less pedantry.

54We are coming to an era of turmoil when barbarian invasions occurred in nearly all quarters of the Roman Empire. The customs, sciences, and literature of the ancients disappeared at this time in a common calamity. Therefore, we have only three more authors to mention before ending our examination of those belonging to antiquity per se.

  • 41 [Sidonius Apollinaris, Gaius (or Caius) Sollius Modestus Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Ap (...)

55The first is Sidonius Apollinaris,41 who was born at Lyon and became bishop of Clermont in Auvergne.

56He wrote letters in a style that was more elegant than usual in his time, in which he described the country estate he owned in Auvergne. He speaks of a small lake that it included and of the hills that rose near its edge. The various details he gives are valuable information on the topography of the country at the time he was writing.

  • 42 [We have been unable to identify Saint Mamers.]

57One of the letters of Sidonius Apollinaris to Saint Mamers42 led to the belief that in Auvergne in the fifth century there were active volcanos. In this letter the bishop writes about the assistance he lavished on the inhabitants of his diocese “when the fires were blazing on the summit of the mountains and on the roofs of the houses.” But unfortunately, this passage is not clear enough for us to decide with certainty whether the flames he mentions were the result of volcanic eruptions or the result of fires that were often set by the barbarians in those times of widespread disorder.

  • 43 [Paulus Orosius (born probably Braga, Spain; fl. 414-417), defender of early Christian orthodoxy, (...)

58The second author whom we are going to examine is Paulus Orosius,43 priest of Tarragona in Catalonia and pupil of Saint Augustine.

  • 44 [Omar or Umar I, in full Umar ibn Al-Khattab (born c. A.D. 586, Mecca, Arabia, now in Saudi Arabia (...)

59He wrote at Augustine’s urging a General History, in seven books, in which are found scientific facts written in a barbarous style. But what makes it of value to us is that it contains a definite vindication of the caliph Omar,44 who was long thought to have been the destroyer of the Library at Alexandria. Orosius claims to have visited this library and seen its completely empty shelves; the Library had been sacked two centuries earlier by the Arabian nomads. Consequently, Omar could only have burned the building that had once contained the books of the Alexandrian Library and not the books themselves.

  • 45 [Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. late fourth and early fifth century A.D.), a native of North (...)
  • 46 [Formerly in the universities the seven liberal arts were the Roman trivium, grammar, logic, and r (...)

60The last author who wrote under Roman domination whom we are going to discuss is Martianus Capella,45 an African who wrote around the year 490 a bad poem entitled The Wedding of Philology with Mercury. In it he writes about the seven liberal arts; it is in this work that we find the origin of the division of studies adopted by the universities. The master of arts was formerly one who knew the seven liberal arts.46 The number seven was connected with the philosophy of the Pythagoreans, in which it played an important role. Pythagoreans perceived groups of seven everywhere: seven planets, seven metals, etc.

61If after this epoch the sciences long remained uncultivated, the barbarians are not to be blamed for their extinction. The sciences destroyed themselves by the religious turn they took. Studious minds abandoned natural philosophy for speculative studies not founded upon the literature of the golden age, and humanity thus reverted to barbarianism.

62We are now going to span the many barren centuries that came before new efforts of the human spirit resuscitated the sciences and brought progress to them. For although the barbarians did not destroy the sciences, they certainly retarded their advance. The Christians contributed towards producing the same result by destroying the writings of the pagans. Only a portion was saved by a few of the monasteries.

63We are going to see how humanity at last emerged from such dense shadows. At the next meeting we shall commence this enquiry.

Notas

1 [Diocletian, Latin in full Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, original name Diocles (born A.D. 245, Salonae?, Dalmatia, now Solin, Croatia; died 316, Salonae), Roman emperor (284-305), who restored efficient government to the empire after the near anarchy of the third century. His reorganization of the fiscal, administrative, and military machinery of the empire laid the foundation for the Byzantine Empire in the East and temporarily shored up the decaying empire in the West. His reign is also noted for the last great persecution of the Christians.]

2 [Code of Justinian, Latin Codex Justinianeus, formally Corpus Juris Civilis (“Body of Civil Law”), the collections of laws and legal interpretations developed under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I from A.D. 529 to 565. Strictly speaking, the works did not constitute a new legal code. Rather, Justinian’s committees of jurists provided basically two reference works containing collections of past laws and extracts of the opinions of the great Roman jurists. Also included were an elementary outline of the law and a collection of Justinian’s own new laws.]

3 [Maximian, Latin in full Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus (born Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior; died 310), Roman emperor with Diocletian from A.D. 286 to 305. Born of humble parents, Maximian rose in the army, on the basis of his military skill, to become a trusted officer and friend of the emperor Diocletian, who made him caesar in 285 and augustus the following year.]

4 [Galerius, in full Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus (born near Serdica, Thrace, now Sofia, Bulgaria; died 311), Roman emperor from 305 to 311, notorious for his persecution of Christians. Galerius was born of humble parentage and had a distinguished military career. On 1 March 293, he was nominated as caesar by the emperor Diocletian, who governed the Eastern part of the empire. When Diocletian abdicated on 1 May 305, Galerius became augustus (senior emperor) of the East, ruling the Balkans and Anatolia.]

5 [Constantius I Chlorus (“The Pale”), original name Flavius Valerius Constantius (died summer 306, Eboracum, Britain, now York, North Yorkshire, England), Roman emperor and father of Constantine I the Great. As a member of a fourman ruling body (tetrarchy) created by the emperor Diocletian, Constantius held the title caesar from 293 to 305 and caesar augustus in 305-306.]

6 [Claudius II Gothicus, original name Marcus Aurelius Valerius Claudius (born May 214, Dardania, Moesia Superior; died 270, Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior), Roman emperor in 268-270, whose major achievement was the decisive defeat of the Gothic invaders (hence the name Gothicus) of the Balkans in 269.]

7 [Salona or Solin, a town on the Dalmatian Coast, near modern Split, Croatia, founded by Greeks who began to settle there as early as the 4th century.]

8 [By citing a “native of Lemnos,” Cuvier indicates Philostratus the Lemnian (born c. A.D. 190) but he means to refer to Flavius Philostratus the Athenian (born c. A.D. 170; died c. 245), ancient Greek writer who studied at Athens and some time after 202 entered the circle of the philosophical Syrian empress of Rome, Julia Domna (see Lesson 15, note 28). On her death he settled in Tyre. He wrote the Gymnasticus (a treatise dealing with athletic contests); a life of the Pythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana; Bioi sophiston (“Lives of the Sophists“), treating both the classical Sophists of the fifth century B.C. and later philosophers and rhetoricians; a discourse on nature and law; and the epistles (“Love Letters”), of which one forms the basis of the English poet Ben Jonson’s “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” (see Philostratus, Philostratus and Eunapius; the lives of the Sophists, London: W. Heinemann; New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1922, 595 p.; The life of Apollonius of Tyana [the Epistles of Apollonius and the Treaties of Eusebius with an English translation by Conybeare F. C.], Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1948-1950, 2 vols; Philostratos über Gymnastik [translated by Jüthner Julius], Amsterdam: B. R. Grüner, 1969, 336 p.; The life of Apollonius of Tyana [edited and translated by Jones Christopher P.], Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 2005, 3 vols].

9 [Julia Domna, see Lesson 15, note 28.]

10 [Damis was an (alleged) student and lifelong companion of Apollonius of Tyana (see Lesson 12, note 1), the famous Pythagorean philosopher and teacher who lived in the late first and early second centuries A.D.]

11 [Porus (fl. fourth century B.C.), Indian prince who ruled the region between the Hydaspes (Jhelum) and Acesines (Chenab) rivers at the time of Alexander III the Great’s invasion (327-326 B.C.) of the Punjab. Unlike his neighbor, Ambhi, the king of Taxila (Taksashila), Porus resisted Alexander. But with his elephants and slow-moving infantry bunched, he was outmatched by Alexander’s mobile cavalry and mounted archers in the battle of the Hydaspes. Impressed by his techniques and spirit, Alexander allowed him to retain his kingdom and perhaps even ceded some conquered areas to him. Thereafter a supporter of Alexander, Porus held the position of a Macedonian subordinate ruler when he was assassinated, sometime between 321 and 315 B.C., by Eudamus’s agents after the death of Alexander.]

12 [Taxila, ancient city of northwestern India, the ruins of which are about 22 miles (35 kilometers) northwest of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Its prosperity in ancient times resulted from its position at the junction of three great trade routes: one from eastern India described by a Greek writer, Megasthenes, as the “Royal Highway,” the second from western Asia, and the third from Kashmir and Central Asia.]

13 Here is the explanation of the fable: At certain locations in the Caucasus inaccessible to man, and where there are caves inhabited by monkeys, grow many pepper trees. The Indians collect clusters from the trees that are within reach and toss them into small, designated heaps as if they were of no value. The monkeys in the caves see the actions of the Indians and come out at night and do likewise: they pick clusters from the pepper trees and toss them upon the prepared heaps. The men return the following morning and carry offan abundant harvest of pepper that has cost them no labor. [M. de St.-Agy.]

14 [Marcus Aurelius Olympius Nemesianus (fl. c. A.D. 280), Roman poet born in Carthage who wrote pastoral and didactic poetry. Of his surviving works are four eclogues and an incomplete poem on hunting (Cynegetica). Two small fragments on bird catching (De aucupio) are also generally attributed to him (see Nemesianus (Marcus Aurelius Olympius), Les Cynégétiques de Némésien: édition critique, Antwerpen: De Sikkel, 1937, 9-65 + [1] p. + 3 pls; The Eclogues of Calpurnius Siculus and M. Aurelius Olympius Nemesianus [with introduction, commentary, and appendix by Keene Charles Haines], Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1969, 211 p.; Œuvres de Némésien [ed. and transl. by Volpilhac Pierre], Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1975, 153 p.; The Eclogues and Cynegetica of Nemesianus [edited with an introduction and commentary by Williams Heather J.], Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1986, 197 p.) The four eclogues are in the Virgilian tradition and are also influenced by Calpurnius (see note 18, below). They are purely imitative and of conventional form and imagery, yet they are attractive because of their smooth diction and melodious movement. The Cynegetica gives instruction about dogs, horses, and hunting equipment; it is a gracefully written piece in the literary genre of Virgil’s Georgics and of the Cynegetica of Grattius (see Virgil, Georgics [A new verse translation by Lembke Janet], New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005, xxiv + 114 p.; Grattius, Cynegeticon quae supersunt; cum prolegomenis, notis criticis, commentario exegetico [edidit Enk Petrus Johannes], Hildesheim; New York: G. Olms, 1976, 153 p.)]

15 [Numerian, Latin in full Marcus Aurelius Numerius Numerianus (died 284), Roman emperor 283-284. He succeeded his father, Carus, in the summer of 283, in the midst of a war with the Sasanians. Numerian was emperor in the East, and his brother, Carinus, ruled the West. Numerian led the army home but contracted a disabling eye disease. Late in 284, after the army had reached the Bosporus, Numerian was found dead. His father-in-law, Aper, who had assumed command, was accused of his murder and executed, and the throne passed to Diocletian, commander of the household guards.]

16 [Molosses or Molossus, an extinct breed of large working dog used as a guard and fighting dog in England for more than 2,000 years. Dogs of this type are found in European and Asian records dating back to 3000 B.C. The Roman invaders of England sent the mastiff to compete in the arenas of ancient Rome, where the dog was pitted against bears, lions, tigers, bulls, other dogs, and human gladiators. The breed also fought in the later bull-baiting and bearbaiting rings of England.]

17 [Andalusian, any of a breed of horses of Spanish origin that have a high-stepping gait.]

18 [Titus Calpurnius Siculus (fl. c. A.D. 60), Roman poet, author of seven pastoral eclogues (Calpurnius, The Eclogues of Calpurnius Siculus and M. Aurelius Olympius Nemesianus [with introduction, commentary, and appendix by Keene Charles Haines], Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1969, 211 p.) The Eclogues are in the tradition of Virgil, whose influence on Calpurnius is pervasive. Although they contain some contemporary subject matter and references, they add nothing new to the development of Latin literature.]

19 [Carinus, in full Marcus Aurelius Carinus (died 285, on the Margus River, Moesia Superior, now Morava River, Serbia), Roman emperor from A.D. 283 to 285.]

20 [Babiroussa or babirusa (Babirousa babyrussa), wild East Indian swine, family Suidae (order Artiodactyla), of Celebes and the Molucca islands. The stout-bodied, short-tailed babirusa stands 65-80 cm (25-30 inches) at the shoulder. It has a rough, grayish hide and is almost hairless. Its most notable feature is the exaggerated development of the upper and lower canine teeth, or tusks, of the male. Those of the upper jaw grow upward from their bases so that they pierce the skin of the muzzle and curve backward, eventually almost touching the forehead.]

21 [Constantine I (born on 27 February, probably in the later A.D. 280s, at Naissus, modern Nis, Yugoslavia; died 22 May 337, Nicomedia), the first Roman emperor to profess Christianity (about A.D. 312), not only initiated the evolution of the empire into a Christian state but also provided the impulse for a distinctively Christian culture that prepared the way for the growth of Byzantine and Western medieval culture.]

22 [Saint Eustathius of Antioch, also called Eustathius the Great (born Side, Pamphylia; died c. 337, possibly in Thrace; feast day: Western Church, 16 July; Eastern Church, 21 February), bishop of Antioch who opposed the followers of the condemned doctrine of Arius at the Council of Nicaea. Eustathius was bishop of Beroea (c. 320) and became bishop of Antioch shortly before the Council of Nicaea (325). The intrigues of the pro-Arian Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (see Lesson 2, note 24) led to Eustathius’s deposition by a synod at Antioch (327/330) and banishment to Thrace by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. The resistance of his followers in Antioch created a Eustathian faction (surviving until c. 485) that developed into the Meletian Schism, a split in the Eastern Church over the doctrine of the Trinity.]

23 [Arianism, see note 22, above.]

24 [Commentary on the Hexaëmeron or On the Six Days of Creation; see Eustathius, Ancienne version latine des neuf homélies sur l’Hexaéméron de Basile de Césarée [edited by Mendieta Émmanuel Amand de et Rudberg Stig Y.], Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1958, lxiv + 132 p.]

25 [Saint Ambrose, Latin Ambrosius (born c. A.D. 339, Augusta Treverorum, Belgica, Gaul; died 397, Milan; feast day 7 December), bishop of Milan, biblical critic, and initiator of ideas that provided a model for medieval conceptions of churchstate relations. His literary works have been acclaimed as masterpieces of Latin eloquence, and his musical accomplishments are remembered in his hymns. Ambrose is also remembered as the teacher who converted and baptized St. Augustine of Hippo, the great Christian theologian, and as a model bishop who viewed the church as rising above the ruins of the Roman Empire.]

26 [Nemesius of Emesa (fl. late fourth century), Christian philosopher, apologist, and bishop of Emesa (now Hims, Syria) who was the author of Peri physeos anthropou (“On the Nature of Man”), the first known compendium of theological anthropology with a Christian orientation. The treatise considerably influenced later Byzantine and Medieval Latin philosophical theology (see Nemesius, The nature of man: A learned and usefull tract written in Greek by Nemesius, surnamed the philosopher; sometime Bishop of a city in Phœnicia, and one of the most ancient Fathers of the Church [englished, and divided into sections, with briefs of their principall contents: by Wither Geo], London: Printed by M [iles] F [lesher] for Henry Taunton in St. Dunstans Churchyard in Fleetstreet, 1636, [42] + 661 [i.e. 659] + [1] p.; Telfer (William) (ed.), Cyril of Jerusalem and Nemesius of Emesa, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955, 466 p.)]

27 [Saint Epiphanius of Constantia (born c. 315, Palestine; died May 403, at sea; feast day 12 May), bishop noted in the history of the early Christian Church for his struggle against beliefs he considered heretical. His chief target was the teachings of Origen, a major theologian in the Eastern Church. The harsh attacks by Epiphanius, who considered Origen more a Greek philosopher than a Christian, did much to discredit Epiphanius’s principles.]

28 [Oribasius (born c. 320, died c. 400) was a Greek medical writer and the personal physician of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (see note 29, below). He studied at Alexandria under Zeno of Cyprus before joining Julian’s retinue. He was involved in Julian’s coronation in 361, and remained with the emperor until Julian’s death in 363. In the wake of this event, Oribasius was banished to foreign courts for a time, but was later recalled by the emperor Valens.]

29 [Julian, byname Julian the Apostate, Latin Julianus Apostata, original name Flavius Claudius Julianus (born A.D. 331/332, Constantinople; died 26/27 June 363, Ctesiphon, Mesopotamia), Roman emperor (A.D. 361-363), nephew of Constantine the Great, and noted scholar and military leader who was proclaimed emperor by his troops. A persistent enemy of Christianity, he publicly announced his conversion to paganism (361), thus acquiring the epithet “the Apostate.”]

30 [Veges, is Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, a writer of the Later Roman Empire. Nothing is known of his life or station beyond what he tells us in his two surviving works: Epitoma rei militaris (also referred to as De Re Militari; see Vegetius, Epitome of Military Science [translated with notes and introduction by Milner N. P.], Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1993, xxx + 152 p.), and the lesser-known Digesta Artis Mulomedicinae, a guide to veterinary medicine, which dates to c. 430-435 (Vegetius, Digestorum artis mulomedicine libri [translated by Lommatzsch E.], Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1903, xiii + 342 + [2] p.)]

31 [Gargilius is Gargilius Martialis who wrote an essay on veterinary surgery entitled Curae Bourn ex Corpore Gargilii Martialis of which only a short corrupt fragment has survived. It was published by Johan Matthias Gesner (German classical scholar and schoolmaster, born 1691, died 1761; not to be confused with Conrad Gessner, born 1516, died 1565; see Lesson 13, note 18) in his Scriptores Rei Rusticae Veteres Latini of 1735.]

32 [Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius, usually called just Palladius, was a Roman writer of the fourth century A.D. He is best known for his book on agriculture Opus agriculturae (sometimes known as De Re Rustica), a fourteen-part treatise on farming that gives detailed instructions, month-bymonth, for the typical activities of a year on a Roman farm (see Palladius, Traité d’agriculture [ed. and transl. in French by Martin René], Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1976, lxvii + 209 p.) Most of the book is in prose, with the last part, titled “De Insitione” (On Fruit Trees), written in elegiac verse.]

33 [Decius Magnus Ausonius (born c. 310, Burdigala, Gaul, now Bordeaux, France; died c. 395, Burdigala), Latin poet and rhetorician interesting chiefly for his preoccupation with the provincial scene of his native Gaul. Ausonius left few works of any consequence. His longest poem, on the Mosella (Moselle) River, has flashes of an almost Wordsworthian response to nature, with descriptions of the changing scenery as the river moves through the country (Ausonius, Ausonius [with an English translation, by White Hugh G. Evelyn], London: W. Heinemann; New York: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1919-1921, 2 vols).]

34 [Gratian, Latin in full Flavius Gratianus Augustus (born 359, Sirmium, Pannonia, now Sremska Mitrovica, Yugoslavia; died 25 August 383, Lugdunum, Lugdunensis, now Lyon, France), Roman emperor from 367 to 383.]

35 [Ammianus Marcellinus (born c. 330, Antioch, Syria, now Antakya, Turkey; died 395, Rome), last major Roman historian, whose work continued the history of the later Roman Empire to 378.]

36 [Saint Augustine (in Latin, Augustinus), bishop of Hippo in Roman Africa from 396 to 430, and the dominant personality of the Western Church of his time, is generally recognized as having been the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity. His mind was the crucible in which the religion of the New Testament was most completely fused with the Platonic tradition of Greek philosophy; and it was also the means by which the product of this fusion was transmitted to the Christendoms of medieval Roman Catholicism and Renaissance Protestantism.]

37 [Hippo, an ancient port on the coast of North Africa, located near the modern town of Annaba (formerly Bône) in Algeria, was probably first settled by Carthaginians in the fourth century B.C. Under Roman control it was first made a municipium (a community that exercised partial rights of Roman citizenship) and later a colonia (Roman settlement with full rights of citizenship). The city’s most important personage, later a Father of the Church, St. Augustine (see note 36, above), was bishop there from A.D. 395 to 430.]

38 [Aurelius Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius (fl. c. A.D. 400), Latin grammarian and philosopher whose most important work is the Saturnalia, the last known example of the long series of symposia headed by the Symposium of Plato (cf. Macrobius, The Saturnalia [translated with an introduction and notes by Davies Percival Vaughan], New York: Columbia University Press, 1969, x + 560 p.; Plato, Symposium [edited by Dover Kenneth], Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980, x + 185 p.)]

39 [Theodosius II (born 10 April 401, Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey; died 28 July 450), Eastern Roman emperor from 408 to 450. He was a gentle, scholarly, easily dominated man who allowed his government to be run by a succession of relatives and ministers.]

40 [The Saturnalia (see note 38, above), which is dedicated to Macrobius’s son Eustachius, purports to give an account of discussions in private houses on the day before the Saturnalia and on three days of that festival. Macrobius’s commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis (“The Dream of Scipio”) from the De Republica, is a Neoplatonic work in two books (see Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio [translated with an introduction and notes by Stahl William Harris], New York: Columbia University Press, 1952, xi + 278 p.) Of a third work by Macrobius entitled De differentiis et societatibus Graeci Latinique verbi (“On the Differences and Similarities Between Greek and Latin Words”) only fragments remain (Macrobius, Macrobii Theodosii, de verborum Graeci et Latini differentiis vel societatibus excerpta, a cura di Paolo De Paolis, Urbino: QuattroVenti, 1990, lxv + 198 p.)]

41 [Sidonius Apollinaris, Gaius (or Caius) Sollius Modestus Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (born 5 November c. 430, died c. August 489), poet, diplomat, bishop, said to be the single most important surviving author from fifthcentury Gaul (see Goldberg (Eric J.), “The Fall of the Roman Empire Revisited: Sidonius Apollinaris and His Crisis of Identity”, Essays in History, vol. 37, 1995, pp. 1-15).]

42 [We have been unable to identify Saint Mamers.]

43 [Paulus Orosius (born probably Braga, Spain; fl. 414-417), defender of early Christian orthodoxy, theologian, and author of the first world history by a Christian. Early in 416 Augustine asked him to compose a historical apology of Christianity, Historiarum adversus paganos libri VII (Seven Books of Histories Against the Pagans; see Orosius (Paulus), Seven Books of Histories Against the Pagans [translated by Deferrari Roy J.], Washington (D. C.): Catholic University of America Press, 1964, xxi + 422 p.) This book chronicles the history of the world from its creation through the founding and history of Rome up until A.D. 417. In it Orosius describes the catastrophes that befell mankind before Christianity, arguing against the contention that the calamities of the late Roman Empire were caused by its Christian conversion. Orosius’s book enjoyed great popularity in the early European Middle Ages, but only its narrative covering the years after A.D. 378 has any value to modern scholars.]

44 [Omar or Umar I, in full Umar ibn Al-Khattab (born c. A.D. 586, Mecca, Arabia, now in Saudi Arabia; died 3 November 644, Medina, Arabia), successor of Abu Bakr and second Muslim caliph (634-644), under whom Arab armies conquered Mesopotamia and Syria and began the conquest of Iran and Egypt.]

45 [Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. late fourth and early fifth century A.D.), a native of North Africa and an advocate at Carthage whose prose and poetry was of immense cultural influence down to the late Middle Ages. Capella’s major work was written perhaps about A.D. 400 and certainly before 439 (Capella (Martianus), A philosophical and literary commentary on Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii book 1 [ed. by Danuta Shanzer], Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986, 237 p.) Its overall title is unknown. Manuscripts give the title De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii to the first two books and entitle the remaining seven De arte grammatica, De arte dialectica, De arte rhetorica, De geometrica, De arithmetica, De astrologia, and De harmonia.]

46 [Formerly in the universities the seven liberal arts were the Roman trivium, grammar, logic, and rhetoric; and the Pythagorean quadrivium, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy.]

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