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Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume I: Books I-VII

Book V,   pp. 287-352

Page 352

352                 THE DEIPNOSOPHISTS.               LB. V. 
ambush against it from a distance, and shot it with darts, and 
returned to the camp, bringing the dead monster to the 
general."  And that this account is the true one, the skin 
and the expedition of Marius both prove. But the statement 
made by the historian is not credible, namely, that there are 
in Libya some oxen which are called Opisthonomi,l because 
they do not advance while feeding, but feed constantly re- 
turning backwards, for their horns are a hindrance to their 
feeding in the natural manner, inasmuch as they are not bent 
upwards, as is the case with all other animals, but they bend 
downwards and overshadow the eyes; for this is incredible, 
since no other historian testifies to such a circumstance. 
65. When Ulpian had said this, Laurentius bearing witness 
to the truth of his statement, and adding something to his 
speech, said, that Marius sent the skins of these animals to 
Rome, and that no one could conjecture to what rnimal they 
belonged, on account of the singular appearance which they 
presented; and that these skins were hung up in the temple 
of Hercules, in which the generals who celebrate a triumph 
give a banquet to the citizens, as many poets and historians 
of our nation have related.  You then, 0 grammarians, as 
the Babylonian Herodicus says, inquiring into none of these 
Fly ye to Greece along the sea's wide back, 
Pupils of Aristarchus, all more timid 
Than the pale antelope, worms hid in holes, 
Monosyllabic animals, who care 
For o-,ph, and a-orvp, and for 1llv, and vsI, 
This shall be your lot, grumblers-but let Greece 
And sacred Babylon receive Herodicus. 
For, as Anaxandrides the comic writer says- 
'Tis sweet when one has plann'd a new device, 
To tell it to the world. For those who are 
Wise for themselves alone have, first of all, 
INo judge to criticise their new invention. 
And envy is their portion too: for all. 
That seems to be commended by its novelty, 
Should be imparted freely to the people. 
And when this conversation had terminated, most of the 
guests took their departure secretly, and so broke up the 
" 07rlre}, behind; aimcaz, to feed. 

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