History of Animals
the same condition at all times, whether with spawn or not, as the
glaucus. Old fishes also are bad eating; the old tunny is unfit even
for pickling, as a great part of its flesh wastes away with age, and
the same wasting is observed in all old fishes. The age of a scaly
fish may be told by the size and the hardness of its scales. An old
tunny has been caught weighing fifteen talents, with the span of its
tail two cubits and a palm broad.
River-fish and lake-fish are best after they have discharged the
spawn in the case of the female and the milt in the case of the
male: that is, when they have fully recovered from the exhaustion of
such discharge. Some are good in the breeding time, as the saperdis,
and some bad, as the sheat-fish. As a general rule, the male fish is
better eating than the female; but the reverse holds good of the
sheat-fish. The eels that are called females are the best for the
table: they look as though they were female, but they really are not
OF the animals that are comparatively obscure and short-lived
the characters or dispositions are not so obvious to recognition as
are those of animals that are longer-lived. These latter animals
appear to have a natural capacity corresponding to each of the
passions: to cunning or simplicity, courage or timidity, to good
temper or to bad, and to other similar dispositions of mind.
Some also are capable of giving or receiving instruction-of
receiving it from one another or from man: those that have the faculty
of hearing, for instance; and, not to limit the matter to audible
sound, such as can differentiate the suggested meanings of word and
In all genera in which the distinction of male and female is
found, Nature makes a similar differentiation in the mental
characteristics of the two sexes. This differentiation is the most
obvious in the case of human kind and in that of the larger animals
and the viviparous quadrupeds. In the case of these latter the
female softer in character, is the sooner tamed, admits more readily
of caressing, is more apt in the way of learning; as, for instance, in
the Laconian breed of dogs the female is cleverer than the male. Of
the Molossian breed of dogs, such as are employed in the chase are
pretty much the same as those elsewhere; but sheep-dogs of this
breed are superior to the others in size, and in the courage with
which they face the attacks of wild animals.
Dogs that are born of a mixed breed between these two kinds
are remarkable for courage and endurance of hard labour.
In all cases, excepting those of the bear and leopard, the
female is less spirited than the male; in regard to the two
exceptional cases, the superiority in courage rests with the female.
With all other animals the female is softer in disposition than the
male, is more mischievous, less simple, more impulsive, and more
attentive to the nurture of the young: the male, on the other hand, is
more spirited than the female, more savage, more simple and less
cunning. The traces of these differentiated characteristics are more
or less visible everywhere, but they are especially visible where
character is the more developed, and most of all in man.
The fact is, the nature of man is the most rounded off and
complete, and consequently in man the qualities or capacities above
referred to are found in their perfection. Hence woman is more
compassionate than man, more easily moved to tears, at the same time
is more jealous, more querulous, more apt to scold and to strike.
She is, furthermore, more prone to despondency and less hopeful than
the man, more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech,
more deceptive, and of more retentive memory. She is also more
wakeful, more shrinking, more difficult to rouse to action, and
requires a smaller quantity of nutriment.