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John Jonston

TextEdit

Thaumatographia Naturalis, vol. 7, chap. 43Edit

Latin originalEdit


Historiae naturalis de Quadripedibus, vol. 1, chap. 6Edit

Latin originalEdit

John Jonston Historiae Naturalis de Quadripedibus Tabula X
John Jonston Historiae Naturalis de Quadripedibus Tabula XI
John Jonston Historiae Naturalis de Quadripedibus Tabula XII

De Monocerote, & Asinis Cornutis.

Monocerotis vocabulum, quod Latinis unius cornu animal sonat[1], pluribus animalibus competit: strictè tamen soli illi, quod ἀπό τȣ μόνȣ κερατος, à solo cornu dictum est, & ideò Unicornis, & Unicornu. Brachmanorum Dialecto καρτάζωνον, vocatur. An in rerum natura sit velfuerit, alibi, post Baccium, & Bartholinum, magni patris magnum filium, disquiretur; nunc breviter fide authorum, qui de eo scripsere, de eodem agemus. Descriptionem itaque quòd attinet, Strabo[2], ex Onesicrito equos unicorne toto fere corpore referre scribit. Philes[3] caudâ aprum Leonem rictu praeferre ait. Plinius[4], reliquo corpore equo similem, capiti cervo, pedibus elephanto, cauda apro, facit; & uno cornu nigro, mediâ fronte cubitorum duum eminente, instrui. Plinium Solinus sequitur. Isidorus cum Rhinocerote confundit, & cornu ita acutum & validum esse, ut quicquid impetierit, aut ventilet, aut perforet, addit. M. Paulus Venetus[5], Magno Cham Tartariae à servitiis, in regno Lambri conspici ait, Elephante minores, depressum caput gerentes aprino simile, spinosâ linguâ, quâ obvia petunt, nigricantibusque oculis, Rhinocerotis formam ad unguem aemulantur. Ludovicus de Varthema Bononiensis[6] de Monocerotibus à se visis, ita scribit. Ex altera templi Meccani parte claustra sunt, quibus bini Monocerotes vivi includuntur, qui pro re singulari, ut sunt, monstrantur. Eorum haec forma erat. Major equinum pulium XXX. mensium imitatur, unumque in fronte cornu praefert, trium circiter ulnarum. Alter Monoceros, unius anni similis, cornu quatuor palmarum habet. Color ferae, ut equi sagmati obscurior, capite cervino, collo brevi, rarisque circa illud pilis, & brevi juba ab altero tantum latere dependente. Crus subtile habet, gracile hinnuli instar. Pes anteriori parte parum fissus, ungula verò caprina, pedesque dextrum latus pilosum. Enimverò feritatem praesefert, & naturam solitudinis amantem. Quae Garzias ab Horto habet, non appono. Reperiri dicuntur in Arabiaesolitudinibus, ibique à mercatoribus visos, Thomas Bartholinus[7] accepit. Garzias[8] suos inter promontorium Bonae Spei, & illud quod vulgò de Currentes nuncupatur, inveniri scribit. Paulus Venetus suos in regno Bosma & Lambri locat. Aeneas Sylvius, in extremis Asiae partibus, in quadam provincia nomine Macino, inter montes Indiae & Catajum, ubi vulgò creditur habitasse Sericos. Aloysius Cadamustus in novo orbe. Cornu in pluribus exhibetur locis. Decantatissimasunt, S. Dionysianum in Gallia, Venetum, Hispanicum, Ultrajectense, Helvetorum, Danicum, Mercatorum Venetorum, & Gedanensis Empirici. S. Dionysianum, inter prima melioris notae reponit Baccius[9]; quia rudiori forma, non politum, ad nigrorem vergens instar cervini, quam proximè ad veterum unicornu accedere videtur. In assignanda longitudine variant authores. Renodaeus[10] hominis proceritatem aequare tradit, ea fide qua & nobis patuit: Baccius & Marinus ad sex cubitos extendunt: Gölnitzius ad sex & semis pedes metitur: Bellonius semissem complens ad septimum auget. Nec de pondere consentiunt. Cardano libras decem & septem pendere visum, cum tertia parte. Gölnitzius ad vigesimum quintum pondus ascendit. Ego sublatum, ad decem & octo libras, cum Bellonio extenderem. Veneta unicornua inter vera censet Baccius, inter diversa ab antiquorum unicornibus. Andreas Marinus, quod antiquorum unicornibus longiora sint, nec strias habeant Monocerotis Aeliani, adeoque subtilia, ut pocula inde nulla conficiantur. Colore sunt cornu cervini politi, & pallidinon nigri. Feruntur occupato Byzantio in Venetorum Rem publicam transcripta, cum XII. pectoralibus satellitum Imperatorianorum. Hispanicum, cuius frustulum Philippus IV. Francisco Barberino Cardinali eminentissimo, & in peregrinos Heroas humanissimo, donavit, nihil singulare habet. Ultrajectense, longitudine Parisiensi par est, sufficienti amplitudine. Gyri frequentiores ad extremum apicem circumducti, recto tractu obliterantur. Crustae color cineritio similis, medullâ candidiore. In magno precio habetur, & pro vero venditatur, ut infinitam auri vim, repetundarum damnata Colonia Agrippina, contra licitaretur. Helvetiorum, ad oram fluvii Arulae propè Brugiam[11], anno M. D. XX. inventum est. Interiori facie est album, flavescens exteriori, sine striis, duorum cubitorum longum, sed, ut moschus, odore prestans, praesertim ignivicinum. Danicum, in castello Friderici Burgi asservatur, longitudine septem pedes Romanos excedens, si partem alveo excipiamus inclusam, cujus mensuram pedis unius cum mensuris duabus Bartholinus deprehendit. Ambitus septem minimum digitos complectitur, aequali gyrorum flexu in acumen desinens. Color ex candido mixtus & cinericio, quem per intervalla, nigriores striae, lineaeque obscuriores distinguunt. Venetorum mercatorum unicornu ex Germania allatum est, coloris splendore & varietate veri cornu speciem promittens, eoque magis, quòd abrasae particulae, non dentium instar in ramenta, quae fricari possunt, concidant; sed inde quisquiliarum squamae eâdem planè visciditate & lentore resultent, quo secta quaevis animalium cornua. De Gedanensi nihil occurrit. Empiricus Constantinopoli redux, magno illud non ita ptidem venditabat. De reliquis quae huc spectant, ita Aelianus[12]. Dicunt omnium maximè animalium absonam vocem & contentam emittere; & ad alias quidem bestias ad se accedentes mansuescere, cum gregalibus verò suis pugnare. Neque modo mares naturali inter se quadam contentione dissidere, sed contra etiam feminas certare, pugnamque usque ad mortem victi ingravesccre. Nam & reliqui corporis robore maximo praeditus est, & cornu inprimis inexpugnabili armatur. Desertissimas regiones persequitur, fimul & solitarius errat. Coitus tempore ad feminam mansuetè mansuescit, & pariter pascuntur. Cum hoc temous transietit, & ventrem ferre femina coeperit, rursus efferatur, & solus vagatur. Prasiorum Regi illius pullos etiamnum teneros aiunt deportari, eosdemque festis & panegyricis diebus ad pugnam committi, adrobur ostendendum. Nam integrae aetatis & perfectae, nullum unquam quisquam meminit captum fuisse. Tantum Aelianus. Alii[13] addunt, adeò animal hoc puellas virgines venerari, ut si sinus venienti apetiant, in illum, ferociâ depositâ, caput ponat, sicque soporatum velut inerme capiatur. De Usu inter omnes notum, ad venena maximè commendari. Eo verò praesente sudare, & in humore ebullire, sicque verum dignosci, nonnullorum est sententia. Aloysius Mundella adversus morsum canis rabidi, aliorumque animalium maleficorum, nec non vermes eorumque symptomata commendat. Antiqui Indorum Reges, ad quorum notitiam primum hoc cornu pervenit, pocula ex eo sibi fabricabant, ut dum ex iis bibebant, contra venena, ebrietatem, spasmum, epilepsiam, & alios malignos morbos munirentur. Narrat Jordanus Judaeum[14] quendam Venetiis, in mensa cornu circulum delineasse, postmodum scorpium & araneum injecisse, qui nunquam transilire potuerunt ambitum cornu circumscriptum: deinde palmi altitudine quovis raptantes bestias, umbrane autvi emanante, intra quadrantis horae spacium ambas necasse. Non est ergo mirum tanti esse pretii, ut Germani mercatores teste Baccio, pro uno X.C.M. corona torum poscerent; & Pontifex Romanus, erectâ in Vaticano pharmacopaea, frustum XII. M. aureorum à mercatoribus Epidauriis redemerit, quo non semel Augustinus Ricchus Pontificius tunc temporis Archiater, felicissimè modo scrupuli, modo decem granorum pondere, ex vino, velaliquâ cordiali aquâ utebatur. Et haec de Unicornu nunc sufficiant, pluribus alibi agemus. Quantum ad Asinos Cornutos, tribus in locis cos celebrari invenio, in India, nempe, Scythia, & Africa. De Afris Herodotum[15] authorem habemus. De Scythis apud Aelianum[16] habetur, & addit, Cornua aquam fluminis Stygis continere, quae transmittit vasa omnia etiam ex ferro, missaque ab Alexandro Delphos ut Pythiae dedicarentur. De Indicis ita idem Aelianus[17]. Sylvestres asinos equis magnitudine non inferiores apud Indos nasci accepi, eosque reliquo corpore albos, capite verò purpureo, oculisque cyaneis esse: cornuque in fronte gerere sesqui cubiti longitudine: cujus superius puniceum, inferius autem album, medium verò planè nigrum sit: atque non omnes quidem Indos, sed potentiores, quum tamquam armillis quibusdam brachia, sic cornua auro ornarunt, ex his ipsis bibere solere. Ex hoc cornu bibentem ab insanabilibus morbis tutum fieri, neque eum ipsum convulsionibus corripi, neque sacro morbo tentari, neque venenis ullis ferunt. Quin etiam si quid prius pestilens biberit, tum id evomere, tumque ad sanitatem redire. Quum autem caeteri asini, quibuscumque in terris sint, tam domestici, quam sylvestres, tum caetera solipeda animalia, talos non habeant, neque felin jecore, ut fertur: asinos Indicos cornigeros, Ctesias inquit, talis primum iisque nigris preditos esse: eosdemque si quis confregerit, interiora quoque nigra depreliensurum esse: neque felle eos carere: neque modò corporis velocitate longè multumque caeteros asinos superare, sed & velocitate eadem multò equis & elephantis praestare. Quum autem in viam se dederunt, tardius primò ingrediuntur, deinde paulatim tantum confirmantur ad contendendum iter, eos quidem ut assequi nemo possit. Postea autem quàm foeminae pepererunt, patres circa pullos à parturecentes, summâ custodiâ versantur, eorumque commorationes locis Indiae desertissimis sunt. Quum à venatoribus Indis invaduntur, pullos suos adhuc aetate infirmos, à tergo suo pascentes habent, atque pro eis pugnant: contra equites audent venire, eosque cornibus ferire. Tanto sanè hi robore existunt, nihil eis ut obsistere queat, quin statim concedat, vel, si non cesserit, frangatur, aut aliter atteratur, & evadat inutile, & perdatur. Equorum etiam incursu latera discerpunt ac lacerant, ut viscera effundantur: ex quo fit, ut ad eos equites appropinquare valdè metuant; appropinquatio enim capitalem ipsis pariter & equis mulctam miserabiliter infert. Pergraviter calcibus pugnant. Eorum morsus eatenus acerbiores existunt, ut quicquid comprehenderint, funditus diripiant. Ex his qui sunt confirmata aetate, vivos non ceperis, jaculis & sagittis perimuntur. Carnes eorum, quòd amarissimae sint, haudquaquam esculentae. Eadem ferè Philostratus[18] scribit. Icon quem adjicimus, ferae quidem est corpore auribusque asininis, binis armatae cornibus, quorum alterum è narium, alterum ex oculorum regione exit: sed quia nec solipes est, nec unicornis, Asinus Indicus cornutus esse nequit.


  1. Aldrovand. Hist. Quadrup. l. 1.
  2. Strabo Georg. l. 15.
  3. Philes in Jambis.
  4. Plin. H. N. l. 8. c. 21.
  5. M. Paulus Venetus l. 3. c. 15.
  6. Vartom. l. 1. c. 18.
  7. Bartholin. de Unicornu cap. 24.
  8. Garzias H. Arom. l. 1. c. 14.
  9. Baccius l. 2. c. ult.
  10. Renod. l. 3. Pharm. c. 21
  11. Bartholin. de Unicor.c. 27.
  12. Aelian. H. A. l. 16. c. 20
  13. Albert. H. A. l. 22.
  14. Iordan. l. de peste.
  15. Herodot. l. 4.
  16. Aelian. H. A. l. 10. c. 40
  17. Aelian H. A. l. 4. c. 52.
  18. Philostr. in vita Apollonii. l. 9.

English translation (J.P., 1678)Edit

Of the Unicorn, and of the Horned-Asses

The name of Monoceros, that among the Latines sounds so much, as a one-horned beast, agrees to many creatures; but in a strict sense, is retained to one alone: namely that, who from having but one horn, bears the name of Unicorn. In the Brachmans dialect, called Kartazonon, whether there is, or hath been such a beast in nature: I shall elsewhere examine, after Baccius, and Bartholinus, the great son of so great a father. For present we shall treat hereof briefly, as resting on the fidelity of Relators.

As for the description of the Unicorne, he is said to resemble in his whole body the Horse: He is tailed like a Boor, grins and snarls like a Lyon, headed like an Hart, footed like an Elephant, furnish with one onely horn, and that a black one, two cubits long, standing in the midst of his fore-head. Isidore makes him all one with the Rhinoceros, and saith that his horn is so sharp and strong, that what ever he strikes at, he shatters, or peirces it through. There was one seen in the service of the great Cham of Tartary, in the Kingdome of Lambris. They are lesse then Elephants, holding their head downwards, like a Swine, of a prickling tongue, wherewith they get what they meet with; black eyed, and very like the Rhinoceros. Lewis of Barthema of Bononia, writes thus of the Unicorns seen by him: There are Dens on the one side of the Temple at Mecca, wherein are kept two Unicorns, that are showen, as the manner is, for a rarity.

Concerning the shape: The greater resembled a Horse-colt of thirty months old; his horn, that he bears on his fore-head, is about three ells in length; the other was a year old, his horn grown to four hand-breadth.

The colour of the beast, somewhat darker then that of a Sumpter, or Pack-horse, headed like a Hart, short-necked, and thin-haired thereabout, short-mained, and that hanging only on one side: Small, and slender-legged, like a Hinde: The feet a little cloven afore, Goat-hoofed, the feet hairy on the right side. He seems feirce, and of a nature affecting lovelinesse. I adde not what Garzias hath out of Hortus: They are said to be found in the Arabian Deserts, and to have been seen there by Merchants; as also between the Cape of Good Hope, and that they call the Currentes. Some are in the Kingdom Basma, and Lambris; some in the utmost parts of Asia, in the Province Macinus, between the mountains of India, and Cathay, where the Serici inhabite. Some in the new world. The Horn is shewen in many places; the most famous are, S. Denys in France, Venetia, Spain, Utrecht, Helvetia, Denmark, Hampton-Court in England, Windsor, and the Gedansian of Empiricus. That at S. Denys is of greatest note, being rugged, not polished, blackish, and nearest those Ancients describe. Writers differ about the Unicorns horns lenth, Renodæus makes him as long as a mans hight, he takes it on trust, as we do. Baccius, and Marinus bring it to six cubits: Golnitzius his measure is six foot and a half: Bellonius makes it up full seven foot. Nor do they agree about the weight. Cardan saith, one hath been seen to weigh seventeen pound, and three quarters. Golnitzius rises it to five and twenty. I with Bellonius should judge the horn to weigh eighteen pound, having poysed it in my hand. Baccius thinks the Venetian are right. Marinus, that they are longer then old ones, nor so writhed as Ælians, and so thin, that they cannot be drunk out of. Coloured like a smooth Harts-horn, and pale, not black. They are reported at the siege of Bysantium, to be conveyed to the Venetian Common-wealth, with twelve breast-plates of Imperial Cavaliers. The Spanish one hath nothing singular, a piece whereof Phil. IV. presented to Cardinal Francis Barbarine, and eminent man, and most courteous to strang Gentery.

That at Utrecht is as long as that at Paris, and reasonable great; much wreathed at top, and then growing straiter toward the bottome. The outside is of a sand-colour, the inside is whither. It is held in great account, and is shown for a right one, so that Colonia Agrippina, hath bid a great summe of gold for it. That of the Helvetians, was found in the year M. D. XX. at the mouth of the River Arula, near Brugia; white it is within, yellowish without, without writhings, two cubits long, but as sweet as musk, especially if it be near the fire. The Danish, one is kept in Fredericks-Burgs Castle, above seven Roman-foot long, if we except that part within the hollow, which Bartholine conceives to be above a foot, it is seven fingers about, writhed all along, and sharp-pointed at top; the colour mixt of white, and ash-colour, and in some of the spaces channeld, and chamfered with black, and duskish streaks. That of the Venetian Merchants, was brought out of German, promising by the bright, and divers colour'd shape, that it is a right one; and the rather, because there fall pieces from it, if you shave it, not like teeth, and shavings, that can be crumbled; but there come thence shavings that are clammy, and yeelding, as any other cut hornes. I can say litle of the Gedanensian one. Empiricus returning from Constantinople, not long ago, magnified it highly. More about this beast Ælian tells us, saying, that among all beasts he hath the must absur'd vile voyce; that if other beasts come to him, he is gentle, but ever fighting with those of his owne kind; the males do not only quarrell, but they also with the females, so that they kill one other. His whole body is very strong, but his horn invincible. He seeks deserts, and goes ever alone wandring. At coupling-time the male is tamer, and feeds quietly with the female; when that time is over, and the female begins to swell, the male returns to his former fiercenesse, and betakes him to his wandring lovelinesse. Men say that there were some of their young ones brought to the Prasian King, and that on feast, aud triumph-dayes, they were put together to fight, to shew their strength: for no man ever remembers that one growen up, hath been taken. So far Ælian. Some add, that this beast loves your Virgins so, that if one spreads but her lap, as he comes, he will lay his head there, and fall in a slumber, and is so taken. For their use, all know how they are commended for the soverain vertue of their horne against venome, for where poyson is, it sweats, and drops stand on it; and so, as some think, they right horn is knowne. Aloysius Mundella, commends it against the bite of a mad dog, and other mischievous beasts, as also of worms. The ancient Indian Kings, who first arrived at the knowledge of this horne, made cups of it for themselves, that drinking out of them, they might fence themselves against poyson, drunkennesse, cramp, falling sickness, and other malignant diseases. A Iew of Venice, made a circle on a table with that horn, and cast then a Scorpion, and a Spider within it, who had not the power to passe that circle: after that they being plickt by it a hand high, whether by the shadow of it, or the vertue flowing from it, they were both kill'd, within the space of an hour. No wonder then that it is so valued, that German Merchants ask'd for one of them 90000 crowns; and the Pope, setting up a kind of an Apothecaries shop in the Vatican, gave 12000 pieces of gold to the Epidaurian Merchants, for a piece of an Unicorns horne, of the which Austin Ricchus the Popes then chief Physitian, used to put now a scruple, now 10 grains in wine, or cordiall water, and administred it with great successe. And thus shall serve now to have spoken of the Unicorn, we shall say more elsewhere. Concerning horn'd Asses, I find them cried up in three places, namely in India, Scythia, and Africa. Herodotus mentions the African. Ælian saith that they hold the water of the River Styx, and were sent in yron vessels by Alexander to Delphos, to be there dedicated to Pythia. Of the Indian ones, the same Ælian thus: I have been informed, that there are wild Asses, no lesse then Horses bred among the Indians, white bodied, onely purple-headed, and blew-eyed, and that they bear a horn in the forehead, a cubite and hald long; the upper-part whereof is light red, the lower white, and the middle coalblack; and that, not all, but the principall Indians have hang'd them as bracelets on their arms, and set them off with fold, and have use to drink out of the same. They report, that, who so uses to drink out of this horn, shall be free from incurable diseases nor shall be ever troubled with convulsion fits, nor ever toucht with the falling-sicknesse, nor tainted with any poyson; nay, that if he hath drunk any venome, he shall cast it up again, and recover his health. And when other Asses, all the world over, whether tame, or wild, and all other wholehooft beasts have, as it is said, nor ankles, nor gall in their live: These Indian Asses onely have ankles, and these black, and that within, if you break them, neither want they a gall; and that in swiftnesse, they exceed not onely by much other Asses, but also by far both Elephants and Horses. And when they come first on the way, their pace is but slow at beginning, but then they mend it by degrees and at length none can overtake them. After the females have brought forth, the sires very carefully looke to the colts, and their haunt is in the most desert parts of India: when the Indians hunt them, they hold the colts feeding behind them, and fight for them: they dare meet the horsemen face to face, and make at them with their hornes. So strong they are, there is no resisting of them, they make all yeeld, or what will not. They break, or so shatter, that it become uselesse, and is quite spoil'd. If they meet with horses they rend, and teat their sides in pieces, that their very guts fall out, so that horsemen are affraid to come near them, knowing that the approach is the utter lamentable destruction, both man and horse, they lay finely about them with their heels. What ever they bite, they make an utter riddance of it. If they be once grown up, they are not to be taken; they are kill'd with darts and arrows. Their flesh is so bitter, it is not to be eaten. Philostratus writes almost the same. The figure that we have here added, is of a wild beast-bodied, and eared like an Asse, armed with two hornes, one shooting out of his nostrills, the other about his eys; but because it is not whole-hoof'd, nor one-horn'd, it cannot be the Indian Asse.

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