Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Tree Climbing Octopus

Fresco from Rome, 125-150 AD.

"Palisades were placed before them [the fish pickling tubes], but these the polypus managed to get over by the aid of a tree, and it was only caught at last by calling in the assistance of trained dogs, which surrounded it at night, as it was returning to its prey; upon which, the keepers, awakened by the noise, were struck with alarm at the novelty of the sight presented. First of all, the size of the polypus was enormous beyond all conception; and then it was covered all over with dried brine, and exhaled a most dreadful stench."

Pliny the Elder - Naturalis Historia (the Natural History) IX.48
Translated by J. Bostock and H.T. Riley

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