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tivity (B. c. 500) as the date at which the domestication of poultry was first practised: but we are inclined to believe that we shall be nearer the truth if we go further back into remote antiquity, fixing upon the establishment of the Jewish kingdom by David, some 3000 years ago, at a time when the arts of husbandry and social life are most likely to have had their rise, and to have spread among the people. Thus the Psalmist, speaking of the period to which the date we allude to may be assigned, mentions "feathered fowl," or, as the Hebrew original has it, "fowls of the wing," indicating such an acquaintance with those which are comprised in the order to which our poultry belong, as enabled him to distinguish between them and the "fowls of the wing." Shortly after, too, we read of King Solomon consuming daily in hist household "fatted fowl: and whilst we are not disposed to go the length of those who have rendered the Hebrew words (barburim abusim) as meaning capons, (of the very existence of which there is no evidence,) we are at least justified in considering the passage to prove tolerably satisfactorily the approximate correctness of our conjecture. Five hundred years later we also find it recorded that the prophet Nehemiah had daily prepared for his household, "an ox, six choice. sheep, and fowls." About this time also Bishop Pococke tells us, the Bey of Tunis daily partook, at his meals, of both "fowls and eggs."
The observance of the Levitical law must have caused a large consumption of PIGEONS and Doves by the Israelitish people, and we may hence infer that those birds were among the earliest domestic-. ated. From a passage in Isaiah (ch. lx. ver. 8) it is evident that at a period certainly 600 years before the Christian era, they were very generally kept in cotes, or houses with "windows." Indeed the rearing and selling of pigeons must have become an important branch of traffic even at Jerusalem; for when our Saviour visited the temple, we read that he overthrew the seats of " those that sold doves therein." The domestication of pigeons among the ancient Pagan nations appears to have been scarcely less remote than among the Jews: of this abundant evidence is found in the works of Æsop, Anacreon, Virgil, and others. In the pages of those writers, frequent allusion is made to the bird as a "Bearer of Epistles," or Carrier: thus Ovid tells us, that Taurosthenes, by means of a pigeon stained with a purple dye, conveyed to his father at Ægina information of his victories in the Olympic games, on the same day on which they occurred. In a similar manner, also, did the besieged at Modena keep up a communication with their approaching allies when every other channel was closed; of this Pliny speaks when he asks,"What availed Antony all his cares, when the messenger was cleaving the air?"
The flesh of the SWAN was, by the law of Moses,
forbidden to be eaten as unclean; and under this prohibition was most likely included that of all other web-footed fowls.
The PEACOCK is mentioned by Job, (B. c. 1520,) and in 1 Kings, ch. x. ver. 22: we are there told that these birds were brought to King Solomon by the navy of Tharshish, (B. c. 1000,) together with ivory and apes" from Ophir;" which has been variously conjectured to be Africa, Tunis, or Arabia. Buffon erroneously (as we think) asserts that the peacock was introduced into Greece, and thence into Europe, by Alexander the Great (B. c. 330): though this is certainly incorrect, as the peacock is mentioned by Eupolis, Aristophanes, Antiphon, and other classic writers who flourished a century previous to that period. By the last-named author we are told that in his day a pair of pea-fowls were valued at 1000 drachmæ, (a sum equal in value to £30 of our money,) and that they were publicly exhibited at Athens as a spectacle. That the pea-fowl was common, or at least generally known, in the time of Alexander, is clear from the way in which Aristotle compares vain and jealous persons to the peacock-evidently selecting a familiar illustration of the foibles he censured. We also gather from the writings of Cicero and others, that this bird formed an almost indispensable addition at a Roman banquet-the brains being especially esteemed by the epicures: and hence those fowls. were regularly reared and fattened for the table.
Although we meet with no direct allusion to GEESE or DUCKS in Holy Writ, there is little doubt, as we have before observed, that they were included generally among the unclean fowls; as the frequently recurring figurations of those birds among the hieroglyphical works of the Egyptians preclude the idea that they were unknown to the ancients. So far, indeed, from that being the case, we are assured by Herodotus (B. c. 430) that long before his time quails and ducks formed the customary food of that people.
GEESE were probably domesticated much earlier than ducks. Homer (about eight centuries before Christ) notices them, and describes their being fed upon grain steeped in water. Esop (B. c. 600) imagines a man bringing up a swan and a goose together, "the one for his ear, and the other for his belly." Among the Romans it was dedicated to Juno: and it is said that one of its kind, by its cackling, saved the imperial city (B. c. 388) from an enemy, a story that every school-boy is acquainted with, and which has been transmitted to us by Livy, Lucretius, Virgil, and others, who, with more than ordinary care and ampleness of detail, inform us that it was a white or silver goose to whom the Romans were indebted for the signal service referred to. Gratitude for their usefulness on that occasion did not, however, according to Pliny, prevent the Roman gourmands from subjecting them to the cruel process of "cram
ming;" invented for the express purpose of furnishing the dainty dish of diseased or enlarged livers. The same author also records that when the Romans overran the Netherlands, (B. c. 57,) they occupied much of their time in catching geese (wild, of course, we infer) for their flesh and feathers, the former, when roasted, being so much esteemed by the soldiers as food, and the latter being no less sought after in order to provide the means of resting softly at night.
From the directions given by Columella (A. D. 40) for rearing geese and ducks, some have supposed that the latter were not then domesticated among the Roman people: an opinion that would appear to have some foundation, as Pliny, about the same time, and Ælian, a century and a half later, both speak of that fowl as wild. But from the distinct mention made by Cicero (B. c. 60) of the manner in which ducks' eggs were hatched under hens, we are inclined to believe that the domestication of the DUCK may have been commenced (though in all probability very partially) before the period usually supposed.
Of all our domestic poultry, however, none appear to have been regarded with more importance, or to have been more esteemed, from the earliest ages, and among almost every nation, than those included in that cosmopolitan species, known par excellence as "COCKS AND HENS." The representations of them upon the coins, medals, and