SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Claudius Aelianus

Claudius Aelianus Aelian, born at Praeneste, was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222. He spoke Greek so fluently that he was called "honey-tongued", his two chief works are valuable for the numerous quotations from the works of earlier authors, which are otherwise lost, for the surprising lore, which offers unexpected glimpses into the Greco-Roman world-view. On the Nature of Animals is a curious collection, in seventeen books, of brief stories of natural history, sometimes selected with an eye to conveying allegorical moral lessons, sometimes because they are just so astonishing: "The Beaver is an amphibious creature: by day it lives hidden in rivers, but at night it roams the land, feeding itself with anything that it can find. Now it understands the reason why hunters come after it with such eagerness and impetuosity, it puts down its head and with its teeth cuts off its testicles and throws them in their path, as a prudent man who, falling into the hands of robbers, sacrifices all that he is carrying, to save his life, forfeits his possessions by way of ransom.

If however it has saved its life by self-castration and is again pursued it stands up and reveals that it offers no ground for their eager pursuit, releases the hunters from all further exertions, for they esteem its flesh less. However Beavers with testicles intact, after escaping as far away as possible, have drawn in the coveted part, with great skill and ingenuity tricked their pursuers, pretending that they no longer possessed what they were keeping in concealment."The Loeb Classical Library introduction characterizes the book as "an appealing collection of facts and fables about the animal kingdom that invites the reader to ponder contrasts between human and animal behavior."Aelian's anecdotes on animals depend on direct observation: they are entirely taken from written sources Pliny the Elder, but other authors and works now lost, to whom he is thus a valuable witness. He is more attentive to marine life than might be expected and this seems to reflect first-hand personal interest.

At times he strikes the modern reader as credulous, but at others he states that he is reporting what is told by others, that he does not believe them. Aelian's work is one of the sources of medieval natural history and of the bestiaries of the Middle Ages; the portions of the text that are still extant are badly mangled and garbled and replete with interpolations. Conrad Gessner, the Swiss scientist and natural historian of the Renaissance, made a Latin translation of Aelian's work, to give it a wider European audience. An English translation by A. F. Scholfield has been published in the Loeb Classical Library, 3 vols.. Various History — for the most part preserved only in an abridged form — is Aelian's other well-known work, a miscellany of anecdotes and biographical sketches, pithy maxims, descriptions of natural wonders and strange local customs, in 14 books, with many surprises for the cultural historian and the mythographer, anecdotes about the famous Greek philosophers, poets and playwrights and myths instructively retold.

The emphasis is on various moralizing tales about heroes and rulers and wise men. Aelian gives an account of fly fishing, using lures of red wool and feathers, of lacquerwork, serpent worship — Essentially the Various History is a Classical "magazine" in the original senses of that word, he is not trustworthy in details, his agenda was influenced by Stoic opinions so that his readers will not feel guilty, but Jane Ellen Harrison found survivals of archaic rites mentioned by Aelian illuminating in her Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. The first printing was in 1545; the standard modern text is Mervin R. Dilts's, of 1974. Two English translations of the Various History, by Fleming and Stanley made Aelian's miscellany available to English readers, but after 1665 no English translation appeared, until three English translations appeared simultaneously: James G. DeVoto, Claudius Aelianus: Ποικίλη Ιστορία Chicago, 1995. Considerable fragments of two other works, On Providence and Divine Manifestations, are preserved in the early medieval encyclopedia, the Suda.

Twenty "letters from a farmer" after the manner of Alciphron are attributed to him. The letters are invented compositions to a fictitious correspondent, which are a device for vignettes of agricultural and rural life, set in Attica, though mellifluous Aelian once boasted that he had never been outside Italy, never been aboard a ship, thus conclusions about actual agriculture in the Letters are as to evoke Latium as Attica. The fragments have been edited in 1998 by D. Domingo-Foraste, but

Langya Commandery

Langya Commandery was a commandery in historical China from Qin dynasty to Tang dynasty, located in present-day southeast Shandong and northeast Jiangsu. The commandery was established in Qin dynasty on the former terrotories of Qi. From Qin to early Han dynasty, parts of Langya were separated to form three new commanderies, Jiaodong and Jiaoxi. From 181 BC to 180 BC, Langya served as the fief of Liu Ze, who became the king of Yan after the Lü Clan Disturbance; the commandery's borders expanded as marquessates split from nearby kingdoms were added to the commandery. In late Western Han, Langya covered 51 counties and marquessates, by far the most numerous among all commanderies. After the establishment of Eastern Han, Chengyang was merged into Langya. In 41 AD, the territory was converted to a kingdom/principality and granted to Liu Jing, son of the Emperor Guangwu. Jing's descendants held the kingdom until 217 AD, when the last prince of the lineage was killed by Cao Cao and Langya was converted back to a commandery.

In 140, Langya administered 13 counties, namely Kaiyang, Langya, Xihai, Zhu, Ju, Dong'an, Linyi, Jiqiu and Gumu. The population was 570,967. In 198, four counties were transferred to the reestablished Chengyang Commandery. In 280, another commandery, Dongguan was separated from Langya. After the establishment of Western Jin, Langya became the fief of Sima Zhou, the fourth son of Sima Yi. After the death of Zhou, Langya passed to his son Jin, to Jin's son Rui, the future Emperor Yuan of Jin. In 280, Langya had a population of 29,500 households. Multiple new commanderies were established over the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties periods. In Northern Wei, Langya Commandery only administered 2 counties: Fei, it was abolished in early Sui dynasty. In Sui and Tang dynasties, Langya Commandery became the alternative name of Yi Prefecture. In 742, the commandery's territory covered 5 counties: Linyi, Cheng and Xintai; the population was 195,737, in 33,510 households

Glycymeris yessoensis

Glycymeris yessoensis is a species of bivalve mollusc in the family Glycymerididae. It can be found burrowing in soft sediment in shallow water in the Pacific Ocean around the coasts of China and Japan, it is associated with a polychaete worm with which it forms a commensal relationship. This species was first described by the British malacologist George Brettingham Sowerby III in 1889, it has a long fossil record, having been found in formations in southwestern Sakhalin dating back to the lower middle Miocene, with numerous occurrences in the Neogene and Quaternary periods in northern Japan. In the fossils it is possible to observe changing patterns of drilling predation over the aeons, with the sites of drill holes varying with time due to a change in the principle predators, from Glossaulax to Cryptonatica. Unispecific beds of fossils of Glycymeris yessoensis are found in the Onma Formation in central Japan. Glycymeris yessoensis is native to the north central Pacific Ocean where it occurs in the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, its range extending as far north as the Kamchatka Peninsula.

It is found burrowing in sand at depths ranging between the intertidal zone and 60 m. Glycymeris yessoensis can live for 45 years, it is a filter feeder, expelling it through another. It acts as a commensal host to the boring polychaete worm Polydora glycymerica; this worm burrows into the bivalve's shell creating a "U"-shaped burrow near the mollusc's siphon, intercepting some of the food particles from the feeding current created by the mollusc