Martial, Epigrams, V, 84

Iam tristis nucibus puer relictis

Clamoso revocatur a magistro,

Et blando male proditus fritillo,

Arcana modo raptus e popina,

Aedilem rogat udus aleator.

Saturnalia transiere tota,

Nec munuscula parva nec minora

Misisti mihi, Galla, quam solebas.

Sane sic abeat meus December:

Scis certe, puto, vestra iam venire

Saturnalia, Martias Kalendas;

Tunc reddam tibi, Galla, quod dedisti.

(Ed. Heraeus 1925 – Leipzig)

Now the schoolboy sadly leaves his nuts, recalled by the clamorous master, and the boozy gambler, betrayed by an all too alluring dice box and just hauled out of a secret tavern, is pleading with the aedile[1]. The Saturnalia are over and done with, and you sent me no small presents, Galla, not even smaller ones than you used to send. Very good, so pass away my December. Methinks you surely know that your Saturnalia are coming soon, the Kalends of March. Then I shall return to you, Galla, what you gave. (Trans. Schackleton-Bailey – Loeb 1993).

[1] The end of the Saturnalia is indicated by the mention of two playing objects, one, the walnut (nux), connotes the activities of children and the other, the container for holding the dice, instead refers to gambling (alea), an activity permitted only during the period of the Saturnalia for adult men.

Aristotle, History of Animals, II, 1 (499b 15-33)

Ἔστι δὲ καὶ τὰ μὲν κερατοφόρα τα δ’ἄκερα τῶν ζώων. τὰ μὲν οὖν πλεῖστα τῶν ἐχόντων κέρατα διχαλὰ κατὰ φύσιν ἐστίν, οἷον βοῦς καὶ ἔλαφος καὶ αἴξ· μώνυχον δὲ καὶ δίκερων οὐδὲν ἡμῖν ὦπται. μονοκέρατα δὲ καὶ μώνυχα ὀλίγα, οἷον ὁ Ἰνδικὸς ὄνος. μονόκερων δὲ καὶ διχαλὸν ὄρυξ. καὶ ἀστράγαλον δ᾿ ὁ Ἰνδικὸς ὄνος ἔχει τῶν μωνύχων μόνον· ἡ γὰρ ὗς, ὥσπερ ἐλέχθη πρότερον, ἐπαμφοτερίζει, διὸ καὶ οὐ καλλιαστράγαλόν ἐστιν. τῶν δὲ διχαλῶν πολλὰ ἔχει ἀστράγαλον. πολυσχιδὲς δ᾿ οὐδὲν ὦπται τοιοῦτον ἔχον ἀστράγαλον, ὥσπερ οὐδ᾿ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ᾿ ἡ μὲν λὺγξ ὅμοιον ἡμιαστραγαλίῳ, ὁ δὲ λέων, οἷόν περ πλάττουσι, λαβυρινθώδη. πάντα δὲ τὰ ἔχοντα ἀστράγαλον ἐν τοῖς ὄπισθεν ἔχει σκέλεσιν. ἔχει δ᾿ ὀρθὸν τὸν ἀστράγαλον ἐν τῇ καμπῇ, τὸ μὲν πρανὲς ἔξω, τὸ δ᾿ ὕπτιον εἴσω, καὶ τὰ μὲν κῶλα[1] ἐντὸς ἐστραμμένα πρὸς ἄλληλα, τὰ δὲ ἰσχία[2] καλούμενα ἔξω, καὶ τὰς κεραίας ἄνω. ἡ μὲν οὖν θέσις τῶν ἀστραγάλων τοῖς ἔχουσι πᾶσι τοῦτον ἔχει τὸν τρόπον.

(Ed. Balme 2002 – Cambridge)

Further, some animals are horned, some hornless. Most of the horned ones are cloven-hoofed, e.g., the ox, the deer, and the goat; we have seen no solid-hoofed animal with a pair of horns. But a few, e.g., the Indian ass, a have a single horn and are solid-hoofed. The oryx has a single horn and cloven hooves. The only solid-hoofed animal with a hucklebone is the Indian ass—as we said before, the pig is a dualizer, and therefore it has no proper hucklebone. The hucklebone is present in many of the cloven-hoofed animals. No polydactylous animal has been observed to possess a hucklebone of this sort, any more than man has. Nevertheless, the lynx has one like a half-astragal, band the lion has one like the “labyrinth” used in moulding. All those which have a hucklebone have it in the hind legs. The hucklebone is set upright in the joint: the upper part outside and the lower part inside: the sides known as the Coan[3] are inside, turned towards each other, the sides known as the Chian[4] are outside, and the keraiai (“horns”) are on top. So this is the position of the hucklebone in all animals that have one. (Trans. Peck – Loeb 1965).

[1] The reading κῶλα is attested by all the manuscripts except m (Parisinus Graecus 1921). The variant reading κῶα (‘Coan’) is nevertheless adopted by modern scholars before D.M. Balme (2002).

[2] The reading ἰσχία is attested by all the manuscripts except m (Parisinus Graecus 1921). The variant reading χῖα (‘Chian’) is nevertheless adopted by modern scholars before D.M. Balme (2002).

[3] In view of the previous notes of textual criticism it would be more appropriate to translate this term as an ‘anatomical’ notation concerning the limbs, κῶλα (kōla) of the talus.

[4] In view of the previous notes of textual criticism it would be more appropriate to translate this term as a metaphorical reference to the ‘hips’, ἰσχία (ischia), of the talus. The choice of these terms derived from the animal anatomy vocabulary would also have the advantage of maintaining a certain coherence with the other two names of the faces of the talus which indicate a part of the body: the back, πρανές, and the belly, ὕπτιον.