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The people of Athens, when they had finished the temple called
Hecatompedon, set at liberty the beasts of burden that had been chiefly
employed in that work, suffering them to pasture at large, free from any
further service. It is said that one of these afterwards came of its own
accord to work, and putting itself at the head of the labouring cattle,
marched before them to the citadel. The people were pleased with this
spontaneous action, and made a decree that the animal should be kept at
the public charge as long as it lived. Many have shown particular marks of
regard in burying animals which they had cherished and been fond of. The
graves of Cimon's mares, with which he thrice conquered at the Olympic
games, are still to be seen near his own tomb. Xanthippus, whose dog swam
by the side of his galley to Salamis, when the Athenians were forced to
abandon their city, afterwards buried it with great pomp upon a
promontory, which to this day is called the Dog's Grave. In Pliny, we
have an amusing account of a superb funeral ceremony, which took place
during the reign of Claudius; in which the illustrious departed was no
other than a crow, so celebrated for its talents and address, that it was
looked upon as a sort of public property. Its death was felt as a national
loss; the man who killed it was condemned to expiate the crime with his
own life; and nothing less than a public funeral could, as it was thought,
do justice to its memory. The remains of the bird were laid on a bier,
which was borne by two slaves; musicians went before it, playing mournful
airs; and an infinite number of persons, of all ages and conditions,
brought up the rear of the melancholy procession.





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