Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/946

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922
STILO PRAECONINUS—STILT

as the first step in the erection of Minnesota Territory. Still- water was chartered as a city in 1854. The first electric railway in the state was completed here in 1889, but failed later.


STILO PRAECONINUS, LUCIUS AELIUS, (c. 154–74 B.C.), of Lanuvium, the earliest Roman philologist, was a man of distinguished family and belonged to the equestrian order. He was called Stilo (stilus, pen), because he wrote speeches for others, and Praeconinus from his father's profession (praeco, public crier). His aristocratic sympathies were so strong that he voluntarily accompanied Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus into exile. At Rome he divided his time between teaching (although not as a professional schoolmaster) and literary work. His most famous pupils were Varro and Cicero, and amongst his friends were Coelius Antipater, the historian, and Lucilius, the satirist, who dedicated their works to him. According to Cicero, who expresses a poor opinion of his powers as an orator, Stilo was a follower of the Stoic school. Only a few fragments of his works remain. He wrote commentaries on the hymns of the Salii, and (probably) on the Twelve Tables; and investigated the genuineness of the Plautine comedies, of which he recognized 25, four more than were allowed by Varro. It is probable that he was the author of a general glossographical work, dealing with literary, historical and antiquarian questions. The rhetorical treatise Ad Herennium has been attributed to him by some modern scholars.

See Cicero, Brutus, 205–207, De legibus, ii. 23, 59; Suetonius, De grammaticis, 2; Geilius iii. 3, 1. 12; Quintilian, Inst. orat. x., 1, 99; monographs by J. van Heusde (1839) and F. Mentz (1888); Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, bk. iv. ch. 12, 13; J. E. Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship (2nd ed., 1906) ; M. Schanz, Geschichte der römischen Literatur (1898), vol. i. ; Teuffel, Hist. of Roman Literature (Eng. trans., 1900), p. 148.

STILPO [Stilpon], Greek philosopher of the Megarian school (q.v.), was a contemporary of Theophrastus and Crates. Intellectually in agreement with the Megarian dialectic, he followed the practical ethics of the Cynics both in theory and in practice. He extolled the Cynic ἀπαθεία (loosely, self-control) as the principal virtue. Cicero (De fato, 5) describes him as a man of the highest character. Suïdas attributes twenty dialogues to him, but of these no fragments remain. Among his followers were Menedemus and Asclepiades, the leaders of the Eretrian school of philosophy. Seneca (Epistle 9) shows how closely allied Stilpo was to the Stoics (q.v.).


STILT, or Long-legged Plover, a bird so-called (see Stilts) for reasons obvious to anyone who has seen it, 'since, though not very much bigger than a snipe, the length of its legs (their bare part measuring 8 in.), in proportion to the size of its body exceeds that of any other bird's. The first name (a translation of the French Schasse, given in 1760 by M. J. Brisson) seems to have been bestowed by J. Rennie only in 1831; but, recommended by its definiteness and brevity, it has wholly supplanted the second and older one. The bird is the Charadrius himantopus[1] of Linnaeus, the Himantopus candidus or melanopterus of modern writers, and belongs to the group Limicolae, having been usually placed in the family Scolopacidae, though it might be quite as reasonably referred to the Charadriidae, and, with its allies to be immediately mentioned, would seem to be not very distant from Haematopus, notwithstanding the wonderful development of its legs and the slenderness of its bill.

The stilt obtains its food by wading in shallow water and seizing the insects that fly over or float upon its surface or the small crustaceans that swim beneath, for which purpose its slender extremities are, as might be expected, admirably adapted. Widely spread over Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe, it has many times visited Britain—though always as a straggler, for it is not known to breed to the northward of the Danube valley—and its occurrence in Scotland (near Dumfries) was noticed by Sibbald so long ago as 1684. It chiefly resorts to pools or lakes with a margin of mud, on which it constructs a slight nest, banked round or just raised above the level so as to keep its eggs dry (Ibis, 1859, p. 360); but sometimes they are laid in a tuft of grass. They are four in number, and, except in size, closely resemble those of the oystercatcher (q.v.). The bird has the head, neck, and lower parts white, the back and wings glossy black, the irides red, and the bare part of the legs pink. In America the genus has two representatives, one[2]

(After Gosse.) Fig. 1.—Black-necked American Stilt.

(fig. 1) closely resembling that just described, but rather smaller and with a black crown and nape. This is H. nigricollis or mexicanus, and occurs from New England to the middle of South America, beyond which it is replaced by H. brasiliensis, which has the crown white. The stilt inhabiting India is now recognized to be H. candidus, but Australia possesses a distinct species, H. novae-hollandiae, which also occurs in New Zealand, though that country has in addition a species peculiar to it, H. novae- zelandiae, differing from all the rest by assuming in the breeding- season an altogether black plumage. Australia, however, presents another form, which is the type of the genus Clado- rhynchus, and differs from Himantopus both in its style of plumage (the male having a broad bay pectoral belt), in its shorter tarsi, and in having the toes (though, as in the stilt's feet, three in number on each foot) webbed.

Allied in many ways to the stilts, but differing in many undeniably generic characters, are the birds known as Avocets,[3] forming the genus Recurvirostra of Linnaeus. Their bill, which is perhaps the most slender to be seen in the whole class, curves upward towards the end, and has given the oldest known species two names which it formerly bore in England,—“cobbler's-awl,” from its likeness to the tool so called, and “scooper,” because it resembled the scoop with which mariners threw water on their sails. The legs, though long, are not extraordinarily so, and the feet, which are webbed, bear a small hind toe.

This species (fig. 2), the R. avocetta of ornithology, was of old time plentiful in England, though doubtless always restricted to certain localities. Charleton in 1668 says that when a boy he had shot not a few on the Severn, and Plot mentions it so as to lead one to suppose that in his time (1686) it bred in Staffordshire, while F. Willughby (1676) knew of it as being in winter on the eastern coast, and T. Pennant in 1769 found it in great numbers opposite to Fossdyke Wash in Lincolnshire, and described the birds as hovering over the sportsman's head like lapwings. In this district they were called “Yelpers” from their cry;[4] but whether that name was

  1. The possible confusion by Pliny's transcribers of this word with Haematopus is referred to under Oystercatcher. Himantopus, with its equivalent Loripes, “by an awkward metaphor,” as remarked by Gilbert White, “implies that the legs are as slender and pliant as if cut out of a thong of leather.”
  2. This species was made known to Ray by Sloane, who met with it in Jamaica, where in his day it was called “long-legs.”
  3. This word is from the Bolognese Avosetta, which is considered to be derived from the Latin avis—the termination expressing a diminutive of a graceful or delicate kind, as donnetta from donna (Professor Salvadori in epist.).
  4. Cf. “yarwhelp” (see Godwit) and “yaup” or “whaup” (see Curlew). “Barker” and “clinker” seem to have been names used in Norfolk.