[CT Birds] Steve Mayo post on Golden Eagle Legend

Stephen Oresman magpidarct at aol.com
Thu Dec 20 16:56:32 EST 2012

    My researches on the bird that dropped the tortoise on Aeschylus lead me to conclude that it was a Lammergyer or Bearded Vulture (Gypateus Barbatas) not a Golden Eagle. I had a Professor of Classics friend go back to the original language account in Pliny and she said that it did not use the word eagle in the specific sense it used today. The event occurred in Sicily where the playwright was attached to the local tyrants court. He spent most of time outside because the Delphic Oracle had foretold that he would be killed by something falling on his head. Aeschylus assumed it would be something like a roof beam so he stayed outside much of the time. The oracle was famous for sly tricks of that sort. Lammergeyers are known to drop turtles from great heights just as they drop bones in their so called ossuaries. Their former range included Sicily and they are in their own genus not that of either Eagles or Old World vultures.

Steve Oresman, Darien


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