Pliny the Elder, Natural History 12-37

Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (Books 12-37), translated by Henry T. Riley (1816-1878) and John Bostock (1773-1846), first published 1855, text from the Perseus Project, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 3.0 U.S. License. This text has 3681 tagged references to 714 ancient places.
CTS URN: urn:cts:latinLit:phi0978.phi001; Wikidata ID: Q442;     [Open Latin text in new tab]

§ 12.1.1  SUCH are the generic and specific characteristics of all the animals about which it has been possible to obtain information. It remains to describe the things produced by the earth or dug up from it — these also not being devoid of vital spirit, since nothing lives without it — and not to pass over in silence any of the works of nature.

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§ 12.1.2  The riches of earth's bounty were for a long time hidden, and the trees and forests were supposed to be the supreme gift bestowed by her on man. These first provided him with food, their foliage carpeted his cave and their bark served him for raiment; there are still races which practise this mode of life. This inspires us with ever greater and greater wonder that starting from these beginnings man has come to quarry the mountains for marbles, to go as far as China for raiment, and to explore the depths of the Red Sea for the pearl and the bowels of the earth for the emerald. For this purpose has been devised the fashion of making wounds in the ears, because forsooth it was not enough for jewels to be worn on the hands and neck and hair without making them even pierce through the body. Consequently it will be well to follow the biological order and to speak of trees before earth's other products, and to bring forward origins for our customs.

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§ 12.2.1  Once upon a time trees were the temples of the deities, and in conformity with primitive ritual simple country places even now dedicate a tree of exceptional height to a god; nor do we pay greater worship to images shining with gold and ivory than to the forests and to the very silences that they contain. The different kinds of trees are kept perpetually dedicated to their own divinities, for instance, the winter-oak to Jove, the bay to Apollo, the olive to Minerva, the myrtle to Venus, the poplar to Hercules; nay, more, we also believe that the Silvani and Fauns and various kinds of goddesses are as it were assigned to the forests from heaven and as their own special divinities. Subsequently it was the trees with juices more succulent than corn that gave mellowness to man; for from frees are obtained olive oil to refresh the limbs and draughts of wine to restore the strength, and in fine all the savours that come by the spontaneous generosity of the year, and the fruits that are even now served as a second course, in spite of the fact that battle must be waged with the wild beasts to obtain them and that fishes fattened on the corpses of shipwrecked mariners are in demand. Moreover, there are a thousand other uses for those trees which are indispensable for carrying on life. We use a tree to furrow the seas and to bring the lands nearer together, we use a tree for building houses; even the images of the deities were made from trees, before men had yet thought of paying a price for the corpses of huge animals, or arranged that inasmuch as the privilege of luxury had originated from the gods, we should behold the countenances of the deities and the legs of our tables made of the same ivory. It is stated that the Gauls, imprisoned as they were by the Alps as by a then insuperable bulwark, first found a motive for overflowing into Italy from the circumstance that a Gallic citizen from Switzerland named Helico, who had sojourned at Rome on account of his skill as an artificer, had brought with him when he came back some dried figs and grapes and some samples of oil and wine; and consequently we may pardon them for having sought to obtain these things even by means of war.

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§ 12.3.1  But who would not be justifiably surprised to hear that a tree has been procured from another clime merely for the sake of shade? This tree is the plane, which was first imported into the Ionian Sea as far as the island of San Domenico to plant over the tomb of Diomede, and which crossed from there to Sicily and was one of the first trees bestowed on Italy, and which has now travelled as far as Belgium and actually occupies soil that pays tribute to Rome, so that the tribes have to pay rent even for shade. The elder Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, imported plane-trees to the city of Rcggio as a marvel to adorn his palace, on the site where afterwards a gymnasium was built; and it is found in the authorities that these trees were not able to grow to full size, and that in all Italy there were no others except the 'Spania.'

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§ 12.4.1  This took place at about the period of the capture of Rome; and so much honour has since accrued to plane-trees that their growth is encouraged by having wine poured on them, as it has been found that this is of the greatest benefit to the roots, and we have taught even trees to be wine-bibbers!

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§ 12.5.1  Famous plane-frees are: (1) one that grew in the walks of the Academy at Athens, the roots of which were 50 feet long and spread wider than the branches; (2) at the present day there is a celebrated plane in Lycia, allied with the amenity of a cool spring; it stands by the roadside like a dwelling-house with a hollow cavity inside it 81 feet across, forming with its summit a shady grove, and shielding itself with vast branches as big as trees and covering the fields with its long shadows, and so as to complete its resemblance to a grotto, embracing inside it mossy pumice-stones in a circular rim of rock — a tree so worthy to be deemed a marvel that Licinius Mucianus, who was three times consul and recently lieutenant-governor of the province, thought it worth handing down to posterity also that he had held a banquet with eighteen members of his retinue inside the tree, which itself provided couches of leafage on a bounteous scale, and that he had then gone to bed in the same tree, shielded from every breath of wind, and receiving more delight from the agreeable sound of the rain dropping through the foliage than gleaming marble, painted decorations or gilded panelling could have afforded. (3) Another instance is connected with the Emperor Caligula, who on an estate at Velletri was impressed by the flooring of a single plane-tree, and benches laid loosely on beams consisting of its branches, and held a banquet in the tree — himself constituting a considerable portion of the shadow than a dining-room large enough to hold fifteen guests and the servants: this dining-room the emperor called his 'nest.' (4) There is a single plane-free at the side of a spring at Gortyn in the island of Crete which is celebrated in records written both in Greek and Latin, as never shedding its leaves; and a typical Greek story about it has come down from early times, to the effect that underneath it Jupiter lay with Europa — just as if really there were not another tree of the same species in the island of Cyprus! Slips from this tree, however, planted first in Crete itself — so eager is human nature for a novelty — reproduced the defect: for defect it was, because the plane has no greater recommendation than its property of warding off the sun in summer and admitting it in winter. During the principate of Claudius an extremely wealthy Thessalian eunuch, who was a freedman of Marcellus Aeserninus but had for the sake of obtaining power got himself enrolled among the freedmen of the emperor, imported this variety of plane-tree from Crete into Italy and introduced it at his country estate near Rome — so that he deserves to be called another Dionysius! And these monstrosities from abroad still last on in Italy also, in addition, that is, to those which Italy has devised for herself.

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§ 12.6.1  For there is also the variety called the ground-plane, stunted in height — since we have discovered the art of producing abortions even in trees, and consequently even in the tree class we shall have to speak of the unhappy subject of dwarfs. The ground-plane is produced by a method of planting and of lopping. Clipped arbours were invented within the last 80 years by a member of the Equestrian order named Gaius Matius, a friend of his late Majesty Augustus.

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§ 12.7.1  The cherry and the peach and all the trees with Greek or foreign names are also exotic; but those among them which have been naturalized here will be specified among the fruit-trees. For the present we will go through the real exotics, beginning with the one most valuable for health.

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§ 12.7.2  The citron or Assyrian apple, called by others the Median apple, is an antidote against poisons. It has the leaves of the strawberry-tree, but with prickles running among them. For the rest, the actual fruit is not eaten, but it has an exceptionally strong scent, which belongs also to the leaves, and which penetrates garments stored with them and keeps off injurious insects. The tree itself bears fruit at all seasons, some of the apples falling while others are ripening and others just forming. Because of its great medicinal value various nations have tried to acclimatize it in their own countries, importing it in earthenware pots provided with breathing holes for the roots (and similarly, as it will be convenient to record here so that each of my points may be mentioned only once, all plants that are to travel a specially long distance are planted as tightly as possible for transport); but it has refused to grow except in Media and Persia. It is this fruit the pips of which, as we have mentioned, the Parthian grandees have cooked with their viands for the sake of sweetening their breath. And among the Medes no other tree is highly commended.

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§ 12.8.1  We have already described the wool-bearing trees of the Chinese in making mention of that race, and we have spoken of the large size of the trees in India. One of those peculiar to India, the ebony, is spoken of in glowing terms by Virgil, who states that it does not grow in any other country. Herodotus, however, prefers it to be ascribed to Ethiopia, stating that the Ethiopians used to pay as tribute to the Kings of Persia every three years a hundred logs of ebony, together with gold and ivory. Nor also should we omit the fact, since that author indicates it, that the Ethiopians used to pay twenty large elephant tusks on the same account. So high was the esteem in which ivory was held in the 310th year of our city, the date at which that author composed his history at Thurii in Italy; which makes all the more surprising the statement which we accept on his authority, that nobody of Asia or Greece had hitherto been seen who had ever seen the river Po. The exploration of the geography of Ethiopia, which as we have said had lately been reported to the Emperor Nero, showed that over a space of 1,996 miles from Syene on the frontier of the empire to Meroe trees are rare, and there are none except of the palm species. That is possibly the reason why ebony was the third most important item in the tribute paid.

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§ 12.9.1  Ebony was exhibited at Rome by Pompey the Great on the occasion of his triumph over Mithridates. According to Fabius ebony does not give out a flame, yet burns with an agreeable scent. It is of two kinds: the better one, which grows as a tree, is rare — it is of a smooth substance and free from knots, and of a shiny black colour that is pleasing to the eye even in the natural state without the aid of art; whereas the other grows as a shrub like the cytisus, and is spread over the whole of India.

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§ 12.10.1  In India there is also a thorn the wood of which resembles ebony, but can be detected even by the flame of a lantern, as the light at once shines through people. The tree is called the pala, and the fruit ariena. It is most frequent in the territory of the Sydraci, which was the farthest point reached by the expeditions of Alexander. There is also another tree resembling this one, the fruit of which is sweeter, but causes derangement of the bowels. Alexander issued an order in advance forbidding any member of his expedition to touch it.

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§ 12.13.1  The Macedonians have given accounts of kinds of trees that for the most part have no names. There is also one that resembles the terebinth in every other respect but the fruit of which is like an almond, though smaller, and is remarkably sweet, at all events when grown in Bactria. This tree has been considered by some persons to be a special kind of terebinth rather than another plant resembling it. The tree from which they make linen for clothing resembles a mulberry by its leaves, but the calyx of the fruit is like that of a dog-rose. It is grown in the plains, and no other plantations add more to the beauty of the landscape.

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§ 12.14.1  The olive-tree of India is barren, except for the fruit of the wild olive. But trees resembling our junipers that bear pepper occur everywhere, although some writers have reported that they only grow on the southern face of the Caucasus. The seeds differ from those of the juniper by being in small pods, like those which we see in the case of the kidney-bean; these pods when plucked before they open and dried in the sun produce what is called long pepper, but if left to open gradually, when ripe they disclose white pepper, which if afterwards dried in the sun changes colour and wrinkles up. Even these products, however, have their own special infirmity, and inclement weather shrivels them up and turns the seeds into barren husks, called bregma, which is an Indian word meaning 'dead.' Of all kinds of pepper this is the most pungent and the lightest, and it is pale in colour. Black pepper is more agreeable, but white pepper is of a milder flavour than either the black or the 'long' pepper.

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§ 12.14.2  The root of the pepper-tree is not, as some people have thought, the same as the substance called ginger, or by others zinpiberi, although it has a similar flavour. Ginger is grown on farms in Arabia and Cave-dweller Country it is a small plant with a white root. The plant is liable to decay very quickly, in spite of its extreme pungency. Its price is six denarii a pound. It is easy to adulterate long pepper with Alexandrian mustard. Long pepper is sold at 15 denarii a pound, white pepper at 7, and black at 4. It is remarkable that the use of pepper has come so much into favour, as in the case of some commodities their sweet taste has been an attraction, and in Others their appearance, but pepper has nothing to recommend it in either fruit or berry. To think that its only pleasing quality is pungency and that we go all the way to India to get this! Who was the first person who was willing to try it on his viands, or in his greed for an appetite was not content merely to be hungry? Both pepper and ginger grow wild in their own countries, and nevertheless they are bought by weight like gold or silver. Italy also now possesses a pepper-tree that grows larger than a myrtle, which it somewhat resembles. Its grains have the same pungency as that believed to belong to myrtle-pepper, but when dried it lacks the ripeness that the other has, and consequently has not the same wrinkles and colouring either. Pepper is adulterated with juniper berries, which absorb its pungency in a remarkable manner, and in the matter of weight there are several ways of adulterating it.

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§ 12.15.1  There is also in India a grain resembling that of pepper, but larger and more brittle, called the carvophyllon, which is reported to grow on the Indian lotus-tree; it is imported here for the sake of its scent. There is also a thorn-bush bearing an extremely bitter fruit that has a resemblance to pepper; this shrub has small thickly clustering leaves like the cyprus; the branches are 4 1/2 feet long, the bark of a pale colour, and the root wide-spreading and woody, of the colour of box. This root boiled in water with the seed in a copper vessel produces the medicine called lycion. The thorn in question also grows on Mount Pelion, where it is used for mixing with a drug, as also are the root of the asphodel, ox-gall, wormwood, sumach and the lees of olive oil. The best lycion for medicinal purposes is the kind that makes a froth; this is imported from India in leather bottles made of camel skin or rhinoceros hide. The shrub itself is sometimes known in Greece under the name of Chiron's buckthorn.

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§ 12.16.1  Another substance imported from India is macir, the red bark of the large root of a tree of the same name, which I have been unable to identify. This bark boiled with honey is considered in medicine to be a valuable specific for dysentery.

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§ 12.17.1  Arabia also produces cane-sugar, but that grown in India is more esteemed. It is a kind of honey that collects in reeds, white like gum, and brittle to the teeth; the largest pieces are the size of a filbert. It is only employed as a medicine.

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§ 12.18.1  On the frontier of India is a race called the Arian, which has a thorn-bush that is valuable for the juice that it distils, resembling myrrh. It is difficult to get at this bush because it is hedged with thorns. In the same district there is also a poisonous bush-radish, with the leaf of a bay-tree, the smell of which attracts horses, and nearly robbed Alexander of his cavalry when he first entered the region. This also happened in Gedrosia as well, on account of the foliage of the bay-trees; and in the same district a thorn was reported the juice of which sprinkled on the eyes caused blindness in all animals. There was also a plant with a very strong scent, that was full of tiny snakes whose bite was instantly fatal. Onesicritus reports that in the valleys of Hyrcania there are trees resembling the fig, named occhus-trees, which for two hours every morning drip honey.

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§ 12.19.1  Adjoining India is the Bactrian country, in which is produced the highly esteemed bdellium. The tree is black in colour, and the size of the olive; its leaf resembles that of the oak and its fruit that of the wild fig. The subsistence of the fruit is like gum; one name for it is brochos, another malacha, and another maldaeos, while a black variety which is rolled up into cakes has the name of hadrobolos. It ought to be transparent like wax, to have a scent, to exude grease when crumbled, and to have a bitter taste, though without acidity. When used in religions ritual it is steeped in wine, which makes its scent more powerful. This tree is native to Arabia and India, and also to Media and Babylon. Some people give to the bdellium imported from Media the name of peraticum; this kind is more brittle and also harder and more bitter than the others, whereas the Indian sort is moister, and gummy. Almonds are used to adulterate Indian bdellium, but all the other sorts are adulterated also with the bark of scordastum, that being the name of a tree that resembles the gum. But these adulterations can be detected — and it must be enough to state this once for all, to apply to all other perfumes as well — by smell, colour, weight, taste and the action of fire. The Bactrian bdellium is shiny and dry, and has a number of white spots like fingernails; and also it has a specific weight of its own and ought not to be heavier or lighter than this. The price of pure bdellium is 3 denarii a pound.

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§ 12.20.1  Adjoining the races above mentioned is Persia. On the Red Sea, which at this point we have called the Persian Gulf, the tides of which are carried a long way inland, the trees are of a remarkable nature; for they are to be seen on the coast when the tide is out, embracing the barren sands with their naked roots like polypuses, eaten away by the salt and looking like trunks that have been washed ashore and left high and dry. Also these trees when the tide rises remain motionless although beaten by the waves; indeed at high water they are completely covered, and the evidence of the facts clearly proves that this species of tree is nourished by the brackish water. They are of marvellous size, and in appearance they resemble the strawberry-tree, but their fruit is like almonds outside and contains a spiral kernel.

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§ 12.21.1  In the same gulf is the island of Tyros, which is covered with forests in the part facing east, where it also is flooded by the sea at high tide. Each of the trees is the size of a fig-tree; they have a flower with an indescribably sweet scent and the fruit resembles a lupine, and is so prickly that no animal can touch it. On a more elevated plateau in the same island there are trees that bear wool, but in a different manner to those of the Chinese as the leaves of these trees have no growth on them, and might be thought to be vine-leaves were it not that they are smaller; but they bear gourds of the size of a quince, which when they ripen burst open and disclose balls of down from which an expensive linen for clothing is made.

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§ 12.22.1  Their name for this tree is the gossypinus; it also grows in greater abundance on the smaller island of Tyros, which is ten miles distant from the other. Juba says that this shrub has a woolly down poring round it, the fabric made from which is superior to the linen of India. He also says that there is an Arabian tree called the cynas from which cloth is made, which has foliage resembling a palm-leaf. Similarly the natives of India are provided with clothes by their own trees. But in the Tyros islands there is also another tree with a blossom like a white violet but four times as large; it has no scent, which may well surprise us in that region of the world.

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§ 12.23.1  There is also another tree which resembles this one but has more foliage and a rose-coloured blossom, which it closes at nightfall and begins to open at sunrise, unfolding it fully at noon: the natives speak of it as going to sleep. The same island also produces palm-trees and vines, as well as figs and all the other kinds of fruit-trees. None of the trees there sheds its leaves; and the island is watered by cold springs, and has a considerable rainfall.

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§ 12.24.1  The country neighbouring on these islands, Arabia, calls for some detailed account of its products — inasmuch as the parts of trees that are utilized include the root, the trunk, the bark, the juice, the gum, the wood, the shoots, the blossom, the leaves and the fruit.

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§ 12.25.1  In India a root and a leaf are held in the highest value. The root is that of the costus, which has a burning taste and an exquisite scent, though in other respects the plant is of no use. In the island of Patale just in the mouth of the river Indus, there are two kinds of costus plant, the black and the white; the latter is the better; it sells at denarii a pound.

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§ 12.26.1  About the leaf, which is that of the nard, it is proper to speak at greater length, as it holds a foremost place among perfumes. The nard is a shrub, the root of which is heavy and thick but short and black, and although oily, brittle; it has a musty smell like the gladius, and an acrid taste; the leaves are small, and grow in clusters. The shoots of the nard sprout into ears, and consequently both the spikes and the leaves of the nard are famous — a two-fold product. Another kind of nard growing by the Ganges is entirely ruled out by its name, 'putrid nard,' having a poisonous smell. Nard is also adulterated with a plant called bastard nard, which grows everywhere, and has a thicker and broader leaf and a sickly colour inclining to white; and also by being mixed with its own root to increase the weight, and with gum and silver-spume or antimony and gladiolus or husk of gladiolus. Unadulterated nard can be detected by its light weight and its ruddy colour and sweet scent and particularly by its taste, which dries up the mouth and leaves a pleasant flavour.

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§ 12.26.2  The price of nard is 100 denarii a pound. The nard-leaf market is graded according to the size of the leaf: the kind called hadrosphaerum in larger pills costs 40 denarii; the smaller-leaved sort called mesosphaerum sells at 60 denarii; and the most highly spoken of, microsphaerum, is made of the smallest leaves and its price is 75 denarii. All the kinds have an agreeable scent, stronger when they are fresh. The better nard has a blacker colour, if it is old when gathered. In our part of the world the next most highly praised kind is the Syrian, then that from Gaul, and in the third place is the Cretan, which some call agrion and others phun; it has a leaf like that of alexanders, a stalk 18 inches long, knotted and coloured whitish purple, and a crooked hairy root resembling birds' claws. Wild nard is called valerian; we shall speak about it among flowers. All of these kinds of nard, however, are herbs except the Indian. Among them the Gallic kind is plucked with the root as well, and washed in wine, dried in a shady place, and done up with paper in small parcels; it does not differ much from the Indian nard, but it is lighter in weight than the Syrian. Its price is 3 denarii. In the case of these varieties the only way to test them is that the leaves must not be brittle and parched instead of merely dry. With Gallic nard there always grows the herb called little goat because of its offensive smell, like the smell of a goat; it is very much employed to adulterate nard, from which it is distinguished by having no stem and smaller leaves, and by its root, which is not bitter and also has no smell.

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§ 12.27.1  Hazelwort also has the property of nard, indeed some people actually call it 'wild nard.' It has the leaves of the ivy, only rounder and softer, a purple flower, the root of Gallic nard, and seed like grape-stones, which has a warm taste with a flavour of wine. On shady mountains it flowers twice a year. The best variety grows in Pontus, the next best in Phrygia and the third in Illyricum. When it begins to shed its leaves it is dug up and dried in the sun, as it quickly becomes mouldy and loses its strength. A plant has also lately been found in Thrace the leaves of which do not differ at all from the Indian nard.

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§ 12.28.1  The clustered arnomum is much in use; it is obtained from the Indian wild-vine, or as other people have supposed from a twisted shrub a hand high, and it is plucked with its root and then gently pressed together into bundles, as it is liable to break at once. The kind most highly spoken of is the one with leaves like those of the pomegranate and devoid of wrinkles, coloured red. The second best kind is of a pale colour; the grass-coloured one is not so good, and the white kind is the worst; it also goes white with age. The price of clustered amomum is 60 denarii a pound, but as dust it fetches only 48 denarii. It grows in the part of Armenia called Otene, and also in Media and in Pontus. It is adulterated with the leaves of the pomegranate and with liquid gum to make the leaves stick together and form a cluster like a bunch of grapes.

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§ 12.28.2  There is also another substance called amomis, which is not so full of veins and is harder and has less scent, showing that it is either a different plant or amomum that has been gathered unripe.

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§ 12.29.1  Resembling these substances both in name and in the shrub that produces it is cardamomum, the seeds of which are oblong in shape. It is gathered in Arabia, in the same manner as amomum. It has four varieties: one very green and oily, with sharp corners and awkward to crumble — this is the kind most highly spoken of — the next sort a whitish red, the third shorter and of a colour nearer black, while an inferior kind is mottled and easily friable, and has little scent — in the true kind the scent ought to be near to that of costus. Cardamomum also grows in the country of the Medes. The price of the best sort is 3 denarii a pound.

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§ 12.30.1  Next in affinity to cardamomum would have come cinnamomum, were it not convenient first to catalogue the riches of Arabia and the reasons that have given it the names of Happy and Blessed. The chief products of Arabia then are frankincense and myrrh; the latter it shares also with the Cave-dweller Country, but no country beside Arabia produces frankincense, and not even the whole of Arabia. About in the middle of that country are the Astramitae, a district of the Sabaei, the capital of their realm being Sabota, situated on a lofty mountain; and eight days' journey from Sabota is a frankincense-producing district belonging to the Sabaei called Sariba — according to the Greeks the name means 'secret mystery.' The region faces north-east, and is surrounded by impenetrable rocks, and on the right hand side bordered by a seacoast with inaccessible cliffs. The soil is reported to be of a milky white colour with a tinge of red. The forests measure 20 schoeni in length and half that distance in breadth — by the calculation of Eratosthenes a schoenus measures 40 furlongs, that is five miles, but some authorities have made the schoenus 32 furlongs. There are hills rising to a great height, with natural forests on them running right down to the level ground. It is generally agreed that the soil is clay, and that there are few springs and these charged with alkali. Adjacent to the Astramitae is another district, the Minaei, through whose territory the transit for the export of the frankincense is along one narrow track. It was these people who originated the trade and who chiefly practise it, and from them the perfume takes the name of Minaean; none of the Arabs beside these have ever seen an incense-tree, and not even all of these, and it is said that there are not more than 3000 families who retain the right of trading in it as a hereditary property, and that consequently the members of these families are called sacred, and are not allowed to be polluted by ever meeting women or funeral processions when they are engaged in making incisions in the trees in order to obtain the frankincense, and that in this way the price of the commodity is increased owing to scruples of religion. Some persons report that the frankincense in the forests belongs to all these peoples in common, but others state that it is shared out among them in yearly turns.

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§ 12.31.1  Nor is there agreement in regard to the appearance of the incense-tree itself. We have carried on operations in Arabia, and the arms of Rome have penetrated into a large part of it; indeed, Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus, won great renown from the country; yet no Latin writer, so far as I know, has described the appearance of this tree. The descriptions given by the Greeks vary: some have stated that it has the leaf of a pear-tree, only smaller and of a grass-green colour; others that it resembles the mastich and has a reddish leaf; some that it is a kind of terebinth, and that this was the view of King Antigonus, to whom a plant was brought. King Juba in his volumes dedicated to Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus, whose imagination was fired by the fame of Arabia, states that the tree has a twisted stem and branches closely resembling those of the Pontic maple and that it gives a juice like that of the almond; he says that trees of this description are to be seen in Carmania and in Egypt, where they were introduced under the influence of the Ptolemies when they reigned there. It is well known that it has the bark of a bay-tree, and some have said that the leaf is also like that of the bay; at all events that was the case with the tree when it was grown at Sardis — for the Kings of Asia also interested themselves in planting it. The ambassadors who have come to Rome from Arabia in my time have made all these matters still more uncertain, which may well surprise us, seeing that even some sprigs of the incense-tree find their way to Rome, on the evidence of which we may believe that the parent tree also is smooth and tapering and that it puts out its shoots from a trunk that is free from knots.

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§ 12.32.1  It used to be the custom, when there were fewer opportunities of selling frankincense, to gather it only once a year, but at the present day trade introduces a second harvesting. The earlier and natural gathering takes place at about the rising of the Dog-star, when the summer heat is most intense. They make an incision where the bark appears to be fullest of juice and distended to its thinnest; and the bark is loosened with a blow, but not removed. From the incision a greasy foam spurts out, which coagulates and thickens, being received on a mat of palm-leaves where the nature of the ground requires this, but in other places on a space round the tree that has been rammed hard. The frankincense collected in the latter way is in a purer state, but the former method produces a heavier weight; while the residue adhering to the tree is scraped off with an iron tool, and consequently contains fragments of bark. The forest is divided up into definite portions, and owing to the mutual honesty of the owners is free from trespassing, and though nobody keeps guard over the trees after an incision has been made, nobody steals from his neighbour. At Alexandria, on the other hand, where the frankincense is worked up for sale, good heavens! no vigilance is sufficient to guard the factories. A seal is put upon the workmen's aprons, they have to wear a mask or a net with a close mesh on their heads, and before they are allowed to leave the premises they have to take off all their clothes: so much less honesty is displayed with regard to the produce with them than as to the forests with the growers. The frankincense from the summer crop is collected in autumn; this is the purest kind, bright white in colour. The second crop is harvested in the spring, cuts having been made in the bark during the winter in preparation for it; the juice that comes out on this occasion is reddish, and not to be compared with the former taking, the name for which is carflathum, the other being called dathiathum. Also the juice produced by a sapling is believed to be whiter, but that from an older tree has more scent. Some people also think that a better kind is produced on islands, but Juba says that no incense grows on islands at all.

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§ 12.32.2  Frankincense that hangs suspended in a globular drop we call male frankincense, although in other connexions the term 'male' is not usually employed where there is no female; but it is said to have been due to religious scruple that the name of the other sex was not employed in this case. Some people think that male frankincense is so called from its resemblance to the testes. The frankincense most esteemed, however, is the breast-shaped, formed when, while a previous drop is still hanging suspended, another one following unites with it. I find it recorded that one of these lumps used to be a whole handful, in the days when men's eagerness to pluck them was less greedy and they were allowed to form more slowly. The Greek name for frankincense formed in this manner is 'drop-incense' or 'solid incense,' and for the smaller kind 'chick-pea incense'; the fragments knocked off by striking the tree we call manna. Even at the present day, however, drops are found that weigh as much as a third of a mina, that is 28 denarii. Alexander the Great in his boyhood was heaping frankincense on the altars in lavish fashion, when his tutor Leonides told him that he might worship the gods in that manner when he had conquered the frankincense-producing races; but when Alexander had won Arabia he sent Leonides a ship with a cargo of frankincense, with a message charging him to worship the gods without any stint.

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§ 12.32.3  Frankincense after being collected is conveyed to Sabota on camels, one of the gates of the city being opened for its admission; the kings have made it a capital offence for camels so laden to turn aside from the high road. At Sahota a tithe estimated by measure and not by weight is taken by the priests for the god they call Sabis, and the incense is not allowed to be put on the market until this has been done; this tithe is drawn on to defray what is a public expenditure, for actually on a fixed number of days the god graciously entertains guests at a banquet. It can only be exported through the country of the Gebbanitae, and accordingly a tax is paid on it to the king of that people as well. Their capital is Thomna, which is 1487 1/2 miles distant from the town of Gaza in Judea on the Mediterranean coast; the journey is divided into 65 stages with halts for camels. Fixed portions of the frankincense are also given to the priests and the king's secretaries, but beside these the guards and their attendants and the gate-keepers and servants also have their pickings: indeed all along the route they keep on paying, at one place for water, at another for fodder, or the charges for lodging at the halts, and the various octrois; so that expenses mount up to 688 denarii per camel before the Mediterranean coast is reached; and then again payment is made to the customs officers of our empire. Consequently the price of the best frankincense is 6, of the second best 5, and the third best 3 denarii a pound. It is tested by its whiteness and stickiness, its fragility and its readiness to catch fire from a hot coal; and also it should not give to pressure of the teeth, and should rather crumble into grains. Among us it is adulterated with drops of white resin, which closely resemble it, but the fraud can be detected by the means specified.

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§ 12.33.1  Some authorities have stated that myrrh is the product of a tree growing in the same forests among the frankincense-trees, but the majority say that it grows separately; and in fact it occurs in many places in Arabia, as will appear when we deal with its varieties. A kind highly spoken of is also imported from islands, and the Sabaei even cross the sea to the Cave-dwellers' Country to procure it. Also a cultivated variety is produced which is much preferred to the wild kind. The plant enjoys being raked and having the soil round it loosened, as it is the better for having its roots cool.

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§ 12.34.1  The tree grows to a height of nearly eight feet; it has thorns on it, and the trunk is hard and twisted, and thicker than that of the frankincense-tree, and even thicker at the root than in the remaining part of it. Authorities state that the bark is smooth and resembles that of the strawberry-tree, and others that it is rough and prickly; and they say that the leaf is that of the olive, but more wrinkled and with sharp points — though Juba says it is like that of the alexanders. Some say that it resembles the juniper, only that it is rougher and bristling with thorns, and that the leaf is rounder but tastes like juniper. Also there have been writers who have falsely asserted that the frankincense-tree produces myrrh as well as frankincense.

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§ 12.35.1  The myrrh-producing tree also is tapped twice a year at the same seasons as the frankincense-tree, but in its case the incisions are made all the way up from the root to those of the branches that are strong enough to bear it. But before it is tapped the tree exudes of its own accord a juice called staete, which is the most highly valued of all myrrh. Next after this comes the cultivated kind, and also the better variety of the wild kind, the one tapped in summer. No tithes are given to a god from myrrh, as it also grows in other countries; however, the growers have to pay a quarter of the yield to the king of the Gebbanitae. For the rest it is bought up all over the district from the common people and packed into leather bags; and our perfumiers have no difficulty in distinguishing the different sorts by the evidence of the scent and consistency. There are a great many varieties, the first among the wild kinds being the Cave-dweller myrrh, next the Minaean, which includes the Astramitic, Gebbanitic and Ausaritic from the kingdom of the Gebbanitae; the third quality is the Dianite, the fourth a mixture from various sources, the fifth the Sambracene from a seaboard state in the kingdom of the Sabaei, and the sixth the one called Dusirite. There is also a white kind found in one place only, which is brought into the town of Mesalum for sale. The Cave-dweller kind is distinguished by its thickness and because it is rather dry and dusty and foreign in appearance, but has a stronger scent than the other sorts. The Sambracene variety is advertised as surpassing other kinds in its agreeable quality, but it has not a strong scent. Broadly speaking, however, the proof of goodness is given by its being in small pieces of irregular shape, forming in the solidifying of the juice as it turns white and dries up, and in its showing white marks like fingernails when it is broken, and having a slightly bitter taste. The second best kind is mottled inside, and the worst is the one that is black inside; and if it is black outside as well it is of a still inferior quality.

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§ 12.35.2  The prices vary with the supply of buyers; that of staete ranges from 3 to 50 denarii a pound, whereas the top price for cultivated myrrh is 11 denarii and for Erythrean 16 — this kind is passed off as Arabian — and for the kernel of Cave-dweller 16 1/2, but for the variety called scented myrrh 12. Myrrh is adulterated with lumps of lentisk and with gum, and also with cucumber juice to give it a bitter taste, as it is with litharge of silver to increase its weight. The rest of the impurities can be detected by taste, and gum by its sticking to the teeth. But the adulteration most difficult to detect is that practised in the case of Indian myrrh, which is collected in India from a certain thorn-bush; this is the only commodity imported from India that is of worse quality than that of other countries — indeed it is easily distinguished because it is so very inferior.

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§ 12.36.1  Consequently Indian myrrh passes over into mastich, which is also obtained from a thorn in India, and in Arabia as well; it is called laina. Of mastich also there are two kinds, since in Asia and Greece there is also found a plant sending out from its root leaves and a prickly head like an apple, full of seed and of juice which spurts out when an incision is made in the top, so that it can scarcely be distinguished from true mastich. Moreover, there is also a third kind in Pontus which is more like bitumen; but the kind most highly praised is the white mastich of Chios, which fetches a price of 10 denarii a pound, while the black kind costs 2 denarii. It is said that the Chian mastich exudes from the lentisk like a kind of gum. Like frankincense it is adulterated with resin.

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§ 12.37.1  Arabia also still boasts of her ladanum. A considerable number of writers have stated that this becomes aromatic entirely by accident and owing to an injury; goats, they say, an animal very destructive of foliage in general, but especially fond of scented shrubs, as if understanding the prices they fetch crop the stalks of the shoots, which swell with an extremely sweet fluid, and wipe off with the nasty shaggy hair of their beards the juice dropping from the stalks in a random mixture, and this forms lumps in the dust and is baked by the sun; and that is the reason why goats' hairs are found in ladanum; though they say that this does not take place anywhere else but in the territory of the Nabataei, a people from Arabia who border on Syria. The more recent of the authorities call this substance 'storbon,' and say that the trees in the Arabs' forests are broken by the goats when browsing, and so the juice sticks to their hairs; but that the true ladanum belongs to the island of Cyprus — to mention the various kinds of scents incidentally even though not in the order of their localities of provenance. It is reported that the same thing takes place there too, and that there is a substance called oesypum which sticks to the beards and shaggy knees of the goats, but that it is produced by their nibbling down the flower of the ivy while they are browsing in the morning, when Cyprus is wet with dew; and that subsequently when the sun has driven away the mist the dust clings to their damp fleeces and thus ladanum can be combed out of them.

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§ 12.37.2  Some people call the plant in Cyprus from which ladanum is produced 'leda,' as in fact these call the scent 'ledanum'; they say that its fat juices sweat out, and consequently the plant is rolled up in bundles by tying strings round it, and so made into cakes. Therefore there are two varieties in each kind, the natural sort mingled with earth and the artificial; the earthy sort is friable, whereas the artificial sort is tough.

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§ 12.37.3  It is also stated that there is a ladanum shrub in Garmania and beyond Egypt, where plants of it were introduced through the agency of the Ptolemies, or, as others say, it is a throwback from the incense-tree; and that it is collected like gum by making a cut in the bark and received in goatskin sacks. The most highly approved kind is sold at a price of 40 asses a pound. It is adulterated with myrtle berries and with filth from the fleeces of other animals beside the goat. When genuine it ought to have a fierce scent, somehow suggesting the smell of the desert, and though looking dried up it should soften immediately to the touch, and when set light to flare up with an agreeable scent; but when adulterated with myrtle-berries it can be detected by its unpleasant smell, and it crackles in the fire. Moreover, the genuine ladanum has dust or rather bits of stone from the rocks clinging to it.

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§ 12.38.1  In Arabia there is also an olive endowed with a sort of tear out of which a medicine is made, called in Greek enhaemon, because of its remarkable effect in closing the scars of wounds. These trees grow on the coast and are covered by the waves at high tide without this doing any harm to the berry, although accounts agree that salt is left on the leaves.

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§ 12.38.2  These trees are peculiar to Arabia, and it also has a few in common with other countries, which we must mention elsewhere because in their ease it does not hold the first place. Also in Arabia there is a surprising demand for foreign scents, which are imported from abroad: so tired do mortals get of things that are their own, and so covetous are they of what belongs to other people.

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§ 12.39.1  Consequently they send to the Elymaei for the wood of the bratum, a tree resembling a spreading cypress, with very white branches, and giving an agreeable scent when burnt. It is praised in the Histories of Claudius Caesar as having a marvellous property: he states that the Parthians sprinkle its leaves into their drinks, and that it has a scent very like cedar, and its smoke is an antidote against the effects of other woods. It grows beyond the River Karun on Mount Scanchrus in the territory of the city of Sostrata.

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§ 12.40.1  They also import from Carmania the stobrus tree, to use for the purpose of fumigation; it is soaked in palm wine and then set alight. The vapour is thrown back from the ceiling to the floor; it has an agreeable scent, but it causes headache, which is not however severe enough to be painful: it is used as a soporific for invalids. For these trades they have opened up the city of Carrhae, which is the market town of these parts. From Carrhae everybody used formerly to go on to Gabba, a journey of twenty days, and to Palestine in Syria; but afterwards, according to Juba, they began to make for Charax and the Parthian kingdom for the sake of the perfume trade. But my own view is that they used to convey those commodities to the Persians even before they took them to Syria or Egypt, this being attested by Herodotus, who records that the Arabs used regularly to pay a yearly tribute of a thousand talents of incense to the kings of the Persians. From Syria they bring back styrax, which they burn on their hearths, for its powerful scent to dispel their dislike for their own scents. For the rest, no other kinds of wood are in use among them except those that are scented; and the Sabaei even cook their food with incense-wood, and other tribes with that of the myrrh-tree, so that the smoke and vapour of their towns and districts is just like that which rises from altars. In order therefore to remedy this smell they obtain styrax in goatskins and fumigate their houses with it: so true it is that there is no pleasure the continued enjoyment of which does not engender disgust. They also burn styrax to drive away the snakes which abound in the forests of perfume-producing trees.

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§ 12.41.1  These people have not got cinnamon or casia, and nevertheless Arabia is styled 'Happy' — a country with a false and ungrateful appellation, as she puts her happiness to the credit of the powers above, although she owes more of it to the power below. Her good fortune has been caused by the luxury of mankind even in the hour of death, when they burn over the departed the products which they had originally understood to have been created for the gods. Good authorities declare that Arabia does not produce so large a quantity of perfume in a year's output as was burned by the Emperor Nero in a day at the obsequies of his consort Poppaea. Then reckon up the vast number of funerals celebrated yearly throughout the entire world, and the perfumes such as are given to the gods a grain at a time, that are piled up in heaps to the honour of dead bodies. Yet the gods used not to regard with less favour the worshippers who petitioned them with salted spelt, but rather, as the facts show, they were more benevolent in those days. But the title 'happy' belongs still more to the Arabian Sea, for from it come the pearls which that country sends us. And by the lowest reckoning India, China and the Arabian peninsula take from our empire 100 million sesterces every year — that is the sum which our luxuries and our women cost us; for what fraction of these imports, I ask you, now goes to the gods or to the powers of the lower world?

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§ 12.42.1  In regard to cinnamomum and casia a fabulous story has been related by antiquity, and first of all by Herodotus, that they are obtained from birds' nests, and particularly from that of the phoenix, in the region where Father Liber was brought up, and that they are knocked down from inaccessible rocks and trees by the weight of the flesh brought there by the birds themselves, or by means of arrows loaded with lead; and similarly there is a tale of casia growing round marshes under the protection of a terrible kind of bats that guard it with their claws, and of winged serpents — these tales having been invented by the natives to raise the price of their commodities. However, there goes with them a story that under the reflected rays of the sun at midday an indescribable sort of collective odour is given off from the whole of the peninsula, which is due to the harmoniously blended exhalation of so many kinds of vapour, and that the first news of Arabia received by the fleets of Alexander the Great was carried by these odours far out to sea — all these stories being false, inasmuch as cinnamomum, which is the same thing as cinnamon, grows in Ethiopia, which is linked by intermarriage with the Cave-dwellers. The latter buy it from their neighbours and convey it over the wide seas in ships that are neither steered by rudders nor propelled by oars or drawn by sails, nor assisted by any device of art: in those regions only man and man's boldness stands in place of all these things. Moreover they choose the winter sea about the time of the shortest day, as an east wind is then chiefly blowing. This carries them on a straight course through the bays, and after rounding a cape a west-north-west wind brings them to the harbour of the Gebbanitae called Ocilia. On this account that is the port most resorted to by these people, and they say that it is almost five years before the traders return home and that many perish on the voyage. In return for their wares they bring back articles of glass and copper, clothing, and buckles, bracelets and necklaces; consequently that traffic depends principally on having the confidence of the women.

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§ 12.42.2  The actual shrub of the cinnamon is only about three feet high at the most, the smallest being only a span high, and four inches thick, and it throws out shoots as low as six inches from the ground; it has a dried up appearance, and while it is green has no scent; the leaf is like that of the wild marjoram; it likes a dry soil and is less fertile in wet weather; and it stands constant clipping. Though it grows on level ground, it flourishes among the thickest bushes and brambles, and is difficult to gather. It can only be cut 'with the leave of the god' — which some understand to mean Jove, but the Ethiopian name for him is Assabinus. They sacrifice 44 oxen, goats and rams to obtain leave to cut it, though this does not include permission to do so before sunrise or after sunset. A priest divides the twigs with a spear, and sets aside a portion for the god, while the rest is packed up in clumps by the dealer. Another account is also given, that a share is assigned to the sun, and that the wood is divided into three portions, and then lots are cast twice to assign the shares, and the share that falls to the sun is left, and bursts out in flames of its own accord.

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§ 12.42.3  The finest quality with cinnamon belongs to the thinnest parts of the boughs, for about a span's length; the second best to the next pieces for a shorter length, and so on in order; the worst in quality is the part nearest to the roots, because it has the least amount of bark, which is the part most favoured, and consequently preference is given to the tops of the plants, where there is most bark. The actual wood, however, is held in no esteem, because it has the bitter taste of wild marjoram: it is called wood-cinnamon; it fetches 10 denarii a pound. Some writers mention two kinds of cinnamon, one lighter and the other darker in colour; and in former days the light kind was preferred, but now on the other hand the dark is praised, and even a mottled kind is preferred to the pure white. Still, the most certain test of value is that it must not be rough, and that when rubbed together it must crumble slowly. The lowest value is attached to it when it is soft or when the bark is falling of.

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§ 12.42.4  The right of controlling the sale of cinnamon is vested solely in the king of the Gebbanitae, who opens the market by public proclamation. The prices formerly were 1000 denarii a pound, but this was raised to half as much again after the forests had been burnt, so it is said, by infuriated barbarians; but it is not absolutely certain whether this was incendiarism provoked by injustice on the part of those in power or was due to accident, as we find it stated in the authorities that the south winds that blow there are so hot that they set lire to the forests in summer. His Majesty the emperor Vespasian was the first person to dedicate in the Temples of the Capitol and of Peace chaplets of cinnamon surrounded with embossed gold. We once saw in the Temple of the Palatine erected in honour of his late Majesty Augustus by his consort Augusta a very heavy cinnamon-root placed in a golden bowl, out of which drops used to distil every year which hardened into grains; this went on until the shrine in question was destroyed by fire.

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§ 12.43.1  Casia also is a shrub, and it grows close to the plains of cinnamon, but on the mountains; it has thicker stalks, and a thin skin rather than bark, which, in the opposite way to what we said in the case of cinnamon gains value when it falls off and thins away. This shrub grows to a height of 4 1/2 feet and it has three colours: when it first sprouts up, to the length of a foot it is white, then for the next six inches it is reddish, and beyond that point it is black. The black part is most highly esteemed, and next the part nearest to it, but the white part has no value at all. They cut the shoots to the length of two inches, and then sew them up in newly flayed hides of animals slaughtered for the purpose, so that as they rot maggots may gnaw away the wood and hollow out the whole of the bark, which is protected from them by its bitter taste. The bark is valued most highly when fresh, when it has a very pleasant smell and is hardly at all hot to the taste, and rather gives a slight nip with its moderate warmth; it must be of a purple colour, and though bulky weigh very little, and the pores of the outer coats should be short and not liable to break. This kind of casia is called by a foreign name, lada. Another kind is near-balsam, so called because it has a scent like that of balsam, but it has a bitter taste and consequently is more useful for medicinal purposes. just as the black kind is more employed for unguents. No substance has a wider range of price — the best qualities sell at 50 denarii a pound and the others at 5. To these varieties the dealers have added one which they call Daphnis's casia, with the further designation of near-cinnamon, and they price it at 300 denarii. It is adulterated with styrax, and with very small sprigs of bay because of the similarity of the barks. It is also grown in our part of the world, and I have seen it on the extreme edge of our empire, where the Rhine washes our frontier, planted among beehives; but there it has not the scorched colour produced by the sun, and for the same reason also it has not the same scent as the southern product.

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§ 12.44.1  From the border of the casia and cinnamon district gum-resin and aloe-wood are also imported, but they come by way of the Nabataean Cave-dwellers, who are a colony from the Nabataei.

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§ 12.45.1  The same place is also a centre for the collection of serichatum and gabalium, the supply of which is used up by the Arabs in their own country, so that they are only known by name to our part of the world, although growing in the same country as cinnamon and casia. However, serichatum does occasionally get through to us, and is employed by some persons as an ingredient in unguents. It fetches up to 6 denarii a pound.

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§ 12.46.1  The Cave-dweller Country and the Thebaid and Arabia where it separates Judea from Egypt all alike have the myrobalanum, which is grown for scent, as is shown by its name itself, which also indicates in addition that it is a nut; it is a tree with a leaf that resembles that of the heliotrope, which we shall describe among the herbaceous plants, and a fruit the size of a hazel-nut. The variety growing in Arabia is called the Syrian nut, and is white in colour, whereas the Thebaid kind is black; the former is preferred for the excellent quality of the oil extracted from it, but the Thebaic for its large yield. The Cave-dweller kind is the worst among the varieties. Some persons prefer to these the Ethiopian behen, which has a black oily nut and a slender kernel, but the liquid squeezed out of it has a stronger scent; it grows in level districts. It is said that the Egyptian nut is even more oleaginons and has a thicker shell of a reddish colour, and that though it grows on marshy ground the plant is shorter and drier, whereas the Arabian variety, on the contrary, is green in colour and also smaller in size and more compact in shape because it likes mountain regions; but the Petraean kind, coming from the town mentioned above, is a long way the best — it has a black rind and a white kernel. Perfumiers, however, only extract the juice from the shells, but medical men also crush the kernels, gradually pouring warm water on them while pounding them.

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§ 12.47.1  The palm-tree growing in Egypt called the adipsos is used in a similar way to the behen-nut in perfumery, and is almost as much in request; it is green in colour, with the scent of a quince, and has no kernel inside it. It is gathered in autumn, a little before it begins to ripen. If left on the tree longer, it is called the palm-nut, and it turns black and has the property of making people who eat it intoxicated. The behen-nut is priced at two denarii a pound. The retailers also give the name of behen to the dregs of the unguent made from it.

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§ 12.48.1  The scented reed which also grows in Arabia is shared with the Indies and Syria, the one growing in the latter country being superior to all the other kinds. About 17 miles from the Mediterranean, between Mount Lebanon and another range of no importance — not Counter- Lebanon as some have supposed — there is a moderately wide valley near a lake the shallow parts of which dry up in summer, where 3 1/2 miles from the lake the scented reed and scented rush grow. For clearly we may speak about the rush also, although I have devoted another volume to herbaceous plants, as here we are only dealing with plants that supply material for unguents. These plants then do not differ at all in appearance from the rest of their class, but the reed has a specially fine scent which attracts people even from a long way off, and is softer to the touch; the better variety is the one that is less brittle and that breaks in splinters rather than like a radish. Inside the tube there is a sort of cobweb which is called the flower; the plant containing most of this is the best. The remaining tests of its goodness are that it should be black — white varieties are thought inferior — that it is better the shorter and thicker it is and if it is pliant in breaking. The price of the reed is one denarius and that of the rush 5 denarii a pound. It is reported that scented rush is also found in Campania.

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§ 12.48.2  We have now left the countries looking on the ocean to come to those that converge towards our seas.

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§ 12.49.1  Well, Africa, which lies below Ethiopia, in its sandy deserts distils tear-like drops of a substance called hammoniacum; this is also the origin of the name of the Oracle of Hammon, near to which this substance is produced from a tree called metopon, after the manner of resin or gum. There are two kinds of hammoniacum: one called thrauston (friable), which is like male frankincense and is the kind most approved, and the other, greasy and resinous, which they call phyrama (paste). It is adulterated with sand, which looks as if it has stuck to it while growing; consequently it is preferred in extremely small lumps and these as pure as possible. The price of the best hammoniacum is 40 asses a pound.

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§ 12.50.1  The sphagnos valued most highly is found in the province of Cyrenaica, south of these regions: others call it bryon. The second place is held by the Cyprian kind, and the third by the Phoenician. It is also said to grow in Egypt, and indeed in Gaul as well, and I am not prepared to doubt this; for there are grey tufts that bear this name growing on trees, resembling the growths that we principally see on the oak, but having a superior scent. The most highly esteemed are the whitest and most widely spreading mosses, and the bright red ones are in the second class, but no value at all is attached to the black variety; moreover, the mosses that grow on islands and on rocks are not esteemed, nor are all those that have the scent of palm-trees and not that of their own kind.

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§ 12.51.1  A tree found in Egypt is the cypros, which has the leaves of the jujube-tree and the white, scented seed of the coriander. Cypros-seed is boiled in olive oil and afterwards crushed, producing the cypros of commerce, which sells at 5 denarii a pound. The best is made from the tree grown at Canopus on the banks of the Nile, the second best at Ascalon in Judea, and the third quality on the island of Cyprus, which has a sort of sweet scent. The cypros is said to be the same as the thorn called privet in Italy.

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§ 12.52.1  In the same region grows the aspalathus, a white thorn of the size of a moderate-sized tree, with the flower of a rose; the root is in request for unguents. People say that any shrub over which a rainbow forms its arch gives out a scent as sweet as that of the aspalathus, but that if this happens in the case of an aspalathus a scent rises that is indescribably sweet. Some call this shrub red sceptre and others sceptre. The test of its genuineness lies in its fiery red colour, firmness to the touch and scent like that of beaver-oil. It is sold for 5 denarii a pound.

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§ 12.53.1  Cat-thyme also grows in Egypt, though not so good a kind as the Lydian variety, its leaves being larger and variegated; those of the Lydian are short and very small, and have a strong scent.

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§ 12.54.1  But every other scent ranks below balsam. The only country to which this plant has been vouchsafed is Judea. where formerly it grew in only two gardens, both belonging to the king; one of them was of not more than twenty biugera in extent and the other less. This variety of shrub was exhibited to the capital by the emperors Vespasian and Titus; and it is a remarkable fact that ever since the time of Pompey the Great even trees have figured among the captives in our triumphal processions. The balsam-tree is now a subject of Rome, and pays tribute together with the race to which it belongs; it differs entirely in character from the accounts that had been given of it by Roman and foreign writers, being more like a vine than a myrtle: it has quite recently been taught to grow from mallet-shoots tied up on trellises like a vine, and it covers whole hillsides as vineyards do. A balsam unsupported by a trellis and carrying its own weight is pruned in a similar manner when it puts oat shoots; the use of the rake makes it thrive and sprout rapidly, bearing in its third year. Its leaf is very near that of the tuber-apple, and it is an evergreen. The Jews vented their wrath upon this plant as they also did upon their own lives, but the Romans protected it against them, and there have been pitched battles in defence of a shrub. It is now cultivated by the treasury authorities, and was never before more plentiful; but its height has not advanced beyond three feet.

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§ 12.54.2  There are three varieties of balsam-tree: one with thin foliage like hair, called easy-to-gather; another with a rugged appearance, curving over, of a bushy growth and with a stronger scent — they call this rough balsam, and the third tall balsam because it grows higher than the rest; this has a smooth bark. This last is the second best in quality, and the easy-to-gather kind is the lowest grade. Balsam-seed tastes very like wine, and has a red colour and a rather greasy consistency; that contained in a husk, which is lighter in weight and greener in colour, is inferior. The branch is thicker than of that of a myrtle; incision is made in it with a piece of glass or a stone, or with knives made of bone — it strongly dislikes having its vital parts wounded with steel, and dies off at once, though it can stand having superfluous branches pruned with a steel knife. The hand of the operator making the incision has to be poised under skilful control, to avoid inflicting a wound going below the bark. The juice that oozes out of the incision is called opobalsamum; it is extremely sweet in taste, but exudes in tiny drops, the trickle being collected by means of tufts of wool in small horns and poured out of them into a new earthenware vessel to store; it is like rather thick olive-oil and in the unfermented state is white in colour; later on it turns red and at the same time hardens, having previously been transparent. When Alexander the Great was campaigning in that country, it was considered a fair whole day's work in summer to fill a single shell, and for the entire produce of a rather large garden to be six congii and of a smaller one congius, at a time moreover when its price was twice its weight in silver: whereas at the present day even a single tree produces a larger flow. The incision is made three times in every summer, and afterwards the tree is lopped. There is a market even for the twigs too; within five years of the conquest of Judea the actual loppings and the shoots fetched 800,000 sesterces. These trimmings are called wood of balsam; they are boiled down in perfumes, and in manufacture they have taken the place of the actual juice of the shrub. Even the bark fetches a price for drugs; but the tears are valued most, the seed coming second, the bark third and the wood lowest. Of the wood the sort resembling boxwood is the best, and also has the strongest scent; the best seed is that which is largest in size and heaviest in weight, which has a biting taste and is hot in the mouth. Balsam is adulterated with the ground-pine of Petra, which can be detected by its size, hollowness and long shape and by its weak scent and its taste like pepper. The test of tear of balsam is that it should be thinning out in consistency, and slightly reddish, and give a strong scent when rubbed. The second quality is white in colour, the next inferior is green and thick, and the worst kind black, inasmuch as like olive oil it deteriorates with age. Out of all the incisions the oil that has flowed out before the formation of the seed is considered the best. Also another mode of adulteration is by using the juice of the seed, and the fraud can be with difficulty detected by the greater bitterness of the taste; for the proper taste is smooth, without a trace of acidity, the only pungency being in the smell. It is also adulterated with oil of roses, of cyprus, of mastich, of behen-nut, of the turpentine-tree and of myrtle, and with resin, galbanum and wax of Cyprus, just as occasion serves; but the worst adulteration is with gum, since this dries up on the back of the hand and sinks in water, which is a double test of the genuine article — pure tear of balsam ought to dry up likewise, but the sort with gum added to it turns brittle and forms a skin. It can also be detected by the taste; or when adulterated with wax or resin, by means of a hot coal, as it bums with a blacker flame. When mixed with honey, its quality alters immediately, as it attracts flies even when held in the hand. Moreover a drop of pure balsam thickens in warm water, settling to the bottom of the vessel, whereas when adulterated it floats on the top like oil, and if it has been tampered with by using almond-oil, a white ring forms round it. The best test of all is that it will cause milk to curdle and will not leave stains on cloth. In no other case is more obvious fraud practised, inasmuch as every pint bought at a sale of. confiscated property for 300 denarii when it is sold again makes 1000 denarii: so much does it pay to increase the quantity by adulteration. The price of wood-balsam is six denarii a pound.

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§ 12.55.1  The region of Syria beyond Phoenicia nearest to Judea produces styrax in the part round Gabala and Marathus and Mount Casius in Seleucia. The tree has the same name; it is similar to a quince. Its tears have a pleasant, almost pungent scent, and inside it resembles a reed, and is full of juice. About the rising of the Dog-star certain little maggots with wings flutter about this tree, gnawing away the wood, and consequently it is fouled with their scrapings. The styrax esteemed next to the above-named growths comes from Pisidia, Side, Cyprus and Cilicia, and that from Crete is rated lowest; that from Mount Amanus in Syria is valued by the medical profession, but even more by perfumiers. In every nation a red colour and a sticky consistency are preferred, and styrax that is brown and covered with white mould is considered inferior. It is adulterated with cedar resin or gum, and another way employs honey or bitter almonds; all these adulterations can be detected by their taste. The price of the best styrax is 17 denarii. It is also produced in Pamphylia, but this is a drier and less juicy kind.

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§ 12.56.1  Syria also supplies galbanum, which also grows on Mount Amanus; it comes from a kind of fennel which they call stagonitis, like the resin of the same name. The kind of galbanum most esteemed is cartilaginous, clear like hammonia-cuxa and free from all woody substance. Even so it is adulterated with beans or with sacopenium. Pure galbanum, if burnt, drives away snakes with its smell. It is sold at 5 denarii a pound.

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§ 12.57.1  Pure galbanum is only useful for medicinal purposes; but Syria produces all-heal which is used for unguents as well. It also grows at Psophis in Arcadia and round the spring of Erymanthus, and in Africa and in Macedonia also. It has a peculiar stalk 7 1/2 feet long; this throws out first four leaves and then six lying on the ground, which are very large and of a round shape, but the leaves on the top of the plant are like those of the olive; the seed hangs in tufts like that of the fennel. The juice is got by means of incisions made in the stalk at harvest time and at the root in autumn. It is valued for whiteness when it coagulates, the next grade being assigned to juice of a pale colour, while the black is held of no value. The price of the best quality is two denarii a pound.

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§ 12.58.1  From this fennel the one called bear's-wort fennel differs only in the leaf, which is smaller, and has divisions like a plane-leaf. It only grows in shady places. Its seed, bearing the same name, resembles that of hart-wort; it is only useful for medicine.

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§ 12.59.1  Syria also supplies the malobathrum, a tree with a folded leaf, the colour of a leaf that has dried up; from it oil is pressed to use for unguents, Egypt also producing it in still greater quantity. But the kind that comes from India is valued more highly; it is said to grow there in marshes, like the lentil, with a scent stronger than that of saffron, a darkish rough appearance, and a sort of salt taste. The white variety is less highly spoken of; it very quickly acquires a musty smell with age. Malobathrum when placed under the tongue ought to taste like nard; but its scent when it is put in slightly warmed wine surpasses any others. In point of price at all events it approaches the marvellous, the pound ranging from one denarius to four hundred, while the leaf itself reaches 60 denarii a pound.

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§ 12.60.1  There is also the oil of unripe berries, which is made in two varieties and by two processes, one kind being made from the olive and one from the vine. The olive is pressed while still white, or an inferior oil is obtained from the druppa — which is the name given to an olive not yet ripe enough to eat but already beginning to change colour — the difference being that the inferior kind is green and the other white. It is made either from the psithian vine or from the vine of Aminaea. The vine is plucked when the grapes are the size of a chick-pea, before the rising of the Dog-star, when the first bloom is on them, and the unripe juice is obtained; after which the, remaining pulp is left to dry in the sun — precaution being taken against nocturnal dews, by storing the grapes in an earthenware vessel — while the unripe juice is collected and at once also put to keep in a Cyprian bronze jar. The best kind is that which is red in colour and rather bitter and dry to the taste. Omphaeium sells at 6 denarii a pound. There is also another way of making it, by pounding up unripe grapes in mortars; the grapes are afterwards dried in the sun and divided up into lozenges.

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§ 12.61.1  To the same family also belongs bryon, obtained from the catkins of the white poplar. The best kind grows in the neighbourhood of Cnidus or Caria, in waterless districts or on dry rough ground, and a second best quality grows on the cedar in Lycia. To the same group also belongs oenanthe, obtained from the cluster of the wild vine. It is picked when it flowers, which is the time when it has the best scent, and it is dried in the shade on a linen sheet spread out for the purpose, and then put into casks to store. The best kind comes from Parapotamia, the second best from Antiochia and Laodicea in Syria, and the third best from the mountains in Media; the last kind is more useful for medicines. Some people prefer the kind that grows in the island of Cyprus to all of these. As for the oenanthe produced in Africa it is only used by the doctors, and is called massaris. But all the oenanthe obtained from the white wild vine is superior to that from the black.

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§ 12.62.1  There is also another tree that likewise serves for producing unguents, which is called by some people an elate — the Latin for which is 'fir' — and by others a palm and by others again a spatula. That of Hammonium is most highly spoken of, next the Egyptian variety, and then the Scythian. It only has a scent if it grows in regions devoid of water; it has tears of a greasy consistency, which are added to unguents to overcome the hardness of the oil.

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§ 12.63.1  Syria also produces the kind of cinnamon called comacum; this is a juice squeezed out of a nut, and is quite different from the juice of the true cinnamon, although it is almost equally agreeable. Its price is 40 asses a pound.

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§ 13.1.1  THIS is the degree to which the forests are valuable in the matter of scents; and their various products were not sufficiently remarkable by themselves, and luxury took pleasure in mixing them all up together and making a single scent out of the combination: thus perfumes were invented. It is not recorded who first discovered them. In the days of the Trojan War they did not exist, and incense was not used when prayers were made to the gods: even in the rites of religion people only knew the scent of cedar and citrus wood, trees of their own country, or more truly the reek, as it rose in wreaths of smoke, though attar of roses had already been discovered, for it also is specified as an ingredient in commending olive oil. Perfume ought by right to be accredited to the Persian race: they soak themselves in it, and quench the odour produced from dirt by its adventitious attraction. The first case that I am able to discover was when a chest of perfumes was captured by Alexander among the rest of the property of King Darius when his camp was taken. Afterwards the pleasure of perfume was also admitted by our fellow-countrymen as well among the most elegant and also most honourable enjoyments of life, and even began to be an appropriate tribute to the dead; and consequently we will enlarge on the subject. Those among perfumes which are not the product of shrubs will for the present only be indicated by their names; however, an account will be given of their nature in their proper places.

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§ 13.1.2  Perfumes have received their names in some cases from their countries of origin, in others from the juices of which they are made, in others from trees, and in others front other causes; and the first thing proper to know about them is that their importance changes, quite often their fame having passed away. The perfume most highly praised in the old days was made on the island of Delos, but later that from the Egyptian town of Mendes ranked the highest. Nor was this only the result of the blending and combination of several scents, but the same juices gained supremacy or degenerated in various ways in different places. The sword-lily perfume of Corinth was extremely popular for a long time, but afterwards that of Cyzicus, and similarly the attar of roses made at Phaselis, but this distinction was later taken from it by Naples, Capua and Praeneste. Oil of saffron from Soli in Cilicia was for a long time praised most highly, but subsequently that of Rhodes; vine-flower scent made in Cyprus was preferred, but afterwards that from Adramytteum, and scent of marjoram made in Cos, but afterwards quince-blossom unguent from the same place, and cyprus-scent made in Cyprus, but subsequently that made in Egypt; at this point scent from Mendes and almond-oil suddenly became more popular, but later on Phoenicia appropriated these two scents and left the credit for cyprus-scent to Egypt. Athens has persistently maintained the credit of her 'all-Athenian' perfume. There was also once an unguent called panther-scent at Tarsus, even the recipe for compounding which has disappeared; narcissus-scent has also ceased to be made from the narcissus flower.

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§ 13.2.1  The recipe for making unguents contains two ingredients, the juice and the solid part, the former which usually consists of various sorts of oil and the latter of scented substances, the oils being called 'astringents' and the scents 'sweetenings.' Together with these there is a third factor that many people neglect — that of colour, for the sake of which cinnabar and alkanet should be added. A sprinkle of salt serves to preserve the properties of the oil, but to scents containing an admixture of alkanet salt is not added. Resin or gum are added to retain the scent in the solid part, as it evaporates and disappears very quickly if these are not added.

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§ 13.2.2  The unguent most quickly made and probably the first invented was made of bryon and behen-oil, of which we have spoken above. Later the Mendes scent came in, made of behen-oil, resin and myrrh, and at the present day metopium is even more popular; this is an oil made in Egypt, pressed out of bitter almonds, with the addition of omphacium, cardamom, rush, reed, honey, wine, myrrh, seed of balsam, galbanum and terebinth-resin. One of the commonest unguents indeed — and at the present day it is consequently believed also to be one of the oldest — is one made of myrtle-oil, reed, cypress, cyprus, mastic-oil and pomegranate rind. But I am inclined to believe that the scents most widely used are those made from the rose, which grows in great abundance everywhere; and so the simplest compound was for a long time that of oil of roses, though additional ingredients used are omphacium, rose and saffron blossoms, cinnabar, reed, honey, rush, flower of salt or else alkanet, and wine. A similar method also is used in the case of oil of saffron with the addition of cinnabar, alkanet and wine, and also a similar method in the case of oil of marjoram, by mixing in omphacium and reed; this is best in Cyprus and at Mitylene, where marjoram is very plentiful. Also cheaper kinds of oil are compounded out of myrtle and laurel with the addition of marjoram, lilies, fenugreek, myrrh, casia, nard, rush and cinnamon. There is also an oil made from the common quince and the sparrow-quince, as we shall say later; it is called melinum, and is used as an ingredient in unguents with a mixture of omphacium, oil of cyprus, oil of sesame, balsam, rush, casia and southernwood. The most fluid of them all is susinum, made of lilies, oil of behen-nut, reed, honey, cinnamon, saffron and myrrh; and next is oil of cyprus, made of cyprus, omphacium, cardamom, reed, rosewood and southernwood; some people also add oil of cyprus and myrrh and all-heal; the best is that made at Sidon and the next best in Egypt. But if oil of sesame is added, the mixture will last as long as four years; and its scent is brought out by the addition of cinnamon.

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§ 13.2.3  Unguent of fenugreek is made of fresh olive-oil, cyprus, reed, melilot, fenugreek, honey, cat-thyme and scent of marjoram. This was much the most celebrated unguent in the time of Menander, the author of comedies; but afterwards its place was taken by megalium, so called because of its celebrity as this was made of behen-nut oil, balsam, reed, rush, wood-balsam, casia and resin. A peculiarity of this unguent is that it must be constantly stirred while boiling until it ceases to have any odour, and when it becomes cold it recovers its scent.

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§ 13.2.4  There are also some juices which separately produce famous perfumes — in the first place cinnamon-leaf, then the Illyrian iris and the sweet marjoram of Cyzicus, both of the herb class. Some few other ingredients are united with these, different ones by different makers, those who use the most mixing with one or the other honey, flower of salt, omphacium, leaves of the agnus castus, all-heal, and all sorts of foreign substances. Also unguent of cinnamon fetches enormous prices; to cinnamon is added behen-nut oil, wood-balsam, reed, seeds of rush and balsam, myrrh and scented honey. This is the thickest in consistency of all the unguents; its prices range from 35 to 300 denarii. Spikenard or leaf-unguent is made of omphacium or else behen-nut oil, rush, costus, nard, amomum, myrrh and balsam.

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§ 13.2.5  Under this heading it will be suitable to recall that we mentioned nine species of plants that resemble the Indian nard: such a large supply of material is available for purposes of adulteration. They can all be rendered more pungent by the addition of costus and amomum, which have an extremely powerful scent, and thicker in consistency and sweeter by means of myrrh, while their utility for medicine is increased by adding saffron; but they will be rendered extremely penetrating in themselves by means of amomum — this actually causes headache. Some people hold it enough to add a sprinkle of the most expensive ingredients to the others after boiling them down, as an economy, but the mixture has not the same strength unless they are all boiled down together. Myrrh even when used by itself without oil makes an unguent, provided that the staete kind is used — otherwise it produces too bitter a flavour. Unguent of cyprus produces a green colour, lily unguent gives a greasy consistency, oil of Mendes makes the mixture black, attar of roses white, and myrrh gives a pale hue.

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§ 13.2.6  These are the kinds of perfumes invented in early times, and the subsequent pilferings of the factories. We will now speak of what is the very climax of luxury and the most important example of this commodity.

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§ 13.2.7  What then is called the 'royal' unguent, because it is a blend prepared for the kings of Parthia, is made of behen-nut juice, costus, amomum, Syrian cinnamon, cardamom, spikenard, cat-thyme, myrrh, cinnamon-bark, styrax-tree gum, ladanum, balm, Syrian reed and Syrian rush, wild grape, cinnamon- -, serichatum, cyprus, rosewood, all-heal, saffron, gladiolus, marjoram, lotus, honey and wine. And none of the components of this scent is grown in Italy, the conqueror of the world, and indeed none in the whole of Europe excepting The iris in Illyria and nard in Gaul — for as to wine and roses and myrtle leaves and olive oil, they may be taken as belonging to pretty well all countries in common.

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§ 13.3.1  What are called sprinkling powders are made of dried scents, the dregs of unguents being termed 'magma.' Among all the scents employed the one added last is the most powerful. Unguents keep best in alabaster boxes, scents when mixed with oil, and the fatter it is, as for instance oil of almonds, the better it helps to preserve them for a long time; and the unguents themselves improve with age. Sunshine is detrimental to them, and therefore they are stored in the shade, in vessels made of lead. When being tested they are put on the back of the hand, to avoid their being damaged by the warmth of the fleshy part.

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§ 13.4.1  Perfumes serve the purpose of the most superfluous of all forms of luxury; for pearls and jewels do nevertheless pass to the wearer's heir, and clothes last for some time, but unguents lose their scent at once, and die in the very hour when they are used. Their highest recommendation is that when a woman passes by her scent may attract the attention even of persons occupied in something else — and their cost is more than 400 denarii per pound! All that money is paid for a pleasure enjoyed by somebody else, for a person carrying scent about him does not smell it himself. Still, if even these matters deserve to be graded after a fashion, we find in the works left by Marcus Cicero that unguents that have an earthy scent are more agreeable than those smelling of saffron, inasmuch as even in a class of things where corruption is most rife, nevertheless some degree of strictness in vice itself gives more enjoyment. But there are people who get most pleasure from unguent of a dense consistency, which they call thick essence, and who enjoy smearing themselves with perfume and not merely pouring it over them. We have even seen people put scent on the soles of their feet, a practice said to have been taught to the emperor Nero by Marcus Otho; pray, how could it be noticed or give any pleasure from that part of the body? Moreover, we have heard that somebody of private station gave orders for the walls of his bathroom to be sprinkled with scent, and that the Emperor Caligula had the bathtubs scented, and so also later did one of the slaves of Nero — so that this must not be considered a privilege of princes! Yet what is most surprising is that this indulgence has found its way even into the camp: at all events the eagles and the standards, dusty as they are and bristling with sharp points, are anointed on holidays — and I only wish we were able to say who first introduced this custom! No doubt the fact is that our eagles were bribed by this reward to conquer the world! We look to their patronage forsooth to sanction our vices, so as to have this legitimation for using hair-oil under a helmet!

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§ 13.5.1  I could not readily say when the use of unguents first made its way to Rome. It is certain that in 189 BC the censors Puhlius Licinius Crassus and Lucius Julius Caesar issued a proclamation forbidding any sale of 'foreign essences' — that being the regular name for them. But, good heavens! nowadays some people actually put scent in their drinks, and it is worth the bitter flavour for their body to enjoy the lavish scent both inside and outside. It is a well-known fact that Lucius Plotius, the brother of Lucius Plancus who was twice consul and censor, when proscribed by the Triumvirs was given away in his hiding-place at Salerno by the scent of the unguent he had been using — a disgrace that acquitted the entire proscription of guilt, for who would not consider that people of that sort deserved to die?

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§ 13.6.1  In other respects Egypt is of all the countries in the world the best adapted for the production of unguents, but Campania with its abundance of roses runs it close. But Judea is even more famous for its palm-trees, the nature of which will now be described. It is true that there are also palms in Europe, and they are common in Italy, but these are barren. In the coastal regions of Spain they do bear fruit, but it does not ripen, and in Africa the fruit is sweet but will not keep for any time. On the other hand in the east the palm supplies the native races with wine, and some of them with bread, while a very large number rely on it also for cattle fodder. For this reason, therefore, we shall be justified in describing the palms of foreign countries; there are none in Italy not grown under cultivation, nor are there in any other part of the earth except where there is a warm climate, while only in really hot countries does the palm bear fruit.

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§ 13.7.1  It grows in a light sandy soil and for the most part in one containing nitrates. It likes running water, and to drink all the year round, though it loves dry places. Some people think that dung actually does it harm, while a section of the Assyrians think that this happens if they do not mix the dung with water from a stream. There are several kinds of palm, beginning with kinds not larger than a shrub — a shrub that in some cases is barren, though in other districts it too bears fruit — and having a short branch. In number of places this shrub-palm with its dome of leaves serves instead of plaster for the walls of a house, to prevent their sweating. Also the taller palms make a regular forest, their pointed foliage shooting out from the actual tree all round them like a comb — these it must be understood are wild palms, though they also have a wayward fancy for mingling among the cultivated varieties. The other kinds are rounded and tall, and have compact rows of knobs or circles in their bark which render them easy for the eastern races to climb; they put a plaited noose round themselves and round the tree, and the noose goes up with the man at an astonishingly rapid speed. All the foliage is at the top of the tree, and so is the fruit, which is not among the leaves as in all other trees, but hanging in bunches from shoots of its own between the branches, and which has the nature of both a cluster and a single fruit. The leaves have a knife-like edge at the sides and are divided into two flanges that fold together; they first suggested folding tablets for writing, but at the present day they are split up to make ropes and plaited wickerwork and parasols.

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§ 13.7.2  The most devoted students of nature report that trees, indeed all the products of the earth and even grasses, are of both sexes, a fact which it may at this place be sufficient to state in general terms although in no trees is it more manifest than in the palm. A male palm forms a blossom on the shoot, whereas a female merely forms a bud like an ear of corn, without going on to blossom. In both male and female, however, the flesh of the fruit forms first and the woody core afterwards; this is the seed of the tree — which is proved by the fact that small fruits without any core are found on the same shoot. The seed is oblong in shape and not rounded like an olive-stone, and also it is split at the back by a bulging cleft, and in most cases shaped like a navel at the middle of the bulge: it is from here that the root first spreads out. In planting the seed is laid front-side downward, and a pair of seeds are placed close together with two more above them, since a single seed produces a weak plant, but the four shoots unite in one strong growth. This woody core is divided from the fleshy parts by a number of white coats, others clinging closely to its body; and it is loose and separate, only attached by a thread at its top end. The flesh takes a year to ripen, though in some places, for instance, Cyprus, it has a pleasant sweet flavour even though it does not reach maturity. In Cyprus the leaf is broader and the fruit rounder than it is elsewhere, though people there do not eat the body of the fruit, but spit it out after merely squeezing out the juice. Also in Arabia the palm is said to have a sickly sweet taste, although Juba states that he prefers the palm that grows in the territory of the Tent-dweller Arabs, which they call the dablas, to all other kinds for flavour. For the rest, it is stated that in a palm-grove of natural growth the female trees do not produce if there are no males, and that each male tree is surrounded by several females with more attractive foliage that bend and bow towards him; while the male bristling with leaves erected impregnates the rest of them by his exhalation and by the mere sight of him, and also by his pollen; and that when the male tree is felled the females afterwards in their widowhood become barren. And so fully is their sexual union understood that mankind has actually devised a method of impregnating them by means of the flower and down collected from the males, and indeed sometimes by merely sprinkling their pollen on the females.

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§ 13.8.1  Palms are also propagated by layering, the trunk for a length of three feet from the actual brain of the tree being divided by incisions and dug into the ground. Also a slip torn off from the root makes a hardy growth when planted, and so does one from the youngest of the branches. In Assyria the tree itself, too, is laid in a moist soil and throws out roots along its whole length, but these grow into shrubs and not into a tree; consequently the growers plant cuttings, and transplant the young trees when a year old and again when two years old, for they like a change of position — this is done in the spring in other countries, but in Assyria about the rising of the Dog-star. Also there they do not touch the young trees with a knife, but tie back the leafy shoots to make them grow upward to a considerable height. When the trees are strong they prune them down so as to make them grow thicker, leaving the stumps of the branches six inches long; to lop them at any other point kills the mother tree. We have said above that palms like a salt soil; consequently in places where the ground is not of that nature they sprinkle salt on it, not at the roots of the trees but a little farther off. Some palms in Syria and Egypt divide into two trunks, and in Crete even into three, and some even into five. These begin to bear in three years, but the palms in Cyprus, Syria and Egypt bear when four years old, and others when five, the tree being then the height of a man; as long as the trees are young the fruit has no woody part inside, and consequently they are called 'eunuchs.'

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§ 13.9.1  Palm-trees are of many varieties. The barren kinds are used in Assyria and throughout the whole of palm. Persia for building timber and for the more luxurious articles of manufacture. Also there are forests of palms grown for timber which when felled send out shoots again from the root; the pith of these at the top, which is called their 'brain,' has a sweet taste, and after it has been removed the trees continue to live, which is not the case with other sorts of palm. The name of this tree is the chamaerops, and it has an exceptionally broad soft leaf which is extremely useful for wickerwork; it grows in large numbers in Crete, but even more in Sicily. Palm-wood makes charcoal that lasts a long time and burns slowly. In the palms that bear fruit the core of the fruit is shorter in some cases than in others and also softer; in some cases it is of a bony substance, and when polished with the edge of a file is used by superstition as a charm against witchcraft. The core is wrapped in several coats which in some cases vary in number and in others in thickness. Consequently there are forty-nine kinds of palm, if one cared to go through the names of them all, including those that have foreign names, and the varieties of wine that are extracted from them. The most famous of all is honoured by the name of the royal palm, because it used to be reserved for the kings of Persia alone; it grew only at Babylon in the Garden of Bagous — the Persian word for a eunuch, some of these having actually been kings in Persia. This garden was always kept within the precincts of the ruler's court.

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§ 13.9.2  In the southern part of the world the kind called in Greek the wild-boar date is held in the highest repute, and next to it ranks the Maldive nut date. The latter is a short, rounded fruit of a white colour, more like a grape than a Phoenician date, for which reason it has also received the name of pearl-date. It is said that only one palm-tree of this kind exists, at Chora, and the same is the case with the wild-boar date; and a remarkable story has come to us about this tree, to the effect that it dies off and then comes to life again of itself — a peculiarity which it shares with the phoenix, which is thought to have taken its name from the suggestion of this palm-tree: the tree was bearing fruit at the time when this book was published. The actual fruit is large, hard and prickly, and differs from all the other kinds by having a gamey sort of smell that is most noticed in wild boars, which is the reason for its name. The sandalis date, so called from its resemblance to a sandal, ranks fourth; of this kind again there are said to be at the most five trees in existence, on the border of Ethiopia, and they are as remarkable for the sweetness of their fruit as they are for their rarity. Next to these the most famous are the caryotae, which supply a great deal of food but also of juice, and from which the principal wines of the East are made; these strongly affect the head, to which the date owes its name. But not only are these trees abundant and bear largely in Judea, but also the most famous are found there, and not in the whole of that country but specially in Jericho, although those growing in the valleys of Archelais and Phasaelis and Livias in the same country are also highly spoken of. Their outstanding property is the unctuous juice which they exude and an extremely sweet sort of wine-flavour like that of honey. The Nicholas date belonging to this class is not so juicy but exceptionally large in size, four put end to end making a length of eighteen inches. The date that comes next in sweetness is less attractive to look at, but in flavour is the sister of the caryotae and consequently is called in Greek the sister-dates The third class among these, the pateta, has too copious a supply of juice, and the excess of liquor of the fruit itself bursts open even while on the parent tree, looking like dates that have been trodden on.

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§ 13.9.3  Of the many drier dates the finger-date forms a class of its own: it is a very long slender date, sometimes of a curved shape. The variety of this class which we offer to the honour of the gods is called chydaeus by the Jews, a race remarkable for their contempt for the divine powers. All over the Thebaid and Arabia the dates are dry and small, with a shrivelled body, and as they are scorched by the continual heat their covering is more truly a rind than a skin. Indeed in Ethiopia itself the climate is so dry that the skin of these dates is rubbed into powder and kneaded to make loaves of bread like flour. This date grows on a shrub, with branches eighteen inches long, a rather broad leaf, and fruit of a round shape, but larger than the size of an apple. The Greek name for this date is koix; it comes to maturity in three years, and the shrub always has fruit on it. another date sprouting in place of one picked. The date of the Thebaid is packed into casks at once, before it has lost the aroma of its natural heat; if this is not done, it quickly loses its freshness and dries up unless it is warmed up again in an oven.

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§ 13.9.4  Of the rest of the date kind the Syrian variety, called sweetmeats, seem to be a low-class fruit; for those in the other part of Phoenicia and Cilicia have the local name of acorn-dates, also used by us. These too are of several kinds, differing in shape, some rounder and others longer, and also in colour, some being blacker and others reddish; indeed, they are reported to have as many varieties of colour as the fig! though the white ones are the most in favour. They also differ in size, many having reached half a yard in length while some are no larger than a bean. The best kinds for keeping are those that grow in salt and sandy soils, for instance in Judea and the Cyrenaic district of Africa; the dates in Egypt, Cyprus, Syria and Seleucia in Assyria do not keep, and consequently are used for fattening swine and other stock. It is a sign that the fruit is spoilt or old if the white excrescence by which the dates are attached to the cluster has fallen off. Soldiers of Alexander were choked by eating green dates; this effect was produced in the Gedrosi country by the quality of the fruit, and occurs elsewhere from eating it to excess, for fresh dates are so sweet that people will not stop eating them except because of the danger.

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§ 13.10.1  Syria has several trees that are peculiar to it beside this date; in the class of nuts the pistachio is well-known: it is reported that taken either in food or in drink it is a remedy for snakebite. In the fig class Syria has the Carians and smaller figs of the same class called cottana, also the plum that grows on Mount Damascus and the myxa, both now acclimated in Italy. In Egypt the myxa is also used for making wine.

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§ 13.11.1  Phoenicia has a small variety of cedar that resembles a juniper. It is of two kinds, the Lycian and the Phoenician, which have different leaves; the one with a hard, prickly, pointed leaf is called the oxycedros, while the other is a branchy tree and the wood is full of knots and has a better scent. They bear fruit the size of a myrtle-berry, with a sweet taste. The larger cedar also has two kinds, of which the flowering one bears no fruit, while the one that bears fruit does not flower, and in its case the previous fruit is replaced by a new one. Its seed is like that of the cypress. Some people call this tree the cedar-pine. From it is obtained the resin held in the highest favour, while its actual timber lasts for ever, and consequently it has been the regular practice to use it even for making statues of the gods — the Apollo Sosianus in a shrine at Rome, which was brought from Seleucia, is made of cedar-wood. There is a tree resembling the cedar in Arcadia, and a shrub in Phrygia is called the cedrys.

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§ 13.12.1  Syria also has the turpentine-tree. Of this the male variety has no fruit, but the female has two kinds of fruit, one of them ruddy and the size of a lentil, while the other is pale, and ripens at the same time as the grape; it is no larger in size than a bean, has a rather agreeable scent, and is sticky to the touch. Round Mount Ida in the Troad and in Macedonia this is a low-growing shrub-like tree, but at Damascus in Syria it is big. Its wood is fairly flexible and remains sound to a great age; it is of a shiny black colour. The flower grows in clusters like the olive, but is crimson in colour, and the foliage is thick. It also bears follicles out of which come insects resembling gnats, and which produce a sticky resinous fluid which also bursts out from its bark.

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§ 13.13.1  Also the male sumach-tree of Syria is productive, the female being barren; the leaf is that of an elm only a little longer, covered with down, and the footstalks of the leaves always lying alternately in opposite directions; the branches are slender and short. The sumach is used for bleaching leather. The seed, which resembles a lentil, turns red at the same time as the grapes; it is called rhus and is required for certain drugs.

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§ 13.14.1  Egypt also has many kinds of trees not found anywhere else, before all a fig, which is consequently called the Egyptian fig. The tree resembles a mulberry in foliage, size and appearance; it bears its fruit not on the branches but on the trunk itself, and this is an exceedingly sweet fig without seeds inside it. There is an extremely prolific yield, but only if incisions are made in the fruit with iron hooks, otherwise it does not ripen; but when this is done, it can be plucked three days later, another fig forming in its place, the tree thus scoring seven crops of extremely juicy figs in a summer. Even if the incisions are not made new fruit forms under the old and drives out its predecessor before it is ripe four times in a summer. The wood of this fig is of a peculiar kind, and is one of the most useful there is. As soon as it is cut it is plunged into a marsh, and at first sinks to the bottom, but afterwards begins to float, and it is clear that moisture not belonging to it, which soaks into all other timber, drains the sap out of this. When it begins to float on the surface, this is its sign that the timber is ready for use.

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§ 13.15.1  A tree to some extent resembling the Egyptian fig is one in Crete called the Cyprian fig, as it also bears fruit on its actual trunk and on its branches when they have grown to thickness. But the Cyprian fig puts out a bud without any leaves, resembling a root. The trunk of the tree is like a poplar, and the leaf like an elm. It bears fruit four times a year, and also buds the same number of times, but its unripe figs will not ripen unless an incision is made in them to let out the juice. They have the sweet taste and the inside of the common fig, and are the size of a service-tree berry.

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§ 13.16.1  Another similar tree is the one called by the Ionians the ceronia, which also buds from the trunk, the fruit being a pod, which has consequently been called by some the Egyptian fig. But this is clearly a mistake, as it does not grow in Egypt but in Syria and Ionia, and also in the neighbourhood of Cnidus and on the island of Rhodes. It is always in full foliage, and it has a white flower with a powerful scent. It sends out shoots at the lower parts, and consequently is of a yellow colour above ground, as the suckers drain away the sap. If the fruit of the preceding year is picked about the rising of the Dog-star, it at once grows a second crop, after which it blossoms through the period of the Bear-ward, and the winter nourishes its fruit.

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§ 13.17.1  Egypt also possesses a tree of a peculiar kind called the persea which resembles a pear but is an evergreen. It bears fruit without intermission, as when it is plucked a fresh crop sprouts the next day, but its season for ripening is when the midsummer winds are blowing. The fruit is longer than a pear, and is enclosed in a shell like an almond and a rind the colour of grass, but where the almond has a kernel this has a plum, which differs from an almond kernel in being short and soft, and although temptingly sweet and luscious, is quite wholesome. The wood is just like that of the lotus for goodness and soundness and, also in its black colour, and it too has habitually been used for making statues. The timber of the tree we have mentioned called the acorn-date, although reliable, is not so highly valued, as a large proportion of it has a twisted grain, so it is only used for shipbuilding.

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§ 13.18.1  But on the contrary the wood of the cucus is in great esteem; this tree resembles a palm in that its leaves are also used for textiles, but it differs because it spreads out into branches like arms. The fruit is of a size that fills the hand; its colour is yellow and its juice has an attractive sweet taste, with a touch of astringency. It has a large and very hard shell inside, which is used by turners for making curtain-rings, and inside the shell is a kernel which has a sweet taste while fresh, but which when dried goes on getting continually harder and harder, so that it can only be eaten after being soaked in water for several days. The wood has a rather uneven grain that is most attractive, and it is consequently very much admired by the Persians.

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§ 13.19.1  Also thorn-wood is equally esteemed in the same country, that is, the wood of a black thorn, as it lasts without decaying even in water, and is consequently extremely serviceable for the ribs of ships; timbers made of a white thorn rot easily. It has sharp thorns even on the leaves, and seed in pods that is used instead of oak-galls in dressing leather. The blossom has a pleasing effect in garlands and also makes a valuable medicine; also the tree distils gum. But its most valuable property is that when cut down it shoots up again two years later. This thorn grows in the neighbourhood of Thebes, where oak, persea and olive are also found, in a forest region nearly 40 miles from the Nile, watered by springs that rise in it. This region also contains the Egyptian plum-tree, which is not unlike the thorn last mentioned; its fruit resembles a medlar, and ripens in the winter, and the tree is an evergreen. The fruit contains a large stone, but the fleshy part, owing to its nature and to the abundance in which it grows, provides the natives with quite a harvest, as after cleaning it they crush it and make it into cakes for storage. There was also once a forest region round Memphis with such huge trees that three men could not join hands round The trunks; and one of them was particularly remarkable, not because of its fruit or its utility for some purpose, but on account of the circumstance that it has the appearance of a thorn, but leaves resembling wings, which when somebody touches the branches at once fall off and afterwards sprout again.

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§ 13.20.1  It is agreed that the Egyptian thorn supplies the best kind of gum; it is of a streaked appearance, grey in colour, clean and free from bark, and it sticks to the teeth; its price is 3 denarii per pound. The gum produced from the bitter almond and the cherry is inferior, and that from plum-trees is the worst kind of all. A gum also forms in the vine which is extremely valuable for children's sores, and the gum sometimes found in the olive-tree is good for toothache; but the gun's also found in the elm on Mount Corycus in Cilicia and in the juniper are of no use for anything, indeed elm-tree gum there even breeds gnats. Also a gum exudes from the sarcocolla that is the name of the tree and also of the gum — which is extremely useful both to painters and to medical men; it resembles incense dust, and for the purposes mentioned the white kind is better than the red; its price is the one mentioned above.

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§ 13.21.1  We have not yet touched on the marsh-plants nor the shrubs that grow by rivers. But before we leave Egypt we shall also describe the nature of papyrus, since our civilization or at all events our records depend very largely on the employment of paper. According to Marcus Varro we owe even the discovery of paper to the victory of Alexander the Great, when he founded Alexandria in Egypt, before which time paper was not used. First of all people used to write on palm-leaves and then on the bark of certain trees, and afterwards folding sheets of lead began to be employed for official muniments, and then also sheets of linen or tablets of wax for private documents; for we find in Homer that the use of writing-tablets existed even before the Trojan period, but when he was writing even the land itself which is now thought of as Egypt did not exist as such, while now paper grows in the Sebennytic and Saitic nomes of Egypt, the land having been subsequently heaped up by the Nile, inasmuch as Homer wrote that the island of Pharos, which is now joined to Alexandria by a bridge, was twenty-four hours' distance by sailing-ship from the land. Subsequently, also according to Varro, when owing to the rivalry between King Ptolemy and King Eumenes about their libraries Ptolemy suppressed the export of paper, parchment was invented at Pergamum; and afterwards the employment of the material on which the immortality of human beings depends spread indiscriminately.

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§ 13.22.1  Papyrus then grows in the swamps of Egypt or else in the sluggish waters of the Nile where they have overflowed and lie stagnant in pools not more than about three feet in depth; it has a sloping root as thick as a man's arm, and tapers gracefully up with triangular sides to a length of not more than about 15 feet, ending in a head like a thyrsus; it has no seed, and is of no use except that the flowers are made into wreaths for statues of the gods. The roots are employed by the natives for timber, and not only to serve as firewood but also for making various utensils and vessels; indeed the papyrus itself is plaited to make boats, and the inner bark is woven into sail-cloth and matting, and also cloth, as well as blankets and ropes. It is also used as chewing-gum, both in the raw state and when boiled, though only the juice is swallowed.

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§ 13.22.2  Papyrus also grows in Syria on the borders of the lake round which grows the scented reed already mentioned, and King Antiochus would only allow ropes made from this Syrian papyrus to be used in his navy, the employment of esparto not yet having become general. It has recently been realized that papyrus growing in the Euphrates near Babylon can also be used in the same way for paper; nevertheless up to the present the Parthians prefer to embroider letters upon cloths.

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§ 13.23.1  The process of making paper from papyrus is to split it with a needle into very thin strips made as broad as possible, the best quality being in the centre of the plant, and so on in the order of its splitting up. The first quality used to be called 'hieratic paper' and was in early times devoted solely to books connected with religion, but in a spirit of flattery it was given the name of Augustus, just as the second best was called 'Livia paper' after his consort, and thus the name 'hieratic' came down to the third class. The next quality had been given the name of 'amphitheatre' paper, from the place of its manufacture. This paper was taken over by the clever workshop of Fannius at Rome, and its texture was made finer by a careful process of insertion, so that it was changed from common paper into one of first-class quality, and received the name of the maker; but the paper of this kind that did not have this additional treatment remained in its own class as amphitheatre paper. Next to this is the Saitic paper named from the town where it is produced in the greatest abundance, being made from shavings of inferior quality, and the Taeneotic, from a neighbouring place, made from material still nearer the outside skin, in the case of which we reach a variety that is sold by mere weight and not for its quality. As for what is called 'emporitic' paper, it is no good for writing but serves to provide covers for documents and wrappers for merchandise, and consequently takes its name from the Greek word for a merchant. After this comes the actual papyrus, and its outermost layer, which resembles a rush and is of no use even for making ropes except those used in water.

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§ 13.23.2  Paper of all kinds is 'woven' on a board moistened with water from the Nile, muddy liquid supplying the effect of glue. First an upright layer is smeared on to the table, using the full length of papyrus available after the trimmings have been cut off at both ends, and afterwards cross strips complete the lattice-work. The next step is to press it in presses, and the sheets are dried in the sun and then joined together, the next strip used always diminishing in quality down to the worst of all. There are never more than twenty sheets to a roll.

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§ 13.24.1  There is a great difference in the breadth of the various kinds of paper: the best is thirteen inches wide, the hieratic two inches less, the Fannian measures ten inches and the amphitheatre paper one less, while the Saitic is still fewer inches across and is not as wide as the mallet used in making it, as the emporitic kind is so narrow that it does not exceed six inches. Other points looked at in paper are fineness, stoutness, whiteness and smoothness. The status of best quality was altered by the emperor Claudius. The reason was that the thin paper of the period of Augustus was not strong enough to stand the friction of the pen, and moreover as it let the writing show through there was a fear of a smudge being caused by what was written on the back, and the great transparency of the paper had an unattractive look in other respects. Consequently the foundation was made of leaves of second quality and the woof or cross layer of leaves of the first quality. Claudius also increased the width of the sheet, making it a foot across. There were also eighteen-inch sheets called 'maerocola,' but examination detected a defect in them, as tearing off a single strip damaged several pages. On this account Claudius paper has come to be preferred to all other kinds, although the Augustus kind still holds the field for correspondence; but Livia paper, having no quality of a first-class kind, but being entirely second class, has retained its position.

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§ 13.25.1  Roughness is smoothed out with a piece of ivory or a shell, but this makes the lettering apt to fade, as owing to the polish so given the paper does not take the ink so well, but has a shinier surface. The damping process if carelessly applied often causes difficulty in writing at first, and it can be detected by a blow with the mallet, or even by the musty smell if the process has been rather carelessly carried out. Spottiness also may be detected by the eye, but a bad porous strip found inserted in the middle of the pasted joins, owing to the sponginess of the papyrus, sucks up the ink and so can scarcely be detected except when the ink of a letter runs: so much opportunity is there for cheating. The consequence is that another task is added to the process of paper-weaving.

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§ 13.26.1  The common kind of paste for paper is made fine flour of the best quality mixed with boiling water, with a very small sprinkle of vinegar; for carpenter's paste and gum make too brittle a compound. But a more careful process is to strain the crumb of leavened bread in boiling water; this method requires the smallest amount of paste at the seams, and produces a paper softer than even linen. But all the paste used ought to be exactly a day old — not more nor yet less. Afterwards the paper is beaten thin with a mallet and run over with a layer of paste, and then again has its creases removed by pressure and is flattened out with the mallet. This process may enable records to last a long time; at the house of the poet and most distinguished citizen Pomponius Secundus I have seen documents in the hand of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus written nearly two hundred years ago; while as for autographs of Cicero, of his late Majesty Augustus, and of Virgil, we see them constantly.

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§ 13.27.1  There are important instances forthcoming that make against the opinion of Marcus Varro in regard to the history of paper. Cassius Hemina, a historian of great antiquity, has stated in his Annals, Book 4, that the secretary Gnaeus Terentius, when digging over his land on the Janiculan, turned up a coffer that had contained the body of Numa, who was king at Rome, and that in the same coffer were found some books of his — this was in the consulship of Publius 181 BC. Cornelius Cethegus, son of Lucius, and of Marcus Baebius Tamphilus, son of Quintus, dating 535 years after the accession of Numa; and the historian says that the books were made of paper, which makes the matter still more remarkable, because of their having lasted in a hole in the ground, and consequently on a point of such importance I will quote the words of Hemina himself: 'Other people wondered how those books could have lasted so long, but Terentius's explanation was that about in the middle of the coffer there had been a square stone tied all round with waxed cords, and that the three books had been placed on the top of this stone; and he thought this position was the reason why they had not decayed; and that the books had been soaked in citrus-oil, and he thought that this was why they were not moth-eaten. These books contained the philosophical doctrines of Pythagoras' — and Hemina said that the books had been burnt by the praetor Quintus Petilius because they were writings of philosophy [prob. an interpolation]. The same story is recorded by Piso the former Censor in his Commentaries, Book I, but he says that there were seven volumes of pontifical law and the same number of Pythagorean philosophy; while Tuditanus in Book X3 says that there were twelve volumes of the Decrees of Numa; Varro himself says that there were seven volumes of Antiquities of Man, and Antias in his Second Book speaks of there having been twelve volumes On Matters Pontifical written in Latin and the same number in Greek containing Doctrines of Philosophy; Antias also quotes in Book 3 a Resolution of the Senate deciding that these volumes were to be burnt. It is however universally agreed that the Sibyl brought three volumes to Tarquin the Proud, of which two were burnt by herself while the third was destroyed in the burning of the Capitol in the Sulla crisis. Moreover the Mucianus who was three times consul has stated that recently, when governor of Lycia, he had read in a certain temple a letter of Sarpedon written on paper at Troy — which seems to me even more remarkable if even when Homer was writing, Egypt did not yet exist: otherwise why, if paper was already in use, is it known to have been the custom to write on folding tablets made of lead or sheets of linen, or why has Homer stated that even in Lycia itself wooden tablets, and not letters, were given to Bellerophon? This commodity also is liable to dearth, and as early as the principate of Tiberius a shortage of paper led to the appointment from the senate of umpires to supervise its distribution, as otherwise life was completely upset.

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§ 13.28.1  Ethiopia, which is on the borders of Egypt, has virtually no remarkable trees except the wool-tree, like the one described among the trees of India and Arabia. However, the Ethiopian variety has a much woollier consistency, and a larger pod, like that of a pomegranate, and also the trees themselves resemble each other. Beside the wool-tree there are also palms of the kind which we have described. The trees and the scented forests of the islands round the coast of Ethiopia have been spoken of when those islands were mentioned.

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§ 13.29.1  Mount Atlas is said to possess a forest of a remarkable character, about which we have spoken. Adjoining Mount Atlas is Mauretania, which produces a great many citrus-trees — and the tablemania which the ladies use as a retort to the men against the charge of extravagance in pearls. There till exists a table that belonged to Marcus Cicero for which with his slender resources and, what is more surprising, at that date, he paid half-a-million sesterces; and also one is recorded as belonging to Gallus Asinius that cost a million. Also two hanging tables were sold at auction by King Juba, of which one fetched 1,200,000 sesterces and the other a little less. A table that was lately destroyed in a fire came down from the Cethegi and had changed hands at 1,300,000 sesterces — the price of a large estate, supposing somebody preferred to devote so large a sum to the purchase of landed property. The size of the largest tables hitherto has been: one made by Ptolemy, king of Mauretania, out of two semicircular slabs of wood joined together, 4 1/2 ft. in diameter and 3 in. thick — and the invisibility of the join makes the table more marvellous as a work of art than it could possibly have been if a product of nature — and a single slab bearing the name of Nomius a freedman of the Emperor which is 3 ft. 11 1/4 in. across and 11 1/4 in. thick. Under this head it seems proper to include a table that belonged to the Emperor Tiberius which was 4 ft. 2 1/4 in. across, and 1 1/2 in. thick all over, but was only covered with a veneer of citrus-wood, although the one belonging to his freedman Nomius was so sumptuous. The material is an excrescence of the root, and is very greatly admired when it grows entirely underground, and so is more uncommon than the knobs that grow above ground, on the branches as well as on the trunk; and the timber bought at so high a price is in reality a disease of the trees, the size and the roots of which can be judged from the circular tabletops. In foliage, scent and the appearance of the trunk these trees resemble the female cyprus, which is also a forest tree. A mountain called Ancorarius in Hither Mauretania provided the most celebrated citrus-wood, but the supply is now exhausted.

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§ 13.30.1  The outstanding merit of citrus-wood tables is to have wavy marks forming a vein or else little spirals. The former marking produces a longish pattern and is consequently called tiger-wood, while the latter gives a twisted pattern and consequently slabs of that sort are called panther-tables. Also some have wavy crinkled markings, which are more esteemed if they resemble the eyes in a peacock's tail. Besides the kinds previously mentioned, great esteem, though coming after these, belongs to those veined with a thick cluster of what look like grains, these slabs being consequently called parsley-wood, from the resemblance. But the highest value of all resides in the colour of the wood, the colour of meed being the most favoured, shining with the wine that is proper to it. The next point is size: nowadays tables made of whole trunks are admired, or several trunks mortised together in one table.

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§ 13.30.2  The faults in a table are woodiness — that is the name given to a dull patternless uniformity in the timber, or uniformity arranged like the leaves of a plane-tree, and also to a grain resembling the veining or colouring of the holm-oak — and to flaws or hairy lines resembling flaws, a fault to which heat and wind have rendered the timber particularly liable; next comes a colour running across the wood in a black streak like a lamprey and marked with irregular raven-scratchings as on a poppy and in general rather approaching black, or blotches of various colours. The natives bury the timber in the ground while still green, giving it a coat of wax; but carpenters lay it in heaps of corn for periods of a week with intervals of a week between, and it is surprising how much its weight is reduced by this process. Also wreckage from ships has recently shown that this timber is dried by the action of sea water, and solidified with a hardness that resists decay, no other method producing this result more powerfully. Citrus-wood tables are best kept and polished by rubbing with the dry hand, especially just after a bath; and they are not damaged by spilt wine, as having been created for the purpose of wine-tables.

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§ 13.30.3  Few things that supply the apparatus of a more luxurious life rank with this tree, and consequently it seems desirable to dwell on it for a little as well. It was known even to Homer — the Greek name for it being thyon, otherwise thya. Well, Homer has recorded its being burut among unguents as one of the luxuries of Circe, whom he meant to be understood as a goddess — those who take the word thyon to mean perfumes being greatly in error, especially as in the same verse he says that cedar and larch were burnt at the same time, which shows that he was only speaking of trees. Already Theophrastus, who wrote immediately after the period of Alexander the Great, about 314 B.C., assigns a high rank to this tree, stating that it was recorded that the flooring of the old temples used to be made of it and that its timber when used in roofed buildings is virtually everlasting, being proof against all causes of decay; and he says that no wood is more marked with veins than the root, and that no products made of any other material are more valuable. The finest citrus, he says, is round the Temple of Hammon, but it also grows in the interior of Cyrenaica. He makes no mention, however, of tables made of citrus-wood, and indeed there is no older record of one before that of the time of Cicero, which proves their novelty.

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§ 13.31.1  There is another tree with the same name, bearing fruit which some people abhor for its scent and bitter taste while other people are fond of it; this wood is also used for decorating houses, but it does not need further description.

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§ 13.32.1  Africa also, where it faces in our direction, produces a remarkable tree, the lotus, called in the vernacular celthis, which also has been naturalized in Italy, though it has been altered by the change of soil. The finest lotus is found round the Syrtes and the district of the Nasamones. It is the size of a pear, although Cornelius Nepos states that it is a short fruit. The incisions in the leaf resemble those in the holm-oak, except that they are more numerous. There are several varieties of lotus, differing chiefly in their fruits. This one is the size of a bean and saffron-coloured, but it changes colour several times before it is ripe, like grapes. It grows in thick clusters on the branches like myrtle-berries and not like cherries as it does in Italy; in its own country it is so sweet to eat that it has even given its name to a race of people and to a land which is too hospitable to strangers who come there, making them forget their native land. It is reported that chewing this lotus prevents gastric diseases. The better kind has no stone inside it, those of the other variety having a kernel of a bony appearance. Also a wine is pressed from this fruit that resembles mead, which again according to Nepos will not keep for more than ten days; he states that the berries are chopped up with spelt and stored in casks for food. Indeed we are told that armies have been fed on this while marching to and fro through Africa. The wood is of a black colour, and is in demand for making melodious flutes, while out of the root are devised knife-handles and other short implements.

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§ 13.32.2  This is the nature of the lotus-tree in Africa. But the same name also belongs to a herbaceous plant, as well as to a colewort in Egypt belonging to the class of marsh-plants. This springs up when the flood waters of the Nile retire; it resembles a bean in its stalk and in its leaves, which grow in large, thick clusters, although they are shorter and more slender than the leaves of a bean. The fruit grows in the head of the plant and resembles the fruit of the poppy in its indentations and in every other way; it contains grains like millet-seeds. The natives pile these heads in heaps to rot, and then separate the seeds by washing and dry them and crush them, and use them to make bread. There is a further remarkable fact reported, that when the sun sets these poppies shut up and fold their leaves round them, and at sunrise open again, this going on till they ripen and the flower, which is white, falls off. A further point reported is that in the Euphrates both the head itself and the flower at the evening go on submerging till midnight, and disappear entirely into the depth so that they cannot be found even by plunging the hand in, and then return and by degrees straighten up again, and at sunrise come out of the water and open their flower, and still go on rising so that the flower is raised up quite a long way above the water. The lotus has a root of the size of a quince, enclosed in a black skin like the shell of a chestnut; inside it has a white body, agreeable to eat raw but still more agreeable when boiled in water or roasted in the ashes. Its peelings are more useful than any other fodder for fattening pigs.

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§ 13.33.1  The region of the Cyrenaica ranks the lotus below its own Christ's-thorn. This is more in the nature of a shrub, and its fruit is redder, and contains a kernel that is eaten by itself, as it is agreeable alone; it is improved by being dipped in wine, and moreover its juice improves wine. The interior of Africa as far as the Garamantes and the desert is covered with palms remarkable for their size and their luscious fruit, the most celebrated being in the neighbourhood of the temple of Ammon.

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§ 13.34.1  But the country in the neighbourhood of Carthage claims by the name of Punic apple what some call the pomegranate; this it has also split up into classes, by giving the name of apyrenum to the variety that lacks a woody kernel: the consistency of this is whiter than that of the others, and its pips have a more agreeable taste and the membranes enclosing them are not so bitter; but in other respects these apples have a special structure resembling the cells in a honeycomb, which is common to all that have a kernel. Of these there are five kinds, the sweet, the sour, the mixed, the acid and the vinous; those of Samos and of Egypt are divided into the red-leaved and the white-leaved varieties. The skin of the unripe fruit is specially used for dressing leather. The flower is called balaustium, and is serviceable for doctors and also for dyeing cloth; it has given its name to a special colour.

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§ 13.35.1  Shrubs growing in Asia and Greece are the epicactis, which others call emboline, with small leaves which taken in drink are an antidote against poisons, as those of the heath are against snakes, and the shrub that produces the grain of Cnidus, which some call flax, the name of the shrub itself being thymelaea, which others call chamelaea, others pyros achne, some cnestor, others cneorum. It resembles the oleaster, but has narrower leaves, which when chewed have a gummy consistency; it is the size of a myrtle, and has a seed of the colour and shape of spelt, which is only used for medicinal purposes.

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§ 13.36.1  The goat-shrub only grows in the island of Crete; it resembles the terebinth in seed as well as in other respects; the seed is reported to be very efficacious against arrow wounds. The same island also produces a goat-thorn, which has the root of the white thorn, and is much preferred to the goat-thorn growing in the country of the Medes or in Achaia; its price is 3 denarii per pound.

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§ 13.37.1  Asia also produces the goat-plant or scorpio, a thorn without leaves and with reddish branches, used for medicinal purposes: Italy also has the myrica, which is there called the tamarisk, and Achaia the wild brya; a remarkable property of the brya is that only the cultivated kind bears fruit; this resembles a gall-nut. In Syria and Egypt this shrub is abundant, and we give the name of unlucky wood to its timber; yet some of the timbers of Greece are unluckier, for Greece grows a tree named the ostrys, another form of the name being ostrya, which grows by itself round rocks washed by water; it is like an ash in its bark and branches, and a pear in its leaf, though the leaves are a little longer and thicker and wrinkled with indentations running all across them; the seed resembles barley in colour as well as shape. The wood is hard and solid, and it is said that if it is brought into a house it causes difficulty in childbirth and painful deaths.

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§ 13.38.1  Equally unlucky is the tree on the island of Lesbos called the euonymus, which is not unlike the pomegranate tree — its leaves are between pomegranate and bay-leaves in size, but have the shape and soft texture of the leaf of the pomegranate — and which by the scent of its white blossom gives prompt warning of its pestilential qualities. It bears a pod like that of the sesame, with a coarse square-shaped grain inside it which is deadly for animals; and the leaf also has the same property, although sometimes an immediate evacuation of the bowels gives relief.

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§ 13.39.1  Alexander Cornelius mentions a tree called the hon-tree, the timber of which he says was used to build the Argo, which bears mistletoe resembling that on the oak, and which cannot be rotted by water or destroyed by fire, the same being the case with its mistletoe. This tree is, so far as I am aware, unknown to anyone else.

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§ 13.40.1  Andrachle is almost always rendered into Latin for the Greeks by the word 'purslain,' although purslain is a herbaceous plant and its Greek name is one letter different, andrachne: for the rest the andrachle is a forest tree, nor does it grow in level country. It resembles the arbutus, only it has a smaller leaf and is an evergreen; the bark, though not rough, might be supposed to have frozen round the tree, it has such a wretched appearance.

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§ 13.41.1  The sumach has a similar leaf, but is smaller in size. It has the peculiarity of clothing its fruit (which is called pappus) with downy fluff, a thing that occurs with no other tree. The apharce also resembles the andrachle, and like it bears twice a year; they produce a first crop of fruit just at the time when the grapes are beginning to ripen, and a second at the beginning of winter. What sort of fruit is produced on these two occasions is not reported.

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§ 13.42.1  It may be suitable to have the fennel giant mentioned among the exotics and assigned to the genus 'tree,' inasmuch as the structure of some plants, in the classification that we shall adopt, has the whole of the wood outside in place of bark and inside, in place of wood, a fungous pith like that of the elder, though some have an empty hollow inside like reeds. This fennel grows in hot countries over sea; its stalk is divided by knotted joints. It has two varieties, one called in Greek narthex, which rises to some height, the other narthecia, which always grows low. From the joints shoot out very large leaves, the larger the nearer to the ground; but in other respects it has the same nature as the anise, and the fruit is similar. No shrub supplies a wood of lighter weight, and consequently it is easy to carry, and supplies walking-sticks to be used by old gentlemen.

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§ 13.43.1  The seed of the fennel giant has been called by some thapsia, but these people are mistaken, since the thapsia, though no doubt it is a giant fennel, is one of a peculiar kind, having the leaves of a fennel and a hollow stalk not exceeding the length of a walking-stick; the seed is like that of the giant fennel, but the root is white. When an incision is made in the thapsia milk oozes out, and when pounded it emits a sweet juice; even the bark is not thrown away. All these parts of the tree are poisons; in fact it is injurious even to those engaged in digging it up if the slightest current of air blows from the shrub in their direction: their bodies swell up, and their face is attacked by erysipelas — for which reason before beginning they grease it with a solution of wax. The doctors however say that mixed with other ingredients the shrub is of use in treating certain diseases, and also for fox-mange, bruises and spottiness — as if there really were any lack of remedies, forcing them to take in hand new enormities! But they cloak their noisome expedient with excuses of that sort, and such is their impudence that they ask us to believe that poison is among the resources of science!

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§ 13.43.2  The thapsia of Africa is the most violent of all. Some people make an incision in the stalk during harvest-time and make a hollow in the root itself for the juice to collect in, and when it has dried take it away; others pound the leaves and stalk and root in a mortar and after drying the juice hard in the sun cut it up into lozenges. The emperor Nero at the beginning of his reign gave this juice a famous advertisement, as when during his nocturnal escapades his face had sustained a number of bruises he smeared it with a mixture of thapsia, frankincense and wax and on the following day gave the lie to rumour by going about with a whole skin. It is a well-known fact that fire can be best kept alight in a fennel stalk, and that the fennels in Egypt are the best.

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§ 13.44.1  In Egypt also grows the caper-tree, a shrub with a rather hard wood; also its seed is well known as an article of food, and is usually gathered together with the stalk. Its foreign varieties should be avoided, inasmuch as the Arabian kind is poisonous and the African injures the gums, and that from Marmarica, is injurious to the womb. Also the Apulian caper-tree produces vomiting and diarrhoea by causing flatulence in all the organs. Some persons call this shrub 'dog-brier,' others 'snake-vine'.

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§ 13.45.1  The saripha growing on the banks of the Nile also belongs to the shrub class. It is about 3 ft. high and the thickness of a man's thumb; its foliage is that of the papyrus, and it is chewed in a similar manner. The root is highly rated in workshops for use as fuel, because of its hardness.

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§ 13.46.1  Also we must not leave out a plant that at Babylon is grown on thorn-bushes, because it will not live anywhere else — just as mistletoe grows on trees, but the plant in question will only grow on what is called the 'royal thorn.' It is a remarkable fact that it buds on the same day as it has been planted — this is done just at the rising of the Dog-star — and it very quickly takes possession of the whole of the tree. It is used in making spiced wine, and is cultivated for that purpose. This thorn also grows on the Long Walls at Athens.

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§ 13.47.1  There is also a shrub called cytisus, which has been remarkably praised by Amphilochus of Athens as a fodder for all kinds of cattle, and when dried for swine as well, and he guarantees a yearly return of 2,000 sesterces for an ingerum of it, even on only moderate soil. It serves the same purpose as vetch, but produces satiety more quickly, an animal being fattened by quite a moderate amount — so much so that beasts of burden fed on it refuse barley. No other fodder produces a larger quantity or a better quality of milk, and above everything as a medicine for cattle it renders them immune from all diseases. He also recommends a potion made of cytisus dried and boiled in water to be given with wine to nursing women when their milk fails, and he says this will make the infants stronger and taller; also he advises giving it while in the green state to fowls, or if it has dried, after being steeped. Moreover, Democritus and Aristomachus promise that bees will never fail if there is cytisus available for them to feed on. No other fodder is less expensive. It is sown when barley is, or in the spring, like leek, if the seed is used; or else the stalk is planted in autumn before the winter solstice. If sown the seed is soaked, or, if there is a shortage of rain, it is watered after sowing. When the plants are 18 inches high they are replanted in a trench a foot deep. This planting is done through the equinoxes, while the shrub is still tender; it takes three years to mature, and it is cut at the spring equinox, when it has done flowering — a job that can be done very cheaply even by a boy or an old woman. It is of a whitish colour to look at, and its appearance may be briefly described by saying that it looks like a trifoliated plant with a rather narrow leaf. It is always fed to stock only once in two days, but in winter as it has got dry it is moistened first; ten pounds make a sufficient feed for a horse, and for smaller animals in proportion. Incidentally, good results are got by sowing garlic and onions as catch-crops between the rows of cytisus.

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§ 13.47.2  The cytisus shrub was discovered in the island of Cythnos, and from there was transplanted to all the Cyclades and later to the Greek cities, greatly increasing the supply of cheese. Moreover — a fact that makes me very much surprised that it is rare in Italy — it is not afraid of damage from heat and cold and hail and snow, and, as Hyginus adds, not even from wood-grubs, as its wood has no attraction for them.

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§ 13.48.1  Shrubs and trees also grow at the bottom of the sea — those in the Mediterranean being of smaller size, for the Red Sea and the whole of the Eastern Ocean are filled with forests. The Latin language has no name for what the Greeks call phycos, as our word alga denotes a herbaceous sea-plant, whereas the phycos is a shrub. It has a broad leaf and is coloured green; and it produces a growth one of the Greek names for which means 'leek-weed' and the other 'bind-weed.' Another variety of the same shrub has a hair-like leaf resembling fennel, and grows on rocks, while the one above grows in shallow water near the coast; both kinds shoot in springtime and die off in autumn. The phycos growing on rocks round the island of Crete is also used for a purple dye; the most approved kind being that growing on the northern side of the island, as is the case in regard to sponges. A third variety resembles a grass; its root is knotted, and so is its stalk, like the stalk of a reed.

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§ 13.49.1  Another group of shrubs is called bryon, which has the leaf of a lettuce only more wrinkled. This grows lower down than the one last mentioned; but in deep water grow a pine and an oak, each 18 inches high; they have shells clinging to their branches. The oak is reported to provide a dye for woollen fabrics, and some in deep water are actually said to bear acorns, these facts having been ascertained by shipwrecked persons and by divers. Also other very large marine trees are reported in the neighbourhood of Sikyon — for the sea-vine grows everywhere, but there is a sea-fig, which has no leaves and a red bark, and also the class of marine shrubs includes a sea-palm. Outside the Straits of Gibraltar grows a marine shrub with the leaf of a leek, and another with the foliage of a bay-tree and of thyme; both of these when thrown up ashore by the waves turn into pumice.

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§ 13.50.1  But in the East it is a remarkable fact that as soon as we leave Keft, passing through the desert we find nothing growing except the thorn called 'dry-thorn,' and this quite seldom; whereas in the Red Sea there are flourishing forests, mostly of bay and olive, both bearing berries and in the rainy season funguses, which when the sun strikes them change into pumice. The bushes themselves grow to the height of a yard and a half. The seas are full of sea-dogs, so much so that it is scarcely safe for a sailor to keep a lookout from the bows — in fact they frequently go for the actual oars.

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§ 13.51.1  The soldiers of Alexander who sailed from India gave an account of some marine trees the foliage of which was green while in the water but dried up in the sun as soon as it was taken out and turned into salt; they also reported that along the coasts there were bulrushes of stone which exactly resembled real ones, and out in deep water certain shrubs of the colour of cow-horn where they branched out and turning red at the top; they were brittle, like glass when handled, but turned red-hot in fire like iron, their proper colour coming back again when they had cooled off. In the same part of the earth also the rising tide submerges forests, although the trees are higher than the loftiest planes and poplars. Theft foliage is that of the bay-tree, and their blossom has the scent and colour of violets; the berries resemble olives, and these also have an agreeable scent; they form in the autumn and fall off in spring, whereas the leaves are never shed. The smaller of these trees are entirely covered by the tide, but the tops of the largest stand out and ships are moored to them, as well as to their roots when the tide goes out. We have been informed from the same sources that other trees also have been observed in the same sea which always keep their leaves and have a fruit resembling a lupine.

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§ 13.51.2  Juba relates that in the neighbourhood of the Cave-dwellers' Islands a bush grows at the bottom of the sea called 'hair of Isis,' which has no leaves and resembles coral, and that when it is lopped it changes its colour to black and turns hard, and when it falls it breaks; and so does another marine bush the Greek name for which means 'the Graces' eyelid,' which is a potent love-charm; he says women make bracelets and necklaces of it. He declares that when being taken the bush is aware of it and turns as hard as horn, blunting the edge of the knife, but that if it is cut before it is aware of the danger that threatens it, it turns into stone.

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§ 14.1.1  SO far we have been dealing mostly with foreign trees that cannot be trained to grow elsewhere than in their place of origin and that refuse to be naturalized in strange countries. We may now speak of those common to various countries, of all of which Italy can be thought to be the special parent. Only it must be remembered by the student that for the present we are specifying their natures and not their modes of cultivation, although actually a very large factor in the nature of a tree is due to its cultivation. There is one thing at which I cannot sufficiently wonder — that of some trees the very memory has perished, and even the names recorded by authors have passed out of knowledge. For who would not admit that now that intercommunication has been established throughout the world by the majesty of the Roman Empire, life has been advanced by the interchange of commodities and by partnership in the blessings of peace, and that even things that had previously lain concealed have all now been established in general use? Still, it must be asserted, we do not find people acquainted with much that has been handed down by the writers of former days: so much more productive was the research of the men of old, or else so much more successful was their industry, when a thousand years ago at the dawn of literature Hesiod began putting forth rules for agriculture, and not a few writers followed him in these researches — which has been a source of more toil to us, inasmuch as nowadays it is necessary to investigate not only subsequent discoveries but also those that had already been made by the men of old, because general slackness has decreed an utter destruction of records.

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§ 14.1.2  And for this fault who can discover other causes than the general movement of affairs in the world? The fact is that other customs have come into vogue, and the minds of men are occupied about other matters: the only arts cultivated are the arts of avarice. Previously a nation's sovereignty was self-contained, and consequently the people's genius was also circumscribed; and so a certain barrenness of fortune made it a necessity to exercise the gifts of the mind, and kings innumerable received the homage of the arts, and put these riches in the front place when displaying their resources, believing that by the arts they could prolong their immortality. This was the reason why the rewards of life and also its achievements were then so abundant. But later generations have been positively handicapped by the expansion of the world and by our multiplicity of resources. After senators began to be selected and judges appointed on the score of wealth, and wealth became the sole adornment of magistrate and military commander, after lack of children to succeed one began to occupy the place of highest influence and power, and legacy-hunting ranked as the most profitable profession, and the only delights consisted in ownership, the true prizes of life went to ruin, and all the arts that derived their name 'liberal' from liberty, the supreme good, fell into the opposite class, and servility began to be the sole means of advancement. This deity was worshipped by different men in different manners and in different matters, although every man's prayer was directed to the same end and to hopes of possessing; indeed even men of high character everywhere preferred to cultivate the vices of others rather than the good gifts that were their own. The consequence is, I protest, that pleasure has begun to live and life itself has ceased. We, however, will carry our researches even into matters that have passed out of notice, and will not be daunted by the lowliness of certain objects, any more than we were when dealing with the animals, although we see that Virgil, the prince of poets, was led by this consideration to make omissions among the resources of the garden and in those which he has recorded has only culled out the flower of his subject, happy and gracious as he is: he has only named fifteen kinds of grapes in all and three of olives and as many pears, and of apples only the Assyrian citron, neglecting all the rest.

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§ 14.2.1  But where can we better make a beginning than with the vine? Supremacy in respect of the vine is to such a degree the special distinction of Italy that even with this one possession she can be thought to have vanquished all the good things of the world, even in the department of scents, inasmuch as when the vine is in blossom all over the country it gives a scent that surpasses any other in fragrance.

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§ 14.2.2  Even on account of its size the vine used in early days rightly to be reckoned as belonging to the class of trees. In the city of Piombino is to be seen a statue of Jupiter made of a single vine-stalk that has resisted decay for many ages; and similarly a bowl at Marseilles; the temple of Juno at Metapontum has stood supported by pillars of vine-wood; and even at the present day we ascend to the roof of the temple of Diana at Ephesus by a staircase made from a single vine, grown it is said at Cyprus, inasmuch as vines grow to an exceptional height in that island. And no other timber lasts for longer ages.

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§ 14.2.3  But I am inclined to believe that the things mentioned were made of the wood of the wild vine. Our own vines are kept down by yearly pruning, and all their strength is drawn out into shoots, or else thrown downward into layers, and the only benefit these supply is that of their juice, obtained by means of a variety of methods adapted to the peculiarities of the climate and the qualities of the soil. In Campania the vines espouse the poplars, and embracing their brides and climbing with wanton arms in a series of knots among their branches, rise level with their tops, soaring aloft to such a height that a hired vintager expressly stipulates in his contract for the cost of a funeral and a grave! In fact they never stop growing; and I have before now seen entire country houses and mansions encircled by the shoots and clinging tendrils of a single vine. And a thing that was considered in the first degree worthy of record also by Valerianus Cornelius is that a single vine in the colonnades of Livia at Rome protects the open walks with its shady trellises, while at the same time it produces 12 amphorae of juice yearly.

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§ 14.2.4  Elms indeed are everywhere overtopped by vines, and there is a story that Cineas, the ambassador of King Pyrrhus, was surprised at the height to which the vines grew at Aricia and made an amusing joke about the rather rough flavour of the wine, to the effect that the parent of it thoroughly deserved being hung on such a lofty gibbet! There is an Italian tree on the other side of the Po called the rumpotinus, or by another name the opulus, the broad circular stories of which are covered by vines which spread out with their bare snaky growth to where the tree forks and then throw out their tendrils along the upraised fingers of the branches. Also vines when propped up with stakes about as tall as a man of middle height make a shaggy growth and form a whole vineyard from a cutting, by the unconscionable creeping of their rods and the rambling of their tendrils over all the empty gaps, completely filling the middle of a courtyard. So many are the different varieties that even Italy alone harbours.

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§ 14.3.1  In some of the provinces the vine stands by itself without any prop, gathering its limbs together inward and providing nutriment for thick growth by means of their shortness. In other places this is prohibited by the wind, for instance, in Africa and in parts of the province of Narbonne, where vines are prevented from growing beyond their pruned stumps and always resemble plants that are hoed, straying across the fields like herbaceous plants and drinking up the juice of the soil with their grapes as they go; and consequently in the interior of Africa the clusters exceed the body of an infant child in size. In no other country are the vines harsher, but nowhere else have the grapes a more agreeable firmness, which is very possibly the source of the name 'hard grape.' As to varieties in respect of size, colour and flavours of the berry they are innumerable and they are actually multiplied by the varieties of wine: in one district they have a brilliant purple colour, in another a rosy glow or a glossy green tint; for grapes that are merely white and black are the common sorts. But the large-cluster grapes swell out like a breast and the finger-grapes have an exceptionally long berry. Also such is the sportiveness of nature that very large grapes have small grapes clinging to them as companions which rival them in sweetness: these are called in Greek 'small-berry' vines. Some grapes will last all through the winter if the clusters are hung by a string from the ceiling, and others will keep merely in their own natural vigour by being stood in earthenware jars with casks put over them, and packed round with fermenting grape-skins; others can be given a flavour by smoke, which also adds flavour to wines, and the authority of Tiberius Caesar has caused particular glory in regard to the efficiency of smoke in this respect to attach to the forges of Africa; before his time priority at the table belonged to the Ilaetic grapes from the territory of Verona. Moreover, raisins are called 'passi' from having 'endured' the sun. Grapes are also preserved in must, and so made drunk with their own wine, and some are made sweeter by being placed in must that has been boiled down; but others remain on the parent vine to await the coming of a new generation, acquiring a glassy transparency, and the astringency of pitch poured on the footstalk gives them the same durable hardness that it gives to wine in casks or jars. A vine has now been discovered that of itself produces a flavour of pitch in the wine: this vine gives celebrity to the territory of Vienne by the varieties of Monte Taburno and of the Sotani and Helvii; it has become famous only recently and was unknown in the period of the poet Virgil, who died 90 years ago. Add that the vine has been introduced into the camp, and in the hand of the centurions is the mainstay of supreme authority and command and with its rich reward it lures on the laggard ranks to the tardy eaglest and even in offences it confers honour on punishment itself. Moreover it was vineyards that suggested a method for siege-trains. As for medicines, grapes hold such an important place among them that they act as remedies in themselves, merely by supplying wine.

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§ 14.4.1  Democritus, who professed to know all the different kinds of vines in Greece, was alone in thinking it possible for them to be counted, but all other writers have stated that there is a countless and infinite number of varieties; and the truth of this will appear more clearly if we consider the various kinds of wines. We shall not mention all of them, but the most famous, inasmuch as there are almost as many wines as there are districts, so that it will be enough to have pointed out the most celebrated kinds of wine or the ones remarkable for some special property.

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§ 14.4.2  The highest rank is given to the vines of Aminaea, account of the body of that wine and its life, which undoubtedly improves with age. There are five varieties of these vines; of these the 'younger sister' with a smaller berry sheds its blossom better! and can stand rain and stormy weather, which is not the case with the 'elder sister,' though this is less liable to damage when trained on a tree than when on a frame. The 'twin sisters,' which have got this name because the bunches always grow in pairs, give a wine with a very rough flavour but of exceptional strength; the smaller of these 'twins' is damaged by a south wind, but the other winds give it nutriment, for instance on Mount Vesuvius and the hills of Sorrento, but in all other parts of Italy it only flourishes when trained on trees. The fifth kind is the 'woolly' grape — for, to prevent our being very much surprised at the Chinese or the Indians, it is covered with a coat of down. It ripens first of the Aminaean grapes, and decays the most quickly.

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§ 14.4.3  The next rank belongs to the vines of Mentana, the wood of which is red, in consequence of which some people have called them the 'ruddy vines.' These produce less wine, as they have too much husk and lees, but they are very strong in resisting frost, and they suffer worse from drought than rain and from heat than cold, and consequently they hold the first place in cold and damp localities. The variety with a smaller berry is more productive, and the one with a cleft leafless.

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§ 14.4.4  The 'bee-vine' is so called because bees are specially fond of it. It has two varieties, which also are covered with down in the young state; the difference between them is that one ripens more quickly than the other, although the latter also ripens fast. These vines do not object to cold situations, and nevertheless no others rot more quickly from rain. The wines made from them are sweet at first but acquire roughness in the course of years. In Etruria this vine flourishes more than any other.

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§ 14.4.5  So far we assign the chief distinction to the vines peculiar and indigenous to Italy. The remaining kinds have come from abroad. From Chios or Thasos is imported a Greek light wine not inferior in quality to the Aminaean vintages; the vine has a very tender grape, and such small clusters that it does not pay to grow it except in a very rich soil. The eugenia, with its name denoting high quality, has been imported from the hills of Taormina to be grown only in the territory of Alba, as if transplanted elsewhere it at once degenerates: for in fact some vines have so strong an affection for certain localities that they leave all their reputation behind there and cannot be transplanted elsewhere in their full vigour. This occurs also with the Rhaetian and Allobrogian grapes — the latter the grape with the flavour of pitch which we mentioned above — which are famous at home but not worth recognition elsewhere. All the same, being good bearers they make up in quantity what they lack in quality, the eugenia grape in warm localities, the Raetic in those with a moderate climate and the Allobrogian in cold districts, as it ripens in frost and has a black colour. The wines made from the grapes so far mentioned, even from the black ones, turn to a white colour with age. The remaining vines are of no quality, although occasionally owing to the agency of climate or soil they are not disappointing when old, as in the case of the Faecenian vine, and that of which blossoms at the same time but has fewer grapes; their blossom is never liable to injury, as they do not come before the west wind of early spring and can withstand wind and rain, although they do better in cold places than in warm ones and in damp situations than in dry. The visulla bears clusters of large size rather than closely packed; it cannot stand changes of weather, but lasts well against a continuous spell of cold or heat. The smaller variety of this kind is the better one. It is difficult to please in choice of soil, as in a rich soil it decays and in a thin soil it does not come on at all; its fastidiousness requires an intermediate blend of soil, and that is why it is common in the Sabine hill country. Its grapes are not attractive to look at, but have an agreeable flavour; if they are not gathered as soon as they are ripe, they will fall off even before they decay. Its hardiness and the size of the leaves protect the grapes against hailstorms.

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§ 14.4.6  The grapes called helvolae again are remarkable for rather frequently varying in their colour, which is midway between the purple grapes and the black ones, and they have consequently been called by some people varianae. Among them the blacker kind is preferred; both kinds bear large crops every other year, though they make better wine when the crop is less abundant. Also the praecia vine has two varieties, distinguished by the size of the grape; these vines make a great deal of wood, and their bunches are most useful for storing in jars; the leaf resembles parsley. The people of Dyrrachium speak highly of the balisca vine, which the Spanish provinces call coccolobis; its grapes grow in rather scanty bunches and can stand hot weather and south winds; its wine is apt to go to the head, but the yield is abundant. The Spanish provinces distinguish two kinds of this vine, one having an oblong grape and the other a round one; they gather them last of all. The sweeter the coccolobis grape is, the better it is; but even if it has a rough taste it turns sweet with age, and one that was sweet turns rough; in the last state they are held to rival the wine of Alba. It is said that to drink the juice of this grape is very good for disorders of the bladder. The albuelis vine bears more fruit at the top of the trees that it is grown on, the visulla on the bottom branches; and consequently, when both are planted round the same trees, owing to this difference of habit they produce rich crops. One of the black grapes has been named 'the good-for-nothing,' though it might more properly be styled the sober, as the wine it produces is admirable, particularly when old, but though strong it has no ill effects: in fact this is the only vintage that does not cause intoxication. All the other kinds of vine have the recommendation of bearing freely, and chief among them the helvennaca. Of this there are two kinds, one larger, which some people call the long helvennaca, the other smaller, called emarcus; the latter is not so prolific but produces a wine of more agreeable flavour; it is distinguished by its rounded leaf, but both kinds have a slender growth. They require to he supported on forked props, otherwise they cannot support the weight of their abundant fruit. They like a sea breeze, and dislike damp dews. None of the vines love Italy less, for there it grows leafless and stunted and soon decays, and also the wine it produces will not keep beyond the summer; and no other vine is more at home in a thin soil. Graecinus, who has generally copied Cornelius Celsus, thinks that it is not the nature of this vine to which Italy is not friendly but the mode of cultivating it, as growers are too eager to make it put out shoots; the consequence of this, he says, is that it is used up by its own fertility, unless the bounty of the soil is so rich as to afford it support when it begins to droop. It is said that this vine never contracts carbuncle, which is a very valuable property, if indeed it is true that there is any vine that is exempt from the power of the climate.

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§ 14.4.7  The spionia, called by some the thorn-vine, is able to bear heat, and is ripened by rainy weather in autumn; what is more, indeed, it is the only vine that thrives from fog, on which account it is specially grown in the district of Ravenna. The venicula is one of the best vines that shed their flowers, and its grapes are particularly well suited for preserving in jars; the people of Campania prefer to call it by the name of surcula, and others by that of scapula, while the name for it at Tarracina is Numisiana; it has no strength of its own but is entirely conditioned by the strength of the soil; all the same, as far south as Vesuvius it is very potent if kept in earthenware jars from Sorrento. For at Vesuvius there is Murgentina, a very strong vine imported from Sicily, called by some Pompeiana, which only bears well in a rich soil, just as the horconia vine only flourishes in Campania. The opposite is the case with the arceraca, called in Virgil argitis, which has the property of imparting extra richness to the soil, while itself offering a very stout resistance to rain and to old age, though it will hardly produce wine every year, and its grapes are only valued for eating, but it bears exceptionally large crops. The mettica vine also stands the years, and faces all weather very strongly; it bears a black grape, and its wines acquire a reddish colour in old age.

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§ 14.4.8  The kinds of vine mentioned so far are grown everywhere, but those remaining belong to particular districts and places, or are crosses produced by grafting one of these on another: thus among the vines of Etruria that of Todi is a special variety, and also they have special names, a vine at Florentia being called sopina and some at Arezzo 'mole-vine' and 'seasonal vine' and 'crossed vine.' The mole-vine has black grapes and makes a white must; the seasonal vine is a deceptive plant, giving a more admirable wine the larger crop of grapes it bears, and, remarkable to say, coming to the end of its fertility and its good quality at the same time; the crossed vine has black grapes and makes a wine that does not keep at all long, but its grape keeps a very long time, and it is gathered a fortnight later than any other variety, bearing a large crop of grapes but only good for eating. The leaves of this vine, like those of the wild vine, turn a blood-red colour before they fall off; this also happens with some other vines, and is a sign of extremely inferior quality. The itriola is peculiar to Unibria and to the districts of Bevagna and Ancona, and the 'dwarf-vine' to that of Amiternum. The same districts have the bananica, an unreliable vine, though people become fond of it. The people of Pompei give the name of their township to a grape, although it grows in greater quantity at Clusium; the people of Tivoli also name a grape after their township, although they have lately discovered the 'olive-grape', so called from its resemblance to an olive: this is the latest grape introduced hitherto. The vinaciola grape is only known to the Sabines and the calventina to the people of Mount Gaurus. Vines transplanted from the Falernian territory are, I am aware, called 'Falernian,' but they very quickly degenerate everywhere. Some people also have made out a Sorrento variety, with a very sweet grape. The 'smoke-grape,' the 'mouthful' and the tharrupia, which grow on the hills of Thurii, are not picked before there has been a frost. Pisa rejoices in the vine of Paros, and Modena in the vine of Perugia, which has a black grape and makes a wine that within four years turns white. It is a remarkable fact that at Modena there is a grape that turns round with the sun and is consequently called in Greek the 'revolving grape'; and that in Italy a grape from Gaul is popular, but across the Alps that of Picenum. Virgil mentions a Thasian vine, a Maraeotid and a Lagean, and a number of other foreign kinds that are not found in Italy.

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§ 14.4.9  But again there are some vines which are distinguished for their grapes and not for their wine, for instance, among the hard-berry group the ambrosia grape, which needs no jars but will keep on the vine, so strong is its resistance to cold and heat and to bad weather, nor does it require a tree or stakes to support it, as it sustains its own weight, though this is not the case with the dactylis, the stalk of which is only the thickness of a finger; and among the vines with large bunches the pigeon-vine, and still more the purple 'double-bosomed' vine, so called because it does not bear clusters but only secondary bunches; and also the 'three-foot vine', named from its size, and also the 'rush vine' with its shrivelled grape and the vine called the Raetic vine in the Maritime Alps, which is quite unlike the famous vine of that name, because this is a short-stalked vine with closely packed clusters and producing a low class of wine; but it has the thinnest skin of any grape, and a single very small stone (called chium), and one or two grapes in each bunch are exceptionally large. There is also the black Aminaean grape to which they give the name of 'Syrian grape', and also the Spanish grape, which is the most highly rated of the inferior kinds.

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§ 14.4.10  The kind called 'table-grapes,' one of the hard-berry group, are grown on trellises — they are both white and black — and so are the 'cow's-udder' grapes, also of both colours, and those of Aegium and of Rhodes, not mentioned before, and the 'one-ounce' grape, apparently named from the weight of the berry, and also the 'pitch grape,' the darkest in colour of all the black grapes, and the 'garland grape', the clusters of which by a sport of nature are arranged in a wreath with leaves interspersed among the berries, and the grapes called 'market-grapes,' a very quick bearer that attracts buyers by its appearance and stands carriage well. On the other hand the ashy grape and the dusky grape and the donkey-grape are condemned even by their appearance, though this is less the case with the alopecis, which resembles a fox's brush. A grape growing in the vicinity of Phalacra is called the Alexandrian grape; it is a low-growing vine with branches only eighteen inches long and a black grape the size of a bean, with a soft and very small stone; the clusters hang aslant and are extremely sweet; the leaf is small and round, and has no clefts. Within the last seven years there has been discovered at Viviers in the province of Narbonne a vine whose blossoms wither in a day and which is consequently extremely immune to bad weather; it is called the 'charcoal-vine,' and is now grown by the whole province.

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§ 14.5.1  The elder Cato, who was exceptionally celebrated for his triumph and his censorship, though yet more for his literary distinction and for the precepts that he has given to the Roman nation upon every matter of utility, and in particular as to agriculture — a man who by the admission of his contemporaries was a supremely competent and unrivalled agriculturalist — has dealt with only a few varieties of the vine, including some even the names of which are now extinct. His opinion deserves to be set out separately and handled at full length, to make us acquainted with the varieties which were the most famous in the whole of this class in the year 154 BC., about the time of the taking of Carthage and Corinth, the period of Cato's demise — and to show us how great an advance civilization has made in the subsequent 230 years. The following therefore are the remarks that he made on the subject of vines and grapes: 'In the locality pronounced to be best for the vine and fully exposed to the sun, you should plant the small variety of Aminian and the double eugenium, and also the small helvia. In a denser soil or a locality more liable to fog you should plant the larger Aminian or the Murgentine, the Apician, and the Lucanian. All the other varieties of vine, especially hybrids, are suited to any kind of land. The small Aminian grape and the larger one and the Apician are stored unstoned in a jar; they can also be kept in new wine boiled down and must, and properly in after-wine. The larger Aminian hard-berry grapes, which one you hang up, are properly kept, for instance at a blacksmith's forge, to make raisins. Nor are there any older instructions on this subject written in Latin, so near we are to the origin of things. The Aminian grape last mentioned is called by Varro the Scantian.

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§ 14.5.2  In our own period there have been few instances of consummate skill in this field, but it is all the more proper on that account not to omit them, so as also to make known the rewards of success, which in every department attract the greatest attention. Well, the greatest distinction was achieved by Acilius Sthenelus, a plebeian, the son of a freedman, by his intensive cultivation of a vineyard of not more than 60 iugera, in the region of Mentana, which he sold for 400,000 sesterces. Also Vetulenus Aegialus, he too a freedman, gained a great reputation in the district of Liternum in Campania, and a still greater reputation in public esteem on account of his cultivating the estate which had been the place of exile of Africanus; but the greatest reputation, thanks to the activity of the same Sthenelus, attached to Remmius Palaemon, also famous for his treatise on grammar, who within the last 20 years bought a farm for 600,000 sesterces in the same region of Mentana, at the turning off the main road ten miles from Rome. The low price of property through all the districts just outside the city in every direction is notorious, but especially in the neighbourhood referred to, since Palaemon had bought farms that had also been let down by neglect and that were not above the average quality of soil even among those extremely poor estates. He undertook the cultivation of this property not from any high motive but at first out of vanity, for which he was known to be so remarkable; but he had the vineyards dug and trenched afresh under the superintendence of Sthenelus, and so, though only playing the part of a farmer, he finally got the estate into an almost incredibly wonderful condition, as within eight years, the vintage, while still hanging on the trees, was knocked down to a purchaser at a price of 400,000 sesterces; and everybody ran to see the piles of grapes in these vineyards, while the sluggish neighbourhood vindicated itself against this discredit by the excuse of his exceptionally profound studies, and recently Annaeus Seneca, the most learned person of the day, and eminent in power which ultimately grew to excess and came crashing about his ears — a man who was at all events no admirer of frivolities — was seized with such a passionate desire for this estate that he was not ashamed to concede this victory to one whom he otherwise hated and who was sure to make the most of this advertisement, by buying the vineyards in question at four times the price Palaemon had paid for it within hardly more than ten years of its being under his management. This was a method of cultivation which it would be profitable to apply to the farms of Caecubum and Setia, since even subsequently the estate has frequently produced seven sacks, that is 140 jars, of must to the iugerum. And to prevent anyone from supposing that the records of the days of old were beaten on this occasion, Cato also wrote that there were returns of 10 sacks to the iugerum, these instances conclusively proving that the merchant does not obtain more profit by rashly trespassing on the seas nor by going as far as the coast of the Red Sea or of the Indian Ocean to seek for merchandise, than is yielded by a diligently cultivated homestead.

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§ 14.6.1  The most ancient celebrity belongs to the wine of Maronea grown in the seaboard parts of Thrace, as we learn from Homer. However, we need not pursue the legendary or variously reported stories conceding its origin, except the statement that Aristaeus was the first person of all in the same nation who mixed honey with wine, because of the outstandingly agreeable quality of each of these natural products. Homer has recorded the mixing of Maronean wine with water in the proportion of 20 parts of water to one of wine. This class of wine in the same district still retains its strength and its insuperable vigour, inasmuch as one of the most recent authors, Mucianus, who was three times consul, ascertained when actually visiting that region that it is the custom to mix with one pint of this wine eight pints of water, and that it is black in colour, has a strong bouquet, and improves in substance with age.

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§ 14.6.2  The Pramnian wine as well, also celebrated by Homer, still retains its fame. It is grown in the territory of Smyrna, in the neighbourhood of the shrine of the Mother of the Gods.

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§ 14.6.3  Among the remaining wines no kind was particularly famous, but the year of the consulship of Lucius Opimius, when the tribune Gaius Gracchus was assassinated for stirring up the common people with seditions, was renowned for the excellence of its vintages of all kinds — the weather was so fine and bright (they call it the 'boiling' of the grape) thanks to the power of the sun, in the 633rd year 121 BC. from the birth of the city; and wines of that year still survive, having kept for nearly 200 years, though they have now been reduced to the consistency of honey with a rough flavour, for such in fact is the nature of wines in their old age; and it would not be possible to drink them neat or to counteract them with water, as their over-ripeness predominates even to the point of bitterness, but with a very small admixture they serve as a seasoning for improving all other wines. Assuming that by the valuation of that period their cost may be put at 100 sesterces per amphora, but that the interest on this sum has been adding up at 6 per cent. per annum, which is a legal and moderate rate, we have shown by a famous instance that in the principate of Gaius Caesar, son of Germanicus, 160 [A.D. 39] years after the consulship of Opimius, the wine cost that amount for one — twelfth of an amphora — this appears in our biography of the bard Pomponius Secundus and the banquet that he gave to the emperor mentioned: so large are the sums of money that are kept stored in our wine-cellars! Indeed there is nothing else which experiences a greater increase of value up to the twentieth year — or a greater fall in value afterwards, supposing that there is not a rise of price. Rarely indeed has it occurred hitherto and only in the case of some spendthrift's extravagance, for wine to fetch a thousand sesterces a cask. It is believed that the people of Vienne alone sell their wines flavoured with pitch, the varieties of which we have specified, for a higher price, though out of patriotism they only sell it among themselves; and this wine when drunk cold is believed to be cooler than all the other kinds.

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§ 14.7.1  Wine has the property of heating the parts of the body inside when it is drunk and of cooling them when poured on them outside. And it will not be out of place to recall here what the famous philosopher Androcydes wrote to Alexander the Great in an attempt to restrain his intemperance: 'When you are about to drink wine, O King, remember that you are drinking the earth's blood. Hemlock is poison to a human being and wine is poison to hemlock.' If Alexander had obeyed this advice, doubtless he would not have killed his friends in his drunken fits; so that in fact we are justified in saying that there is nothing else that is more useful for strengthening the body, and also nothing more detrimental to our pleasures if moderation be lacking.

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§ 14.8.1  Who can doubt, however, that some kinds of wine are more agreeable than others, or who does not know that one of two wines from the same vat can be superior to the other, surpassing its relation either owing to its cask or from some accidental circumstance? And consequently each man will appoint himself judge of the question which wine heads the list. Julia Augusta gave the credit for her eighty-six years of life to the wine of Pizzino, having never drunk any other. It is grown on a bay of the Adriatic not far from the source of the Timavus, on a rocky hill, where the breeze off the sea ripens enough grapes to make a few casks; and no other wine is considered more suitable for medicinal purposes. I am inclined to believe that this is the wine from the Adriatic Gulf which the Greeks have extolled with such marvellous encomiums under the name of Praetutian. His late Majesty Augustus preferred Setinum to all wines whatsoever, and so for the most part did the Emperors who came after him, owing to the verdict of experience that because injurious attacks of indigestion do not readily arise from this liquor. ... It grows just above Forum Appii. Previously Caecuban wine had the reputation of being the most generous of all; it was grown in some poplar woods on marshy ground on the Bay of Amyclae, but the vineyard has now disappeared owing to the neglect of the cultivator and the confined area of the ground, though in a greater degree owing to the ship canal from the lake of Baiae to Ostia that was begun by Nero.

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§ 14.8.2  The second rank belonged to the Falernian district, and in it particularly to the estate of Faustus in consequence of the care taken in its cultivation; but the reputation of this district also is passing out of vogue through the fault of paying more attention to quantity than to quality. The Falernian district begins at the Campanian bridge as you turn left to reach the Colonia Urbana of Sulla lately attached to Capua, and the Faustus estate begins about four miles from the village of Caedicium, which is about six miles from Sinuessa. No other wine has a higher rank at the present day. It is the only wine that takes light when a flame is applied to it. It has three varieties, one dry, one sweet and one a light wine. Some people distinguish three vintages as follows — Caucinian growing on the tops of the hills, Faustian half-way up them, and Falernian at the bottom. It must also not be omitted that none of the grapes that produce the celebrated vintages are agreeable to eat.

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§ 14.8.3  The third prize is attained in various degrees by the vines of Alba in the neighbourhood of the city, which are extremely sweet and occasionally dry, and also by those of Surrentum which only grow in vineyards, and which are very highly recommended for convalescents because of their thinness and health-giving qualities. The Emperor Tiberius used to say that the doctors had made a corner to puff the Sorrento vintage, but that except for that it was only a generous vinegar, and his successor the Emperor Gaius called it best quality flat wine. Its place is contested by the vineyards of Massica and the slopes of Mt. Gaurum looking towards Pozzuoli and Baiae. For the Statana vineyards adjoining the Falernian territory unquestionably once reached the first place, and established the fact that each locality has its own period and its own rise and decline of fortune. The adjacent vintages of the Calenian hills used to be preferred to them, as were those of Fundi where the vines are grown on trellises or trained up small trees, and others from the vicinity of Rome, those of Volturnus and Piperno. As for the wine produced at Signia, it counts as a medicine, being useful as a stomachic astringent owing to its excessive dryness.

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§ 14.8.4  For public banquets the fourth place in the race has been held from the time of his late Majesty Julius Caesar onward — for he was the first person to bring them into favour, as appears from his letters — to the Mamertine vintages grown in the neighbourhood of Messina in Sicily; of these the Potitian, so called after the name of its original grower, is particularly highly spoken of — it grows in the part of Sicily nearest to Italy. In Sicily also is grown the Taormina vintage, which when bottled is constantly passed off for Mamertine.

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§ 14.8.5  Among the remaining wines there are, in the vicinity of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, the Praetutian and those grown at Ancona and the vines called sprig-vines, because they were all struck from a single chance sprig; and in the interior the wines of Cezena and those called by the name of Maecenas; also in the district of Verona the Raetian, reckoned by Virgil inferior only to Falernian; and next at the top of the Adriatic the wines of Adria, and from the Lower Sea the Latiniensian, Graviscan and Statoniensian. Luna carries off the palm of Etruria and Genoa that of Liguria. Between the Pyrenees and the Alps Marseilles has wine of two flavours, as it produces a richer variety, the local name for which is the 'juicy' brand, which is also used for seasoning other wines. The importance of the wine of Beterrae does not extend outside the Gallic provinces; and about the rest of the wines grown in the Province of Narbonne no positive statement can be made, inasmuch as the dealers have set up a regular factory for the purpose and colour them by means of smoke, and I regret to say also by employing noxious herbs and drugs — inasmuch as a dealer actually uses aloe for adulterating the flavour and the colour of his wines.

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§ 14.8.6  But also the wines of Italy grown further away from the Ausonian Sea are not without note, those of Taranto and Servitia, and those grown at Cosenza and Tempsa and Bari, and the Lucanian vintages, which hold a better place than those of Thurii. But the wines of Lagara, grown not far from Grumentum, are the most famous of them all, on the ground of their having restored the health of Messala Potitius. Campania, whether by means of careful cultivation or by accident, has lately excited consideration by some new names — boasting the Trebellian vintage four miles from Naples, the Cauline close to Capua, and the Trebulan when grown in the district of the same name (though otherwise it is always classed as a common wine), and the Trifoline. As for the wines of Pompei, their topmost improvement is a matter of ten years, and they gain nothing from age; also they are detected as unwholesome because of a headache which lasts till noon on the following day. These instances, if I am not mistaken, go to show that it is the country and the soil that matter, not the grape, and that it is superfluous to go on with a long enumeration of kinds, since the same vine has a different value in different places. In the Spanish provinces the vineyards of Lacetanum are famous for the quantity of wine they produce, while for choice quality the vineyards of Tarragon and Lauron and those of the Balearics among the islands challenge comparison with the first vintages of Italy. And I am not unaware that most people will think that many have been passed over, inasmuch as everybody has his own favourite, and wherever one may go one finds the same story current — how that one of the freedmen of his late Majesty Augustus, who was the most skilful among them for his judgement and palate, in tasting wine for the emperor's table passed this remark to the master of the house where Augustus was visiting in regard to a wine of the district: 'The flavour of this wine is new to me, and it is not of a high class, but all the same I prophesy that the emperor will not drink any other.' I would not deny that other wines also deserve a high reputation, but the ones that I have enumerated are those on which the general agreement of the ages will be found to have pronounced judgement.

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§ 14.9.1  We will now in a similar manner specify the wines of countries overseas. The wines held in highest esteem subsequent to the great vintages of the Homeric age about which we have spoken above were those of Thasos and Chios, and of the latter the wine called Ariusian. To these the authority of the eminent physician Erasistratus, about four hundred and fifty years after the foundation of Rome, added Lesbian. At the present time the most popular of all is the wine of Clazomenae, now that they have begun to flavour it more sparingly with seawater. The wine of Lesbos by dint of its own nature smacks of the sea; and that of Mount Tmolus also is not esteemed as a wine to drink neat, but because being a sweet wine an admixture of it gives sweetness to the dry quality of the remaining vintages, at the same time also giving them age, as it at once makes them seem more mature. Next after these in esteem are the wines of Sikyon, Cyprus, Telmesus, Tripoli, Beyrout, Tyre and Sebennys. This last is grown in Egypt, being made from three famous kinds of grapes that grow there, the Thasian, the soot-grape and the pine-tree grape. Ranking after these are the wines of Hippodamas, of Mystus and of the canthareos Vine, the protropum of Cnidos, and the wines of the volcanic region in Mysia, of Petra and of Myconos. As for the vintage of Mesogis, it has been found to cause headache, and that of Ephesus has also proved to be unwholesome, because seawater and boiled must are employed to season it. Apamea wine is said to be particularly suitable for making mead, and so likewise is the Praetutian in Italy — for this too is a property peculiar to certain kinds of wine: two sweet wines do not generally go well together. Protagion also has quite gone out, a wine which the medical profession had put next to those of Italy. The physician Apollodorus in his pamphlet advising King Ptolemy what wines to drink — the Italian vintages being even then unknown — praised the wine of Naspercene in Pontus, and next to it the Oretie, Oineate, Leucadian, Ambraciote and Peparethian vintages — the last he put before all the rest, but said it was less well thought of on account of its not being fit to drink before it was six years old. A sweet wine drawn off before treading the grapes.

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§ 14.10.1  Up to this point the goodness of a wine is credited to the countries of its growth. Among the Greeks, the wine they have called 'life' has justly won a very distinguished name, having been developed for the treatment of a great many maladies, as we shall show in the part of our work dealing with medicine. The process of making it is this: the grapes are picked a little before they are ripe and are dried in a fierce sun, being turned three times a day for three days, and on the fourth day they are put through the press and then left in casks to mature in the sun. The people of Cos mix in a rather large quantity of seawater — a custom arising from the peculation of a slave who used this method to fill up the due measure, and this mixture is poured into white must, producing what is called in Greek 'white Coan.' In other countries a blend made in a similar way is called 'sea-flavoured wine,' and 'sea-treated' when the vessels containing the must have been thrown into the sea; this is a kind of wine that matures young. Also with us as well Cato exhibited a method of making Coan wine out of Italian, his most important instruction being that it must be left in the sun for four years to ripen. The Rhodes vintage resembles that of Cos, but the Phorinean is salter. All the overseas wines are thought to take seven years to reach the middle stage of maturity.

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§ 14.11.1  All sweet wine has less aroma; the thinner a wine is the more aroma it has. Wines are of four colours, white, brown, blood-red and black. Psithian and black psithian are kinds of raisin-wine with a peculiar flavour which is not that of wine; Scybelites is a kind of must produced in Galatia, and Aluntium another, produced in Sicily. Siraion, by some called hepsema and in our country sapa, is a product of art, not of nature, made by boiling down must to a third of its quantity; must boiled down to only one-half is called defrutum. All these wines have been devised for adulterating with honey; but the wines previously mentioned are the product of the grape and of the soil. Next after the raisin-wine of Crete those of Cilicia and of Africa are held in esteem. Raisin-wine is known to be made in Italy and in the neighbouring provinces from the grape called by the Greeks psithia and by us 'muscatel,' and also scripula, the grapes being left on the vine longer than usual to ripen in the sun, or else being ripened in boiling oil. Some people make this wine from any sweet white grape that ripens early, drying them in the sun till little more than half their weight remains, and then they beat them and gently press out the juice. Afterwards they add to the skins the same quantity of well-water as they have pressed out juice, so as also to make raisin-wine of second quality. The more careful makers, after drying the bunches in the same manner, pick off the berries and soak them without their stalks in wine of good quality till they swell, and then press them — and this kind of wine is the most highly praised of any; and then they repeat the process, adding more water, and make a wine of second quality.

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§ 14.11.2  Between the sirops and real wine is the liquor that the Greeks call aigleucos — this is our 'permanent must.' Care is needed for its production, as it must not be allowed to 'boil' — that is the word they use to denote the passage of must into wine. Consequently, as soon as the must is taken from the vat and put into casks, they plunge the casks in water till midwinter passes and regular cold weather sets in. There is moreover another kind of raisin-wine known in the Province of Narbonne, and there particularly to the Vocontii, under the name of 'sweet wine.' For the purpose of this they keep the grape hanging on the vine for an exceptional time, with the foot-stalk twisted. Some make an incision in the actual shoot as far as the pith and others leave the grapes to dry on tiled roofs, the grapes in all cases being those from the helvennaca vine. To these some add a wine called in Greek 'strained wine,' to make which the grapes are dried in the sun for seven days raised seven feet from the ground on hurdles, in an enclosed place where at night they are protected from damp; on the eighth day they are trodden out, and this process produces a wine of extremely good bouquet and flavour. Another wine of the sweet class is called honey-wine; it differs from mead because it is made from must, in the proportion of thirty pints of must of a dry quality to six pints of honey and a cup of salt, this mixture being brought just to the boil; this produces a dry-flavoured liquor. But among these varieties ought also to be placed the liquor called in Greek protropam, the name given by some people to must that flows down of its own accord before the grapes are trodden. This as soon as it flows is put into special flagons and allowed to ferment, and afterwards left to dry for forty days of the summer that follows, just at the rise of the Dog-star.

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§ 14.12.1  The liquors made from grape-skins soaked in water, called by the Greeks seconds and by Cato and ourselves after-wine, cannot rightly be styled wines, but nevertheless are counted among the wines of the working classes. They are of three kinds: one is made by adding to the skins water to the amount of a tenth of the quantity of must that has been pressed out, and so leaving the skins to soak for twenty-four hours and then again putting them under the press; another, by a method of manufacture that has been commonly employed by the Greeks, i.e. by adding water to the amount of a third of the juice that has been pressed out, and after submitting the pulp to pressure, boiling it down to one-third of its original quantity; while the third kind is pressed out of the wine-lees — Cato's name for this is 'lees-wine.' None of these liquors is drinkable if kept more than a year.

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§ 14.13.1  Among these topics, however, it occurs to me that while there are in the whole world about eighty notable kinds of liquor that can properly be understood as coming under the term 'wine,' two-thirds of this number belong to Italy, which stands far in front of all the countries in the world on that account; and further investigation going into this subject more deeply indicates that this popularity does not date back from the earliest times, but that the importance of the Italian wines only began from the city's six hundredth year.

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§ 14.14.1  Romulus used milk and not wine for libations, as is proved by the religious rites established by him which preserve the custom at the present day. The Postumian Law of King Numa runs: Thou shalt not sprinkle the funeral pyre with wine — a law to which he gave his sanction on account of the scarcity of the commodity in question, as nobody can doubt. By the same law he made it illegal to offer libations to the gods with wine produced from a vine that had not been pruned, this being a plan devised for the purpose of compelling people who were mainly engaged in agriculture and were slack about the dangers besetting a plantation, not to neglect pinning. We learn from Marcus Varro that Mezentius, king of Etruria, gave help to the Rutuli against the Latins at the price of receiving all the wine then in the territory of Latium. At Rome women were not allowed to drink wine. Among various instances we find that the wife of Egnatius Maetennus was clubbed to death by her husband for drinking wine from the vat, and that Romulus acquitted him on the charge of murder. Fabius Pictor has written in his Annals that a matron was starved to death by her relatives for having broken open the casket containing the keys of the wine-cellar; and Cato says that the reason why women are kissed by their male relations is to know whether they smell of 'tipple' — that was then the word denoting wine, and also the word 'tipsy' comes from it. Judge Gnaeus Domitius once gave a verdict that a certain woman appeared to have drunk more wine that was required for the sake of her health without her husband's knowledge, and he fined her the amount of her dowry. And great economy in the use of this commodity prevailed for a long time. General Lucius Papirius before his decisive action against the Samnites vowed to give a small goblet of wine to Jupiter if he were victorious. Lastly among votive offerings we find mention of gifts of pints of milk but nowhere of wine. Moreover Cato, when sailing on his expedition to Spain, whence he returned with a triumph, drank no other wine than what was drunk by the crew of his galley, so little did he resemble the gentlemen who give even their guests other wines than those served to themselves, or else substitute inferior wines as the meal progresses.

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§ 14.15.1  The finest wines in early days were those spiced with scent of myrrh, as appears in the plays of Plautus, although in the one entitled The Persian he recommends the addition of sweet-reed also. Consequently some think that in old times people were extremely fond of scented wine; but Fabius Dossenuus decides the point in these verses: I sent them a fine wine, one spiced with myrrh, and in his Acharistio: Bread and pearl-barley and wine spiced with myrrh. I also observe that Scaevola and Lucius Aelius and Ateius Capito were of the same opinion, inasmuch as we find in Pseudolus:

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§ 14.15.2  But if he has to bring out a sweet wine From that same cellar, has he got one? B. Got one? Myrrh-wine and raisin-wine and boiled-down must And honey — which shows that myrrh-wine was counted not only among wines but also among sirops.

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§ 14.16.1  The existence of the Opimian wine — Italy already understanding the blessing she enjoyed affords an undoubted proof that wine-lofts existed there and it was usual for wine to be racked off in the 633rd year of the city. Nevertheless the 21 B.C. vintages referred to were not yet celebrated; and accordingly all the wines grown in that year bear the name of the consul only. Similarly also afterwards wines imported from overseas held the field for a long time and right down to our grandfathers' day, indeed even after Falernian had already been discovered, as appears from the line of the comedy playwright: I'll broach five casks of Thasian, two of Falernian.

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§ 14.16.2  In the year 665 from the foundation of the city the [89 BC] censors Publius Licinius Crassus and Lucius Julius Caesar promulgated an edict prohibiting 'the sale of Greek and Aminnian wine at a higher price than 8 asses for 6 gallons' — those being the actual words of the edict. But Greek wine was so highly esteemed that only one cup was given to each guest at a banquet.

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§ 14.17.1  Marcus Varro records in the following words the wines that ranked highest in his own younger days: 'When Lucius Lucullus was a boy he never saw a full-dress banquet in his father's house at which Greek wine was given more than once, but when he himself came back from Asia he distributed more than 100,000 jars in largess; also Gaius Sentius, who was praetor in our time, used to say that the first time that Chian wine entered his house was when the doctor had prescribed it for him for heartburn; but Hortensins left over ten thousand jars [50 B.C] to his next-of-kin. So far Varro. And besides, did not Caesar also, when dictator, at the banquet in celebration of his triumph apportion to each table a flagon of Falernian and a jar of Chian? Caesar also gave Chian and Falernian at his triumph over Spain, [60 BC] but at a banquet during his third consulship he [46 BC] provided Falernian, Chian, Lesbian and Mamertine: this is known to be the first occasion on which four kinds of wine were served. It follows that all the rest of the vintages came into fame afterwards, and about 54 BC.

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§ 14.18.1  I am not surprised therefore that many centuries ago almost innumerable kinds of artificial wine have been invented, which we will now specify, all of them being used for medicinal purposes. In an earlier volume we stated the method of making omphacium, which is used for unguents. What is called vine-flower wine is made from the claret vine, that is the wild vine, by steeping two pounds of the flowers of this plant in a jar of must; 30 days afterwards they are changed. Beside this the root and the grape-skins of the claret-vine are used in dressing leather. These grape-skins, a little after the blossom has gone off, provide a remarkable specific for cooling attacks of feverish heat in cases of disease, being said to be of an extremely cold nature. A portion of these grapes die off from the heat before the rest — these are called midsummer grapes; the whole of them never come to maturity, and if a bunch in an unripe state before it completely withers is fed to poultry it produces in them a distaste for stealing grapes.

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§ 14.19.1  The first of the artificial wines, which is called weak wine, is made from real wine in the following manner: ten quarts of white must and half that quantity of water are kept boiling till a considerable amount of the water is boiled away. Other people put in five quarts of seawater and the same amount of rainwater and leave the mixture in the sun for 40 days to evaporate. This drink is given to invalids for whom it is feared that wine may be harmful.

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§ 14.19.2  The next kind of artificial wine is made from ripe millet seed, by putting a pound and a quarter of the seed together with its straw to soak in 1 1/2 gallons of must and after an interval of seven months pouring off the liquor. It has already been stated where the varieties brewed from the lotus-tree, lotus-shrub and herbaceous lotus are made.

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§ 14.19.3  There are also wines, made from fruit, which we will specify, adding only the indispensable explanations: First the wine made from date-palms, which is used by the Parthians and Indians and by the whole of the East, a peck of the rather soft dates called in Greek 'common dates' being soaked in two and a quarter gallons of water and then pressed. Also fig syrup is made from figs by a similar process, other names for it being pharnuprium and trochis; or if it is not wanted to be sweet, instead of water is added the same quantity of grape-skin juice. Also excellent vinegar is made from the Cyprus fig, and an even better quality as well from that of Alexandria. Wine is also made from the Syrian carob, and from pears and all kinds of apples (one from pomegranates is called rhoites) as also from cornels, medlars, service berries, dried mulberries and fir-cones; the last are soaked in must before being pressed, but the juice of the preceding fruits is sweet of itself. We will indicate a little later instructions given by Cato as to how to make myrtle-syrup. The Greeks also employ another method: they boil tender sprigs of myrtle with the leaves on in salted must, and after pounding them boil down one pound of the mixture in 2 1/4 gallons of must until only 1 1/2 gallons are left. The beverage made by the same process from the berries of the wild myrtle is called myrtle wine; this stains the hands.

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§ 14.19.4  Among the plants grown in gardens, wine is made from the root of asparagus, and from cunila, wild-marjoram, parsley-seed, southernwood, wild mint, rue, eatmint, wild thyme and horehound; they put two handfuls of herb into a jar of must, together with a pint of boiled-down grape-juice and half a pint of seawater. A wine is made from the navew turnip by adding two drams' weight of navew to a quart of must, and in the same way from the root of the squill; and, among flowers, from pounded rose-leaves wrapped in a linen napkin and thrown into must with a small weight attached to make it sink, in the proportion of 50 drams of rose-leaves to 24 gallons of must — they say the jar must not be opened for three months — and also wine is made from Gallic nard and another from wild nard. I also find that aromatic wine is constantly made from almost exactly the same ingredients as perfumes — first from myrrh, as we have said, next also from Celtic nard, reed and aspalathus, cakes of which are thrown into must or sweet wine; and in other places, from reed, sweet rush, costus, Syrian nard, cardamom, bark and flowers of cinnamon, saffron, dates and foal-foot, similarly made up in the form of a cake; and among other people also from a mixture of half a pound of nard and cinnamon-leaf added to a gallon and a half of must; and this is also how at the present day what some people call savoury wines and others peppered wines are made by adding pepper and honey. We also find mention of nectar-wine, extracted from the plant which some call sunflower, others herb of Media, or symphyton or herb of Ida or Orestion or nectaria, the root of which is added in the proportion of 50 drams to 6 pints of must, after being similarly wrapped in a linen napkin. Of the remaining herbs, wormwood wine is made by boiling down a pound of Pontic wormwood in five gallons of must to one-third of its amount, or else by putting shoots of wormwood into wine. Similarly hyssop wine is made of Cilician hyssop by throwing three ounces of hyssop into a gallon and a half of wine, or, if the hyssop is first pounded, into three-quarters of a gallon. Each Of these wines may also be made in another way, by sowing the plant round the roots of vines. Also Cato shows how to make hellebore wine in the same way by using black hellebore; also the same method is used in making scammony wine, vines having a remarkable property of drawing into themselves the flavour of some other plant, which explains why the grapes plucked in the marshes of Padua actually have a flavour of willow. Similarly in Thasos also hellebore is planted among the vines, or else wild cucumber or scammony; the wine so obtained is called by a Greek name denoting miscarriage, because it produces abortion.

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§ 14.19.5  Wine is also made from herbs the nature of which will be described in their proper place; for instance from lavender and from gentian root and goat-marjoram and dittany, foal-foot, carrot, sage, all-heal, acorus, thyme, mandragora, and sweet rush. There is also mention of scyzinum and itaeomelis and lectisphagites, for which the recipe is now lost.

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§ 14.19.6  From the shrub and tree class, use is made of both kinds of cedar, the cypress, the laurel, the juniper, the terebinth, the reed and the mastic-tree, the berries or else the new wood being boiled down in must; and similarly is used the wood of the dwarf olive, the ground-pine, and the germander, and in the same way wine is also made from their blossom, by adding ten drams' weight of it to three quarters of a gallon of must.

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§ 14.20.1  A wine is also made of only water and honey. For this it is recommended that rainwater should be stored for five years. Some who are more expert use rain-water as soon as it has fallen, boiling it down to a third of the quantity and adding one part of old honey to three parts of water, and then keeping the mixture in the sun for 40 days after the rising of the Dog-star. Others pour it off after nine days and then cork it up. This beverage is called in Greek 'water-honey'; with age it attains the flavour of wine. It is nowhere rated more highly than in Phrygia.

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§ 14.21.1  Also honey used even to be mixed with vinegar, so exhaustive have been men's experiments in living. This mixture was called in Greek 'sour honey'; it was made with ten pounds of honey, 2 1/2 pints of old vinegar, one pound of sea salt and 5 pints of rainwater, heated to boiling ten times, after which the liquor was drawn off and so kept till it was old. All these wines are condemned by Themison, who is a very high authority; and, I vow, the employment of them does appear to be a tour de force, unless anybody believes that aromatic wine and wines pounded of perfumes are products of nature, or that nature gave birth to shrubs in order for them to be used for drink! Contrivances of this sort are amusing to learn of, owing to the ingenuity of the human mind that investigates everything. There can be no doubt that none of these wines will keep a year, except those which we have stated to be actually the products of age, and that the larger number of them will not keep even a month.

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§ 14.22.1  Even wine contains miraculous properties. One grown in Arcadia is said to produce ability to bear children in women and madness in men; whereas in Achaia, particularly in the neighbourhood of Carynia, there is a wine that is reported to prevent childbearing, and this even if women eat the grapes when they are pregnant, although these do not differ in taste from ordinary grapes. It is said that persons who drink the wine of Troezen cannot become parents. The people of Thasos are reported to make two different kinds of wine, a wine that brings sleep and another that banishes sleep. The same place has a vine called in Greek the 'wild-animal vine,' the wine made from which and also its grapes cure snakebites, and another the 'frankincense vine,' with a scent like that of incense, the wine from which is used for libations to the gods. That of the vine called 'unconsecrated,' on the contrary, is banned from the altars; also it is said that no bird will touch it. Egypt gives the name of 'wine of Thasos' to an extremely sweet native vintage which causes diarrhoea; while Lycia on the contrary has one that has an astringent effect on the bowels. Egypt also possesses a wine called in Greek 'delivery wine' which causes abortion. There are certain wines that, while stored in wine-lofts alter in quality at the rising of the Dog-star and afterwards change back again; the same is the case with wines shipped over sea, and it is observed that the effect of the motion on vintages that can stand it is merely to double their previous maturity.

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§ 14.23.1  And since life is upheld by religion it is considered sinful to pour libations to the gods, not only with wines made from a vine that has not been pruned, but from one that has been struck by lightning, or one in the neighbourhood of which a man has been hanged, or wine made from grapes that have been trodden out by someone with sore feet, or squeezed from grape-skins that have been cut round or have been soiled by something not quite clean dropping on them from above; and likewise Greek wines must not be used for libations, because they contain water. The vine itself is also eaten, the tops of the shoots being boiled; they are also pickled in vinegar and brine.

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§ 14.24.1  But it may also be proper to give an account of the method of preparing wine, as Greek authors have written special treatises on this subject and have made a scientific system for it — for instance Euphronius, Aristomachus, Commiades and Hicesius. The practice in Africa is to soften any roughness with gypsum, and also in some parts of the country with lime. In Greece, on the other hand, they enliven the smoothness of their wines with potter's earth or marble dust or salt or seawater, while in some parts of Italy they use resinous pitch for this purpose, and it is the general practice both there and in the neighbouring provinces to season must with resin; in some places they use the lees of older wine or else vinegar for seasoning. Moreover, medicaments for this purpose are also made from the must itself: it is boiled down so as to become sweeter in proportion to its strength, and it is said that must so reared does not last beyond a year's time. In some places they boil the must down into what is called sapa, and pour this into their wines to overcome their harshness. Still both in the case of this kind of wine and in all others they supply the vessels themselves with coatings of pitch, the method of making which will be described in the next volume.

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§ 14.25.1  Of the trees which distil a juice, some growing in the East and others in Europe produce pitch and resin, and the province of Asia, which lies between the two, has some of both sorts. In the East the best and finest resin is produced by the turpentine-tree, and next by the lentisk — the latter being also called gum-mastic; afterwards comes the juice of the cypress, which has a very sharp flavour — all of these trees producing a liquid juice and merely a resin, whereas the juice of the cedar is thicker and suitable for making pitch. Arabian resin is white and has a sharp scent, stifling to a person engaged in boiling it; the resin of Judea dries harder and has a stronger scent than even that from the turpentine-tree; and Syrian resin has a resemblance to Attic honey. The resin of Cyprus excels all other kinds; it likewise is the colour of honey, and has a fleshy consistency. That of Colophon is yellower than the rest, but if ground up turns white; it has a rather oppressive scent, and consequently the perfumers do not make use of it. In Asia a very white resin is made from the pitch-pine; it is called psagdas. All resin can be dissolved in oil, and some people think that potter's chalk can also be so dissolved; and I am ashamed to confess that the chief value now set on resin is for use as a depilatory for men.

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§ 14.25.2  The method of seasoning wine is to sprinkle the must with pitch during its first fermentation, which is completed in nine days at most, so that the wine may be given the scent of pitch and some touches of its piquant flavour. It is thought that a more effective way of doing this is by means of raw flower of resin, this giving briskness to the smooth quality of the wine, while on the other hand resin-juice is believed to mitigate the excessive harshness of a wine and to conquer its asperity, or in the case of a thin, smooth, flat wine to add a touch of asperity — this is especially done with the musts of Liguria and the localities on the border of the river Po. The beneficial employment of resin-juice is adjusted in this way: a larger quantity of juice is put into strong, fiery wines, and it is used more sparingly with thin, flat ones. Some people advise using both resin-juice and pitch to season must; and in fact must has a certain pitchy quality and in some districts the fault of must is that it ferments a second time of its own accord, a disaster that destroys its flavour; this liquor is given the name of vappa, which is also applied as a term of opprobrium to human beings when their spirit has deteriorated. For the tartness of vinegar possesses a valuable quality useful for important purposes, and without which it is impossible to live in comparative comfort. For the rest, so much attention is given to the treatment of wines that in some places ashes are employed, as is gypsum elsewhere, and the methods that we have specified, for the purpose of improving their condition; but preference is given to ashes obtained from vine-clippings or from oakwood. Also it is recommended that seawater should be used for this purpose that has been obtained a long way out at sea at the spring equinox and then kept in store, or at all events that it should be taken up during the night at the time of the solstice and when a north wind is blowing, or if it is obtained about vintage time it should be boiled before being used.

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§ 14.25.3  The pitch most highly esteemed in Italy for vessels intended for storing wine is that which comes from the Bruttii; it is made from the resin of the pitch-pine. But the pitch obtained from the wild pine in Spain is very little valued, as resin from that tree is bitter and dry and has a disagreeable smell. The varieties of pitch and the method of making it we shall set out in the next volume when we are dealing with forest trees. The defects in resin beside those already mentioned are acridity or else a smoky tang, while the fault of pitch is being over-burnt; but the test is if when it is broken up the pieces have a luminous appearance, and if they stick to the teeth with an agreeably tart taste. In Asia pitch from Ida is most popular, and in Greece that of Pieria, but Virgil gives the preference to the pitch of Naryse. The more careful makers mix with the wine black mastich, which is found in Pontus and which resembles bitumen, and also iris-root and oil. As for waxing the vessels it is found that this makes the wine turn sour; but it pays better to transfer the wine into vessels that have contained vinegar than into those which have contained sweet wine or mead. Cato recommends that wine should be 'adjusted' — this is the word he uses ably adding lye-ashes boiled with boiled-down must in the proportion of a fortieth part to the wine skin, or else a pound and a half of salt, also occasionally some pounded marble; he also mentions sulphur, but he only puts resin near the end of the list. When the wine is beginning to mature he advises adding on the top of all some of the must which he calls 'squeezings,' which we take to mean that which is the very last pressed out. Also we know that for the sake of colouring the wine colours are added as a sort of pigment and that this gives the wine more body. So many poisons are employed to force wine to suit our taste — and we are surprised that it is not wholesome! It is a proof that wine is beginning to go bad if a sheet of lead when dipped in it turns a different colour.

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§ 14.26.1  It is a peculiarity of wine among liquids go mouldy or else to turn into vinegar; and whole volumes of instructions how to remedy this have been published. Wine-lees when dried will catch fire, and go on burning of themselves without fuel being added; their ashes have the nature of nitre, and the same properties, with the addition that they are greasier to the touch.

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§ 14.27.1  Even in regard to wine already vintaged there is a great difference in point of climate. In the neighbourhood of the Alps they put it in wooden casks and close these round with tiles and in a cold winter also light fires to protect it from the effect of the cold. It is seldom recorded, but it has been seen occasionally, that the vessels have burst in a frost, leaving the wine standing in frozen blocks — almost a miracle, since it is not the nature of wine to freeze: usually it is only numbed by cold. Districts with a milder climate store their wine in jars and bury them in the ground entirely, or else up to a part of their position so protecting them against the atmosphere; but in other places people keep off the weather by building roofs over them. And they also give the following rules: one side of a wine-cellar or at least its windows ought to face north-east, or at all events east; dunghills and tree-roots must be a long way off, and all objects with a strong smell should be avoided, as it very easily passes into wine — particularly there must be no fig-trees or wild figs near; also spaces must be left between the jars, to prevent taints passing from one to the other, as wine is always liable to very rapid infection. Moreover (these instructions proceed) the shape of the jars is important: pot-bellied and broad ones are not so good. Immediately after the rising of the Dog-star they should be coated with pitch, and afterwards washed with seawater or water with salt in it, and then sprinkled with ashes of brushwood or else with potter's earth, and then rubbed clean and fumigated with myrrh, as should frequently be done with the wine-cellars also. Weak vintages should be kept in jars sunk in the ground, but jars containing strong wines should be exposed to the air. The jars must never be filled quite full, and the space above the surface of the wine must be smeared with raisin-wine or boiled-down must mixed with saffron or sword-lily pounded up with boiled must. The lids of the jars should be treated in the same way, with the addition of mastich or Bruttian pitch. It is laid down that jars must not be opened at mid-winter except on a fine day, and not when a south wind is blowing, or at a full moon.

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§ 14.27.2  Flower of wine forming is thought to be a good sign if it is white, but a bad sign if it is red, unless it is a red wine; similarly it is a bad sign if the jars feel warm to the touch, or if the lids sweat. Wine that quickly begins to form a flower and to develop an odour is not going to keep. Also boiled-down must and must of new wine should be boiled when there is no moon, which means at the conjunction of that planet, and not on any other day; and moreover leaden and not copper jars should be used, and some walnuts should be thrown into the liquor, for those are said to absorb the smoke. The best way of treating the finest wines of Campania seems to be to set them out in casks in the open air, exposed to the sun, moon, rain and wind.

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§ 14.28.1  And if anybody cares to consider the matter more carefully, there is no department of man's life on which more labour is spent — as if nature had not given us the most healthy of beverages to drink, which all other animals make use of, whereas we compel even our beasts of burden to drink wine! and so much toil and labour and outlay is paid as the price of a thing that perverts men's minds and produces madness, having caused the commission of thousands of crimes, and being so attractive that a large part of mankind knows of nothing else worth living for! Nay, what is more, to enable us to take more, we reduce its strength by means of a linen strainer, and other enticements are devised and even poisonous mixtures are invented to promote drinking, some men taking a dose of hemlock before they begin, in order that fear of death may compel them to drink, while others take powdered pumice and preparations which I am ashamed to teach the use of by describing them. The most cautious of these topers we see getting themselves boiled in hot baths and being carried out of the bathroom unconscious, and others actually unable to wait to get to the dinner table, no, not even to put their clothes on, but straight away on the spot, while still naked and panting, they snatch up huge vessels as if to show off their strength, and pour down the whole of the contents, so as to bring them up again at once, and then drink another draught; and they do this a second and a third time, as if they were born for the purpose of wasting wine, and as if it were impossible for the liquor to be poured away unless by using the human body as a funnel. This is the object of the exercises that have been introduced from foreign countries, and of rolling in the mud and throwing the neck back to show off the muscles of the chest. It is declared that the object of all these exercises is merely to raise a thirst! Then again, think of the drinking matches! think of the vessels engraved with scenes of adultery, as though tippling were not enough by itself to give lessons in licentiousness! Thus wine-bibbing is caused by licence, and actually a prize is offered to promote drunkenness — heaven help us, it is actually purchased. One man gets a prize for tipsiness on condition of his eating as much as he has drunk; another drinks as many cups as are demanded of him by a throw of the dice. Then it is that greedy eyes bid a price for a married woman, and their heavy glances betray it to her husband; then it is that the secrets of the heart are published abroad: some men specify the provisions of their wills, others let out facts of fatal import, and do not keep to themselves words that will come back to them through a slit in their throat — how many men having lost their lives in that way! and truth has come to be proverbially credited to wine. Meantime, even should all turn out for the best, drunkards never see the rising sun, and so shorten their lives. Tippling brings a pale face and hanging cheeks, sore eyes, shaky hands that spill the contents of vessels when they are full, and the condign punishment of haunted sleep and restless nights, and the crowning reward of drunkenness, monstrous licentiousness and delight in iniquity. Next day the breath reeks of the wine-cask, and everything is forgotten — the memory is dead. This is what they call 'snatching life as it comes!' when, whereas other men daily lose their yesterdays, these people lose tomorrow also. Forty years ago, during the rule of the Emperor Tiberius, the fashion set in of drinking on an empty stomach and preceding meals with a draught of wine — yet another result of foreign methods and of the doctors' policy of perpetually advertising themselves by some novelty. This is the kind of prowess by which the Parthians seek fame and Alcibiades won his reputation in Greece, and to which among ourselves Novellius Torquatus of Milan even owed his surname — a man who held the offices of state from praetor right up to deputy consul — by tossing off 2 1/4 gallons at one draught, which was actually the origin of his surname; this was shown off as a sort of mystery before the Emperor Tiberius in his old age, when he had become very strict and indeed cruel, though for the matter of that his own earlier years had been somewhat inclined to strong drink, and it was believed that what recommended Lucius Piso to Tiberius for selection as custodian of the city was that he had kept on carousing for two days and two nights without a break, at Tiberius's own house after he had become Emperor. And it was said that Drusus Caesar took after his father Tiberius in nothing more than in this. Torquatus had the unusual distinction — as even this science has its own code of rules — of never having stammered in his speech or relieved himself by vomiting or otherwise while he was drinking, but of having always turned up for duty with the morning guard without anything going wrong, and of having drunk the largest quantity on record at one draught and also added to the record by some more smaller draughts, of not having taken breath or spat while drinking (this on the best evidence), and of not having left any heel — taps to make a splash in the paved floor — under the elaborate code of rules to prevent cheating in drinking. Tergilla brings it up against Marcus Cicero that his son Cicero was in the habit of tossing off a gallon and a half at one draught, and that when tipsy he threw a goblet at Marcus Agrippa: these in fact are the usual results of intoxication. But no doubt young Cicero wanted to deprive his father's murderer, Mark Antony, of his fame in this department; for Antony had strained every effort to win the championship in this field before him, by actually publishing a book on the subject of his own drunken habits; and by venturing to champion his claims in this volume, to my mind he clearly proves the magnitude of the evils that he had inflicted on the world through his tippling. It was shortly before the battle of Actium that he vomited up this volume, so proving clearly that he was already drunk with the blood of his compatriots, and that that made him only the more thirsty for it. For in fact the inevitable result of this vice is that the habit of drinking increases the appetite for it, and it was a shrewd observation of the Scythian ambassador that the more the Parthians drank the thirstier they became.

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§ 14.29.1  The nations of the west also have their own intoxicant, made from grain soaked in water; there are a number of ways of making it in the various provinces of Gaul and Spain and under different names, although the principle is the same. The Spanish provinces have by this time even taught us that these liquors will bear being kept a long time. Egypt also has devised for itself similar drinks made from grain, and in no part of the world is drunkenness ever out of action, in fact they actually quaff liquors of this kind neat and do not temper their strength by diluting them, as is done with wine; yet, by Hercules, it used to be thought that the product of the earth in that country was corn. Alas, what wonderful ingenuity vice possesses! a method has actually been discovered for making even water intoxicated!

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§ 14.29.2  There are two liquids that are specially agreeable to the human body, wine inside and oil outside, both of them the most excellent of all the products of the tree class, but oil an absolute necessity, nor has man's life been slothful in expending labour upon it. How much more ingenious, however, man has been in respect of drink will be made clear by the fact that he has devised 185 kinds of beverages (or if varieties be reckoned, almost double that number), and so much less numerous kinds of oil — about which we shall speak in the following volume.

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§ 15.1.1  ONE of the most celebrated Greek authors, Theophrastus, who flourished about 314 B.C., stated that the olive only grows at places within forty miles of the sea, while Fenestella says that in 581 BC., during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, it was not found at all in Italy and Spain or in Africa; whereas at the present day it has penetrated even across the Alps and into the middle of the Gallic and Spanish provinces. Indeed in 249 BC., the year in which Appius Claudius the grandson of Appius Claudius Caecus and Lucius Junius were the consuls, olive-oil cost 10 asses for 12 lbs. and somewhat later, in 74 BC., the curule aedile Marcus Scius, son of Lucius, throughout the whole of his year of office supplied the Roman public with oil at the rate of an as for 10 lbs. These facts will seem less surprising to a person who knows that 22 years later in the third consulship of Gnaeus Pompeius Italy exported oil to the provinces. Also Hesiod, who thought that instruction in agriculture was a prime necessity of life, declared that no one had ever gathered fruit from an olive-tree of his own planting — so slow a business it was in those days, whereas now olive-trees bear even in the nursery-gardens, and after they have been transplanted olives are picked from them the next year.

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§ 15.2.1  Fabianus says that the olive will not grow in extremely cold places nor yet in extremely hot ones. Virgil said that there are three kinds of olive, the orchites, the shuttle-olive and the posia; he also stated that the olive-tree does not require raking or pruning or any attention. There is no doubt that even in the case of olives the soil and the climate are of very great importance; but nevertheless they are also pruned at the same time as the vine, and they like the ground to be raked between them as well. Olive-picking follows the vintage, and making olive-oil requires even more science than making wine, as the same olive-tree produces a variety of oils. The first oil of all is obtained from the raw olive and when it has not yet begun to ripen — this has the best flavour; moreover its first issue from the press is the richest, and so on by diminishing stages, whether the olives are crushed in wicker sieves or by enclosing the spray in narrow-meshed strainers, a method recently invented. The riper the berry is, the greasier and less agreeable in flavour is the juice. The best age for picking olives, as between quantity and flavour, is when the berry is beginning to turn black, at the stage when they are called druppae with us and drypetides by the Greeks. For the rest, it makes a difference at that stage whether the maturing of the berry takes place in the presses or on the boughs, and whether the tree has been watered or the berry has only been moistened by its own juice and has drunk nothing else but the dews of heaven.

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§ 15.3.1  It is not the same with olive-oil as with wine — age gives it an unpleasant flavour, and at the end of a year it is already old. Herein, if one chooses to understand it, Nature shows her forethought, inasmuch as there is no necessity to use up wine, which is produced for the purpose of intoxication — rather indeed the attractive over-ripeness which it acquires with age tempts us to keep it; but she did not desire us to be sparing in the use of oil, she has made it universal even among common people because of the necessity of using it quickly. In the matter of this blessing also Italy has won the highest rank of all the world, particularly in the district of Venafrum and the part of it which produces the Licinian oil, which causes the Licinian olive to be exceptionally famous. It is unguents that have given it this eminence, because its scent is so well adapted to them, but it has also been awarded to it by the palate with its more delicate judgement. Moreover no bird will touch the berries of the Licinian olive. The remainder of the competition is maintained between the territory of Istria and that of Baetica on equal terms, while for the rest the provinces have an approximately equal rank, with the exception of Africa, whose soil is adapted for grain. This territory Nature has yielded entirely to the Corn-goddess, having all but entirely grudged it oil and wine, and having given it a sufficiency of glory in its harvests. The remaining statements prevalent concerning the olive are full of error, which shall prove to be more prevalent in no other department of life.

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§ 15.4.1  An olive consists of a stone, oil, flesh and lees; the latter constituent is a bitter fluid, which forms out of water and consequently there is very little of it in dry situations but a large amount in wet ones. The oil is indeed a juice peculiar to the olive, and this can be specially learnt from olives in an unripe state, as we have shown when treating of unripe olive-juice and grape-juice. The oil continues to increase until the rising of the Bear-ward, that is till September 16; afterwards the increase is in the sire of the stones and the flesh. At this stage if rain follows in actually large quantities, the oil is spoiled and turns into lees. The colour of these lees makes the olive-oil turn black, and consequently when there is only a tinge of black beginning it contains very little lees, and before any blackness shows none at all. People are quite mistaken in supposing what is really the near approach of decay to be the beginning of ripening, and it is also a mistake to imagine that the amount of oil is increased by the growth of the flesh of the olive, since all the juice is then going into a solid form and the woody interior is getting bigger. It is on this account that olive-trees are watered most plentifully at this period, but watering, whether done intentionally or occurring from repeated falls of rain, uses up the oil, unless fine weather follows to diminish the solid part of the berry. For, as Theophrastus holds, the cause of oil as of other things is entirely warmth, and this is why steps are taken to produce warmth even in the presses and the cellars by lighting large fires. A third mistake is in over-economy, as owing to the cost of picking people wait for the olives to fall. Those who compromise on a middle course in this matter knock the fruit down with poles, so injuring the trees and causing loss in the following year; in fact there was a very old regulation for the olive harvest: 'Neither strip nor beat an olive-tree.' Those who proceed most carefully use a reed and strike the branches with a light sideway blow; but even this method causes the tree to produce fruit only every other year, as the buds get knocked off, and this is no less the case if people quantity of lees, to discover how much larger an amount is found in the same kind of olive with every day that is added. There is an entirely unconquerable and widely prevalent mistake which supposes that the swelling of the olive increases the amount of the oil, in spite of the fact that the absence of connexion between the size of the berry and its yield of oil is proved by the olives called 'royal olives,' and by some people 'large-size olives,' and by others 'babbiae' — but anyhow a very large olive with very little juice, and also that the very fleshy olives in Egypt produce a scanty amount of oil, while the extremely small olives in the Decapolis of Syria, not larger than a caper, nevertheless have an attractive flesh. It is on this account that imported olives are preferred for the table to those grown in Italy, in spite of their being inferior for making oil, and in Italy itself the olives of Picenum and the Sidicine are preferred to all the other kinds. Those olives are kept separate and steeped in salt, as well as in lees or boiled must like the rest, and also some of them are left floating in their own oil and clean, without any adventitious attraction — the kind called in Greek 'swimmers'; these olives are also crushed and then seasoned with a flavouring of green herbs. Olives however unripe are actually made to ripen early by pouring boiling water on them; and it is surprising how olives suck up a sweet juice and take on a flavour that does not belong to them. As with grapes, so also among olives there are purple varieties, the posia almost shading off into black. Beside the kinds already mentioned there is also the 'proud olive,' as well as the very sweet variety, which is merely dried by itself and is sweeter than a raisin; this last kind of olive is rather rare, and is grown in Africa and in the vicinity of Augusta Emerita in Lusitania.

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§ 15.4.2  The actual oil can be guarded against the defect of thickening by the addition of salt. An aromatic scent can be given to the oil by making an incision in the bark of the tree; but any other mode of seasoning, like those used for wine, is no gratification to the palate. Nor are there so many varieties of olive-oil as there are of wine, there being at most three different grades of excellence. In fine oil the odour is more penetrating, though this is short-lived even in the best kind.

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§ 15.5.1  Olive-oil has the property of imparting warmth to the body and protecting it against cold, and also that of cooling the head when heated. Those parents of all the vices, the Greeks, have diverted the use of olive-oil to serve the purpose of luxury by making it a regular practice in their gymnasiums; the governors of those institutions a have been known to sell the scrapings of the oil for 80,000 sesterces. The majesty of Rome has bestowed great honour on the olive-tree by decorating our cavalry squadrons with wreaths of olive on July, and also when they are celebrating a minor triumph. Athens also crowns victorious athletes with olive wreaths, and Greece the victors at Olympia with wreaths of wild olive.

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§ 15.6.1  We will now state the rules given by Cato in respect of olives. In a warm and rich soil he recommends planting the larger radius olive, the Sallentine, the orchites, the posia, the Sergian, the Corninian and the wax-white, and he adds with remarkable wisdom that the one among these pronounced in the particular localities to be the best should be used; while he recommends planting the Licinian olive in a cold and thin soil, for the reason that rich or warm earth ruins its oil and the tree gets exhausted by its mere fertility, and moreover is attacked by moss and red rust. He advises that olive-yards should be in a position exposed to the sun and facing west, and he does not approve of any other arrangement. He says that the best way of preserving orchites and posia olives is either to put them in brine when they are green or to crush them and store them in mastic oil; the best olive-oil is made from the bitterest olive obtainable; for the rest the olives should be collected off the ground as soon as possible, and washed if they are dirty; it is enough to leave them to dry for three days, and if the weather is cold and frosty they must be pressed on the fourth day, and when pressed they should be sprinkled with salt. Olives kept on a boarded floor lose oil and it deteriorates in quality, and the same happens if the oil is left on the lees and the grounds — these are the flesh of the olive and produce the dregs; consequently it should be ladled several times a day, and moreover this must be done with a shell and into leaden caldrons, as copper spoils it. All these operations, he says, must be carried on with presses that have been heated and tightly closed, admitting as little air as possible, and therefore also no wood should be cut there (and consequently the most suitable fire is made with the stones of the olives themselves); the oil must be poured out of the caldrons into vats, so as to leave behind the grounds and the lees: for this purpose the vessels must be changed fairly frequently and the osier baskets wiped with a sponge, so that so far as possible complete cleanliness may be produced. It was a later discovery, he says, to wash the olives in absolutely boiling water, and at once put them whole into the press — for that method crushes out the lees — and then to crush them in oil-mills and put them under the press a second time. People do not approve of pressing more than a hundred pecks of olives at a time: this is called a 'batch,' and what is squeezed out first after the millstone is called the 'flower.' It is a fair amount for three batches to be pressed in twenty-four hours by gangs of four men using a double holder.

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§ 15.7.1  At that time there was no artificial oil, and that I take to be the reason why Cato says nothing about it. At the present time there are several varieties of it; and we will treat first of those kinds which are produced from trees, and among them before all from the wild olive. It is a thin oil, and has a much more bitter flavour than the oil obtained from the cultivated olive, and it is only useful for medicines. Very closely resembling this oil is the oil obtained from the ground-olive, a rock shrub not more than three inches high, with leaves and fruit like those of the wild olive. The next class of oil is that obtained from the cici, a tree growing in great abundance in Egypt — others call it the croton, others sibi, others wild sesamum — and there, as well as not long ago in Spain also, it grows wild, shooting up as high as an olive-tree, with a stalk like that of the fennel, the leaf of a vine, and a seed-pod like a slender grape of a pale colour: our countrymen call it the tick, from the resemblance of the seed-pod to that insect. It is boiled in water and the oil floating on the surface is skimmed off. But in Egypt, where it abounds, fire and water are not employed, but salt is sprinkled on the pod and the oil is pressed out; for food it is disgusting, and it is of thin quality for burning in lamps. Amygdalinum, which some people call neopum, is pressed out of bitter almonds, dried and pounded into a cake that is sprinkled with water and then pounded again. An oil is also made from the bay-tree with an admixture of the oil of over-ripe olives; some people merely press the oil out of the berries, others use only the leaves, and some the leaf and the outer skin of the berries, and also add styrax gum and other scents. The best kind of bay-tree for this is the broad-leaved wild laurel with black berries. A similar oil also comes from the black myrtle, and the broad-leaved variety of this is the best. The berries are sprinkled with hot water and pounded, and then boiled down. Other people boil down the softest of the leaves in oil and press out the liquid, and others steep them in oil and allow them to mature in the sun before putting them in the press. The same method is also used in the ease of the cultivated myrtle, but the wild variety with a smaller pod is preferred, the kind which certain people call oxymyrsine, others ground-myrsine, and some aeorum because of its resemblance to that plant, as it grows low and bushy.

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§ 15.7.2  Oil is also made from the citrus and the cypress, from walnuts — this is called caryinum, from apples and from the cedar called pisselaeon; also from grain of Cnidus by cleaning and pounding the seed, and likewise from mastich. As for the method of making cypros-oil and also oil from an Egyptian berry for the purpose of scents, we have spoken of it already. The Indians are said to make oils from chestnuts and gingelly and rice, and the Fish-eater tribes from fish. Scarcity sometimes compels people to make oil for lamps even out of the berries of the plane-tree by steeping them in water and salt. There is also an oil made from the wild vine — we have spoken about the plant itself while dealing with perfumes. For gleucinum must is boiled in oil with a slow heat, but other makers do not use fire but leave the jar packed round with grape-skins for three weeks, stirring up the mixture twice a day, and the must becomes absorbed by the oil. Some people mix in not only marjoram but also more expensive scents, just as the oil used in the gymnastic schools is also perfumed with scents, though of a very poor quality. Oil is also made from aspalathus, reed, balsam, iris, cardamomum, melilot, Gallic nard, all-heal, marjoram, helenium, and cinnamomum root, by steeping all these plants in oil and then pressing out the juices. Similarly also rose-oil is made from roses, and rush-oil, which is very similar to oil of roses, from the sweet rush, and likewise oils are extracted from henbane and from lupins and narcissus. A very large amount is obtained in Egypt from radish seed or from the blade of the grass called chortinon, and likewise from gingelly and from the nettle called cnidinum. In other places also an oil is made from lilies, which is left in the open air to steep in the sunlight and moonlight and frost. On the border of Cappadocia and Galatia they make from native herbs an oil called Selgitic oil, of considerable value for the tendons; and the same oil is made in Italy by the people of Gubbio. From pitch is made an oil called pitch-oil; while the pitch is kept on the boil, fleeces are stretched above the steam rising from it and then wrung out. The most approved kind comes from the Bruttian land; the pitch there is very rich and full of resin.

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§ 15.7.3  The colour of pitch-oil is reddish yellow. There is an oil that grows of its own accord in the coastal parts of Syria called elaeomeli. It is a rich oil that trickles from trees, of a substance thicker than honey but thinner than resin, and having a sweet flavour; this also is used by the doctors. There is also a use of old olive-oil for certain kinds of diseases, and it is also deemed to be serviceable for preserving ivory from decay: at all events, the inside of the statue of Saturn at Rome has been filled with oil.

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§ 15.8.1  But it is above all to the lees of olive-oil that Cato has devoted his praises: he tells how vats and casks to hold oil are steeped in lees to prevent their soaking up the oil; how threshing-floors are given a dressing of lees to keep away ants and to prevent cracks; and moreover how the clay of the walls and the plaster and flooring of granaries, and even cupboards for clothes, are sprinkled with lees, and how seed-corn is steeped in them, as a protection against wood-worms and injurious insects. He speaks of its use as a remedy for diseases of animals and also of trees, and also as a specific against ulceration of the mouth in human beings. He says that reins and all leather articles, and shoes and the axles of wheels are greased with boiled lees, and so are copper vessels to keep off verdigris and to give them a more attractive colour, and all wooden utensils and earthenware jars used for keeping dried figs in, or it may be sprays of myrtle with their leaves and berries on them or anything else of a similar kind. Finally he states that logs of wood steeped in olive-lees will burn without any annoying smoke.

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§ 15.8.2  According to Marcus Varro an olive-tree which has been merely licked by the tongue of a she-goat or which she has nibbled when it was first budding goes barren. So far in regard to the olive and olive-oil.

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§ 15.9.1  The rest of the fruits produced by trees can scarcely be enumerated by their appearance or shape, let alone by their flavours and juices, which have been so frequently modified by crossing and grafting.

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§ 15.9.2  The largest fruit and the one that hangs highest is that of pine-cones, which encloses inside it small kernels lying in fretted beds and clothed in another coat of rusty colour, showing the marvellous care that Nature takes to provide seeds with a soft place to lie in. A second class of pine-cones is that of the Taranto pine, which has a shell that can be broken in the fingers and which is rifled by the birds while on the tree. A third kind is that of the sappinia-cone which grows on the cultivated pitch-pine, the kernels of which have such a soft husk, or rather skin, that it is eaten with them. A fourth kind is called pityis, growing on wild pines, which provides an exceptionally good remedy against a cough when the kernels are boiled in honey; the Taurini call them raviceli. The winners in the games at the Isthmus are crowned with a wreath of pine leaves.

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§ 15.10.1  The fruit next to these in size is the one that we call the quince and the Greeks cydoneum, which was introduced from the island of Crete. This fruit drags down the boughs in a curve and checks the growth of the parent tree. There are several kinds of quinces: the 'golden apple' is cleft with incisions and has a colour verging on gold, a brighter tinge of which gives a name to our native quince, and has an exquisite scent. The Naples quince is also highly esteemed. The smaller variety of the same kind, the sparrow-apple, gives out a rather pungent smell, and ripens late, whereas the must-quince ripens very early. Grafting the ordinary quince on the sparrow-apple has produced a special kind, the Mulvian quince, which is the only one of the quinces that is eaten even raw; these at the present day are kept shut up in gentlemen's reception-rooms, and are placed on the statues that share our nights with us. There is also a small wild quince, the scent of which is the most powerful next to that of the sparrow-apple and which grows in the hedges.

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§ 15.11.1  We give the name of apples, although they really belong to a different kind, to peaches and to pomegranates, of which we have specified nine kinds among the trees of Carthage. Pomegranates contain a kernel enclosed in a skin, but peaches have a hard stone inside them. Moreover one variety of pear called the pound pear asserts by its name the largeness of its weight. But the palm among peaches belongs to the nectarine: the Gallic and the Asiatic varieties are named after their nationalities. The Asiatic peach ripens at the end of autumn, though an early variety ripens in summer — these were discovered within the last thirty years, and were at first sold for a denarius apiece. The Adriatic peach comes from Samnium, but the common peach grows everywhere. It is a harmless fruit, in demand for invalids, and peaches have before now fetched thirty sesterces each, a price exceeded by no other fruit — which may surprise us, because there is none which keeps worse: the longest time that it will last after being plucked is two days, and it compels you to put it on the market.

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§ 15.12.1  Afterwards comes a vast crowd of plums. There is the parti-coloured plum, partly black and partly white in colour, which is called the barley-plum because it ripens at barley harvest; and another plum of the same colour, which is later and is larger in size, called the donkey-plum from its inferior value. The wax-plum and the purple plum are smaller in size but more esteemed; and there is also the Armenian plum, imported from foreign parts, the only plum that recommends itself even by its scent. Plums grafted on a nut-tree show a remarkable effrontery, displaying the appearance of the parent tree and the juice of the adopted stock; they take their name from each, being called nut-plums. But both the nut-plum and the peach and the wax-plum and the wild plum, if stored in casks like grapes, will prolong their life till another crop begins to come into existence, but the remaining varieties, ripening quickly, speedily pass off. Recently in Boetica the name of apple-plum has begun to be given to plums grafted on apple-trees, and that of almond-plum to others grafted on almonds: the latter have the kernel of an almond inside their stone; and indeed no other fruit has been more ingeniously crossed. Among our foreign trees, we have already spoken of the damson, named from Damascus in Syria; it has been grown in Italy for a long time, though it has a larger stone and less flesh here than in its country of origin, and here it never dries into wrinkles, because it lacks its native sunshine. With it can be mentioned its fellow-countryman the myxa, which also has now begun to be grown at Rome by being grafted on the service-tree.

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§ 15.13.1  The Persian plum or peach, it is true, is shown by its very name to be an exotic even in Asia Minor and in Greece, and to have been introduced from Persia. But the wild plum is known to grow everywhere, which makes it more surprising that this fruit is not mentioned by Cato, especially as he pointed out the way of storing some wild fruits also. As for the peach-tree, it was only introduced lately, and that with difficulty, inasmuch as in Rhodes, which was its first place of sojourn after leaving Egypt, it does not bear at all. It is not true that the peach grown in Persia is poisonous and causes torturing pain, and that, when it had been transplanted into Egypt by the kings to use as a punishment, the nature of the soil caused it to lose its dangerous properties; for the more careful writers relate this of the persea, which is an entirely different tree, resembling the red myxa, and which has refused to grow anywhere but in the east. The sebesten also, according to the more learned authorities, was not introduced from Persia for punitive purposes, but was planted at Memphis by Perseus, and it was for that reason that Alexander, in order to do honour to his ancestor, established the custom of using wreaths of it for crowning victors in the games at Memphis. It always has leaves and fruit upon it, fresh ones sprouting immediately after the others. But it will be obvious that all our plums also have been introduced since the time of Cato.

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§ 15.14.1  Of the apple class there are a number varieties. We have spoken of citrons when describing the citron-tree; the Greeks, however, call them 'Medic apples,' after their native country. Equally foreign are the jujube-tree and the tuber-apple, which themselves also have only recently come into Italy, the former from Africa and the latter from Syria. Sextus Papinius, who was consul in our own day [AD 23], introduced each of them in the last years of the principate of his late Majesty Augustus, having grown them in his camp from slips; the fruit is more like a berry than an apple, but the trees make a particularly good decoration for terraces — as nowadays we have whole forests of vegetation growing even over the roofs of our houses. There are two kinds of tuber-apple, the white and the red Syrian, so called from its colour. The fruit called wool-fruit, growing in the district of Verona but nowhere else in Italy, is virtually an exotic; it is covered with a woolly down, which grows also in very large quantities on the sparrow-quince and the peach, but which has given its name to this fruit in particular as it has no other remarkable property to recommend it.

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§ 15.15.1  Why should I hesitate to indicate by name the remaining varieties of fruit, seeing that they have prolonged the memory of those who established them for all time, as though on account of some outstanding achievement in life? Unless I am mistaken, the recital will reveal the ingenuity exercised in grafting, and will show that nothing is so trifling as to be incapable of producing celebrity. Well then, there are kinds of fruit that have their origin from Matius and Cestius, from Mallius, and likewise from Scaudius; and on the last a member of the Claudian family named Appius grafted the quince, producing the fruit called Appian; this has the smell of a quince, the size of a Scaudian apple, and a ruddy colour. And in order that nobody may imagine that it has gained its position by influence due to distinction and family, there is also a Sceptian apple named from a freedman who discovered it, which is remarkable for its round shape. Cato also mentions a Quirinian apple, and a Scantian which he says is stored in casks. But the apple naturalized here most recently of all is a small one with a most agreeable flavour named the Petisian. The Amerian and the Little Greek apples have advertised their places of origin, but all the rest have derived their name from definite reasons — 'twin' apples from their attachment of relationship, as they never grow singly, the 'Syrian red' from its colour, the pear-apple from its affinity; the must-apple was named from its quickness in ripening, but is now called the honey-apple from its honey flavour; the round apple from its shape, which forms an exact sphere — the Greeks, who call this apple the Epirotic apple, prove that it was first produced in Epirus; the orthomastium is so called from its resemblance to a teat, and the eunuch-apple of the Belgians is named from its having no pips. The leaf-apple has a single leaf, or occasionally a pair of leaves, sprouting out from the middle of its side; the ragged-apple very quickly shrivels up into wrinkles; the lung-apple swells in a solid lump. Some apples are of the colour of blood, because they derive their origin from a graft of the mulberry; but all apples are red in the parts that have been turned towards the sun. There are also wild apples with little attraction of flavour and an even sharper scent; their special fault is that of horrible sourness, and it is so powerful that it will blunt the edge of a sword. Another apple is named 'flour-apple,' a very bad kind, although it is the earliest to come on and hastens to be picked.

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§ 15.16.1  The same charge in the case of pears is censured by the name of pride; this is a small pear, but ripens very quickly. Of all the varieties of pear, however, the Grustumian is the nicest. Next to this are Falernian pears, used for perry, as they contain such a large quantity of juice — this is called being 'milky' — and among these are some others of a very dark colour, given us by Syria. The names of the remaining varieties are designated differently in various different localities; but pears that have advertised their producers by the accepted designations of Rome are the Decimian, and the offshoot from it called the Sham Decimian, the very long-stalked one called the Dolabellian, the kind of Pomponian called breast-shaped, the Licerian, the Sevian, and the Turranian, a variety sprung from the Sevian but differing in length of stalk, the Favonian, a red pear a little larger than the 'proud' pear, the Laterian and the Anician, which comes when autumn is over and has an agreeably acid flavour. One pear is called the Tiberian, which was a special favourite of the Emperor Tiberius; it is more coloured by the sun and grows to a larger size, but otherwise would be the same as the Licerian. Pears having the name of their place of origin are the Amerian, the latest of all kinds, the Picentine, the Numantine, the Alexandrian, the Numidian, the Greek, a variety of which is the Tarentine, and the Signine, which some people call the tile-pear from its colour, like the onyx-pear and the purple pear; while named from their scent are the myrrh-pear, the bay-leaf pear and the nard-pear; named from its season the barley-pear; from its long neck, the bottle-pear; and the Coriolan and Bruttian pears are so-called because of their connexion with certain races, and the gourd-pear and the sourish pear because of their juice. Pears the reason for the names of which is uncertain are the barbarian, the variety of Venus pear called the coloured Venus, the royal pear called the squat pear because of its very short stalk, the patrician pear, and the vocimum, a green kind of an oblong shape. Virgil has also mentioned a warden pear, which he gets from Cato, who also specifies a 'seed-time pear' and a 'must-pear.'

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§ 15.17.1  This department of life has long ago arrived at its highest point, mankind having explored every possibility, inasmuch as Virgil speaks of grafting nuts on an arbutus, apples on a plane and cherries on an elm. And nothing further can be devised — at all events it is now a long time since any new kind of fruit has been discovered. Moreover, religious scruples do not permit us to cross all varieties by grafting; for instance, we must not graft upon a thorn, inasmuch as it is not easy to expiate thunderbolts when they have struck them, and it is declared that the same number of bolts will strike it in a single flash as the kinds of trees that have been grafted on it.

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§ 15.17.2  Pears have a more tapering shape than apples. The late kinds among them hang on the mother tree till winter and ripen with the frost — the Greek pear, the bottle pear, the bay-leaf pear; as also among apples do the Amerian and Scaudian varieties. Pears are put in storage like grapes, and in as many different ways, and are the only fruit kept in casks except plums. Of all the apple kind pears have the quality of wines, and like wine they are avoided by doctors in the treatment of the sick. Boiled in wine and water they make a sort of jam, as does no other fruit except the quince and the sparrow-apple.

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§ 15.18.1  In regard to keeping fruit it is universally recommended that fruit-lofts should be constructed in a cool and dry place, with boarded floors and windows facing north that are left open on a fine day, and with glazed windows to keep out south winds, the draught from a north-east wind also spoiling the appearance of the fruit by making it shrivelled; that apples should be gathered after the autumn equinox, and not before the 16th day of the moon nor later than the 28th, nor on a rainy day, nor till an hour after sunrise; that windfalls should be kept separate; that the fruit should have a bed of close-packed straw or of chaff underneath, and should be placed far apart so that the spaces between the rows may admit a uniform draught. It is said that the Ameria apple is the best keeper and the honey-apple the worst. It is recommended that quinces should be stored in a place kept shut up, from which all draughts are excluded, or else that they should be boiled or soaked in honey. Pomegranates should be hardened in boiling seawater and then dried in the sun for three days and hung up in such a way as to be protected from the dew at night, and when wanted for use they should be thoroughly washed in fresh water. Marcus Varro recommends keeping them in large jars of sand, and also while they are unripe covering them with earth in pots with the bottom broken out but with all air shut out from them and with their stalk smeared with pitch, as so kept they grow to an even larger size than they could possibly attain on the tree. He says that all other fruit of the apple kind should also be wrapped up separately in fig-leaves (but not leaves that have fallen off) and stored in wicker baskets or else smeared over with potters' earth. He says that pears should be stored in earthenware jars which should be covered with pitch and placed bottom upwards in a hole in the ground with earth heaped over them. He recommends gathering the Taranto pear very late; and keeping the Anician and also sorb-apples in raisin wine, and putting them in holes dug in the ground in a sunny place, with the lid of the jar plastered up and two feet of earth heaped on top of it, the vessels being placed bottom upward; and he also recommends hanging them together with their branches, like grapes, in large jars.

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§ 15.18.2  Some of the most recent writers examine deeper into the matter, and recommend that fruit and grapes should be picked early for the purpose of storage, when the moon is waning, after nine o'clock in the morning, in fine weather or with a dry wind blowing. Likewise they say that the fruit ought to be chosen from dry places and also before it is completely ripe, with the further condition that the moon must be below the horizon; and that the grapes with their hard hammer-shoot of stalk, after the rather rotten berries have been removed with a pair of scissors, should be hung up inside a fresh-tarred cask, with all air shut out by the lid and by plaster. They recommend the same method for storing sorb-apples and pears, the stalks of all having been smeared with pitch. They say that the casks must not be kept anywhere near water. Some people store them in this way together with the branch itself, with each of its ends stuck into a squill; others hang them in casks still containing wine, but taking care that the grapes do not touch the wine; some store apples floating in wine in earthenware dishes, by which method they think a scent is given to them by the wine. Some prefer to preserve all fruit of this kind in millet, but most people think it is best kept in a hole in the ground two feet deep with a layer of sand under the fruit and covered with an earthenware lid and then with soil. Some even smear grapes with potters' clay, dry them in the sun and hang them up, washing off the clay when they are required for use. In the case of fruits, they get rid of the clay by means of wine. By the same method they coat the finest kind of apples with plaster or wax, but if the fruit is not already ripe it breaks the coating by growing in size; but they always store the apples with their stalks downward. Other people pluck the apples together with the branches, the ends of which they thrust into elder pith and then bury, as described above. Others assign a separate clay vessel to each apple and pear, and after sealing up the opening of the vessels with pitch enclose them again in a cask; also some store the fruit, packed in flocks of wool, in cases which they smear with clay mixed with chaff; others follow the same plan using earthenware pans to put them in; and also some store them in a hole on a layer of sand, and so later cover them up with dry earth. There are some who give quinces a coat of Pontic wax and then dip them in honey. Columella recommends storing grapes in earthenware vessels that have been very carefully smeared with a coating of pitch, and sinking them into wells or cisterns. The part of seaboard Liguria nearest to the Alps dries its grapes in the sun, and wraps the raisins in bundles of rush and stores them in casks sealed np with plastered lime. The Greeks do the same, employing plane-tree leaves, the leaves of the vine itself or fig-leaves that have been dried for one day in a shady place, and putting grape-skins in the cask between the grapes; this is the method used for storing the grapes of Cos and of Beyrout, which are inferior to none in sweetness. Some people to make raisins dip the grapes in lye-ashes as soon as they have plucked them from the vines, and afterwards dry them in the sun and plunge the raisins into hot water and again dry them in the sun, and then wrap them up in leaves, making them into a tight bundle with grape-husks as described above. There are those who prefer to keep grapes in sawdust or in shavings of pine or poplar or ash wood; and there are some who advise hanging them in a granary, not near any apples, as soon as they are picked, because they say that the dust of the corn dries them best. A protection against wasps for bunches of grapes hung up is to sprinkle them with oil squirted out of the mouth. About palm-dates we have already spoken.

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§ 15.19.1  Of the rest of the apple class the fig is the largest, and some figs rival even pears in size. We have spoken about the marvels of the Egyptian and Cypriote fig among the figs of foreign countries.

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§ 15.19.2  That of Mount Ida is red, and is the size of an olive, only rounder in shape; it has the taste of a medlar. The local name of this tree is the Alexandrian fig; the trunk is eighteen inches thick and it spreads out in branches; it has a tough pliant wood, containing no juice, a green bark and a leaf like that of a lime but soft to the feel. Onesicritus reports that the figs in Hyrcania are much sweeter than ours and the trees more prolific, a single tree bearing 270 pecks of fruit. Figs have been introduced among us from other countries, for instance, Chalcis and Chios — of the latter there are several varieties, inasmuch as Lydian figs, which are purple, and breast-shaped figs have a resemblance to the Chian; also the 'pretty-sparrow' figs, which are superior in the flavour of their flesh and are the coolest of all figs. For in regard to the African fig, as many people prefer it to the whole of the other kinds, there is a great question, inasmuch as this kind has only quite recently crossed over into Africa. Also among black figs the Alexandrian is named from its country of origin — it has a cleft of a whitish colour, and it is called the luxury fig; among figs that ripen early those of Rhodes and of Tivoli are also black. Early figs also have the names of the persons who introduced them — Livia, Pompey: the latter is the best for a fig to be dried in the sun for use throughout the year, together with the marsh fig and the fig with marks all over it shaped like a reed leaf. There are also the Herculanean fig, the white-wax fig, and the white plough fig, with a very small stalk, a very flat-shaped kind. But the earliest fig is the purple fig, which has a very long stalk; it is accompanied by the worst of the very small kinds, called the people's fig. On the other hand the kind that ripens latest, just before winter, is the swallow fig. There are moreover figs that bear both late and early, yielding two crops, one white and one black, ripening with the harvest and with the vintage. There is also a late fig named from the hardness of its skin; some of the Chalcidic varieties of this kind bear three times a year. The extremely sweet fig called the ona grows only at Taranto. Cato makes the following remark about figs: 'Plant the marisca fig in a chalky or open place, but the African, Herculanean and Saguntine kinds, the winter fig and the black long-stalked Telanian in a richer soil or in one well manured.' Since his day so many names and varieties have arisen that a consideration of this alone is enough to show how our way of life has been transformed. Some provinces also have winter figs, for instance Moesia, but these are a product of art and not of nature. There is a small kind of fig-tree which is banked up with manure at the end of autumn and the figs on it are overtaken by winter while still unripe; and when milder weather comes the figs, together with the tree, are dug up again and restored to light; and just as if born again they greedily imbibe the warmth of the new sun, a different one from the sun through which they lived before, and begin to ripen along with the blossom of the coming crop, maturing in a year that does not belong to them; the region is an extremely cold one.

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§ 15.20.1  But the variety which even in his day Cato termed the African fig reminds us of his having employed that fruit for a remarkable demonstration. Burning with a mortal hatred of Carthage and anxious in regard to the safety of his descendants, at every meeting of the senate he used to vociferate 'Down with Carthage!' and so on a certain occasion he brought into the house an early ripe fig from that province, and displaying it to the Fathers he said, 'I put it to you, when do you think this fruit was plucked from the tree?' Everybody agreed that it was quite fresh; so he said, 'O well, it was picked the day before yesterday at Carthage — so near is the enemy to our walls!' And they promptly embarked on the third Punic war, in which Carthage was brought down, although Cato had been taken from us the year after the incident narrated. What should we chiefly wonder at in this? ingenuity or chance coincidence? rapidity of transit or manly force of character? The crowning marvel, which I for my part think wonderful beyond parallel, is that so mighty a city, which for one hundred and twenty years had competed for the sovereignty of the world, was overthrown by the evidence of a single fruit — an achievement which not Trebbia or Trasimene, not Cannae with the tomb of Rome's glory, not the Carthaginian camp pitched three miles from the city and Hannibal in person riding up to the Colline gate were able to achieve: so much nearer did Cato bring Carthage to us by means of a single fruit! A fig-tree growing in the actual forum and meeting-place of Rome is worshipped as sacred because things struck by lightning are buried there, and still more as a memorial of the fig-tree under which the nurse of Romulus and Remus first sheltered those founders of the empire on the Lupercal Hill — the tree that has been given the name of Ruminalis, because it was beneath it that the wolf was discovered giving her rumis (that was the old word for breast) to the infants — a marvellous occurrence commemorated in bronze close by, as though the wolf had of her own accord passed across the meeting-place while Attus Naevius was taking the omens. And it is also a portent of some future event when it withers away and then by the good offices of the priests is replanted. There was also a fig-tree in front of the temple of Saturn, which in 404 BC., after a sacrifice had been offered by the Vestal Virgins, was removed, because it was upsetting a statue of Silvanus. A tree of the same kind that was self-sown lives in the middle of the forum, at the spot where, when the foundations of the Empire were collapsing in portent of disaster, Curtius had filled up the gulfs with the greatest of treasures, I mean virtue and piety and a glorious death. Likewise self-sown is a vine in the same locality, and there is an olive planted by the care of the populace for the sake of the shade; an altar in the forum was removed on the occasion of the gladiatorial show given by his late Majesty Julius, the most recent one that fought in the forum.

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§ 15.21.1  A remarkable fact about the fig is that this alone among all the fruits hastens to ripen with a rapidity due to the skill of nature. There is a wild variety of fig called the goat-fig which never ripens, but bestows on another tree what it has not got itself, since it is a natural sequence of causation, just as from things that decay something is generated. Consequently this fig engenders gnats which, being cheated out of nutriment in their mother tree, fly away from its decaying rottenness to the kindred tree and by repeatedly nibbling at the figs — that is by feeding on them too greedily they open their orifices and so make a way into them, bringing with them the sun into the fruit for the first time and introducing the fertilizing air through the passages thus opened. Then they consume the milky juice — this is the symptom of the fruit's infancy — which also dries up of its own accord; and because of this in fig-orchards a goat-fig is allowed to grow on the windward side, so that when a wind blows the gnats may fly off and be carried to the fig-trees. Then a plan was discovered of also bringing branches of the wild fig from somewhere else and throwing them tied together in bundles on to the fig-orchard — a treatment which orchard figs do not require when planted in a thin soil with a northerly aspect, since they dry of their own accord owing to the situation of the place, and this cause by making them split open produces the same results as the action of the gnats; nor yet do they need screening where there is much dust, which occurs chiefly when a much frequented high road is adjacent, for dust also has the effect of drying them up and absorbing the milky juice. This method by means of the dust and the employment of the wild fig also serves the purpose of preventing the figs from falling off, by removing the juice which is soft and heavy, involving a certain liability to break. All figs are soft to the touch, and when ripe have grains inside them; also while in process of ripening they contain a milky juice, which when they are quite ripe is of the nature of honey. When left on the tree they grow old, and when quite aged they drip tears of gum. The figs that are highly approved arc given the distinction of being dried and kept in boxes, the best and largest growing in the island of Iviza and the next best in the district of Chicti; but in places where there is a very large supply of them, they are packed for storage in large jars in Asia, but in casks in the city of Ruspina in Africa, and when dry they serve the purpose of bread and other viands at the same time, inasmuch as Cato, as if laying down a law as to the proper rations for agricultural labourers, prescribes that they are to be reduced in quantity during the time when the figs are ripe. A plan has lately been devised to use a fresh fig instead of salt when eating cheese. To this class, as we have said, belong the Syrian and the Carian figs and the Caunean figs that, when Marcus Crassus was embarking to sail against the Parthians, gave him an omen by the voice of a man crying them for sale. All these varieties of fruit were imported from Syria to his country place at Alba by Lucius Vitellius, afterwards censor, when he was lieutenant-governor in that province, in the latter part of the principate of the emperor Tiberius.

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§ 15.22.1  Fruits that must be included in the class of apples and pears are the medlar and the service-berry. There are three sorts of medlar, the anthedon, the setania, and the third an inferior kind yet rather like the anthedon, which is called the Gallic medlar. The fruit of the setania is larger and of a paler colour, with a softer pip; the others have smaller fruit but with a superior scent and keeping longer. The tree itself is one of the most widely spreading; its leaves turn red before they fall off; it has a great many roots, which go deep into the ground and consequently it is impossible to grub them up. In Cato's time this tree did not exist in Italy.

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§ 15.23.1  There are four varieties of service-berry, some of them round like an apple, and others of conical shape like a pear, while others look like an egg, as do some kinds of apple. This last variety are liable to be sour, but the round ones excel in scent and sweetness, and the rest have a flavour of wine; the best varieties are those which have their stalks surrounded with tender leaves. The fourth kind is called the colic apple and is only valued as a medicine; it is a steady bearer and has a very small fruit; the tree differs in appearance from the other kind, and the leaves are almost the same as those of the plane. None of the sorbs bear before their third year. Cato records that even sorbs can be preserved in must.

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§ 15.24.1  The walnut has won from the service-berry in point of size the place that it has yielded to it in popularity, although the walnut also accompanies the Fescennine songs sung at weddings. The whole nut is considerably smaller than a pine-cone, but the kernel is larger in the same proportion. Moreover the walnut has a distinction of structure that is peculiar to it, in that it is protected by a double covering, consisting first of a cushion-shaped cup and then of a woody shell. This is the reason why walnuts have become emblems consecrated to weddings [possibly as a fertility charm; these were thrown by the bridegroom to the boys carrying the torches], because their progeny is protected in so many ways — a more likely explanation of the custom than that it is due to the rattling rebound which it makes when it falls on the floor. The Greek names for the walnut prove that it also was sent us from Persia by the kings, the best kind of walnut being called in Greek the Persian and the 'royal,' and these were their original names. It is generally agreed that the caryon walnut gets its name from the headache that it causes because of its oppressive scent. The shell of the walnut is used for dyeing wool, and the young nuts while just forming supply a red hair-dye — this was discovered from their staining the hands when handled. Age makes them oily. The only difference between the various kinds of walnuts consists in the hardness or brittleness of the shell and in its being thin or thick and full of recesses or uniform. It is the only fruit which nature has enclosed in a covering made of pieces fitted together; for the shell is divided into two boat-shaped pieces, and the kernel is further separated into four sections with a woody membrane running between them in all the other kinds of nut the whole is in one solid piece, as for instance in the hazel, itself also a sort of nut, the previous form of its name having been Abellina, after the name of its place of origin; but it came into Asia and Greece from Pontus and is consequently also called the Pontic nut. This nut also is protected by a soft beard, but the shell and the kernel are formed of one solid round piece. It also is roasted. The kernel has a navel in its centre. A third variety of the nut class is the almond, which has an outer integument like that of the walnut but thinner, and also a second covering consisting of a shell; but the kernel is unlike a walnut's in its breadth and its hard part is more bitter. It is doubtful whether this tree existed in Italy in the time of Cato, as he calls almonds 'Greek nuts,' a name which some people also retain in the class of walnuts. Beside these Cato adds a smooth, hard kind of hazel-nut, the Praeneste nut, which he praises very highly and says can be kept fresh and green by being potted and buried in the ground. At the present day the almonds of Thasos and Alba are famous, and two kinds grown at Taranto, one with a brittle shell and the other with a hard shell, which are very large in size and very little rounded in shape; also famous is the 'soft nut,' which breaks through its shell. Some interpret the word for walnut as honorific and say it means 'Jove's acorn.' I lately heard a man of consular rank declare that he owned some walnut trees that actually bore two crops a year. We have already spoken in the proper place of the pistachio, which is also a sort of nut. This also was likewise first brought into Italy by Vitellius at the same time, and it was simultaneously introduced into Spain by Pompeius Flaccus, Knight of Rome, who was serving with Vitellius.

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§ 15.25.1  We give the name of nut to the chestnut, also, although it seems to fit better into the acorn class. The chestnut has its armed rampart in its bristling shell, which in the acorn is only partly developed, and it is surprising that what nature has taken such pains to conceal should be the least valuable of things. Some chestnuts produce three nuts from one shell; and the skin is tough, but next to the body of the nut there is a membrane which both in the chestnut and the walnut spoils the taste if it is not peeled off. It is more agreeable as a food when roasted, provided it is ground up, and it supplies a sort of imitation bread for women when they are keeping a fast. They came first from Sardis, and consequently they are called nuts of Sardis among the Greeks, for the name of Zeus's nut was given them later, after they had been improved by cultivation. There are now several varieties of them. The Taranto chestnut is light and digestible to eat; it has a flat shape. The chestnut called the acorn-chestnut is rounder; it is very easy to peel, and jumps out of the shell quite clean of its own accord. The Salarian chestnut also has a flat shape, but that of Taranto is less easy to handle. The Corellian is more highly spoken of, and so is the variety produced from it by the method which we shall speak of in dealing with grafting, the Etereian, which its red skin renders more popular than the three-cornered chestnut and the common black ones called cooking chestnuts. The most highly commended chestnuts come from Taranto, and in Campania from Naples; all the other kinds are grown for pig-food; the pigs carefully chew up the shells as well, together with the kernels.

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§ 15.26.1  Also the extremely sweet carob may be thought to be not far remote from the chestnut, except that in the case of the carob the husk itself is eaten. It is not longer than a man's finger, and occasionally curved like a sickle, and it has the thickness of a man's thumb. Acorns cannot be counted among fruits, and consequently they will be dealt with among trees of their own kind.

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§ 15.27.1  The remaining fruits belong to the fleshy class, and they differ in their shape and in their flesh. Berries one kind of flesh, the mulberry another, the strawberry-tree another; and the grape, etc., have a substance between skin and juice different from that of the myxa plum and from that of berries such as the olive. The flesh of the mulberry contains a vinous juice, and the fruit has three successive colours, first white, then red, and when ripe black.

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§ 15.27.2  The mulberry is one of the latest trees to blossom, but among the first to ripen. The juice of ripe mulberries stains the hand, but the stain can be washed out with the juice of unripe ones. In the case of this tree the devices of the growers have made the least improvement of any, and the mulberry of Ostia and that of Tivoli do not differ from that of Rome by named varieties or by grafting or in any other way except in the size of the fruit. A similar but much firmer berry also grows on brambles.

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§ 15.28.1  The flesh of the ground strawberry is different from that of the strawberry-tree which is related to it, the strawberry being the only fruit that grows at the same time on a bush and on the ground. The tree itself is a sort of shrub; the fruit takes a year to mature, and the following crop flowers side by side with the earlier crop when it is ripening. Authorities disagree as to whether it is the male plant or the female that is unproductive. The fruit is held in no esteem, the reason for its name being that a person will eat only one. Nevertheless the Greeks call it by the two names of comaron and memaceylon, which shows that there are two varieties of the plant; and with ourselves it has another name, the arbutus. Juba states that in Arabia the strawberry-tree grows to a height of 75 feet.

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§ 15.29.1  There is also a great difference among the acinus class — to begin with, between grapes themselves, which vary in respect of firmness, thinness or thickness of skin and the stone inside, which in some is specially small and in others actually double, the latter producing extremely little juice. Again, the berries of the ivy and the elder are very widely different, and the pomegranate differs greatly in shape also, being the only fruit that has corners; and there is no membrane for each separate grain, but only one wrapping for them all in common, which is white in colour. And these fruits consist entirely of juice and flesh, particularly the ones which contain only a small amount of woody substance.

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§ 15.29.2  There is also a great variety among the berries of the baca kind, those of the olive and the laurel being different, and that of the lotus differing in structure from that of the come and that of the myrtle from that of the lentisk; indeed the berries of the holly and the may contain no juice; and moreover the cherry forms a class intermediate between the baca kind of berries and the acinus kind: its fruit is at first white, as is that of almost all the bacae. At a later stage with some the berry turns green, e.g. the olive and the laurel; but in the case of the mulberry, the cherry and the cornel it changes to red, and then with the mulberry, cherry and olive it turns black.

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§ 15.30.1  Before the victory of Lucius Lucullus in the war against Mithridates, that is down to 74 BC., there were no cherry-trees in Italy. Lucullus first imported them from Pontus, and in 120 years they have crossed the ocean and got as far as Britain; but all the same no attention has succeeded in getting them to grow in Egypt. Of cherries the Apronian are the reddest, and the Lutatian the blackest, while the Caecilian kind are perfectly round. The Junian cherry has an agreeable flavour but practically only if eaten under the tree on which it grows, as it is so delicate that it does not stand carriage. The highest rank, however, belongs to the bigaroon cherry called by the Campanians the Plinian cherry, but in Belgium to the Lusitanian, and so also on the banks of the Rhine. This cherry has a third kind of colour, a blend of black, bright red and green, which looks as if the fruit were always not quite ripe. It is less than five years ago that what is called the laurel-cherry was introduced, which has a not disagreeable bitter flavour, and is produced by grafting a cherry on a bay-tree. There are also Macedonian cherries, grown on a tree of small size and rarely exceeding four and half feet in height, and ground-cherries, with a still smaller bush. The cherry is one of the earliest fruits to repay its yearly gratitude to the farmer. It likes a north aspect and cold conditions; moreover it can be dried in the sun and stored in casks like olives.

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§ 15.31.1  The same amount of care is also bestowed on the cornel, and even on the lentisk. So that nothing may not appear to have come into existence for the sake of man's appetite, flavours are blended and different ones are forced to gratify different persons; indeed even the regions of the earth and of the sky are blended: in one kind of food the aid of India is invoked, in another that of Egypt, Crete, Cyrene and every land in turn. Nor does our regimen stick at poisons, if only it may devour everything. This will become clearer when we come to the nature of herbaceous plants.

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§ 15.32.1  In the meantime we find that there are ten kinds of flavours that belong in common to the fruits and to all their juices; sweet, luscious, unctuous, bitter, rough, acrid, sham, harsh, acid and salt. Beside these there are three other flavours of a particularly remarkable nature: (1) one in which several tastes are discerned simultaneously, as in wines — for they contain both a rough and a sham and a sweet and a luscious taste, all of them different from each other; (2) another kind is that which contains both the flavour of something else and one that is its own and peculiar to itself, for instance milk — inasmuch as milk contains a something which nevertheless cannot rightly be called sweet or unctuous or luscious, being possessed by a smoothness which of itself takes the place of a flavour; (3) water has no flavour at all and no flavouring constituent, yet still this very fact gives it some taste and makes it form a class of its own: at all events for water to have any perceptible taste or flavour is a defect. In all these flavours smell is of great importance and a great factor of affinity; in the case of water even smell is entirely absent, or if perceptible at all is a defect. It is a remarkable fact that the three chief natural elements, water, air and fire, have neither taste, smell, nor any flavour whatever.

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§ 15.33.1  Among juices, then, those with a vinous and flavour are the juices of the pear, the mulberry and the myrtle-berry, and surprising as it may seem, the juice of the grape least of all. The juice of the olive, laurel, walnut and almond is unctuous, that of grapes, figs and dates is sweet, and that of plums watery. There is also a great difference in the colour of juice: that of the mulberry, the cherry, the cornel and the black grape is blood-red; the juice of white grapes is of a light colour; fig juice is milky white in the part near the stalk but not in the body of the fruit; apple juice is the colour of foam; peach juice has no colour at all, in spite of the. fact that the hard peach has a large quantity of juice, but no one would say that this has any colour.

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§ 15.33.2  Smell also contains its own marvels. Apples have a pungent scent, peaches a weak one, and sweet fruits none at all; for even sweet wine has no smell, although thin wine has more aroma, and wines of that class become fit for use much sooner than those with more body. Fruits with a scent are not likewise agreeable to the palate, as scent and flavour do not go together — so that citrons have a very penetrating smell and a very rough taste, and in some degree that is the case with quinces also; and figs have no smell.

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§ 15.34.1  And so much for the various classes and kinds of fruits. Their structures call for closer examination. Some fruits are characterized by their pods, which are themselves sweet and which enclose a seed that is bitter, since whereas in fairly many plants the seeds are agreeable, seeds contained in a pod are not approved of. Others are characterized by berries which have a hard kernel inside and flesh outside, for instance olives and cherries. Some have the berries inside and a hard shell outside, as is the ease with the fruit we spoke of that grows in Egypt. Fruits of the apple kind have the same structure as the berries: some have flesh inside and a hard ease outside, as in the case of nuts; while others have flesh outside and a hard stone inside, as is the ease with peaches and plums, which thus have the refuse part wrapped round with the fruit, whereas in other eases the fruit is shielded by the refuse part. Nuts are enclosed in a shell, chestnuts in a skin; with chestnuts the skin is removed, but in the ease of medlars it is eaten. Acorns are covered with a hard shell, grapes with a skin, pomegranates with an outer skin and an inner skin. Mulberries consist of flesh and juice, cherries of skin and juice. Some fruits separate from their woody part at once, for instance nuts and dates, but some adhere to it, for instance olives and laurel-berries; and one group has both properties, for example peaches, inasmuch as in the hard peach or nectarine the flesh adheres and cannot be torn away from the stone, whereas in all the other sorts it is easily separated. Some fruits have no stone inside and no shell outside, for instance the date class. Of some kinds the hard part itself is used and serves as fruit, for instance the cuci which we spoke of as growing in Egypt. Some fruits have a double refuse-covering, as in the case of chestnuts and almonds and walnuts. Some have a threefold structure — there is flesh and then shell and then again a seed inside the shell — for instance peaches. Some fruits grow in clusters, for instance grapes and sorbs, the latter clinging all round the branches and weighing them down, like grapes; but others hang separately, as in the case of the peach. Some fruits are contained in a matrix, for instance pomegranates; some hang down from a stalk, for instance pears, others hang in bunches, for instance grapes and dates, and others hang from a stalk and form hunches as well, for instance ivy-berries and elder-berries. Others are attached to a branch, like the berry on the laurel, while certain kinds hang in both ways, for instance olives, for they have both short stalks and long ones. Some consist of capsules, for instance the pomegranate, the medlar and the lotus in Egypt and on the Euphrates. Then again fruits have a variety of attractions to recommend them. Dates please us by their flesh, but the dates of the Thebaid by their hard skin; grapes and nut-dates by their juice, pears and apples by their firm flesh, mulberries by their substance, nuts by their solid interior, certain fruits in Egypt by their pips, Carian figs by their skin this is removed from green figs as refuse, but in dried figs it is very agreeable. In the case of the papyrus, the fennel-giant and the white thorn the stalk itself is the fruit, as are the stalks of the fig-tree, and in the shrub class the caper with its stalk; but in the carob the only part that is eaten is the wood — while its seed has a property that must not be omitted: it cannot be called either flesh or wood or cartilage, and it would not be given any other name.

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§ 15.35.1  The nature of the juices produced is particularly remarkable in the case of the myrtle, because it is the only one among all the trees that gives two kinds of oil and of wine, beside the drink called myrtidanum, as we said. In former times another use was also made of the myrtle-berry, which held the place of pepper before pepper was discovered; in fact, in the case of one kind of savoury dish the name is derived from this, it being to this day called myrtle sausage. Also the flavour of wild boar is improved from the same source, as the pickle usually has myrtle-berries added to it.

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§ 15.36.1  The actual tree is recorded to have been seen for the first time on the hither side of Europe, beginning from the Ceraunian Mountains, on the grave of Elpenor at Circello, and it still keeps its Greek name, showing it to be an exotic. At the time of the foundation of Rome myrtles grew on the present site of the city, as tradition says that the Romans and Sabines, after having wanted to fight a battle because of the carrying off of the maidens, laid down their arms and purified themselves with sprigs of myrtle, at the place now occupied by the statues of Venus Cluacina, cluere being the old word meaning 'to cleanse.' And a kind of incense for fumigation is also contained in this tree, which was selected for the purpose on the occasion referred to because Venus the guardian spirit of the tree also presides over unions, and I rather think that it was actually the first of all trees to be planted in public places at Rome, fraught indeed with a prophetic and remarkable augury. For the shrine of Quirinus, that is of Romulus himself, is held to be one of the most ancient temples. In it there were two sacred myrtles, which for a long time grew in front of the actual temple, and one of them was called the patricians' myrtle and the other the common people's. For many years the patricians' tree was the more flourishing of the two, and was full of vigour and vitality; as long as the senate flourished this was a great tree, while the common people's myrtle was shrivelled and withered. But after the latter had grown strong while the patrician myrtle began to turn yellow, from the Marsian war onward [91-88 BC] the authority of the Fathers became weak, and by slow degrees its grandeur withered away into barrenness. Moreover there was also an old altar belonging to Venus Myrtea, whose modern name is Murcia.

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§ 15.37.1  Cato mentioned three kinds of myrtle, the black, the white and the 'union myrtle' — perhaps named after marriage unions — descended from the stock of the Cluacina myrtle mentioned above; but at the present day there is also another classification, which distinguishes the cultivated and the wild myrtle, and in each of these also a wide-leaved variety, while the variety called oxymyrsine occurs only in the wild kind. Varieties of the cultivated myrtle produced by landscape-gardeners are the Taranto myrtle with a very small leaf, the Roman myrtle with a broad leaf, and the 'six-row' myrtle with very thick foliage, the leaves growing in rows of six. The last is not much grown, being bushy and not lofty. I believe that the union-myrtle is now called the Roman myrtle. The myrtle with the most powerful scent belongs to Egypt. Cato taught how to make wine from the black myrtle, by drying it in the shade until no moisture remained and then putting it in must; he says that if the berries are not thoroughly dried, oil is produced. Afterwards a way was also discovered of making a white wine from the pale variety, by steeping a quart of pounded myrtle in a pint and a half of wine and then pressing out the liquor. The leaves are also dried by themselves till they go to a powder, which is used as a cure for sores on the human body, the powder being slightly corrosive and serving to cool off the perspiration. Moreover, the oil also curiously enough contains a certain flavour of wine, and at the same time has a greasy fluidity which makes it specially efficacious for improving wines if it is poured over the wine-strainers before they are used; this is because the oil retains the lees and only allows the pure liquor to pass through, and unites with the wine after it has been strained, greatly improving it. Sprigs of myrtle also merely by being carried by a traveller are beneficial when making a long journey on foot. Moreover, rings made of myrtle twigs which have never been touched by iron are a cure for swellings in the groin.

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§ 15.38.1  The myrtle has also claimed a part in matters of warfare, and Publius Postumius Tubertus, the first of all men who ever entered the city with an ovation, during his consulship celebrated a triumph [503 B.C.] over the Sabines, and because he had won the campaign easily, without bloodshed, he made his entry wearing a wreath made of the myrtle of Venus Vietrix, and so made that tree a coveted object even for our enemies. Subsequently a myrtle wreath was regularly worn by generals celebrating an ovation, with the exception of Marcus Crassus, who when celebrating his victory won from the runaway slaves and Spartacus, made his entry wearing a wreath of laurels. Masurius informs us that generals going in triumph in a chariot also used to wear a myrtle wreath. Lucius Piso records that Papirius Maso, the first general who held a triumph on the Alban Mount, in [71 B.C.] celebration of his victory over the Corsicans, was in the habit of wearing a wreath of myrtle when watching the games in the circus: he was the maternal grandfather of the second Africanus. Marcus Valerius wore two wreaths, one of laurel and one of myrtle, having made a vow to do so.

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§ 15.39.1  The laurel is especially assigned to triumphs, but it is extremely decorative for dwelling-houses, and guards the portals of the emperors and the high priests; there it hangs alone, adorning the mansions and keeping sentry-guard before the thresholds. Cato has recorded two species of laurel, the Delphic and the Cyprian. Pompeius Lenaeus added one which he called mustax, because it was placed underneath mustacean cakes: he said that this has a very large, pendulous leaf of a whitish colour, and that the Delphic laurel is a uniform greener colour, and has very large berries of a reddish green; and that this laurel is used to make wreaths for the winners at Delphi, as it is for generals going in triumph at Rome. He states that the Cyprus laurel is crinkly, with a short black leaf that curves up along the edges. Since his time varieties have been added: the tine tree — this some take to be the wild laurel, but there are people who think that it is a separate kind of tree: indeed there is a difference of colour, the berry being bright blue. Another addition is the royal laurel, which has begun to be called the Augusta laurel, a very large tree with a very large leaf and berries without any rough taste. Some say that the royal laurel and the Augusta are not the same, and make out the royal to be a special kind, with longer and broader leaves. The same persons place in another class, under the name of hacalia, the laurel which is the, commonest of all and bears the largest number of berries, but much to my surprise give the name of triumphal laurel to one that has no berries, and say that this is the one used by persons celebrating a triumph — unless the use of it began with his late Majesty Augustus, as we shall show, as sprung from the laurel which was sent down to him from heaven, which was a very low growing tree with a short, crinkled leaf, and very rarely met with. In ornamental gardening there is also the Thasos laurel, which has a tiny leafy fringe as it were growing out of the middle of the leaf, and the gelded laurel, without this fringe, which is remarkably able to stand lack of sun and which consequently fills the ground with its shoots in however shady a place. There is also the ground laurel, a shrub that grows wild, and the Alexandrine laurel, which some call the Idaean, others hypoglottion, others carpophyllon and others hypelates. This laurel spreads out branches 9 inches long from its root, and is useful for making wreaths; the leaf is more pointed than that of the myrtle, and softer, brighter in colour and larger; the seed, which lies between the leaves, is red; it grows in great abundance on Mount Ida and in the vicinity of Heraclea in Pontus, and it only occurs in mountain districts. Also the class of laurel called daphnoides is involved in a competition of nomenclature, as some call it the Pelasgian laurel, others the leafy laurel, others Alexander's crown. This also is a bushy shrub, with a thicker and softer leaf than the ordinary laurel, which leaves a burning taste in the mouth; the berries are a blackish red. The older writers noted that there was no variety of laurel that grew in Corsica; but it has now been introduced there with successful results.

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§ 15.40.1  The laurel itself is a bringer of peace, inasmuch as to hold out a branch of it even between enemy armies is a token of a cessation of hostilities. With the Romans especially it is used as a harbinger of rejoicing and of victory, accompanying despatches and decorating the spears and javelins of the soldiery and adorning the generals' rods of office. From this tree a branch is deposited in the lap of Jupiter the All-good and All-great whenever a fresh victory has brought rejoicing, and this is not because the laurel is continually green, nor yet because it is an emblem of peace, as the olive is to be preferred to it in both respects, but because it flourishes in the greatest beauty on Mount Parnassus and consequently is thought to be also dear to Apollo, to whose shrine even the kings of Rome at that early date were in the custom of sending gifts and asking for oracles in return, as is evidenced by the case of Brutus; another reason also is perhaps to supply a token, because it was there that Brutus won freedom for the people by kissing the famous plot of earth that bore the laurel, at the direction of the oracular utterance; and another possible reason is that the laurel alone of all the shrubs planted by man and received into our houses is never struck by lightning. I personally am inclined to believe that it is for these reasons that the place of honour has been assigned to it in triumphs, rather than because it was employed, as Masurius records, for the purpose of fumigation and purification from the blood of the enemy. And it is so strongly forbidden to pollute the laurel and the olive in profane uses, that they must not be employed even for kindling a fire at altars and shrines in propitiating the deities. The laurel indeed manifestly expresses objection to the application of fire by crackling and making a solemn protest, the timber actually giving a twist to the cracks in its intestines and sinews. It is stated that the emperor Tiberius used to put a wreath from this tree on his head when there was a thunder-storm as a protection against danger from lightning.

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§ 15.40.2  There are also occurrences related to the laurel that are worth recalling in connexion with his late Majesty Augustus. When Livia Drusilla, who afterwards received the name of Augusta on her marriage, had been betrothed to Caesar, while she was seated an eagle dropped into her lap from the sky a hen of remarkable whiteness, without hurting it; she regarded it with wonder, but undismayed, and there was a further miracle: it was holding in its beak a laurel branch bearing its berries. So the augurs ordered that the bird and any chickens it produced should be preserved, and that the branch should be planted in the ground and guarded with religious care. This was done at the country mansion of the Caesars standing on the banks of the river Tiber about nine miles out on the Flaminian road; the house is consequently called The Poultry, and the laurel grove so begun has thriven in a marvellous way. Afterwards the Emperor when going in a triumph held a laurel branch from the original tree in his hand and wore a wreath of its foliage on his head, and subsequently every one of the ruling Caesars did the same; and the custom was established of planting the branches which they had held, and groves of laurels distinguished by their names still survive; and it was perhaps in consequence of this that the change was made in the laurels worn in triumphs.

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§ 15.40.3  The laurel is the only tree the name of which is used in Latin as a man's name, and the only tree whose leaves have a special name applied to them — we call them bay-leaves. The name of the tree also survives as a place-name in Rome, as there is a locality on the Aventine called Loretto where there was once a laurel grove. Moreover, the laurel is employed in rituals of purification; and incidentally it should be stated that it can even be grown from a slip, as this has been doubted by Democritus and Theophrastus. We will now describe the various forest trees.

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§ 16.1.1  AMONG the trees already mentioned are included the fruit-trees and those which by their mellower juices first added the element of pleasure to food and taught us to mingle relishes with our necessary nutriment, whether they did so of their own accord or whether they learnt from mankind to acquire agreeable flavours by means of adoption and intermarriage — and this is a service which we have also rendered to beasts and birds. Next would have come an account of the acorn-bearing trees which first produced food for mortal man and were the foster-mothers of his helpless and savage lot, if we were not compelled by a sense of wonder learnt from experience to turn first to the question, what is the nature and what are the characteristics of the life of people living without any trees or any shrubs.

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§ 16.1.2  We have indeed stated that in the east, on the shores of the ocean, a number of races are in this necessitous condition; but so also are the races of people called the Greater and the Lesser Chauci, whom we have seen in the north. There twice in each period of a day and a night the ocean with its vast tide sweeps in a flood over a measureless expanse, covering up Nature's age-long controversy and the region disputed as belonging whether to the land or to the sea. There this miserable race occupy elevated patches of ground or platforms built up by hand above the level of the highest tide experienced, living in huts erected on the sites so chosen, and resembling sailors in ships when the water covers the surrounding land, but shipwrecked people when the tide has retired, and round their huts they catch the fish escaping with the receding tide. It does not fall to them to keep herds and live on milk like the neighbouring tribes, nor even to have to fight with wild animals, as all woodland growth is banished far away. They twine ropes of sedge and rushes from the marshes for the purpose of setting nets to catch the fish, and they scoop up mud in their hands and dry it by the wind more than by sunshine, and with earth as fuel warm their food and so their own bodies, frozen by the north wind. Their only drink is supplied by storing rainwater in tanks in the forecourts of their homes. And these are the races that if they are nowadays vanquished by the Roman nation say that they are reduced to slavery! That is indeed the case: Fortune oft spares men as a punishment.

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§ 16.2.1  Another marvel arising from the forests: these crowd the whole of the remainder of Germany and augment the cold with their shadow, but the loftiest grow not far from the Chauci mentioned above, especially round two lakes. The actual shores of these are occupied by oaks, which grow with extreme eagerness, and these when undermined by the waves or overthrown by blasts of wind carry away with them vast islands of soil in the embrace of their roots, and thus balanced, float along standing upright, so that our fleets have often been terrified by the wide rigging of their huge branches, when they seemed to be purposely driven by the waves against the bows of the ships at anchor for the night, which thus were unavoidably compelled to engage in a naval battle with trees.

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§ 16.2.2  In the same northern region is the vast expanse of the Hereynian oak forest, untouched by the ages and coeval with the world, which surpasses all marvels by its almost immortal destiny. To omit other facts that would lack credence, it is well known that the collision of the roots encountering each other raises up hillocks of earth, or, where the ground has not kept up to them, their arches in their struggle with one another rise as high as the branches, and curve over in the shape of open gateways, so as to afford a passage to squadrons of cavalry.

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§ 16.2.3  They are practically all of the acorn-bearing class of oak, which is ever held in honour at Rome,

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§ 16.3.1  because from it are obtained the Civic Wreaths, that glorious emblem of military valour, but now for a long time past also an emblem of the emperors clemency, ever since, owing to the impiety of the civil wars, not to kill a fellow-citizen had come to be deemed meritorious. Below these rank mural crowns and rampart-crowns and also golden crowns, although surpassing them in cost, and below them likewise are beaked crowns, albeit down to the present supremely famous in the case of two persons, Marcus Varro who was given this honour by Pompey [67 B.C.] the Great as a result of the wars against the pirates, and likewise Marcus Agrippa who was awarded it is by Augustus after the Sicilian wars, which were also waged against pirates. Previously the forum was graced by the rams of ships fastened in front of the platform, like a wreath crowning the Roman nation. But later they began to be trampled on and polluted by the seditions of the tribunes, and power began to pass from public into private ownership, and to be sought for the advancement of individual citizens, and the sacrosanct tribunes began to make all things profane; and after this the Rams passed from underneath the feet of the speakers to the heads of the citizens; this Wreath of Rams Augustus bestowed upon Agrippa, but he himself received the Civic Wreath from the whole of mankind.

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§ 16.4.1  In olden times indeed no Civic Wreath was presented save to a deity — that is why Homer assigns a wreath only to heaven and to a whole battlefield, but to no man individually even in combat — and it is said that Father Liber was the first to set a crown on his own head, a wreath of ivy. Afterwards persons performing sacrifices in honour of the gods assumed crowns, the victims being adorned with wreaths as well. Most recently of all they were also brought into use in ritual competitions, but in these and at the present day they are not bestowed on the winner, but an announcement is made that by him a wreath is conferred upon his native place; and from this has arisen the custom of also bestowing wreaths on victorious generals about to go in a triumphal procession, for them to dedicate as offerings in the temples, and also subsequently the practice of presenting wreaths at the games. To discuss who was the first Roman to receive each kind of wreath would be a lengthy matter, and not relevant to the plan of this work, and as a matter of fact the Romans were only acquainted with those given for military achievements; but it is a well-known fact that this one nation has a greater variety of wreaths than all the other nations put together.

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§ 16.5.1  Hostus Hostilius, who was the grandfather of King Tullus Hostilius, was crowned by Romulus with a garland of leaves for having been the first to enter Fidena. The elder Publius Decius, who was military tribune, received a garland of leaves from the army which he had saved from destruction in the war with the Samnites when the consul Cornelius Cossus was [343 B.C] in command of our army. The Civic Wreath was first made of the leaves of the holm-oak, but afterwards preference was given to a wreath from the winter oak, which is sacred to Jove, and also a variety was made with the common oak and the tree growing in the particular locality was given, only the honour awarded to the acorn being preserved! Strict and therefore exclusive conditions were further imposed, which may be compared with that supreme wreath of the Greeks which is bestowed beneath the tutelage of Zeus himself and for which the winner's native place in its rejoicing breaks a passage through its city walls; these conditions were — to save the life of a fellow-citizen; to kill one of the enemy; that the place where the exploit occurred must not be occupied by the enemy on the same day; that the person rescued must admit the fact — witnesses otherwise are of no value; — and that it must have been a Roman citizen: auxiliary forces, even though it is a king who is rescued, do not bestow this distinction. Nor is the same honour any greater if the rescued person is a general, because the founders of this institution wished the honour to be supreme in the case of any citizen. The receiver of the wreath may wear it for the rest of his life; when he appears at the games it is the custom for even the senate always to rise at his entrance, and he has the right to sit next to the senators; and he himself and his father and his paternal grandfather are exempt from all public duties. Siccius Dentatus, as we have mentioned at the proper place, won fourteen Civic Wreaths, and Capitolinus six, one in his case being actually for saving the life of his commanding officer Servilius. Scipio Africanus refused to accept a wreath for rescuing his father at the Trebbia. How worthy of eternity is a national character that rewarded exploits so distinguished with honour only, and whereas it enhanced the value of its other wreaths with gold, refused to allow the rescue of a citizen to be a thing of price, thus loudly proclaiming that it is wrong even to save the life of a human being for the sake of gain!

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§ 16.6.1  Acorns at this very day constitute the wealth of many races, even when they are enjoying peace. Moreover also when there is a scarcity of corn they are dried and ground into flour which is kneaded to make bread; beside this, at the present day also in the Spanish provinces a place is found for acorns in the second course at table. Acorns have a sweeter flavour when roasted in the ashes. Moreover it was provided by law in the Twelve Tables that it was permissible to gather up acorns falling on to another person's land. There are many kinds of acorns, and they differ in their fruit, habitat, sex and flavour, some having the shape of the beech-nut and others of the mast of the oak and the holm-oak, and there are also differences within each of these varieties. Moreover some grow wild in forests and others are more tame, occupying cultivated ground. Then they are different in mountain regions and in the plains, as also they differ in sex — male and female, and likewise in flavour: the sweetest of them all is beech-mast, it being recorded by Cornelius Alexander that the people in the town of Chios actually held out against a siege by using it for food. It is not possible to distinguish its kinds by their names, which are different in different places, inasmuch as we see the hard-oak and the common oak growing everywhere, but the winter oak not in every region, and the fourth species of the same class, called the Turkey oak, is not known at all even to the greater part of Italy. We will therefore distinguish the varieties by their properties and natures, also using the Greek names when necessary.

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§ 16.7.1  The acorn of the beech resembles a kernel, being enclosed in a triangular shell. The leaf, which is thin and one of the lightest that there are, resembles that of the poplar; it turns yellow very quickly, and on its upper side, usually at the middle, it grows a little green berry with a pointed end. Mice are extremely fond of the beech and consequently in places where it grows these animals abound; it also fattens dormice, and is good for thrushes, too. Almost all trees grow a good crop only every other year, but this is especially the case with the beech.

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§ 16.8.1  The trees that bear acorns in the proper sense of the term are the hard-oak, the common oak, the winter oak, the Turkey oak, the holm-oak and the cork tree. These trees carry their acorn enclosed in a bristly cup that embraces more or less of it according to their kinds. Their leaves with the exception of the holm-oak are heavy, fleshy and tapering, with wavy edges, and they do not turn yellow when they fall like beech leaves; they differ in length according to the variety of their kinds.

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§ 16.8.2  There are two classes of holm-oak. The Italian variety, called by some Greeks milax, has a leaf not very different from that of the olive, but the holm-oak in the provinces is the one with pointed leaves. The acorn of both kinds is shorter and more slender than that of other varieties; Homer calls it akylon and distinguishes it by that name from the common acorn. It is said that the male holm-oak bears no acorns.

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§ 16.8.3  The best and largest acorn grows on the common oak, and the next best on the winter oak, as that of the hard-oak is small, and that of the Turkey oak a rough, bristly thing with a prickly cup like that of the chestnut. But also in the case of the oak in general the acorn of the female tree is sweeter and softer, while that of the male tree is more compact. In the most esteemed variety called descriptively the broad-leaved oak, the acorns differ among themselves in size and in the thinness of their shell, and also in that some have under the shell a rough coat of a rusty colour, whereas in others one comes to the white flesh at once. Those acorns are also esteemed the kernel of which at each extremity taken lengthwise has a stony hardness, those having this in the husk being better than those with it in the flesh of the nut, but in either case it only occurs with a male tree. Moreover in some cases the acorn is oval, in others round, and in others of a more pointed shape, just as the colour also is blacker or lighter, the latter being preferred. The ends of acorns are bitter and the middle parts sweet; also there is a difference in the shortness or length of the stalk.

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§ 16.8.4  In respect of the trees themselves the one that bears the largest acorn is called the hemeris; this is a comparatively low-growing oak which forms a circle of bushy foliage and which is frequently hollow at the spread of the branches. The wood of the common oak is stronger and less liable to decay; this variety also has many branches, but grows higher and has a thicker trunk; but the loftiest kind is the aegilops, which likes wild uncultivated country.

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§ 16.8.5  Next to this in height is the broad-leaved oak, but it is less useful for builders' timber and for charcoal, and when hewn with the axe is liable to split, on which account it is used in the unhewn state. As charcoal it only pays to use it in a copper-smith's workshop, because as soon as the bellows stop it dies down and has to be rekindled repeatedly; but it gives out a great quantity of sparks. A better charcoal is obtained from young trees. Piles of freshly cut sticks are fitted closely together and made into an oven with clay, and the structure is set fire to, and the shell as it hardens is prodded with poles and so discharges its moisture.

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§ 16.8.6  The worst kind both for charcoal and for timber is the one called in Greek the sea-cork oak, which has a very thick bark and trunk, the latter usually hollow and spongy; and no other variety of the oak class is so liable to rot, even while it is alive. Moreover it is very frequently struck by lightning, although it is not particularly lofty; consequently it is not thought right to use its wood for sacrifices either. Also it rarely bears acorns, and when it does they are bitter, so that no animal will touch them except swine, and not even these if they can get any other fodder. An additional reason among others for its being disregarded for religious ceremonies is that its charcoal goes out during the course of a sacrifice.

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§ 16.8.7  Beech-mast fed to pigs livens them up, and makes their flesh easy to cook and light and digestible whereas the acorns of the holm-oak make a pig thin, not a glossy, meagre. Acorns from the common oak make it heavy and lumpish, being themselves also the largest of nuts and the sweetest in flavour. According to Nigidius's account the next best to the common acorn is the acorn of the Turkey oak, and no other kind gives the pig more solid flesh, though hard. He says that holm-oak acorn is a trying feed for pigs, unless given to them in small quantities at a time; and that this is the latest acorn to fall. He adds that the acorn of the winter oak, hard-oak and cork-tree make a pig's flesh spongy.

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§ 16.9.1  All the acorn-bearing trees produce oak-apples. Oak galls as well, and acorns in alternate years, but the hemeris bears the best oak-apple and the one most suitable for dressing hides. The oak-apple of the broad-leaved oak resembles it, but is lighter in weight and much less highly approved. This tree also produces the black oak-apple — for there are two varieties, this last being more useful for dyeing wool. The oak-apple begins to grow when the sun is leaving the sign of the Twins, and always bursts forth full-size in a night. The lighter-coloured variety grows in a single day, and if it encounters a spell of heat it dries up at once and does not attain its proper growth, that is, to have a kernel the size of a bean. The black oak-apple stays fresh and goes on growing for a longer period, so as sometimes to reach the size of an apple. The best kind comes from Commagene, and the worst is that produced by the hard-oak; it can be detected by the transparent hollows in it.

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§ 16.10.1  The hard-oak supplies a number of other products in addition to acorns; it also bears both kinds of oak-apples, and berries that are like mulberries except that they are dry and hard, also usually resembling a bull's head, which contain a fruit like the stone of an olive. There also grow on it little balls not unlike nuts, having inside them soft flocks of wool suitable for lamp-wicks, since they will keep burning even without oil, as is also the case with the black oak-apples. The hard-oak also bears another sort of little ball with hairs on it, which is of no use, though in spring-time it has a juice that is like bee-glue. Also in the hollows at the junction of its boughs grow little balls adhering bodily to the bark and not attached by a stalk, the point of attachment being white but the remainder speckled with black patches; inside they have a scarlet colour, but when opened they are bitter and empty. Sometimes also the hard-oak bears growths resembling pumice-stone, as well as little balls made of the leaves rolled up, and also on the veins of the leaves watery pustules of a white colour, and as long as they remain soft permeable to light, in which gnats are born. When they ripen they form a knot like the small smooth oak-apple.

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§ 16.11.1  Hard-oaks also bear catkins: that is the name of a small round ball used in medicine for its caustic property. It also grows on the fir, the larch, the pitch-pine, the lime, nut-trees and the plane, lasting on in the winter after the leaves have fallen. It contains a kernel resembling the kernel of pine-cones; this grows in winter and opens out in spring. When the leaves have begun to grow, the whole ball falls off. Such is the multiplicity of products in addition to the acorn that are borne by hard-oaks; but they also produce edible fungi and hog-mushrooms, the most recently discovered stimulants of the appetite, which grow round their roots; those of the common oak are the most esteemed, but those of the hard-oak and cypress and pine are harmful. Hard-oaks also produce mistletoe, and honey as well according to Hesiod, and it is an accepted fact that honey-dew falling from the sky, as we said, deposits itself on the leaves of no other tree in preference to the hard-oak; and it is well known that hard-oak wood when burnt produces a nitrous ash.

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§ 16.12.1  Nevertheless the holm-oak challenges all these products of the hard-oak on the score of its scarlet alone. This is a grain, and looks at first like a roughness on a shrub, which is the small pointed-leaf holm-oak. The grain is called 'scolecium,' 'little worm'. It furnishes the poor in Spain with the means of paying one out of every two instalments of their tribute.

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§ 16.12.2  We have stated the use of this grain and the mode of preparing it when speaking of purple dye. It occurs also in Galatia, Africa, Pisidia and Cilicia, and the worst kind in Sardinia.

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§ 16.13.1  In the Gallic provinces chiefly the acorn-bearing trees produce agaric, which is a white fungus with a strong odour, and which makes a powerful antidote; it grows on the tops of trees, and is phosphorescent at night; this is its distinguishing mark, by which it can be gathered in the dark. Of the acorn-bearing tree the one called the aegilops alone carries strips of dry cloth covered with white mossy tufts; this substance not only grows on the bark but hangs down from the branches in streamers eighteen inches long, and it has a strong scent, as we miss. said when dealing with perfumes.

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§ 16.13.2  The cork is a very small tree, and its acorns are very bad in quality and few in number; its only useful product is its bark, which is extremely thick and which when cut grows again; when flattened out it has been known to form a sheet as big as 10 feet square. This bark is used chiefly for ships' anchor drag-ropes and fishermen's dragnets and for the bungs of casks, and also to make soles for women's winter shoes. Consequently the Greek name for the tree is 'bark-tree,' which is not inappropriate. Some people also call it the female holm-oak, and in places where the holm-oak does not grow, for instance in the districts of Elis and Sparta, use cork-tree timber instead of holm-oak, especially for wain-wright's carpentry. It does not grow all over Italy or anywhere in Gaul.

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§ 16.14.1  Also in the case of the beech, the lime, the fir and the pitch-pine the bark is extensively used by country people. They employ it for making panniers and baskets, and larger flat receptacles used for carrying corn at harvest-time and grapes at the vintage, and the roof-eaves of cottages. A scout writes reports to send to his officers by cutting letters on fresh bark from the sap; and also beech bark is used for ritual purposes in certain religious rites, but the tree from which it is stripped does not survive.

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§ 16.15.1  The most suitable roof-shingles are got from the hard-oak, and the next best from the other acorn-bearing trees and from the beech; those most easily obtained are cut from all the trees that produce resin, but these are the least good to last with the exception of those from the pine. Cornelius Nepos informs us that Rome was roofed with shingles right down to the war with Pyrrhus, a period of 470 years. At all events its different regions used to be denoted by designations taken from the woods — the Precinct of Jupiter of the Beech Tree (which retains the name even today) — where there was once a grove of beeches, Oak-forest Gate, Osier Hill, where people went to get osiers, and all the Groves, some even named from two sorts of trees. It was in Winter-oak Grove that Quintus Hortensius as dictator after the 287 BC. secession of the plebeians to the Janiculum Hill carried the law that an order of the plebs should be binding on all citizens.

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§ 16.16.1  The pine and the fir and all the trees that produce pitch were in those days considered exotics, because there were none in the neighbourhood of the capital. Of these trees we shall now speak, in order that the whole of the source from which flavouring for wine is produced may be known at once, after an account has been given of the trees in Asia or the East which produce pitch.

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§ 16.16.2  In Europe pitch is produced by six kinds of trees, all related to one another. Of these the pine and the wild pine have a very narrow long leaf like hair, with a sharp point at the end. The pine yields the smallest amount of resin, sometimes also produced from its nuts themselves, about which we have spoken, and scarcely enough to justify its classification as a resinous tree.

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§ 16.17.1  The pinaster is nothing else but a wild pine tree of smaller height throwing out branches from the middle as the pine does at the top. This variety gives a larger quantity of resin, in the manner which we shall describe. It grows in flat countries also. Most people think that trees called tibuli that grow along the coasts of Italy are the same tree with another name, but the tibulus is a slender tree and more compact than the pinaster, and being free from knots is used for building light gallies; it is almost devoid of resin.

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§ 16.18.1  The pitch-pine loves mountains and cold localities. It is a funereal tree, and is placed at the doors of houses as a token of bereavement and grown on graves; nevertheless nowadays it has also been admitted into our homes because of the ease with which it can be clipped into various shapes. This pine gives out a quantity of resin interspersed with white drops so closely resembling frankincense that when mixed with it they are indistinguishable to the eye; hence the adulteration is practised in the Seplasia. All these classes of trees have short leaves, but rather thick and hard like the leaf of the cypress. The branches of the pitch-pine are of moderate size and grow out almost immediately from the root of the tree, attached to its sides like arms.

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§ 16.18.2  Similarly the fir, which is in great demand for building ships, grows high up on mountains, as though it had run away from the sea; and its shape is the same as that of the pitch-pine. But it supplies excellent timber for beams and a great many of the appliances of life. Resin, which gives its value to the pitch-pine, is a defect in the fir, which occasionally exudes a small quantity when exposed to the action of the sun. The wood, on the contrary, which in the case of the fir is extremely beautiful, in the pitch-pine only serves for making split roof-shingles and tubs and a few other articles of joinery.

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§ 16.19.1  The fifth kind of resinous tree has the same habitat and the same appearance; it is called the larch. Its timber is far superior, not rotting with age and offering a stubborn resistance to damp; also it has a reddish colour and a rather penetrating scent. Resin flows from this tree in rather large quantities, of the colour and stickiness of honey, and never becoming hard.

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§ 16.19.2  The sixth kind is the torch-pine specially so called, which gives out more resin than the rest, but less, and of a more liquid kind, than the pitch-pine; and it is agree able for kindling fires and also for torch-light at religious ceremonies. These trees, at all events the male variety, also produce the extremely strong-smelling liquid called by the Greeks. It is a disease of the larch to turn into a torch-pine.

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§ 16.19.3  All these kinds of trees when set fire to make an enormous quantity of sooty smoke and suddenly with an explosive crackle send out a splutter of charcoal and shoot it to a considerable distance — excepting the larch, which does not burn nor yet make charcoal, nor waste away from the action of fire any more than do stones. All these trees are evergreen, and are not easily distinguishable in point of foliage even by experts, so closely are they interrelated; but the pitch-pine is not so tall as the larch, which has a thicker and smoother bark and more velvety and oilier and thicker foliage, the leaf bending more softly to the touch, whereas the foliage of the pitch-pine is scantier and also drier and thinner and of a colder nature, and the whole tree is rougher and is covered with resin; the wood more resembles that of the fir. When the roots of a larch have been burnt it does not throw out fresh shoots, but the pitch-pine does, as happened on the island of Lesbos after the grove of the town of Pyrrha had been burnt. Moreover there is another difference within these species themselves in the matter of sex: the male tree is shorter and has harder leaves, while the female is taller and its leaves are more unctuous and not forked and not stiff; and the wood of the male is hard, and when used in carpentry splits crooked, while that of the female is softer, the manifestation of the difference resting with the axe, which in every variety detects the male, because it meets with resistance and falls with a louder crash and is pulled out of the wood with greater difficulty. With the male trees the wood itself is parched and blacker in colour. In the neighbourhood of Mount Ida in the Troad there is also another variation among the larches, the mountain larch and the coast larch being different. As for Macedonia and Arcadia and the neighbourhood of Elis, in these places the varieties exchange names and the authorities are not agreed as to which name to give to each species, though for our part we settle that sort of question by the verdict of Rome.

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§ 16.19.4  The biggest of the entire group is the fir, the female being even taller than the male, and its timber softer and more easily worked, and the tree rounder in shape, and with dense feathery foliage, which makes it impervious to rain; and in general it has a more cheerful appearance. From the branches of these species, with the exception of the larch, there hang nut-like growths resembling catkins, packed together like scales. Those of the male fir have kernels in their tips, though this is not the case with the female fir; but the nuts of the pitch-pine have kernels filling the whole of the catkins, which are smaller and narrower, the kernels being very small and black, owing to which the Greek name for the pitch-pine is a word meaning 'louse-tree.' Also in the pitch-pine the nut-growths are more closely packed in the male trees and less moist with resin.

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§ 16.20.1  Moreover, not to pass over any variety, resembling these trees in appearance is the yew, hardly green at all in colour and slender in form, with a gloomy, terrifying appearance; it has no sap, and is the only tree of all the class that bears berries. The fruit of the male yew is harmful — in fact its berries, particularly in Spain, contain a deadly poison; even wine-flasks for travellers made of its wood in Gaul are known to have caused death. Sextius says that the Greek name for this tree is milax, and that in Arcadia its poison is so active that people who go to sleep or picnic beneath a yew-tree die. Some people also say that this is why poisons were called 'taxic,' which we now pronounce 'toxic,' meaning 'used for poisoning arrows.' I find it stated that a yew becomes harmless if a copper nail is driven into the actual tree.

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§ 16.21.1  In Europe tar is obtained from the torch-pine by heating it, and is used for coating ships' tackle and many other purposes. The wood of the tree is chopped up and put into ovens and heated by means of a fire packed all round outside. The first liquid that exudes flows like water down a pipe; in Syria this is called 'cedar-juice,' and it is so strong that in Egypt it is used for embalming the bodies of the dead.

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§ 16.22.1  The liquor that follows is thicker, and now produces pitch; this in its turn is collected in copper cauldrons and thickened by means of vinegar, as making it coagulate, and it has been given the name of Bruttian pitch; it is only useful for casks and similar receptacles, and differs from other pitch by its viscosity and also by its reddish colour and because it is greasier than all the rest. It is made from pitch-resin caused to boil by means of red-hot stones in casks made of strong oak, or, if casks are not available, by piling up a heap of billets, as in the process of making charcoal. It is this pitch which is used for seasoning wine after being beaten up into a powder like flour, when it has a rather black colour. The same resin, if rather gently boiled with water and strained off, becomes viscous and turns a reddish colour; this is called 'distilled pitch.' For making this the inferior parts of the resin and the bark of the tree are usually set aside. Another mixing process produced 'intoxication resin': raw flower of resin is picked off the tree with a quantity of thin, short chips of the wood, and broken up small in a sieve, and then steeped in water heated to boiling. The grease of this that is extracted makes the best quality of resin, and it is rarely obtainable, and only in a few districts of Italy near the Alps. It is suitable for medical use: the doctors boil ¾ of a gallon of white resin in 1 1/2 gallons of rainwater — though others think it pays better to boil it without water over a slow fire for a whole day, and to employ a vessel of white copper, or to boil resin from the turpentine-tree in a flat pan on hot ashes, as they prefer this to all the other kinds. The resin of the mastich is rated next.

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§ 16.23.1  We must not omit to state that with the name of 'live pitch' is to Greeks also the give pitch which has been scraped off the bottom of seagoing ships and mixed with wax — as life leaves nothing untried — and which is much more efficacious for all the purposes for which the pitches and resins are serviceable, this being because of the additional hardness of the sea salt.

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§ 16.23.2  An opening is made in a pitch-tree on the side towards the sun, not by means of an incision but by a wound made by removing the bark, making an aperture at most two feet long, so as to be at least eighteen inches from the ground. Also the body of the tree itself is not spared, as in other cases, because the chips of wood are valuable; but the chips from nearest the surface are most esteemed, those from deeper in giving the resin a bitter flavour. Afterwards all the moisture from the whole tree flows together into the wound; and so also in the case of the torch-tree. When the liquid stops flowing, an opening is made in a similar manner out of another part of the tree and then another. Afterwards the whole tree is felled and the pith of the timber is burnt. In the same way in Syria also they strip the bark off the turpentine-tree, there indeed stripping it from the branches and roots as well, although the resin from these parts is not valued highly. In Macedonia they burn the whole of the male larch but only the roots of the female tree. Theopompus wrote that in the territory of the Apolloniates a mineral pitch is found that is not inferior to that of Macedonia. The best pitch is everywhere obtained from trees growing in sunny places with a north-east aspect, whereas that from shady places has a rougher appearance, and presents an offensive odour; and pitch in a cold winter is inferior in quality and less plentiful in quantity, and of a bad colour. Some people think that the liquid obtained in mountain regions is superior in quantity and colour and sweeter, and also has a more agreeable smell, so long as it remains in the state of resin, but that when boiled down it yields less pitch, because it goes off into a watery residue, and that the trees themselves are thinner than those in the plains, but that both the one and the other kinds are less productive in dry weather. Some trees yield a liberal supply in the year after they are cut, whereas others do so a year later and some two years later. The wound fills up with resin, not with bark or by a scab, as in this tree an incision in the bark does not join up.

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§ 16.23.3  Among these classes of trees some people have made a special variety of the sappinus fir, because under the name of this group of trees is grown the kind which we described among the nut-bearing kinds; and the lowest parts of the same tree are called pine-torches, although the tree in question is really only a pitch-pine with its wild character a little modified by cultivation, whereas the sappinus is a timber produced by the mode of felling used, as we shall explain.

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§ 16.24.1  For it is for the sake of their timber that Nature has created the rest of the trees, and the most productive of them all, the ash. This is a lofty, shapely tree, itself also having feathery foliage, and has been rendered extremely famous by the advertisement given it by Homer as supplying the spear of Achilles. The wood of the ash is useful for a great many purposes. The kind grown on Ida in the Troad so closely resembles cedar-wood that when the bark has been removed it deceives buyers. The Greeks have distinguished two kinds of ash-tree, a tall one without knots and the other a short tree with harder and darker wood and foliage like that of the bay-tree. In Macedonia there is a very large ash making very flexible timber, which has the Greek name of 'ox-ash.' Other people have distinguished the ash-tree by locality, as they say that the ash of the plains has a crinkly grain and the mountain ash is close-grained. Greek writers have stated that the leaves of the ash are poisonous to beasts of burden, though doing no harm to all the other kinds of ruminants; but in Italy they are harmless to beasts of burden also. Indeed, they are found to be serviceable as an exceptionally effective antidote for snakebites, if the juice is squeezed out to make a potion and the leaves are applied to the wound as a poultice; and they are so potent that a snake will not come in contact with the shadow of the tree even in the morning or at sunset when it is at its longest, so wide a berth does it give to the tree itself. We can state from actual experiment that if a ring of ash-leaves is put round a fire and a snake, the snake will rather escape into the fire than into the ash-leaves. By a marvellous provision of Nature's kindness the ash flowers before the snakes come out and does not shed its leaves before they have gone into hibernation.

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§ 16.25.1  In the lime-tree the male and the female are entirely different. Not only is the wood of the male lime hard and reddish and knotted and more scented, but also the bark is thicker, and when peeled off cannot be bent; nor does the male tree produce seed or a flower as the female does, and the female is thicker in the trunk and its wood is white and of superior quality. A remarkable fact in regard to the lime is that no animal will touch its fruit, whereas the juice of the leaves and bark has a sweet taste. Between the bark and the wood there are thin coats made by a number of layers of skin, made from which are the ropes called lime-withies, and the thinnest part of them provided lime-chaplets, famous for the ribbons of wreaths of honour in old times. Lime-wood is worm-proof, and it makes useful timber although the tree is of extremely moderate height.

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§ 16.26.1  The maple, which is of about the same size as the lime, is second only to the citrus in its elegance as a material for cabinet-making and in the finish it allows of. It is of several kinds: the white maple, an exceptionally light-coloured wood, is called Gallic maple, and grows in Italy north of the Po, and on the other side of the Alps; the second kind has blotches running in wavy lines, and in its finer variety has received the name of 'peacock maple' from its resemblance to a peacock's tail, the finest sorts growing in Istria and Raetia; and an inferior variety is called the thick-veined maple. The Greeks distinguish the varieties by locality, saying that the maple of the plains is light-coloured and not wavy — this kind they call glinon — but the mountain maple has a rather wavy grain and is harder, the wood of the male tree being still wavier and suitable for making more elegant articles; while a third kind is the hornbeam, a reddish wood that splits easily, with a rough bark of a pale colour. Others prefer to class tins as belonging to a special kind of tree, and give it the Latin name of carpinus.

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§ 16.27.1  But a very beautiful feature of the maple is the growth on it called bruscum, and yet much more remarkable the molluscum, both knots, the former veined in a twistier pattern, while the latter is covered with simpler markings, and if it were large enough for tables to be made of it would undoubtedly be preferred to citrus-wood; but as it is, except for writing-tablets and veneering on couches, it is seldom seen in use. Bruscum is also used for making tables, though they have a darkish colour. A similar growth is also found on the alder, but it is as far inferior to the others as the alder itself is to the maple. The male maple flowers before the female. It must be added that maples grown in dry places are preferred to those in marshes, as is also the case with ash-trees. North of the Alps grows a tree making timber that closely resembles the white ash; its Greek name is the cluster-tree, as it bears pods containing kernels, which taste like a hazel nut.

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§ 16.28.1  But a timber rated in the first rank is that of the box, which is rarely marked with wrinkles and only at the root, the rest of it being smooth; box-wood is esteemed for a certain toughness and hardness and for its pale colour, while the tree itself is valued in ornamental gardening. There are three kinds: the Gallic box, which is trained to shoot up into conical pillars and attains a rather large height; the oleaster, which is condemned for all purposes, and which gives out an unpleasant smell; and a third kind called our native box, a cultivated variety as I believe of the wild box, which spreads more than the others and forms a thick hedge; it is an evergreen, and will stand clipping. The box abounds in the Pyrenees and the Kidros mountains and in the Berecyntus district, and it grows thickest in Corsica, where it bears an objectionable blossom, which causes the bitter taste in Corsican honey; its seed arouses the aversion of all living creatures. The box on Mount Olympus in Macedonia makes as thick a growth as the Corsican, but it is of a low height. Box loves cold and rugged places; also in a fire it is as hard as iron, and is of no use for fuel or charcoal.

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§ 16.29.1  Among these and the fruit-bearing trees a place is given to the elm, because of its timber and the friendship between it and the vine. The Greeks are acquainted with two kinds of elm: the mountain elm which makes the larger growth, and the elm of the plains which grows like a shrub. Italy gives the name of Atinian elm to a very lofty kind (and among these values highest the dry variety, which will not grow in damp places); a second kind it calls the Gallic elm, a third, which has thicker foliage and more leaves growing from the same stalk, the Italian elm, and a fourth, the wild elm. The Atinian elm does not bear samara — that is the name for elm seed — and all the elms are grown from shoots of the roots, but the other kinds also from seed.

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§ 16.30.1  The most notable trees having now been mentioned, some general facts must be pointed out concerning all trees. The cedar, the larch, the torch-pine and the rest of the trees that produce resin love mountains, and so also do the holly, box, holm-oak, juniper, turpentine-tree, poplar, mountain ash and hornbeam; on the Apennines there is also a shrub called the cotinus, famous for supplying a dye for linen cloth that resembles purple. The fir, hard-oak, chestnuts, lime, holm-oak and cornel like mountains and valleys. The maple, ash, service-tree, lime and cherry love mountains watered by springs. The plum, pomegranate, wild olive, walnut, mulberry and elder-trees are not generally found on mountains; and the cornel cherry, hazel, oak, mountain ash, maple, ash, beech, hornbeam come down from the mountains to level ground also, while the elm, apple, pear, bay, myrtle, red cornel, holm-oak and the broom, designed by Nature for dyeing cloth, spread up from the plains to mountain regions as well. The service-tree delights in cold places, but even more the birch. The latter is a Gallic tree, of a remarkable white colour and slenderness, a cause of terror as supplying the magistrates' rods of office; it is also easily bent to make hoops and likewise the ribs of small baskets, and the Gauls extract from it bitumen by boiling. These trees are accompanied into the same regions by the may also, the most auspicious tree for supplying wedding torches, because according to the account of Masurius it was used for that purpose by the shepherds who carried off the Sabine women; but at the present time the hornbeam and the hazel are most usually employed for torches.

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§ 16.31.1  The cypress, walnut, chestnut and laburnum dislike water. The last is another Alpine tree, and is not generally known; its wood is hard and white and its flower, which is half a yard long, bees will not touch. The shrub called Jupiter's beard, used in ornamental gardening and clipped into a round bushy shape, and having a silvery leaf, also dislikes water. Willows, alders, poplars, the silera and the privet, the last extremely useful for making tallies, will only grow in places where there is water, and the same is the ease with the whortleberry, grown in bird-snares in Italy, but in Gaul also to supply purple dye for slaves' clothes. All the trees that are common to the mountains and the plains grow larger and finer to look at when in flat country, but those on the mountains grow better fruit and make timber with a wavier grain, excepting the apples and pears.

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§ 16.32.1  Beside this, some trees shed their leaves but others are evergreen — although before this difference another one has to be mentioned first: some trees are entirely wild, but some being more civilized — as these are the accepted names by which they are distinguished: the latter, kindly trees which render more humane aid by their fruit or some other property and by affording shade, may not improperly be called 'civilized.'

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§ 16.33.1  The trees of the latter class that do not shed their leaves are the olive, laurel, palm, myrtle, cypress, the pines, ivy, rhododendron and savin — though the last may be called a herbaceous plant. The rhododendron, as is shown by its name, comes from the Greeks (another Greek name given it being nerion, and another 'rose-laurel') it is an evergreen that resembles a rose-tree, and throws out shoots from the stems; it is poisonous for cattle and for goats and sheep, but for man it serves as an antidote against the poisons of snakes.

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§ 16.33.2  Trees of the forest class that do not shed their leaves are the fir, larch, wild pine, juniper, cedar, turpentine, box, holm-oak, holly, cork, yew, tamarisk. Between the evergreen and the deciduous classes are the andrachle growing in Greece and the arbutus in all countries, for they shed all their leaves except those on the top of the tree. In the class of shrubs also a kind of cedar, the bramble and the cane do not shed their leaves. In the territory of Thurii, where Sybaris once stood, there was a single oak that was visible from the actual city which never shed its leaves and which did not bud before midsummer; and it is surprising that this fact having been published by Greek authors has never subsequently been mentioned among ourselves. The fact is that the influence of some localities is so great that in the neighbourhood of Memphis in Egypt and at Elephantine in the Thebaid none of the trees shed their leaves, not even the vines.

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§ 16.34.1  All the rest of the trees except those already mentioned — for it would be a lengthy business to enumerate them — shed their leaves; and it has been noticed that the leaves do not wither unless they are thin, broad and soft, whereas the leaves which do not fall off are thick and fleshy and narrow in shape. It is an erroneous classification to say that the trees which do not shed their leaves are those with a more unctuous juice; for who can detect that property in the case of the holm-oak? The mathematician Timaeus thinks that they fall when the sun is passing through Scorpio owing to the strength of that constellation and a certain poison in the air; but then we may justly wonder why the same influence is not operative against all these trees. Most trees shed their leaves in autumn, but some lose them later, and prolong the delay into the winter; and it makes no difference if they budded earlier, inasmuch as some trees are the first to bud and among the last to be stripped of their leaves, for instance almonds, ash-trees, elders, whereas the mulberry is the latest to bud and one of the first to shed its leaves. The soil also has a great influence in this matter: the leaves fall earlier on dry, thin soils, and earlier with an old tree, in many cases even before the fruit can ripen, for instance, in the case of the late fig and the winter pear and apple, and with the pomegranate the fruit is the only thing visible on the parent tree. But not even with the trees that always keep their foliage do the same leaves last on with others shooting up beneath them — when this happens the old leaves wither away, this occurring mostly about the solstices.

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§ 16.35.1  Each of the trees in its own kind has a permanent uniformity of leaf, with the exception of the poplar, the ivy and the croton (which, as we have said, is also called the cici). There are three kinds of poplars, the white, the black and the one called the leaf and which is very famous for the mushrooms Libyan poplar, which has a very small and very dark that grow on it. The white poplar has a leaf of two colours, white on the upper side and green underneath. With this tree and the black poplar and the croton the leaves are exactly circular when young but project into angles when older; whereas the leaves of the ivy are angular at first but become round. From the leaves of the white poplar springs out a quantity of shiny white down, and when the foliage is specially thick the trees are white all over like fleeces. Pomegranate and almond trees have reddish leaves.

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§ 16.36.1  An exceptionally remarkable thing occurs in the case of the elm, lime, olive, white poplar and willow: after midsummer their leaves turn right round, and no other indication shows with greater certainty that the season is finished. Also their leaves contain in themselves a variation that is common to all foliage: the under surface, towards the ground, is of a bright grass-green colour, and on the same side they are comparatively smooth, while on their upper part they have sinews and hard skin and articulations, but creases underneath like the human hand. The leaves of the olive are whiter and not so smooth on the upper side, and ivy-leaves the same. But the leaves of all trees open out every day towards the sun, as if intending their under side to be warmed. The upper side of all leaves has however small an amount of down upon it, which in some countries serves for wool.

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§ 16.37.1  We have said that in the east palm-leaves are used for making strong ropes, and that these are made specially serviceable for use in water. Indeed with us also the leaves are plucked from the palms after harvest, the better ones being those that have no divisions in them, and are put to dry indoors for a period of four days and then spread out in the sun, being left out at night as well, until they dry a bright white colour, and afterwards they are split for use in manufacture.

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§ 16.38.1  The fig, vine and plane have very broad leaves and the myrtle, pomegranate and olive narrow ones; those of the pine and cedar are like hairs, those of the holly and one kind of holm-oak prickly — indeed the juniper has a spine instead of a leaf. The leaves of the cypress and tamarisk are fleshy, those of the alder extremely thick, those of the reed and willow are long and the leaves of the palm are also double; those of the pear rounded, those of the apple pointed, those of the ivy angular, those of the plane divided, those of the pitch-pine and fir separated like the teeth of a comb, those of the hard oak crinkly all round the edge, those of the bramble have a prickly skin. In some plants the leaves sting, for instance nettles; those of the pine, pitch-pine, fir, larch, cedar and the hollies are prickly; those of the olive and holm-oak have a short stalk, those of the vine a long one, those of the poplar a stalk that quivers, and poplars are the only trees on which the leaves rustle against one another. Again, in one kind of the apple class there are small leaves even on the fruit itself, shooting out from the middle of the apples, sometimes even pairs of leaves; and moreover with some trees the leaves shoot round the boughs, but with others also at the tip of the boughs, and with the hard oak also on the trunk. Also leaves grow either dense or thinly spread, and broad leaves are always scantier. In the case of the myrtle they are arranged regularly, with the box they curve over, on fruit trees they have no arrangement, on the apple and the pear several shoot from the same stalk; the leaves of the elm and the cytisus are covered with branching veins. With these Cato includes the leaves of the poplar and oak when they have fallen, advising that they should be given to animals before they have become quite dry, and indeed that the leaves of the fig and holm-oak and also ivy-leaves should be fed to oxen; they are also given the leaves of the reed and the laurel. The service-tree sheds its leaves all at once, but all the other trees lose them gradually. — And so much on the subject of leaves.

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§ 16.39.1  The following is the order which Nature observes throughout the year. First comes fertilization, taking place when the west wind begins to blow, which is generally from February the 8th. This wind impregnates the creatures that derive life from the earth — indeed in Spain even the mares, as we have stated: this is the generating breath of the universe, its name Favonius being derived, as some have supposed, from fovere, 'to foster.' It blows from due west and marks the beginning of spring. Country people call it the cubbing season, as Nature is longing to receive the seeds; and when she brings life to all the seeds sown, they conceive in a varying number of days and each according to its nature, some immediately, as is the case with animals, while some do so more slowly and carry their progeny for a longer period of gestation, and the process is consequently called 'germination.' When a plant flowers it may be said to give birth, and the flower produced makes its appearance by bursting the capsules; the process of its upbringing takes place in the fruit stage. This and the process of budding are the trees' labour;

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§ 16.40.1  the blossom is the token of full spring and of the rebirth of the year. — The blossom is the trees' rejoicing: it is then that they show themselves new creatures and transformed from what they really are, it is then that they quite revel in rivalling each other with the varied hues of their colouring. But to many of them this is denied, for they do not all blossom, and some of them are sombre and incapable of enjoying the delights of the seasons; the holm-oak, the pitch-pine, the larch and the pine do not bedeck themselves with any blossom or announce the yearly birthdays of their fruit by a many-coloured harbinger, nor yet do the cultivated and the wild fig, for they produce their fruit straight away instead of a blossom, and in the case of the fig it is also remarkable that there are abortive fruits that never ripen. The juniper also does not blossom — though some writers record two kinds of juniper, one of which flowers but does not bear, and one which does not flower but does bear, its berries coming to birth immediately, which remain on the tree for two years; but this is a mistake, and all the junipers present the same gloomy aspect always. Similarly, the fortunes of many human beings also lack a flowering season.

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§ 16.41.1  All trees however produce buds, even those which do not blossom. There is also a great difference between localities, inasmuch as of the same kind of tree those growing in marshy places bud earlier, those on the plains next and those in woods last of all; but taking them separately the wild pear buds earlier than the rest, the cornel buds when the west wind begins to blow, next the laurel, and a little before the equinox the lime and maple — while among the earliest trees to flower are the poplar, elm, willow, alder and the nuts; the plane also buds quickly. The other trees bud when spring is about to begin, the holly, terebinth, Christ's thorn, chestnut and the acorn-bearing trees, while the apple is a late budder, and the cork buds latest of all. Some trees bud twice, owing to excessive fertility of soil or the allurement of agreeable weather, and this occurs to a greater degree with the young blades of cereals, although in trees excessive budding tends to exhaust the sap; but some trees have other buddings by nature, in addition to that which takes place in spring, these being settled by their own constellations (an account of which will be given more appropriately in the next volume but one after this) — a winter budding at the rising of Aquila, a summer one at the rising of the Dog-star and a third at the rising of Arcturus. Some people think that the two latter buddings are common to all trees, but that they are most noticeable in the fig, the vine and the pomegranate; and they explain this as due to the fact that those are the times when there is the most abundant crop of figs in Thessaly and Macedonia; although this explanation holds good most clearly in Egypt. Also whereas the rest of the trees, as soon as they have begun to bud, keep on budding continuously, the hard-oak, the fir and the larch divide the process into three parts and produce their buds in three batches; consequently they also shed scales of bark three times, a process which occurs in all trees during germination because the bark of the pregnant tree is burst open. But their first budding is at the beginning of spring and takes about a fortnight, while they bud for the second time when the sun is passing through the Twins, with the consequence that the first shoots are seen to be pushed up by those that follow, the growth being attached by a joint. The third budding period of the same trees, which starts from midsummer, is the shortest, and does not take more than a week; and on this occasion also the jointing on the tips as they grow out is clearly visible. Only the vine buds twice, first when it puts forth a cluster and then when it spreads it out. Those species which do not blossom only produce shoots and mature them. Some blossom at once during the process of budding, and are quick in the blossom but slow in ripening, for instance the vine; some blossom with a late budding and ripen quickly, for instance the mulberry, which buds the latest among cultivated trees and only when the cold weather is over, owing to which it has been called the wisest of the trees; but when its budding has begun it breaks out all over the tree so completely that it is completed in a single night with a veritable crackling.

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§ 16.42.1  Of the trees that we have spoken of as budding in winter at the rising of Aquila, the almond blossoms first of all, in the month of January, while in March it develops its fruit. The next to flower after the almond is the Armenian plum, then the jujube and the early peach — these exotic trees and forced; the first to flower in the order of nature are, of forest trees, the elder, which has a great deal of pith, and the male cornel, which has none; and of cultivated trees the apple, and a little afterwards, so that they can be seen blossoming simultaneously, the pear, the cherry and the plum. These are followed by the laurel, and that by the cypress, and then the pomegranate and the figs. When these are already flowering the vines and the olives also bud, and their sap rises at the rising of the Pleiades — that is their constellation, whereas the vine flowers at midsummer, and also the olive, which begins a little later. All begin to shed their blossom not sooner than a week after flowering, and some more slowly, but none more than a fortnight later, and all well within the 8th of July, anticipated by the trade-winds.

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§ 16.43.1  In the case of some trees the fruit does not follow immediately. The cornel produces its fruit about midsummer; it is at first white and afterwards blood-red. The female of the same kind bears its berries after autumn; they are sour and no animal will touch them; also its wood is spongy and of no use, although the timber of the male tree is one of the strongest and hardest there is, so great is the difference caused by sex in the same kind of tree. The terebinth and also the maple and the ash produce their seed at harvest time, but nut-trees, apples and pears, excepting winter or early varieties, in the autumn, and the acorn-bearing trees still later, at the setting of the Pleiades, the winter oak only in autumn, while some kinds of apple and pear and the cork-tree fruit at the beginning of winter. The fir flowers with a saffron-coloured blossom about midsummer and produces its seed after the setting of the Pleiades; but the pine and the pitch-pine come before it in budding by about a fortnight, though they themselves also drop their seed after the Pleiades.

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§ 16.44.1  Citrus-trees and the juniper and the holm-oak are classed as bearing all the year round, and on these trees the new crop of fruit hangs along with that of the previous year. The pine, however, is the most remarkable, as it carries both fruit that is beginning to ripen and that which will ripen in the following year and also in the year after next. Also no tree reproduces itself with more eagerness: within a month of a cone being plucked from it another cone is ripening in the same place, an arrangement which ensures that there are cones ripening in every single month of the year. Pine-cones that split while still on the tree are called azaniae, and if they are not removed they injure the rest of the crop.

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§ 16.45.1  The only trees that bear no fruit — I mean not even seed — are the tamarisk, which is of no use except for making brooms, the poplar, the alder, the Atinian elm and the alaternus, the leaves of which are between those of the holm-oak and the olive; but trees that never grow from seed nor bear fruit are considered to be unlucky and under a curse. Cremutius states that the tree from which Phyllis hanged herself is never green. People open gum-producing trees after they have budded, but the gum does not thicken until after the fruit has been removed.

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§ 16.46.1  Sapling trees have no fruit as long as they are growing. The trees most liable to lose their fruit before it ripens are the palm, the fig, the almond, the apple and the pear, and also the pomegranate, which excessive dew and frost cause to lose its flower as well. In consequence of this people bend down its branches, lest if they shoot straight upright they may receive and retain the moisture which is injurious to them. The pear and almond lose their blossom even if it does not rain but a south wind sets in or the sky is cloudy, and if that sort of weather has prevailed after they have shed their blossom, they lose their first fruit. But it is the willow that loses its seed most quickly, before it approaches ripeness at all. This is the reason why Homer gives it the epithet 'fruit-losing'; but succeeding ages have interpreted the meaning of the word in the light of its own wicked conduct, inasmuch as it is well known that willow seed taken as a drug produces barrenness in a woman. But Nature, showing her foresight in this matter also, has been rather careless about bestowing seed on a tree that is propagated easily even a planted sprig. It is said however that one variety of willow usually carries its seed till it ripens; this grows on the island of Crete just by the path coming down from the Cave of Jupiter; it has a hard woody seed of the size of a chick-pea.

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§ 16.47.1  Some trees are rendered barren by a fault in the locality, for instance the forest of Cende on Paros, which bears nothing; and the peach-trees on Rhodes only produce blossom. This peculiarity is also caused by sex, as in the kinds of trees of which the males do not bear; though some people reverse this and assert that it is the male trees that bear. Another cause of barrenness is thick growth of leaves.

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§ 16.48.1  Some trees producing fruit bear it both of on the sides and at the end of their branches, for instance the pear, the pomegranate, the fig and the myrtle. In other respects they have the same nature as cereal plants, for in their case also the ear grows at the tip of the stalks, whereas beans grow on the sides. The palm-tree alone, as has been stated, has its fruit, enclosed in spathes, hanging down in bunches.

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§ 16.49.1  The remaining trees have their fruit underneath their leaves for its protection, except the fig, the leaf of which is very large and gives a great deal of shade, and because of this the fruit hangs above the leaves. The fig is also the only tree whose leaf forms later than the fruit. A remarkable thing reported in the case of a certain kind of fig-tree found in Cilicia and Cyprus and on the mainland of Greece is that the figs grow underneath the leaves, but the abortive fruit that does not mature forms after the leaves have grown. The fig-tree also produces an early crop of fruit, called at Athens 'forerunners,' especially in the Spartan variety. In the same class of fruit-trees there are some that bear two crops,

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§ 16.50.1  and on the island of Cos the wild figs bear three, the first eliciting a following crop and the following crop a third one. It is this last crop that is used in the process of caprification. But in the wild fig also the fruit grows at the back of the leaves. Among the apples and the pears there are some that bear two crops a year, as also there are some early varieties. The wild apple bears twice, its second crop coming after the rising of Arcturus, especially in sunny localities. There are indeed vines that actually bear three crops, which consequently people call 'mad vines,' because on these some grapes are ripening while others are just beginning to swell and other bunches are only in flower. Marcus Varro states that there once was a vine at the temple of the Mother of the Gods in Smyrna that bore three times a year, and an apple tree in the district of Cosenza that did the same. But this regularly occurs in the district of Tacupe in Africa (about which we shall say more in another place), such is the fertility of the soil. The cypress also bears three times, for its berries are gathered in January, May and September, and those of each crop are of a different size. But also in the trees themselves, even when laden with fruit, there is a difference between different kinds: the arbutus and the oak bear more fruit in their upper part and the walnut and the marisca fig on their lower branches. All trees bear earlier the older they grow, and bear earlier in sunny places and on a thin soil; all wild trees are later, some of them never ripening their fruit at all. Similarly trees that have the earth underneath them ploughed or broken up ripen their fruit quicker than ones that are not attended to; those so treated also bear larger crops.

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§ 16.51.1  Moreover there is another difference, connected with age. Almond-trees and pears have the largest crops in their old age, as also do the acorn-bearing trees and one kind of fig, but all the other fruit-trees when young and when ripening more slowly; and this is especially noticeable in the case of vines, for the older vines make better wine and the young ones give a larger quantity. The apple however grows old very quickly and in its old age bears inferior fruit, as the apples it produces are smaller and liable to be worm-eaten, the worms being also generated on the tree itself. The fig is the only one of all the trees grown that is given a ding to assist its ripening — truly a portentous thing, that greater prices are paid for fruit out of season. But all fruit-trees that bear their fruit before the proper time grow old prematurely; indeed some die at once when the weather has lured them to surrender their whole stock of fertility, a thing that happens most of all to vines. The mulberry, on the other hand, grows old very slowly, being very little exhausted by its crop; and also the trees whose timber has wrinkled markings age slowly, for instance the palm, the maple and the poplar. Also trees grow old more quickly when the earth under them is ploughed, whereas forest trees age very slowly. Consequently trees carefully tended blossom earlier and bud earlier, and are in advance of the season generally; and in general all attention adds fertility, while fertility advances old age, because every weakness is rendered more subject to the weather.

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§ 16.52.1  Many trees grow several products, as we said in the case of acorn-bearing trees. Among them, the laurel bears its own grapes, and especially the barren laurel, which produces nothing else, and which is consequently thought by some people to be the male tree. Hazels also bear catkins of a hard, compact shape, which are of no use for any purpose; but the holm-oak produces the greatest number of things, for it grows both its own seed and the grain called crataegus, and mistletoe grows on the north side of the tree and hyphear on the south side — we shall say more about these a little later — and occasionally the trees have all four of these things together.

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§ 16.53.1  Some trees are of simple shape, having one stem rising from the root and a number of branches, as the olive, fig and vine; some belong to the bushy class, as the Christ's thorn and the myrtle, and also the hazel — in fact this bears better and more abundant nuts when it spreads out into many branches. Some trees have no branches at all, for instance the box of the cultivated variety and the foreign lotus. Some trees are forked, and even branch out into five parts, some divide the trunk but have no branches, as is the case with the elder, and some are undivided and have branches, like the pitch-pines. Some have their branches in a regular order, for instance the pitch-pine, the fir, with others their arrangement is irregular, as with the oak, apple and pear. Also in the case of the fir the branching is nearly vertical and the boughs project upward towards the sky, and do not slope down sideways. It is a remarkable thing that this tree dies if the tops of the branches are lopped, but survives if they are cut off entirely from the trunk; also should the trunk be cut off below where the branches were, what remains lives, whereas if only the top be removed the whole tree dies. Some trees branch out from the root up, like the elm, others throw out boughs only at the top, like the pine and the Greek bean-tree, which at Rome they call the lotus because of the sweetness of its fruit, which although growing wild almost resembles cherries. The exuberance of its branches makes it specially in request for houses, as they grow on a short main stem and spread out with a very wide expanse of shade, often leaping across to the neighbouring mansions. No shady foliage is more short-lived, and the branches do not take away the sun, their leaves falling in winter. No trees have bark that is more agreeable or attractive to look at, and none have branches that are longer and stouter or more numerous, so that they might be described as being themselves so many trees. Their bark serves for staining hides and their root for dyeing wool. Apple trees have branches of a peculiar kind, resembling the muzzles of wild animals, several smaller boughs being attached to one very large one.

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§ 16.54.1  Some branches are without eyes and do not form buds, this being a natural consequence of their not having fully developed, or else a penalty when a scar inflicted in pruning has blunted their powers. In a vine the eye and in a reed the joint contain the same nature that trees which spread out have in their branch. With all trees the parts nearest the pound are thicker. The fir, the larch, the palm, the cypress, the elm and all the trees with a single trunk make their growth in the direction of height. Among the branching trees the cherry is found making timbers as much as 20 yards long and a yard thick for the whole length. Some trees spread out into branches at once, for example apples.

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§ 16.55.1  The bark of some trees is thin, as in the laurel and the lime, that of others thick, as in the oak; in some it is smooth, as in the apple and the fig, but it is rough in the oak and the palm, and in all trees it becomes more wrinkled in old age. With certain trees, for instance the vine, it bursts of its own accord, while certain others actually shed their bark, for instance the apple and the arbutus. The bark of the cork-tree and the poplar is fleshy, that of the vine and the reed is like a skin; in the cherry it resembles the layers of the papyrus; the skin of the vine, the lime and the fir consists of a number of coats, but in some cases it is a single layer, for instance in the fig and the reed.

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§ 16.56.1  There is also a great difference in the roots of trees: those of the fig, the hard-oak and the plane are abundant, those of the apple short and thin, those of the fir and larch single, as these trees are supported by a single root, although it throws out small fibres laterally. The roots of the laurel are rather thick and of uneven shape, and the same with the olive, the roots of which also form branches, but those of the hard-oak are fleshy. Hard-oaks drive their roots down deep, indeed the winter oak, at all events if we believe Virgil, goes down as deep with. its root as it projects upward with its trunk. The olive and apple and cypresses spread their roots through the top layer of the turf, in some cases shooting straight out, as with the laurel and olive, and in other cases winding about, as with the fig. This tree bristles with fine filaments, as also do the fir and a number of forest trees, from which the mountain people pluck extremely thin threads and plait them into handsome flasks and other vessels. Some people have stated that the roots of trees do not go down deeper than the warmth of the sun's heat can reach, and this according to the nature of the soil, whether rather thin or heavy; but I think that this is incorrect, as it is certainly found in the authorities that when a fir-tree was transplanted it measured four yards in depth, though it had not been dug up whole but had been broken off. The root of the citrus-wood tree is the largest in extent and abundance, and next to it those of the plane, the hard-oak and the acorn-bearing trees. Some trees have a root that is more tenacious of life than the part above ground, for instance the laurel; and accordingly, when it has withered in the trunk, if it is cut back it shoots again even more vigorously. Some people think that trees grow old more quickly owing to having short roots, but this is disproved by fig-trees, which have very long roots and grow old very quickly. I also consider false a statement that has been made by some persons, to the effect that the roots of trees become smaller with age, for an aged oak when overturned by a violent storm has been seen to embrace a Roman acre of ground.

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§ 16.57.1  It is a common occurrence for fallen trees often to be replaced and to come back to life again owing to the earth forming a sort of scab over the wound. This is most common with plane trees, which hold a very large quantity of wind because of the density of their branches, which are lopped to relieve the trees of the weight and the trees are then replanted in their own hole; and this has before now also been done in the case of walnuts and olives and a number of other trees. There are also many cases of trees having fallen even without a storm or any other cause except one of a miraculous nature and having risen up again of their own accord. This portent occurred to the citizens of the Roman nation during the Cimbrian wars in the case of an elm in the grove of Juno at Nocera, actually after its top had been lopped off because it was leaning forward right on to the altar; the tree was restored of its own accord so completely that it at once flowered, and from that date onward the majesty of the Roman people recovered, after having previously been ravaged by disasters in war. It is recorded that this also happened at Philippi with a willow that had fallen down and had been severed from its trunk, and at Stagira with a white poplar in the shrine of the Muses, all of these occurrences being of good omen. But most wonderful of all, a plane-tree at Antandros recovered of its own accord and was restored to life even after its sides had been rough-hewn all round, a tree 22 1/2 feet high and 6 feet thick.

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§ 16.58.1  Those trees which we owe to Nature grow in three ways, spontaneously or by seed or from a root. More numerous artificial methods have come into existence, about which we shall speak in the volume given to the subject; for at the present our whole discourse is about Nature, so memorable for her manifold and marvellous methods. In fact, we have shown that not all trees will grow in all places, or live if removed from one place to another; this is due in some cases to antipathy, in others to obstinacy, more frequently to the weakness of the specimens transplanted, because in some cases the climate is unfavourable and in others the soil is incompatible.

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§ 16.59.1  Balm of Gilead disdains to grow elsewhere, and a citron grown in Assyria will not bear elsewhere; and likewise the palm also will not grow everywhere or, even if it does grow, bear fruit, or else even when it has made a promise and a show of bearing, refuses to mature the fruit, seeming to have given birth to it against its will. The cinnamon shrub has not the strength to travel to the neighbourhood of Syria. The delicate perfumes of amomum and nard cannot endure to travel out of India and be conveyed by sea even as far as Arabia — an attempt to import them was made by King Seleucus. What is most surprising is that although the trees themselves can usually be persuaded to live and to bear transplantation, and occasionally even the soil will grant the request to nourish foreigners and give food to immigrants, the climate is absolutely unrelenting. The pepper-tree will live in Italy, and the casia-plant even in a northern region, and the incense-tree has been known to live in Lydia, but where are we to get the sunshine that sucks all the juice out of these plants or ripens the drops of essence that they shed? It is nearly as surprising that Nature may alter in the same localities and yet retain a hundred percent of her vigour. She had bestowed the cedar on the regions of torrid heat, but it in the mountains of Lycia and Phrygia. She had made cold unfriendly to but no tree is more frequent on Mount Olympus. In the city of Kertch in the neighbourhood of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, King Mithridates and the rest of the natives had toiled in every way to have the laurel and the myrtle, at all events for ritual purposes, but they did not succeed, although trees belonging to a mild climate abound there, pomegranates and figs, as well as apples and pears that win the highest praise. In the same region Nature has not produced the trees that belong to cold climates — pine, fir and pitch-pine. And what is the point of our going abroad to the Black Sea? In the actual neighbourhood of Rome chestnuts and cherries only grow with reluctance, and the peach-tree round Tusculum, and almonds are laboriously grown from graft, although Tarracina teems with whole woods of them.

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§ 16.60.1  The cypress is an exotic, and has been one of the most difficult trees to rear, seeing that Cato has written about it at greater length and more often than about all the other trees, as stubborn to grow, of no use for fruit, with berries that cause a wry face, a bitter leaf, and a pungent smell: not even its shade agreeable and its timber scanty, so that it almost belongs to the class of shrubs; consecrated to Dis, and consequently placed at the doors of houses as a sign of mourning. The female bears seed but the male is sterile. For a long time past merely owing to its pyramidal appearance it was not rejected just for the purpose of marking the rows in vineyards, but nowadays it is clipped and made into thick walls or evenly rounded off with trim slenderness, and it is even made to provide the representations of the landscape gardener's work, arraying hunting scenes or fleets of ships and imitations of real objects with its narrow, short, evergreen leaf. There are two kinds of cypress: the pyramid, tapering upward in a spiral, which is also called the female cypress, and the male cypress which spreads its branches outward from itself, and is pruned and used as a prop for a vine. Both the male and the female are allowed to grow up so as by having their branches lopped off to form poles or props, which after twelve years' growth sell for a denarius apiece, a grove of cypresses being a most profitable item in one's plantation account; and people in old days used commonly to call cypress nurseries a dowry for a daughter. The native country of this tree is the island of Crete, although Cato calls it Taranto cypress, no doubt because that place was where it was first imported. In the island of Ischia also, if cut down, it will shoot up again; but in Crete this tree is produced by spontaneous generation wherever anybody stirs the earth, and shoots out at once, in this case in fact even without any demand being made of the soil and of its own accord, and especially in the mountains of Ida and those called the White Mountains, and in the greatest number on the very summits of the peaks that are never free from snow, which may well surprise us, as the tree does not occur elsewhere except in a warm climate and has a great dislike for snow.

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§ 16.61.1  Nor is only the nature of the soil important in relation to these trees, or the permanent character of the weather, but also a certain temporary influence that it exerts: showers of rain usually bring with them certain seeds, and seeds of a certain kind stream down, occasionally even some of an unknown kind, which happened in the district of Cyrenaica, when laser first grew there, as we shall say in the section dealing with herbaceous plants. Also near that city a shower of thick, pitchy rain caused a wood to grow up.

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§ 16.62.1  It is said that ivy now grows in Asia Minor. Theophrastus about 314 BC. had stated that it did not grow there, nor yet in India except on Mount Meros, and indeed that Harpalus had used every effort to grow it in Media without success, while Alexander had come back victorious from India with his army wearing wreaths of ivy, because of its rarity, in imitation of Father Liber; and it is even now used at solemn festivals among the peoples of Thrace to decorate the wands of that god, and also the worshippers' helmets and shields, although it is injurious to all trees and plants and destructive to tombs and walls, and very agreeable to chilly snakes, so that it is surprising that any honour has been paid to it.

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§ 16.62.2  There are two primary kinds of ivy, as of the rest of the plants, the male and the female. The male is said to have the larger stem and leaf, which also are harder and have more sap, and so it also has a larger flower, approaching purple in colour; but the flower of both male and female resembles the wild rose, except that it has no scent. These kinds each comprise three species, for ivy is white or black and a third species is called helix. Moreover these species divide into others, since one kind only has white fruit but another has a white leaf as well; also in some of those bearing white fruit the berry is closely packed and rather large, hanging in round bunches which are called 'clusters,' and also Silenici when the berry is smaller and the bunch less compact — as similarly occurs in the black variety. Also one kind has a black seed and another a seed of the colour of saffron; the latter ivy is used by poets for their wreaths, and its leaves are not so dark in colour; some people call it Nysian ivy and others Bacchic ivy, and it has the largest clusters of all the black ivies. Some people among the Greeks also make two classes of this variety, depending on the colour of the berries — red-berry ivy and golden-fruit ivy.

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§ 16.62.3  But it is the helix which has most varieties of all, as it differs very greatly in leaf. The leaves are small and angular and of a rather elegant shape, whereas those of the remaining kinds are plain and simple. It differs also in the distance between the joints, but particularly in its infertility, as it does not bear any fruit. Some people think that this is a matter of age and not of kind, and that the plant begins as a helix and becomes an ivy when it gets old. This is seen to be a clear mistake on their part, inasmuch as we find several more kinds of helix, but three that are most noticeable — the grass-green helix which is the commonest, a second kind with a white leaf, and a third kind with a variegated leaf, which is called Thracian ivy. Moreover there is a grass-ivy with rather narrow and symmetrically arranged and rather thickly growing leaves, and in another variety all these points are different; also in the variegated ivy one variety has narrower leaves arranged in a similar way and clustering more thickly, and another variety entirely lacking these features, and also the leaves are either larger or smaller, and differ in the arrangement of their markings; and in the white ivy in some cases the leaves are whiter than in others. The grass-green ivy grows the longest shoots; but it is the white ivy that kills trees, and by taking from them all their sap grows so thick a stalk as itself to become a tree. Its characteristics are very large, very broad leaves, fat stiff buds, which in the other kinds are bent, and clusters standing up erect; and although in every kind of ivy the arms take root, yet this kind has the most spreading and powerful arms, those of the black ivy coming next. But it is a peculiarity of the white ivy that it throws out arms among the middle of its leaves, with which it always embraces things on either side, this being the case even on walls, although it is unable to go round them. Consequently even though it is cut apart at several places nevertheless it lives and lasts on, and it has as many points to strike root with as it has arms, which make it safe and solid while it sucks and strangles trees. There is also a difference in the fruit of the white and the black ivy, since in some cases it is so bitter that birds will not touch it.

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§ 16.62.4  There is also a stiff ivy, which is the only kind that will stand without a prop, and which consequently has the name in Greek of 'straight ivy'; while on the other hand the one called in Greek 'ground-ivy' is never found except creeping on the ground.

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§ 16.63.1  Resembling ivy is the plant called smilax, which first came from Cilicia, but is now more common in Greece; it has thick jointed stalks and thorny branches that make it a kind of shrub; the leaf resembles that of the ivy, but is small and has no corners, and throws out tendrils from its stalk; the flower is white and has the scent of a lily. It bears clusters of berries like those of the wild vine, not of the ivy; they are red in colour, and the larger ones enclose three hard black stones but the smaller a single stone. This plant is unlucky to use at all sacred rites and for wreaths, because it has a mournful association, a maiden named Smilax having been turned into a smilax shrub because of her love for a youth named Crocus. The common people not knowing this usually pollute their festivals with it because they think that it is ivy; just as in the case of the poets or Father Liber or Silenus, who wear wreaths made of who in the world knows what?

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§ 16.63.2  Smilax is used for making tablets; it is a peculiarity of this wood to give out a slight sound when placed to one's ear. It is said that ivy has a remarkable property for testing wines, inasmuch as a vessel made of its wood allows wine to pass through it, water that has been mixed with the wine stops in the vessel.

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§ 16.64.1  Among the plants that like cold conditions it may also be proper to have the aquatic shrubs mentioned. The primacy among these will be held by the reeds, which are indispensable for the practices of war and of peace and are also acceptable for our amusement. The northern peoples thatch their homes with reeds, and roofs of this kind last for ages, while in other parts of the world as well reeds also provide very light ceilings for rooms. And reeds serve as pens for writing on paper, especially Egyptian reeds owing to their kinship as it were with the papyrus; although the reeds of Cnidus and those that grow round the Anaetic lake in Asia are more esteemed. Those of our country have a more fungous substance underneath the surface, made of spongy cartilage which has a hollow structure inside and a thin, dry, woody surface, and easily breaks into splinters which always have an extremely sharp edge. For the rest it is of a slender appearance, jointed and divided with knots and tapering gradually off to the top with a rather thick tuft of hair, which also is not without value, as it either serves instead of feathers to stuff the beds of innkeepers, or in places where it grows very hard and woody in structure, as in Belgium, it is pounded up and inserted between the joints of ships to caulk the seams, holding better than glue and being more reliable for filling cracks than pitch.

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§ 16.65.1  The peoples of the East employ reeds in making war; by means of reeds with a feather added to them. They hasten the approach of death, and to reeds they add points which deal wounds with their barb that cannot be extracted, and if the weapon itself breaks in the wound, another weapon is made out of it. With these weapons they obscure the very rays of the sun, and this is what chiefly makes them want calm weather and hate wind and rain, which compel the combatants to keep peace between them. And if anybody should make a rather careful reckoning of the Ethiopians, Egyptians, Arabs, Indians, Scythians and Bactrians, and the numerous races of the Sarmatians and of the East, and all the realms of the Parthians, almost one-half of mankind in the whole world lives subject to the sway of the reed. It was outstanding skill in this employment of the reed in Crete that made her warriors famous; but in this also, as in all other things, Italy has won the victory, as no reed is more suitable for arrows than that which grows in the river at Bononia, the Reno, which contains the largest amount of pith and has a good flying weight and a balance that offers a sturdy resistance even to gusts of wind — an attraction which does not belong in the same degree to the shafts grown in Belgium. The reeds of Crete also have the same valuable property, although those from India are placed highest of all, some people believing that they belong to a different species, as with the addition of points they also serve the purpose of lances. The Indian bamboo indeed is of the size of a tree, as we see in the case of the specimens frequently found in our temples. The Indians say that in this plant also there is a difference between males and females, the male having a more compact body and the female a bulkier one. And a single length between knots, if we can believe it, will actually serve as a boat. The bamboo grows especially on the banks of the river Chenab.

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§ 16.65.2  Every kind of reed makes a great many stems from one root, and when it is cut down it grows again even more prolifically. The root is by nature very tenacious of life; it as well as the stem is jointed. Only the Indian bamboo has short leaves, but in all the reeds the leaves sprout from a knot and wrap the stem all round with coats of thin tissue, and at a point halfway between two knots usually cease to clothe the stems and droop forward. The reed and the cane though round have two sides, with a series of shoots thrown out above the knots alternately, so that one forms on the right side and then another at the next joint above on the left, turn and turn about. From these sometimes grow branches, which are themselves slender canes.

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§ 16.66.1  There are, however, several varieties of reed. One is rather compact and has joints closer together, with short spaces between them, while another has them farther apart with larger spaces between them, and is also thinner in itself. But another kind of cane is hollow for its whole length; its Greek name means the flute-reed, and it is very useful for making flutes because it contains no pith and no fleshy substance. The Orchomenus cane has a passage right through even the knots, and is called in Greek the pipe-reed; this is more suitable for flageolets, as the preceding kind is for flutes. There is another reed the wood of which is thicker and the passage narrow; this reed is entirely filled with spongy pith. Reeds are of various lengths and thickness. The one called the donax throws out most shoots; it only grows in watery places — inasmuch as this also constitutes a difference, a reed growing in dry places being much preferred. The reed used as an arrow is a special kind, as we have said, but the Cretan variety has the longest intervals between the knots, and when heated allows itself to be bent in any direction you please. Also differences are made by the leaves, which vary not only in number and length but also in colour. The Laconian reed has spotted leaves, and throws out a greater number at the bottom of the stalk, as is thought to be the case with reeds in general that grow round marshy pools, which are different from river reeds, being draped with long leaves climbing upward and embracing the stem for a considerable distance above the knot. There is also a slanting reed which does not shoot upward to any height but spreads itself out close to the ground like a shrub; it is very attractive to animals when young and tender, and is called by some people the cletia. Also in Italy there is a growth, found in marsh-reeds, only coming out of the outer skin just below the tuft, named adarca, which is very beneficial for the teeth, as it has the same pungency as mustard.

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§ 16.66.2  The admiration expressed in old days for the reed-beds of the Lake of Orchomenus compels me to speak about them in greater detail. The Greek name for a rather thick, stronger kind of reed used to be 'fence-reed,' and for a more slender variety 'plaiting reed,' the latter growing in islands floating on the water and the former on the banks overflowed by the lake. The third is the flageolet reed — 'pipe-reed' used to be the Greek name for it. This took eight years to grow, as the lake also regularly took that space of time in rising, it being thought to be a bad omen if ever it continued at its full height two years longer, a thing that was marked by the fatal Athenian battle at Chaeronea. Not far off is Lebadea ... is called the Cephisus flowing into it. When therefore the flooding has continued for a year, the reeds grow even to a size suitable for purposes of fowlink: these used to be called in Greek 'yoke-reeds'; on the other hand those growing when the flood goes down sooner were called 'silky reeds,' with a thin stalk, those with a broader and whiter leaf being distinguished by the name of 'female reeds,' and those with only a small amount of down or none at all being called 'eunuchs.' These supplied the instruments for glorious music, though mention must also not be omitted of the further remarkable trouble required to grow them, so that excuse may be made for the present-day preference for musical instruments of silver. Down to the time of the flautist Antigenides, when a simple style of music was still practised, the reeds used to be regarded as ready for cutting after the rising of Arcturus. When thus prepared the reeds began to be fit for use a few years later, though even then the actual flutes needed maturing with a great deal of practice, and educating to sing of themselves, with the tongues pressing themselves down, which was more serviceable for the theatrical fashions then prevailing. But after variety came into fashion, and luxury even in music, the reeds began to be cut before midsummer and made ready for use in three years, their tongues being wider open to modulate the sounds, and these continue to the present day. But at that time it was firmly believed that only a tongue cut from the same reed as the pipe in each ease would do, and that one taken from just above the root was suitable for a left-hand flute and one from just below the top for a right-hand flute; and reeds that had been washed by the waters of Cephisus itself were rated as immeasurably superior. At the present time the flutes used by the Tuscans in religious ritual are made of box-wood, but those for theatrical performances are made of lotus and asses' bones and silver. The reeds most approved for fowling come from Palermo, and those to make fishing-rods are from Abarsa in Africa.

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§ 16.67.1  In Italy the reed is chiefly employed to serve as a prop for vines. Cato recommends planting it in damp lands, after first working the soil with a double mattock, a space a yard wide being left between the shoots; and he says that at the same time also wild asparagus, from which garden asparagus is produced, associates in friendship with it, and so does willow when planted round it — the willow being the most useful of the water-plants, although vines like poplars and the Caecuban vines are trained up on them, and although alders in hedges give rather close a protection and, if planted together in water, stand sentry like banks to guard the country against the assaults of the rivers when they overflow, and when cut down they are useful because of the innumerable suckers that they produce as successors.

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§ 16.68.1  The uses made of willows are of several kinds. They send out rods of great length used for vine-trellises and at the same time provide strips of bark for withes, and some grow shoots of a yielding flexibility useful for tying, others extremely thin ones suitable for weaving into basketwork of an admirably fine texture, and other stronger ones for plaiting baskets and a great many agricultural utensils, while the whiter ones when the bark has been removed and they have been worked smooth do to make bottles more capacious than any that can be made of leather, and also are extremely suitable for luxurious easy chairs. The willow sprouts again after being lopped, and from the short stump, which is more like a fist than a branch, makes a thicker growth for cutting, the tree being in our opinion not one of the last to choose for cultivation, inasmuch as none yields a safer return or involves less outlay, and none is more indifferent to weather.

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§ 16.69.1  Cato attributes to the willow the third place in the estimation of the countryside, and puts it before the cultivation of the olive and before corn or meadowland — and this is not because other kinds of withes are lacking, inasmuch as the broom, the poplar, the elm, the blood-red cornel, the birch, the reed when split and the leaves of the reed, as in Liguria, and the vine itself and brambles after the thorns have been cut off serve as ties, and also the hazel when twisted — and it is surprising that any wood should make stronger ties after being bruised by twisting; nevertheless it is the willow that has the properties specially required for this purpose. The Greek red willow is split, while the Amerian willow, which has a lighter colour but is a little more fragile, is consequently used as a tie without having been split. Three kinds are known in Asia: the black willow, which is more useful for ties, the white willow for agricultural purposes, and a third kind, which is the shortest, called the helix. With us also many people distinguish the same number of varieties by name; they call one 'plaiting willow' and also 'purple willow,' another, which is thinner, 'dormouse willow' from its colour, and a third, the thinnest, 'Gallic willow.'

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§ 16.70.1  The rush, having a fragile stalk and being a marsh plant, is not rightly to be reckoned in the class of bushes or of brambles or plants with stalks, nor yet among herbaceous plants, or in any other class except its own; it is used for making thatch and mats, and stripped of its outer coat serves for candles and funeral torches. In some places rushes are stronger and stiffer, for they are used to carry sails not only by boatmen on the Po but also at sea by the African fisherman, who hangs his sail in a preposterous fashion, between masts, and the Moors use them for roofing their cabins; and if one looks closely into the matter, rushes may appear to occupy the place held by the papyrus in the inner region of the world.

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§ 16.71.1  Among water-plants, in a class of their own but of a bushy nature, are also brambles, and so are elders, which are of a spongy nature, though in a different way from the giant fennel, as at all events the elder has more wood; a shepherd believes that a horn or trumpet of elder wood will be louder if the wood was cut in some place where the elder bush is out of hearing of the crowing of cocks. Brambles bear blackberries, and one variety, which is called in Greek the dog-bramble, a flower like a rose. A third kind the Greeks call the Ida bramble, from the place where it grows, a more slender variety than the others, with smaller and less hooked thorns; its blossom is used to make an ointment for sore eyes, and also, dipped in honey, for St. Anthony's fire, and also soaked in water it makes a draught to cure stomach troubles. Elder-trees have small black berries with a sticky juice, chiefly med for a hair dye; these also are boiled in water and eaten.

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§ 16.72.1  There is also a juice in the body of trees, which must be looked upon as their blood. It is not the same in all trees — in figs it is a milky substance, which has the property of curdling milk so as to produce cheese, in cherries it is gummy, in elms slimy, sticky and fat, in apples, vines and pears watery. The stickier this sap is, the longer the trees live. And in general the bodies of trees, as of other living things, have in them skin, blood, flesh, sinews, veins, bones and marrow. The bark serves for a skin; it is a remarkable fact as regards the bark on a mulberry that when doctors require its juice they strike it with a stone two hours after sunrise in spring and the juice trickles out, but if a deeper wound is made the bark seems to be dry. Next to the bark most trees have layers of fatty substance, called from its white colour alburnum; this is soft and the worst part of the wood, rotting easily even in a hard oak and liable to woodworm, for which reason it will always be removed. Under this fat is the flesh of the tree and under the flesh the bones, that is the best part of the timber. Those trees which have a drier wood, for instance the olive, are more liable to bear fruit only every other year than trees whose wood is of a fleshy nature, like the cherry. And not all trees have a large amount of fat or flesh, any more than the most active among animals; there is no fat or flesh at all in the box, the cornel and the olive, nor any marrow, and only a very small quantity even of blood, just as the service-tree has no bones and the elder no flesh — though both have a great deal of marrow — nor have reeds for the greater part.

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§ 16.73.1  The flesh of some trees contains fibres and veins. It is easy to distinguish between them, the veins being broader and whiter than the fibre. Veins are found in wood that is easy to split, and consequently if you put your ear to one end of a beam of wood however great its length you can hear even taps made with a graver on the other end, the sound penetrating by passages running straight through the wood, and by this test you can detect whether the timber is twisted and interrupted by knots. In the ease of trees in which there are tuberosities resembling the glands in the flesh of an animal, these contain no vessels or fibres, but a kind of hard knot of flesh rolled up in a ball; in the citrus and the maple this is the most valuable part. The other kinds of wood employed for making tables are cut into circles by splitting the trees along the line of the fibre, as otherwise the vein cut across the round of the free would be brittle. In beech trees the grainings in the fibre run crosswise, and consequently even vessels made of beech-wood were highly valued in old days: Manius Curius declared on oath that he had touched nothing of the booty taken in a battle except a flask made of beech-wood, to use in offering sacrifices. A log of timber floats more or less horizontally, each part of it sinking deeper the nearer it was to the root. Some timbers have fibre without veins, consisting of thin filaments merely; these are the easiest to split. Others have no fibre, and break more quickly than they split, for instance olives and vines. But on the other baud in the fig-tree the body consists entirely of flesh, while the holm-oak, eornel, hard oak, cytisus, mulberry, ebony, Lotus and the trees that we have stated to be without marrow, consist entirely of bone. The timber of all of these is of a blackish colour except the cornel, hunting spears made of which are bright yellow when notched with incisions for the purpose of decoration. The cedar, the larch and the juniper are red. The female larch contains wood called in Greek aegis, of the colour of honey; this wood when made into panels for pictures has been found to last for ever without being split by any cracks; it is the part of the trunk nearest to the pith; in the fir-tree the Greeks call this 'ilusson.' The hardest part of the cedar also is the part nearest the pith — as the bones are in the body — provided the has been scraped off. It is reported that the inner part of the elder also is remarkably firm, and some people prefer hunting spears made of it to all others, as it consists entirely of skin and bones.

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§ 16.74.1  The proper time for felling trees that are to be stripped of their bark, for instance well-turned trees that are to be used for temples and other purposes requiring round pillars, is when they bud — at other times the bark is impossible to detach and decay is setting in under it and the timber is turning black; but the time for cutting beams and logs to be cleared of their bark by the axe is between midwinter and the period of westerly wind, or if we should be obliged to do it sooner, at the setting of Areturus and, before that, at the setting of the Lyre — on the earliest calculation at midsummer: the dates of these constellations will be given in the proper place. It is commonly thought sufficient to take care that no tree is felled to be rough-hewn before it has born its fruit. The hard oak if cut in spring is liable to woodworm; if cut at midwinter it neither rots nor warps, but otherwise it is even liable to twist and to split, and this happens in the case of the cork-tree even if felled at the proper time. It is also of enormous importance to take account of the moon, and people recommend that trees should be felled only between the twentieth and thirtieth days of the month. It is universally agreed, however, that the most advantageous time for felling timber is when the moon is in conjunction with the sun, the date which some call the interlunar day and others the day of the moon's silence. At all events those were the limits fixed in advance by the Emperor Tiberius for felling larches in Raetia for the reconstruction of the deck of the Naval Sham Fight when it had been burnt down. Some people say that the moon ought to be in conjunction and below the horizon, a thing that can only happen in the night.

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§ 16.74.2  If conjunctions should coincide with the shortest day of the winter solstice, the timber produced lasts for ever; and the next best is when the conjunction coincides with the constellations mentioned above. Some people add the rising of the Dog-star also, and say that this was how the timber used for the Forum of Augustus was felled. But trees that are neither quite young nor old are the most useful for timber. Another plan not without value is followed by some people, who make a cut round the trees as far as the pith and then leave them standing, so that all the moisture may drain out of them. It is a remarkable fact that in old days in the first Punic War the fleet commanded by Duilius was on the water within 60 days after the timber left the tree, while, according to the account of Lucius Piso, the 220 ships that fought against King Hiero were built in 45 days; also in the second Punic war Scipio's fleet sailed on the 40th day after the timber had been felled. So effective is prompt action even in the hurry of an emergency.

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§ 16.75.1  Cato, the leading authority on timber in all its uses, adds the following advice: 'Make a press of black fir wood for choice. With elm, pine or walnut timber, when you are going to root up these or any other tree, take them up when the moon is waning, in the afternoon, when there is not a south wind. A tree will be ready for felling when its seed is ripe. And be careful not to haul a tree or trim it with the axe when there is a dew.' And the same writer later: 'Do not touch timber except at new moon, or else at the end of the moon's second quarter; with timber which you dig up by the roots or cut off level with the ground, the seven days next after full moon are the best for removing it. Beware absolutely of rough-hewing or cutting or touching any timber unless it is dry, and when it is frozen or wet with dew. Similarly the emperor Tiberius kept to the period between two moons even in having his hair cut. Marcus Varro advises the plan of having one's hair cut just after full moon, as a precaution against going bald.

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§ 16.76.1  When the larch and still more the white fir has been felled, a liquid flows from them for a long time. These are the tallest and the straightest of all the trees. For the masts and spars of ships the fir is preferred because of its light weight. A property shared by these trees and also by the pine is that of having veins running through the wood in four or in two divisions, or else only in one line. The interior in the four-veined kind is the best timber to cut up for inlaid wood-work and that in the two-veined the worst, and softer than the other kinds; experts can tell them at once from the bark. Fir wood from the part of the tree that was near the ground is free from knots. This timber after being floated in a river in the way which we have described is cleared of bulges, and when so treated is called sappinus, while the upper part which is knotted and harder is called club-wood. Moreover in the trees themselves the parts towards the north-east are stronger; and in general trees from damp and shady places are inferior and those from sunny places are closer grained and durable; on this account at Rome fir from the Tuscan coast is preferred to that from the Adriatic.

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§ 16.76.2  In trees of this class there is also a difference corresponding to their native countries. The most highly spoken of grow on the Alps and the Apennines, on the Jura and Vosges mountains of Gaul, in Corsica, Bithynia, Pontus and Macedonia. The firs of Aenia and Arcadia are inferior, and those of Parnassus and Euboea the worst, because in those places they are branchy and twisted and the wood is apt to rot. As for the cedar, those in Crete, Africa and Syria are the most highly spoken of. Timber well smeared with cedar oil does not suffer from maggot or decay. The juniper has the same excellence as the cedar; this tree grows to a great size in Spain and especially in the territory of the Vaccaei; the heart of its timber is everywhere even more solid than that of the cedar. A general fault of all timber is what is called cross-grain, when the veins and knots have grown twisted. In some trees are found centres like those in marble, that is hard pieces like a nail, unkind to the saw; and there are some hardnesses due to accident, as when a stone, or the branch of another tree, has been caught in a hollow and taken into the body of the tree. It is said that stones found inside trees serve as a preventive against abortion. In the market-place at Megara long stood a wild olive tree on which brave warriors had hung their weapons; these in the course of time had been hidden by the bark growing round them; and on this tree depended the fate of the city, an oracle having prophesied that it would be destroyed when a tree gave birth to arms — which happened to this tree when it was cut down, greaves and helmets being found inside it.

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§ 16.76.3  What is believed to have been the largest tree ever seen at Rome down to the present time was one that Tiberius Caesar caused to be exhibited as a marvel on the deck of the Naval Sham Fight before mentioned; it had been brought to Rome with the rest of the timber used, and it lasted till the amphitheatre of the emperor Nero. It was a log of larchwood, 120 feet long and of a uniform thickness of two feet, from which could be inferred the almost incredible height of the rest of the tree by calculating its length to the top. Within our own memory there was also an equally marvellous tree left by Marcus Agrippa in the porticos of the Voting-booths, left over from the timber used for the ballot office; this was twenty feet shorter than the one previously mentioned, and 18 inches in thickness. An especially wonderful fir was seen in the ship which brought from Egypt at the order of the emperor Gaius the obelisk erected in the Vatican Circus and four shafts of the same stone to serve as its base. It is certain that nothing more wonderful than this ship has ever been seen on the sea: it carried one hundred and twenty bushels of lentils for ballast, and its length took up a large part of the left side of the harbour of Ostia, for under the emperor Claudius it was sunk there, with three moles as high as towers erected upon it that had been made of Pozzuoli cement for the purpose and conveyed to the place. It took four men to span the girth of this tree with their arms; and we commonly hear that masts for those purposes cost 80,000 sesterces and more, and that to put together the rafts usually runs to 40,000. But in Egypt and Syria for want of fir the kings are said to have used cedar wood for their fleets; the largest cedar is reported to have been grown in Cyprus and to have been felled to make a mast for a galley with rowers in teams of eleven belonging to Demetrius; it was one hundred and thirty feet long and took three men to span its girth. The pirates of Germany voyage in boats made of a single tree hollowed out, some of which carry as many as thirty people.

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§ 16.76.4  The most close-grained of all timber and consequently the heaviest is judged to be ebony and box, both trees of a slender make. Neither will float in water, nor will the cork-tree if its bark be removed, nor the larch. Of the remainder the most close-grained is the one called at Rome the lotus, and next the hard oak when the white sap-wood has been removed. The hard oak also has wood of a dark colour, and still darker is that of the cytisus, which appears to come very near to ebony, although people are to be found who assert that the turpentine-trees of Syria are darker. Indeed there is a celebrated artificer named Thericles who used to turn goblets of turpentine-tree wood, which is a highly valued material; it is the only wood that needs to be oiled, and is improved by oil. Its colour can be wonderfully counterfeited by staining walnut and wild pear wood and boiling them in a chemical preparation. All the trees that we have mentioned have hard close-grained wood. Next after them comes the cornel, though its wood cannot be given a shiny polish became of its poor surface; but cornel wood is hardly useful for anything else except the spokes of wheels or in case something has to be wedged in wood or fixed with bolts made of it, which are as hard as iron. There are also the holm-oak, the wild and cultivated olive, the chestnut, the hornbeam and the poplar. The last is also mottled like the maple — if only any timber could be any good when the branches of the tree are frequently lopped: this amounts to gelding the tree, and takes away all its strength. For the rest, most of these trees, but especially the hard oak, are so hard that it is not possible to bore a hole in the wood until it has been soaked in water, and even then when a nail has been driven right into it it cannot be pulled out. On the other hand cedar gives no hold to a nail. The softest of all woods is lime, and it is also apparently the hottest as well: it is adduced in proof of this that it turns the edge of adzes quicker than any other wood. Other hot woods are mulberry, laurel, ivy and all those used for making matches.

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§ 16.77.1  This has been discovered by experience in the camps of military scouting parties and of shepherds, because there is not always a stone at hand to strike fire with; consequently two pieces of wood are rubbed together and catch fire owing to the friction, and the fire is caught in a lump of dry tinder, fungus or dead leaves catching most readily. But there is nothing better than ivy wood for rubbing against and laurel wood for rubbing with; one of the wild vines (not the claret-vine), which climbs up a tree like ivy, is also spoken well of. The trees that have the coldest wood of all are all that grow in water; but the most flexible, and consequently the most suitable for making shields, are those in which an incision draws together at once and closes up its own wound, and which consequently is more obstinate in allowing steel to penetrate; this class contains the vine, agnus castus, willow, lime, birch, elder, and both kinds of poplar. Of these woods the lightest and consequently the most useful are the agnus castus and the willow; but they are all suited for making baskets and things consisting of flexible wicker-work. Also they are shiny and hard, and easy to use in carvings. Plane has flexibility, but of a moist kind, like alder; a drier flexibility belongs to elm, ash, mulberry, and cherry, but it is heavier. Elm retains its toughness most stoutly, and is in consequence the most useful wood for the hinges and frames of doors, because it is not liable to warp, only it should be put the other way up, so that the top of the tree is towards the lower hinge and the root above. The palm is ... and also cork-tree timber is similar; apple and pear are also close-grained, as well as maple, but maple is brittle, and so are any veined woods. In all trees the characteristics of each kind are carried further by wild specimens and by males; and barren trees have stronger wood than fertile ones, except in species where the male trees bear, for instance the cypress and the cornel.

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§ 16.78.1  The following trees do not experience decay and age — cypress, cedar, ebony, lotus, box, yew, juniper, wild olive, cultivated olive; and of the remainder the slowest to age are the larch, hard oak, cork, chestnut and walnut. The cedar, cypress, cultivated olive and box do not split or crack of their own accord.

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§ 16.79.1  It is believed that ebony lasts an extremely long time, and also cypress and cedar, a clear verdict about all timbers being given in the temple of Diana at Ephesus, inasmuch as though the whole of Asia was building it it took 120 years to complete. It is agreed that its roof is made of beams of cedar, but as to the actual statue of the goddess there is some dispute, all the other writers saying that it is made of ebony, but one of the people who have most recently seen it and written about it, Mucianus, who was three times consul, states that it is made of the wood of the vine, and has never been altered although the temple has been restored seven times; and that this material was chosen by EndoeusMucianus actually specifies the name of the artist, which for my part I think surprising, as he assigns to the statue an antiquity that makes it older than not only Father Liber but Minerva also. He adds that nard is poured into it through a number of apertures so that the chemical properties of the liquid may nourish the wood and keep the joins together — as to these indeed I am rather surprised that there should be any — and that the folding doors are made of cypress wood, and the whole of the timber looks like new wood after having lasted nearly 400 years. It is also worth noting that the doors were kept for four years in a frame of glue. Cypress was chosen for them because it is the one kind of wood which beyond all others retains its polish in the best condition for all time. Has not the statue of Vejovis in the citadel, made of cypress wood, lasted since its dedication in the year 561 [193 BC] after the foundation of Rome? Noteworthy also is the temple of Apollo at Utica, where beams of Numidian cedar have lasted for 1178 years just as they were when they were put in position at the original foundation of that city; and the temple of Diana at Saguntum in Spain, the statue of the goddess, according to the authority of Bocchus, having been brought there from Zacynthus with the founders of the city 200 years before the fall of Troy; it is kept inside the town itself — Hannibal from motives of religion spared it — and its beams, made of juniper, are still in existence even now. Memorable above all is the temple of the same goddess at Aulis, built some centuries before the Trojan war; all knowledge of what kind of timber it was built of has entirely disappeared. Broadly speaking it can at all events be said that those woods have the most outstanding durability which have the most agreeable scent. Next in esteem after the timbers mentioned stands that of the mulberry, which even darkens with age. At the same time also some woods last longer when employed in certain ways than they do otherwise: elm lasts best exposed to the air, hard oak when used under ground, and oak when submerged under water — oak when above the ground warps and makes cracks in structures. Larch and black alder do the best in damp; hard oak is rotted by sea water. Beech and walnut are also well spoken of for use in water, these timbers indeed holding quite the first place among those that are used under the ground, and likewise juniper (which is also very serviceable for structures exposed to the air), whereas beech and Turkey oak quickly decay, and the winter oak also will not stand damp. The alder on the other hand if driven into the ground in marshy places lasts for ever and stands a load of any amount. Cherry is a strong wood, elm and ash are tough but liable to warp, although they are flexible; and they are more reliable if the trees are left standing and dried by ringing round the trunk. Larch is reported to be liable to woodworm when used in seagoing vessels, and the same with all woods except the wild and the cultivated olive; in fact some woods are more liable to faults in the sea and others in the ground.

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§ 16.80.1  There are four kinds of pests that attack timbers. Borer-worms have a very large head in proportion to their size, and gnaw away wood with their teeth; these worms are observed only in the sea, and it is held that they are the only ones to which the name of borer-worm properly applies. The land variety are called moths, but the name for those resembling gnats is thrips, and there is also a fourth kind belonging to the maggot class, of which some are engendered by the wood itself when its sap becomes putrid and others are produced by the worm called horned-worm — as they are in trees — which when it has gnawed away enough to be able to turn round, gives birth to another. The birth of these insects is prevented however in some trees, for instance the cypress, by the bitter taste of the wood, and in others, for instance the box, by its hardness. It is also said that the fir will not decay in water if about the time of budding and at the lunar period we stated it is stripped of its bark. The companions of Alexander the Great stated that on the island of Tylos in the Red Sea there are trees used for building ships, the timbers of which have been found continuing free from rot for two hundred years even though they were under water. They further reported that the same island contains a shrub growing only thick enough for a walking stick, marked with stripes like a tiger skin, heavy and liable to break like glass when it falls on to things of harder substance.

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§ 16.81.1  We have in our country some timbers liable to split of their own accord, and architects consequently recommend that they should be smeared with dung and then dried, so as to make them proof against the action of the atmosphere. Fir and larch are strong weight-carriers, even when placed horizontally, and whereas hard oak and olive bend and yield to a weight, the woods named resist it and are not readily broken, and they fail owing to rot before they fail in strength. The palm tree also is strong, for it curves in a different way to other trees: all the others curve downward, but the palm curves in the opposite direction, making an arch. Pine and cypress are the strongest to resist rot and woodworms. Walnut bends easily — for this wood also is used for making beams; when it breaks it gives a warning in advance by a creaking noise, as happened for instance at Antandrus, when people in the public baths took alarm at the sound and made their escape. Pines, pitch pines and alders are hollowed to form pipes for conveying water, and when buried underground will last a number of years; but they age quickly if not covered over, the resistance they offer being remarkably increased if their outside surface also is covered with moisture.

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§ 16.82.1  Fir wood is strongest in a vertical position; it is very suitable for door panels and any kinds of inlaid work desired, whether in the Greek or the Campanian or the Sicilian style of joinery; under brisk planing it makes pretty curly shavings, always twisting in a spiral like the tendrils of a vine; moreover, of all sorts of wood it is most adapted for being glued together, so much so that it will split at a solid place before it parts at a join.

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§ 16.83.1  Gluing also is important for veneering articles with thin sections of wood or otherwise. For use as veneer a thready veining is approved of (it is called fennel-pattern grain on account of the resemblance), because in every kind of wood pieces with gaps and twists in them do not take the glue; some woods cannot be joined by gluing either with wood of the same kind or with other woods, for example hard oak, and in general materials unlike in substance do not hold together, for instance if one tried to join stone and wood. The wood of the service-tree, the hornbeam and the box have a very strong dislike for cornel wood, and so to a smaller degree has lime. All of the woods we have described as yielding are easily bent for all purposes, and so besides are mulberry and wild fig; while those which are moderately moist are suitable for boring and sawing, since dry woods give way beyond the part which you bore or saw, whereas green woods except hard oak and box offer a more obstinate resistance, and fill up the teeth of saws in an ineffective even line; this is the reason why the teeth are bent each way in turn, so as to get rid of the sawdust.

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§ 16.84.1  Ash is the most compliant wood in work of any kind, and is better than hazel for spears, lighter than cornel, and more pliable than service-tree; indeed the Gallic ash even has the suppleness and light weight required for chariots. The elm would rival it were not its weight against it. Beech also is easily worked, although brittle and soft; also cut in thin layers of veneer it is flexible, and is the only wood suitable for boxes and desks. The holm-oak as well cuts into extremely thin layers, and also has a not unattractive colour, but it is most reliable for things subjected to friction, for instance the axles of wheels, for which ash is selected because of its pliancy, as also is holm-oak for its hardness and elm for both qualities. But wood is also used in small pieces for the operations of carpentry, and a remarkable fact stated is that the most serviceable holders for augers are made from wild olive, box, holm-oak, elm and ash, and the best mallets from the same woods and larger ones from pine and holm-oak. But with these timbers also seasonable felling is more conducive to strength than if done prematurely, inasmuch as hinges made of olive, a very hard wood, that have been left too long unmoved in doorways have been known to put out shoots like a growing plant. Cato recommends holly, laurel or elm for making levers, and Hyginus horn-beam, holm-oak or Turkey-oak for the hafts of agricultural implements.

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§ 16.84.2  The principal woods for cutting into layers and for using as a veneer to cover other kinds of wood are citrus, turpentine-tree, varieties of maple, box, palm, holly, holm-oak, the root of the elder, and poplar. Also the alder, as has been stated, supplies a tuberosity that can be cut into layers, as do the citrus and the maple; no other trees have tuberosities so much valued. The middle part of trees is more variegated, and the nearer the root the smaller and the more wavy are the markings. This first originated the luxury use of trees, covering up one with another and making an outside skin for a cheaper wood out of a more expensive one. In order that one tree might be sold several times over, even thin layers of wood have been invented. And this was not enough: the horns of animals began to be dyed and their tusks cut in slices, and wood to be inlaid and later veneered with ivory. Next came the fancy of ransacking even the sea for material: tortoise-shell was cut up to provide it, and recently, in the principate of Nero, it was discovered by miraculous devices how to cause it to lose its natural appearance by means of paints and fetch a higher price by imitating wood. A little time ago luxury had not thought wood good enough, but now it actually manufactures wood out of tortoiseshell. By these methods high prices are sought for couches and orders are given to outdo turpentine wood, make a more costly citrus, and counterfeit maple.

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§ 16.85.1  If one thinks of the remote regions of the world and the impenetrable forests, it is possible that some trees have an immeasurable span of life. But of those that the memory of man preserves there still live an olive planted by the hand of the elder Africanus on his estate at Liternum and likewise a myrtle of remarkable size in the same place — underneath them is a grotto in which a snake is said to keep guard over Africanus's shade — and a lotus tree in the precinct of Lucina at Rome founded in 375 B.C., a year in which no magistrates were elected; how much older the tree itself is uncertain, but at all events there is no doubt that it is older, since it is from the grove in question that the goddess Lucina takes her name. This tree is now about 500 years old; still older, though its age is uncertain, is the lotus free called the Hair Tree, because the Vestal Virgins' offering of hair is brought to it.

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§ 16.86.1  But there is another lotus tree in the precincts of Vulcan founded by Romulus from a tithe of his spoils of victory, which on the authority of Masurius is understood to be of the same age as the city. Its roots spread right across the Municipal Offices as far as the Forum of Caesar. With this there grew a cypress of equal age, which about the closing period of Nero's principate fell down and was left lying.

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§ 16.87.1  But on the Vatican Hill there is a holm-oak that is older than the city; it has a bronze tablet on it with an inscription written in Etruscan characters, indicating that even in those days the tree was deemed venerable. The people of Tivoli also date their origin far before the city of Rome; and they have three holm-oaks still living that date even earlier than their founder Tiburnus, the ceremony of whose installation is said to have taken place near them; but tradition relates that he was the son of Amphiaraus, who died in battle before Thebes a generation before the Trojan war.

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§ 16.88.1  Authorities say that there is a plane-tree at Delphi that was planted by the hand of Agamemnon, and also another at Caphya, a place in Arcadia. There are trees at the present day growing on the tomb of Protesilaus on the shore of the Dardanelles opposite the city of the Trojans, which in every period since the time of Protesilaus, after they have grown big enough to command a view of Ilium, wither away and then revive again; while the oaks on the tomb of Ilus near the city are said to have been planted at the date when the place first began to be called Ilium.

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§ 16.89.1  It is said that at Argos there still survives the olive to which Argus tethered Io after she had been transformed into a heifer. West of Heraclea in Pontus there are altars dedicated to Jupiter under his Greek title of Stratios, where there are two oak trees planted by Hercules. In the same region there is a port called Harbour of Amyeus, famous as the place where King Bebryx was killed; his tomb ever since the day of his death has been shaded by a laurel tree which they call the Mad Laurel, because if a piece plucked from it is taken on board ships, quarrelling breaks out until it is thrown away. We have mentioned the region of Aulocrene, traversed by the route leading from Apamea into Phrygia; in it travellers are shown the plane-tree from which Marsyas was hanged after losing his match with Apollo, and which was selected for the purpose on account of its size even then. Moreover at Delos may be seen a palm tree dating back to the time of the same deity, and at Olympia a wild olive from which was made the wreath with which Hercules was crowned for the first time — veneration for it is preserved even now. Also the olive tree produced by Minerva in the competition a is reported still to exist at Athens.

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§ 16.90.1  On the other hand pomegranates, the fig and the apple class are extremely short-lived; and among apples those that ripen early are more short-lived than those that ripen late and the sweet ones than the sour, and the same is the case with the sweeter variety among the pomegranates, and likewise among vines, and particularly the more fruitful ones. Graecinus states that there have been cases of vines living 600 years. It also appears that trees growing in water die more quickly. Laurels, apples and pomegranates age rapidly, it is true, but they put out shoots again from their roots. Consequently the hardiest trees to live are olives, seeing that it is generally agreed among the authorities that they last 200 years.

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§ 16.91.1  On a hill named Corne in the territory of Tusculum, near the city, there is a grove named Corne which has been held in reverence from early times by the district of Latium as sacred to Diana; it consists of a beech coppice the foliage of which has the appearance of having been trimmed by art. This grove contains one outstanding tree which in our generation excited the affection of the orator Passienus Crispus, who had twice been consul and who subsequently became still more distinguished by marrying Agrippina and becoming the stepfather of Nero; Crispus used regularly not merely to lie beneath the tree and to pour wine over it, but to kiss and embrace it. Close to this grove is a holm-oak which is also famous, as measuring thirty-four feet round the trunk, and sending out what look like ten separate trees of remarkable size and forming a wood of itself.

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§ 16.92.1  It is a well-known fact that trees are killed by ivy. Some people believe that a similar property noxious to trees, though operating more slowly, is also trees. contained in mistletoe — for this plant also is recognised as by no means among the least remarkable on account of other properties beside its berries. For some varieties of plants cannot grow in the earth, and take root in trees, because they have no abode of their own and consequently live in that of others: instances of this are mistletoe and the plant in Syria called cadytas, which twines itself round not only trees but even brambles, and likewise in the district about Tempe in Thessaly the plant called polypodium, and also the dolichos and the serpyllum.

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§ 16.92.2  Also a plant that grows on a wild olive after it has been lopped is called phaunos, while one that grows on the fuller's teazel is called hippophaestum; it has hollow stalks, small leaves and a white root, the juice of which is considered very useful for purgatives in epilepsy.

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§ 16.93.1  There are three kinds of mistletoe. One that grows as a parasite on the fir and the larch is called stelis in Euboea and hyphear in Arcadia, and the name of mistletoe is used for one growing on the oak, hard oak, holm-oak, wild pear, turpentine-tree, and indeed most other trees; and growing in great abundance on the oak is one which they call dryos hyphear. There is a difference in the case of every tree except the holm-oak and the oak in the smell and poison of the berry and the disagreeably scented leaf, both the berry and the leaf of the mistletoe being bitter and sticky. The hyphear is more useful than vetch for fattening cattle; at first it only acts as a purge, but it subsequently fattens the beasts that have stood the purging process, although they say that those with some internal malady cannot stand it. This method of treatment is employed for forty days in summer. An additional variety is said to be found in mistletoe, in that when it grows on deciduous trees it also sheds its leaves itself, but when growing on an evergreen tree it retains its leaves. But universally when mistletoe seed is sown it never sprouts at all, and only when passed in the excrement of birds, particularly the pigeon and the thrush: its nature is such that it will not shoot unless it has been ripened in the stomach of birds. Its height does not exceed eighteen inches, and it is evergreen and always in leaf. The male plant is fertile and the female barren, except that even a fertile plant sometimes does not bear.

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§ 16.94.1  Mistletoe berries can be used for making bird-lime, if gathered at harvest time while unripe; for if the rainy season has begun, although they get bigger in size they lose in viscosity. They are then dried and when quite dry pounded and stored in water, and in about twelve days they turn rotten — and this is the sole case of a thing that becomes attractive by rotting. Then after having been again pounded up they are put in running water and there lose their skins and become viscous in their inner flesh. This substance after being kneaded with oil is bird-lime, used for entangling birds' wings by contact with it when one wants to snare them.

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§ 16.95.1  While on this subject we also must not omit the respect shown to this plant by the Gallic provinces. The Druids — that is what they call their magicians — hold nothing more sacred than mistletoe and a tree on which it is growing, provided it is a hard-oak. Groves of hard-oaks are chosen even for their own sake, and the magicians perform no rites without using the foliage of those trees, so that it may be supposed that it is from this custom that they get their name of Druids, from the Greek word meaning 'oak'; but further, anything growing on oak-trees they think to have been sent down from heaven, and to be a sign that the particular tree has been chosen by God himself. Mistletoe is, however, rather seldom found on a hard-oak, and when it is discovered it is gathered with great ceremony, and particularly on the sixth day of the moon (which for these tribes constitutes the beginning of the months and the years) and after every thirty years of a new generation, because it is then rising in strength and not one half of its full size. Hailing the moon in a native word that means 'healing all things,' they prepare a ritual sacrifice and banquet beneath a tree and bring up two white bulls, whose horns are bound for the first time on this occasion. A priest arrayed in white vestments climbs the tree and with a golden sickle cuts down the mistletoe, which is caught in a white cloak. Then finally they kill the victims, praying to God to render his gift propitious to those on whom he has bestowed it. They believe that mistletoe given in drink will impart fertility to any animal that is barren, and that it is an antidote for all poisons. So powerful is the superstition in regard to trifling matters that frequently prevails among the races of mankind.

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§ 17.1.1  WE have now stated the nature of the trees that grow of their own accord on land and in the sea; and there remain those which owe what is more truly described as their formation than their birth to art and to the ingenious devices of mankind. But it is in place first to express surprise at the way in which the trees that, under the niggardly system that we have recorded, were held in common ownership by the wild animals, with man doing battle with them for the fruit that fell to the ground and also with the birds for that which still hung on the tree, have come to command such high prices as articles of luxury — the most famous instance, in my judgement, being the affair of Lucius Crassus and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. Crassus was one of the leading Roman orators; he owned a splendid mansion, but it was considerably surpassed by another that was also on the Palatine Hill, belonging to Quintus Catulus, the colleague of Gaius Marius in the defeats of the Cimbrians; while by far the finest house of that period was by universal agreement the one on the Viminal Hill owned by Gaius Aquilius, Knight of Rome, who was even more celebrated for this property than he was for his knowledge of civil law, although nevertheless in the case of Crassus his mansion was considered a reproach to him. Crassus and Domitius both belonged to families of high distinction, and they were colleagues as consuls and afterwards, in 92 B.C., as censors: owing to their dissimilarity of character their tenure of the censorship was filled with quarrels between them. On the occasion referred to, Gnaeus Domitius, being a man of hasty temper and moreover inflamed by that particularly sour kind of hatred which springs out of rivalry, gave Crassus a severe rebuke for living on so expensive a scale when holding the office of censor, and repeatedly declared that he would give a million sesterces for his mansion; and Crassus, who always had a ready wit and was good at clever repartees, replied that he accepted the bid, with the reservation of half a dozen trees. Domitius declined to buy the place even for a shilling without the timber. 'Well then,' said Crassus, 'tell me pray, Domitius, am I the one who is setting a bad example and who deserves a mark of censure from the very office which I am myself occupying — I, who live quite unpretentiously in the house that came to me by inheritance, or is it you, who price six trees at a million sesterces?' The trees referred to were nettle-trees, with an exuberance of spreading, shady branches; Caecina Largus, one of the great gentlemen of Rome, in our young days used frequently to point them out in the mansion, of which he was then the owner, and they lasted — as we have already also spoken of the limits of longevity in trees — down to the Emperor Nero's conflagration, [AD 64] thanks to careful tendance still verdant and vigorous, had not the emperor mentioned hastened the death even of trees. And let nobody suppose that Crassus's mansion was in other respects a poor affair, and that it contained nothing beside trees to attract this provoking bid from Domitius; on the contrary, he had already erected for decorative purposes in the court of the mansion six pillars of marble from Mt. Hymettus, which in view of his aedileship he had imported to embellish the stage of the theatre — and this although hitherto there were no marble pillars in any public place: of so recent a date is luxurious wealth! And at that date so much greater distinction was added to mansions by trees that Domitius actually would not keep to the price suggested by a quarrel without the timber in question being thrown in.

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§ 17.1.2  In former generations people even got their surnames from trees: for instance Frondicius, the soldier who performed such remarkable exploits against Hannibal, swimming across the Volturnus with a screen of foliage on his head, and the Licinian family of the Stolones — stolo being the word for the useless suckers growing on the actual trees, on account of which the first Stolo received the name from his invention of a process of trimming vines. In early days trees even were protected by the law, and the Twelve Tables provided that anybody wrongfully felling another man's trees should be fined 25 asses for each tree. What are we to think? That people of old who rated even fruit-trees so highly believed that trees would rise to the value mentioned above? And in the matter of fruit-trees no less marvellous are many of those in the districts surrounding the city, the produce of which is every year knocked down to bids of 2000 sesterces per tree, a single tree yielding a larger return than farms used to do in old days. It was on this account that grafting, and the practice of adultery even by trees, was devised, so that not even fruit should grow for the poor. We will now therefore state in what manner it chiefly comes about that such a large revenue is derived from these trees, going on to set forth the genuine and perfect method of cultivation, and for that purpose we shall not treat of the commonly known facts and those which we observe to be established, but of uncertain and doubtful points on which practical conduct chiefly goes wrong; as it is not our plan to give careful attention to superfluities. But first of all we will speak about matters of climate and soil that concern all kinds of trees in common.

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§ 17.2.1  Trees are specially fond of a north-east aspect, wind in that quarter rendering their foliage denser and more abundant and their timber stronger. This is a point on which most people make a mistake, as the props in a vineyard ought not to be placed so as to shelter the stems from wind in that quarter, and this precaution should only be taken against a north wind. What is more, exposure to cold at the proper season contributes very greatly to the strength of the trees, and they bud best under those circumstances, as otherwise, if exposed to the caresses of the winds from the south-west, they languish, and especially when in blossom. In fact if the fall of the blossom is followed immediately by rain, the fruit is entirely ruined — so much so that almonds and pears lose their crop of fruit if the weather should be only cloudy or a south-west wind prevail. Rain at the rising of the Pleiades indeed is extremely unfavourable for the vine and the olive, because that is their fertilizing season; this is the four-day period that decides the fate of the olives, this is the critical point when a south wind brings the dirty clouds we spoke of. Also cereals ripen worse on days when the wind is in the south-west, though they ripen faster. Cold weather only does damage when it comes with northerly winds, or not at the proper seasons; indeed for a north-east wind to prevail in winter is most beneficial for all crops. But there is an obvious reason for desiring rain in that season, because it is natural for the trees when exhausted by bearing fruit and also by the loss of their leaves to be famished with hunger, and rain is a food for them. Consequently experience inspires the belief that a mild winter, causing the trees the moment they have finished bearing to conceive, that is to bud, again, this being followed by another exhausting period of blossoming, is an extremely detrimental thing. Indeed if several years in succession should take this course, even the trees themselves may die, since no one can doubt the punishment they suffer from putting forth their strength when in a hungry condition; consequently the poet who told us to pray for finer winters was not framing a litany for the benefit of trees. Nor yet is wet weather over midsummer good for vines. It has indeed been said, thanks to the fertility of a vivid imagination, that dust in winter makes more abundant harvests; but, quite apart from this, it is the prayer of trees and crops in common that snow may he a long time. The reason is not only because snow shuts in and imprisons the earth's breath when it is disappearing by evaporation, and drives it back into the roots of the vegetation to make strength, but because it also affords a gradual supply of moisture, and this moreover of a pure and extremely light quality, owing to the fact that rime is the foam of the waters of heaven. Consequently the moisture from snow, not inundating and drenching everything all at once, but shedding drops as from a breast in proportion to the thirst felt, nourishes all vegetation for the very reason that it does not deluge it. In this way the earth also is made to ferment, and is filled with her own substance, not exhausted by seeds sown in her trying to suck her milk, and when lapse of time has removed her covering she greets the mild hours with a smile. This is the method to make corn crops fatten most abundantly — except in countries where the atmosphere is always warm, for instance Egypt: for there the unvarying temperature and the mere force of habit produce the same effect as management produces elsewhere; and in any place it is of the greatest benefit for there to be nothing to cause harm. In the greater part of the world, when at the summons of heaven's indulgence the buds have hurried out too early, if cold weather follows they are shrivelled up. This is why late winters are injurious, even to forest trees as well, which actually suffer worse, because they are weighed down by their own shade, and because remedial measures cannot help them, to clothe the tender plants with wisps of straw not being possible in the case of forest trees. Consequently rain is favourable first at the period of the winter storms, and next with the wet weather coming before the budding period; and. a third season is when the trees are forming their fruit, though not at the first stage but when the growth has become strong and healthy. Trees that hold back their fruit later and need more prolonged nourishment also receive benefit from late rains, for instance the vine, the olive and the pomegranate. These rains, however, are required in a different manner for each kind of tree, as they come to maturity at different times; consequently you may see the same storm of rain causing damage to some trees and benefiting others even in the same class of trees, as for example among pears, winter varieties require rain on one day and early pears on another, although they all alike need a period of wintry weather before budding. The same cause that makes a north-west wind more beneficial than a south-west wind also renders inland regions superior to places on the coast — the reason being that they are usually cooler — and mountain districts superior to plains, and rain in the night preferable to rain by day, vegetation getting more enjoyment from the water when the sun does not immediately make it evaporate.

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§ 17.2.2  Connected with this subject is also the theory of the situation for vineyards and trees what aspect they should face. Virgil condemned their being planted looking west, but some have preferred that aspect to an easterly position, while most authorities, I notice, approve the south; and I do not think that any hard and fast rule can be laid down on this point — skilled attention must be paid to the nature of the soil, the character of the locality and the features of the particular climate. In Africa for vineyards to face south is bad for the vine and also unhealthy for the grower, because the country itself lies under the southern quarter of the sky, and consequently he who there chooses a westerly or northern aspect for planting will achieve the best blending of soil with climate. When Virgil condemns a western aspect, there seems no doubt that he condemns a northern aspect also, although in Italy below the Alps it has generally been experienced that no vineyards bear better than those so situated. The wind also forms a great consideration. In the province of Narbonne and in Liguria and part of Etruria it is thought to be a mistake to plant vines in a position directly facing a west-north-west wind, but at the same time to be a wise arrangement to let them catch the wind from that quarter sideways, because it moderates the heat of summer in those regions, although it usually blows with such violence as to carry away the roofs of houses. Some people make the question of aspect depend on the nature of the soil, letting vines planted in dry situations face east and north and those in a damp one south. Moreover, they borrow rules from the vines themselves, by planting early varieties in cold situations, so that their ripening may come before the cold weather, and fruit-trees and vines that dislike dew, with an eastern aspect, so that the sun may carry off the moisture at once, but those that like dew, facing west or even north, so that they may enjoy it for a longer time. But the rest, virtually following Nature's system, have recommended that vines and trees should be placed so as to face north-east; and Democritus is of opinion that the fruit so grown also has more scent. We have dealt in Book Two with positions facing north-east and the other quarters, and we shall give more meteorological details in the next Book. In the meantime a clear test of the healthiness of the aspect seems to lie in the fact that trees facing south are always the first to shed their leaves. A similar influence also operates in maritime districts: sea breezes are injurious in some places, while at the same time in most places they encourage growth; and some plants like having a distant view of the sea but are not benefited by being moved nearer to its saline exhalations. A similar principle applies also to rivers and marshes: they shrivel up vegetation by their mists or else they serve to cool excessively hot districts. The trees that we have specified like shade and even cold. Consequently the best course is to rely on experiment.

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§ 17.3.1  It comes next after the heavens to give an account of the earth, a subject no easier to deal with, inasmuch as the same land is not as a rule suited for trees and for crops, and the black earth of the kind that exists in Campania is not the best soil for vines everywhere, nor is a soil that emits thin clouds of vapour, nor the red earth that many writers have praised. The chalky soil in the territory of Alba Pompeia and a clay soil are preferred to all the other kinds for vines, although they are very rich, a quality to which exception is made in the case of that class of plants. Conversely the white sand in the Ticino district, and the black sand found in many places, and likewise red sand, even when intermingled with rich soil, are unproductive. The signs adduced in judging soil are often misleading. A soil in which lofty trees do brilliantly is not invariably favourable except for Those trees: for what grows higher than a silver fir? yet what other tree could have lived in the same place? Nor do luxuriant pastures always indicate a rich soil: for what is more famous than the pastures of Germany? but immediately underneath a very thin skin of turf there is sand. And land where plants grow high is not always damp, any more, I protest, than soil that sticks to the fingers is always rich — a fact that is proved in the case of clay soils. In point of fact no soil when put back into the holes out of which it is dug completely fills them, so as to make it possible to detect a close soil and a loose soil in this manner; and all soil covers iron with rust. Nor can a heavy or a light soil be detected by a standard of weight, for what can be understood to be the standard weight of earth? Nor is alluvial soil deposited by rivers always to be recommended, seeing that some plants do not flourish in a damp situation; nor does that much praised alluvial soil prove in experience to be beneficial for a long period, except for a willow. One of the signs of a good soil is the thickness of the stalk in corn, which incidentally in the famous Leborine plain in Campania is so large that they use it as a substitute for wood; but this class of soil is everywhere hard to work, and owing to this difficulty of cultivation puts almost a heavier burden on the farmer because of its merits than it could possibly inflict by reason of defects. Also the soil designated glowing-coal earth appears to be improved by marl; and in fact tufa of a pliable consistency is actually held by the authorities to be a desideratum. For vines Virgil actually does not disapprove of a soil in which ferns grow; and many plants are improved by being entrusted to salt land, as they are better protected against damage from creatures breeding in the ground. Hillsides are not denuded of their soil by cultivation if the digging is done skilfully, and not all level ground gets less than the necessary amount of sun and air; and some varieties of vine, as we have said, draw nourishment from frosts and clouds. All matters contain some deeply hidden mysteries, which each person must use his own intelligence to penetrate. What of the fact that changes often occur even in things that have been investigated and ascertained long ago? In the district of Larisa in Thessaly the emptying of a lake has lowered the temperature of the district, and olives which used to grow there before have disappeared, occur before; while on the other hand the city of Aenos, since the river Hebrus was brought near to it, has experienced an increase of warmth a and the district round Philippi altered its climate when its land under cultivation was drained. On the other hand on land belonging to Syracuse a farmer who was a newcomer to the district by removing the stones from the soil caused his crops to be ruined by mud, until he carried the stones back again. In Syria they use a light ploughshare that cuts a narrow furrow, because the subsoil is rock which causes the seeds to be scorched in summer.

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§ 17.3.2  Again, immoderate heat and cold have a similar effect in certain places. Thrace owes its fertility in corn to cold, Africa and Egypt to heat. There is one place in the island of Chalcia belonging to Rhodes which is so fertile that they reap barley sown at its proper time and after carrying it at once sow the field again and reap a second crop of barley with the other harvest. In the district of Venufrum a gravel soil is found to be most suitable for olives, but in Baetica very rich soil. The vines of Pucinum bare scorched on rock, whereas those of Caecubum grow in the damp ground of the Pontine Marshes. So much variety and diversity obtains in the evidence of experience and in soil. Vopiscus Caesar when appearing in a case before the Censors spoke of the plains of Rosia as 'the paps of Italy', where stakes left lying on the ground the day before were hidden with grass; but these plains are only valued for pasture. Nevertheless Nature did not wish that we should be uninstructed, and has caused errors to be fully admitted even where she had not given clear information as to the good points; and accordingly we will first speak about soil defects. A bitter soil is indicated by its black undergrown plants; shrivelled shoots indicate a cold soil, and drooping growths show a damp soil; red earth and damp clay are noted by the eye — they are very difficult to work, and liable to burden the rakes or ploughshares with huge clods — although what is an obstacle to working the soil is not also a handicap to its productivity; and similarly the eye can discern the opposite, an ash-coloured soil and a white sand; while a barren soil with its hard surface is easily detected by even a single stroke of a prong. Cato defines defects of soil briefly and in his customary style: 'Take care when the soil is rotten not to dent it either with a waggon or by driving cattle over it'. What do we infer from this designation to have been the thing that so much alarmed him that he almost prohibits even setting foot on it? Let us compare it with rottenness in wood, and we shall find that the faults of soil which he holds in such aversion consist in being dry, porous, rough, white, full of holes and like pumice-stone. He has said more by one striking word than could be fully recounted by any quantity of talk. For some soil exists which analysis of its vices shows to be not old in age, a term which conveys no meaning in the case of earth, but old in its own nature, and consequently infertile and powerless for every purpose. The same authority gives the view that the best land is that extending in a level plain from the base of a mountain range in a southerly direction, this being the conformation of the whole of Italy, and that the soil called 'dark' is 'tender'; consequently this will be the best land both for working and for the crops. We need only try to see the meaning of this remarkably significant expression 'tender', and we shall discover that the term comprises every desideratum. 'Tender' soil is soil of moderate richness, a soft and easily worked soil, neither damp nor parched; it is soil that shines behind the ploughshare, like the field which Homer, the fountainhead of all genius, has described as represented by a divine artist in a carving on a shield, and he has added the marvellous touch about the furrow showing black although the material used to represent it was gold; it is the soil that when freshly turned attracts the rascally birds which accompany the ploughshare and the tribe of crows which peck the very footprints of the ploughman.

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§ 17.3.3  In this place moreover may be quoted a dictum as to luxury that is also undoubtedly to the point. Cicero, that other luminary of learning, says 'Unguents with an earthy taste are better than those with the flavour of saffron' — he preferred the word 'taste' to 'smell'. It is certainly the case that a soil which has a taste of perfume will be the best soil. And if we need an explanation as to what is the nature of this odour of the soil that is desiderated, it is that which often occurs even when the ground is not being turned up, just towards sunset, at the place where the ends of rainbows have come down to earth, and when the soil has been drenched with rain following a long period of drought. The earth then sends out that divine breath of hers, of quite incomparable sweetness, which she has conceived from the sun. This is the odour which ought to be emitted when the earth is turned up, and when found it will deceive no one; and the scent of the soil will be the best criterion of its quality. This is the kind of earth usually found in land newly ploughed where an old forest has been felled, earth that is unanimously spoken highly of. And in the matter of bearing cereals the same earth is understood to be more fertile the more often cultivation has been suspended and it has lain fallow; but this is not done in the case of vineyards, and consequently the greater care must be exercised in the selection of their site, so as not to justify the opinion of those who have formed the view that the land of Italy has by this time been exhausted. In other kinds of soil, it is true, ease of cultivation depends also on the weather, and some land cannot be ploughed after rain, as owing to excessive richness it becomes sticky; but on the other hand in the African district of Byzacium, that fertile plain which yields an increase of one hundred and fifty fold, land which in dry weather no bulls can plough, after a spell of rain we have seen being broken by a plough drawn by a wretched little donkey and an old woman at the other end of the yoke. The plan of improving one soil by means of another, as some prescribe, throwing a rich earth on the top of a poor one or a light porous soil on one that is moist and too lush, is an insane procedure: what can a man possibly hope for who farms land of that sort?

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§ 17.4.1  There is another method, discovered by the provinces of Britain and those of Gaul, the method of feeding the earth by means of itself, and the kind of soil called marl: this is understood to contain a more closely packed quality of richness and a kind of earthy fatness, and growths corresponding to the glands in the body, in which a kernel of fat solidifies. This also has not been overlooked by the Greeks — indeed what have they left untested? They give the name of leucargillum to a white clay that they use on the land at Megara, but only where the soil is damp and chilly. The other substance brings wealth to the provinces of Gaul and Britain, and may suitably receive a careful description.

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§ 17.4.2  There had previously been two kinds of marl, but recently with the progress of discoveries a larger number have begun to be worked: there is white marl, red marl, dove-coloured marl, argillaceous marl, tufa marl and sand marl. It has a twofold consistency, rough or greasy, each of which can be detected by its feel in the hand. Its use is correspondingly double, to feed cereals only or to feed pasture-land as well. Tufa marl nourishes grain, and white marl, if it is found where springs rise, has unlimited fertilizing properties, but it is rough to handle, and if it is scattered in excessive quantities it scorches up the soil. The next kind is the red marl, which is known as acaunumarga, consisting of stone mingled with a thin, sandy earth. The stone is crushed on the land itself, and in the earliest years of its employment the fragments make the cornstalks difficult to cut; however, as it is extremely light it can be carried for only half of the cost charged for the other varieties. It is scattered on the land thinly; it is thought to contain a mixture of salt. With both of these kinds a single scattering serves for fifty years to fertilize either crops or pasture.

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§ 17.4.3  Of the marls that are greasy to the touch the chief one is the white. It has several varieties, the most pungent being the one mentioned above. Another variety of white marl is the chalk used for cleaning silver; this is obtained from a considerable depth in the ground, usually from pits made 100 feet deep, with a narrow mouth but with the shaft expanding in the interior, as is the practice in mines. This chalk is chiefly used in Britain. Its effect lasts for 80 years, and there is no case of anybody having scattered it on the same land twice in his lifetime. A third kind intermixed with a greasy earth, and it is a more effective, white marl is called glisomorga; this is fullers' chalk more dressing for pasture than for corn, so that, when a crop of corn has been carried, before the next sowing a very abundant crop of hay can be cut, although while growing corn the land does not produce any other plant. Its effect lasts 30 years; but if it is scattered too thickly it chokes the soil just as Signia plaster does. For dove-coloured marl the Gallic provinces have a name in their own language, eglecopaia; it is taken up in blocks like stone, and is split by the action of sun and frost so as to form extremely thin plates. This kind of marl is equally beneficial for corn and grass. Farmers use sandy marl if no other is available; but they use it on damp soils even if another sort is available. The Ubii are the only race known to us who while cultivating extremely fertile land enrich it by digging up any sort of earth below three feet and throwing it on the land in a layer a foot thick; but the benefit of this top-dressing does not last longer than ten years. The Aedui and the Pictones have made their arable land extremely fertile by means of chalk, which is indeed also found most useful for olives and vines. But all marl should be thrown on the land after it has been ploughed, in order that its medicinal properties may be absorbed at once; and it requires a moderate amount of dung, as at first it is too rough and is not diffused into vegetation; otherwise whatever sort of marl is used it will injure the soil by its novelty, even with dung it does not promote fertility in the first year. It also makes a difference what sort of soil the marl is required for, as the dry kind is better for a damp soil and the greasy kind for a dry soil, while either sort suits land of medium quality, either chalk-marl or dove-marl.

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§ 17.5.1  Farmers north of the Po are so fond of employing ash that they prefer it to dung, and they burn stable dung, which is the lightest kind, in order to get the ash. Nevertheless they do not use both kinds of manure indifferently in the same field, and do not use ashes in plantations of shrubs, nor for some kinds of crops, as we shall explain later. Some are of the opinion that dust helps the growth of grapes, and they sprinkle it on the fruit when it is forming and scatter it on the roots of the vines and the trees. It is certainly the case that in the Province of Narbonne a wind from west-north-west ripens vintage grapes, and in that district dust contributes more than sunshine.

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§ 17.6.1  There are several varieties of dung, and its actual employment dates a long way back; as far back as Homer an aged king in the poem is found thus enriching his land with his own hands. The invention of this procedure is traditionally ascribed to King Augeas in Greece, and its introduction in Italy to Hercules, though Italy has immortalized Stercutus son of Faunus on account of this invention. Marcus Varro gives the first rank to thrushes' droppings from aviaries, which he also extols for fodder of cattle and swine, declaring that no other fodder fattens them more quickly. If our ancestors had such large aviaries that they supplied manure for the fields, it is possible to be hopeful about our own morals! But Columella puts manure from dovecots first, and next manure from the poultry-yard, condemning the droppings of water birds entirely. The rest of the authorities advocate the residue of human banquets as one of the best manures, and some of them place even higher the residue of men's drink, with hair found in curriers shops soaked in it, while others recommend this liquor by itself, after water has been again mixed with it and even in larger quantity than when the wine is being drunk; the fact being that a larger amount of badness has to be overcome in the liquor when to the original poison of the wine the human factor has been added. These are contested questions; and they use man even for nourishing soil. Next to this kind of manure the dung of swine is highly commended Columella alone condemning it. Others recommend the dung of any quadruped that feeds on clover, but some prefer pigeons' droppings. Next comes the dung of goats, after that sheep's dung, then cow-dung and last of all that of beasts of burden.

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§ 17.6.2  These distinctions were recognized in early days, and at the same time I do not find modern rules for the use of dung, since in this matter also old times are more serviceable; and before now in some parts of the provinces there has been so large and valuable a supply of beasts that the practice has been seen of passing dung through a sieve, like flour, the stench and look of it being transformed by the action of time into something actually attractive. (It has lately been found that olives particularly thrive on ashes from a lime kiln.) To the rules given Varro adds the employment of the lightest kind of horse-dung for manuring cornfields, but for meadowland the heavier manure produced by feeding barley to horses, which produces an abundant growth of grass. Some people even prefer stable-manure to cow-dung and sheep's droppings to goat's, but they rate asses' dung above all other manures, because asses chew their fodder very slowly; but experience on the contrary pronounces against each of these. It is however universally agreed that no manure is more beneficial than a crop of lupiue turned in by the plough or with forks before the plants form pods, or else bundles of lupine after it has been cut, dug in round the roots of trees and vines; and in places where there are no cattle they believe in using the stubble itself or even bracken for manure.

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§ 17.6.3  Cato says: 'You can make manure of stable-litter, lupines, chaff, beanstalks and holm-oak or oak leaves. Pull up the dane-wort and hemlock out of the crop, and the high grass and sedge growing round osier beds; use this as litter for sheep, and rotten leaves for oxen.' — 'If a vine is making poor growth, make a bonfire of its shoots and plough in the ashes therefrom.' He also says: 'Where you are going to sow corn, give your sheep a free run on the land.'

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§ 17.7.1  Moreover Cato also says that there are certain crops which themselves nourish the land: 'Cornland is manured by grain, lupine, beans and vetches'; just as on the contrary: 'Chick-pea, because it is pulled up by the roots and because it is salt, barley, fenugreek, bitter vetch, — these all scorch up a cornland, as do all plants that are pulled up by the roots. Do not plant stone-fruit in cornland.' — Virgil holds the opinion that cornland is also scorched by flax, oats and poppies.

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§ 17.8.1  They recommend making dung-heaps in the open air in a hole in the ground made so as to collect moisture, and covering the heaps with straw to prevent their drying up in the sun, after driving a hard-oak stake into the ground, which will keep snakes from breeding in the dung. It pays extremely well to throw the manure on the ground when a west wind is blowing and during a dry moon; most people misunderstand this and think that it should be done when the west wind is just setting in, and only in February, whereas most crops require manuring in other months also. Whatever time is chosen for the operation, care must be taken to do it when the wind is due west and the moon on the wane and accompanied by dry weather. Such precautions increase the fertilizing effect of manure to a surprising degree.

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§ 17.9.1  Having begun by stating at considerable length the principles of climate and soil, we will now describe the trees that are produced by the care and skill of mankind. There are almost as many varieties of these as there are of those that grow wild, so bountifully have we repaid our debt of gratitude to Nature; for they are produced either from seed or from root-cuttings or by layering or tearing off a slip or from a cutting or by grafting in an incision in the trunk of a tree. As for the story that at Babylon they plant palm-leaves and produce a tree in that way, I am surprised that Trogus believed it. Some trees however can be grown by several of the above methods, and some by all of them.

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§ 17.10.1  And the majority of these methods were taught us by Nature herself, in particular that of sowing a seed, because when a seed fell from a tree and was received into the earth it came to life again. Indeed there are some trees that are not grown in any other way, for instance chestnuts and walnuts, with the exception, that is, of those intended for felling; but also some grown in other ways are grown from seed as well, though a different kind of seed — for instance vines and apples and pears — as with these a pip serves as a seed, and not the actual fruit, as in the case of the trees mentioned above. Also medlars can be grown from seed. All of these trees are slow in coming on, and liable to degenerate so as to have to be restored by grafting; and sometimes this happens even with chestnuts.

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§ 17.11.1  Some trees on the other hand have the property of not degenerating at all in whatever way they are propagated, for instance cypresses, the palm and laurels — for the laurel also can be propagated in a variety of ways. We have stated the various kinds of laurel. Of these the Augusta, the berry laurel and the laurustinus are propagated in a similar manner: their berries are picked in January, after they have been dried by a spell of north-east wind, and are spread out separately, so as not to ferment by lying in a heap; afterwards some people treat them with dung in preparation for sowing and soak them with urine, but others put them in running water in a wicker basket, and stamp on them till the skin is washed away, which otherwise is attacked by stagnant moisture and does not allow them to bear. They are planted in a freshly dug trench a hand's breadth deep, about twenty in a cluster; this is done in March. These laurels can also be propagated by layering, but the laurel worn in triumphal processions can only be grown from a cutting. Myrtles of all varieties are grown from berries in Campania, but at Rome by layering. Democritus tells us that the Taranto myrtle is also grown in another way: the berries are taken, and after being crushed lightly so as not to break the pips are mixed into a paste with water and this is pounded up and smeared on a rope, which is then put in the ground; from this, he says, will grow up a remarkably thick hedge, from which slips can be transplanted. They also grow brambles for hedges in the same way, by smearing a rope of rushes with blackberries. In case of scarcity, laurel and myrtle seeds are ready for transfer at the end of three years.

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§ 17.11.2  Among the trees that are grown from seed, Mago deals elaborately with those of the nut class. He says that the almond should be sown in soft clay soil with a south aspect, but that it also does well in hard warm ground, but in a rich or damp soil it dies or does not bear. He recommends choosing for sowing almonds shaped as much as possible like a sickle, and picked from a young tree, and says they should be soaked for three days in diluted manure, or else on the day before sowing in water sweetened with honey; and that they should be put in the ground with their point downward and with their sharp edge facing north-east; that they should be sown in groups of three, placed four inches apart from each other in a triangular formation; and that they should be watered every ten days, until they begin to swell. Walnuts are sown lying on their sides with the join of the shell downward; and pine-cones are planted in groups of about seven, contained in pots with a hole in the bottom, or else in the same way as a laurel that is being grown from berries. The citron is grown from pips and from layers, and the sorb from seed or from a cutting from the root or from a slip; but the citron needs a warm situation, whereas the sorb requires a cool and damp one.

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§ 17.12.1  Nature has also taught the art of making nurseries, as from the roots of many trees there shoots up a teeming cluster of progeny, and the mother tree bears offspring destined to be killed by herself, inasmuch as her shadow stifles the disorderly throng — as in the case of laurels, pomegranates, planes, cherries and plums; although with a few trees in this class, for instance elms and palms, the branches spare the young suckers. But young shoots of this nature are only produced by trees whose roots are led by their love of sun and rain to move about on the surface of the ground. All of these it is customary not to put in their own ground at once, but first to give them to a foster-mother and let them grow up in seed-plots, and then change their habitation again, this removal having a marvellously civilizing effect even on wild trees, whether it be the case that, like human beings, trees also have a nature that is greedy for novelty and travel, or whether on going away they leave their venom behind when the plant is torn up from the root, and like animals are tamed by handling.

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§ 17.13.1  Also Nature demonstrated another kind of propagation resembling the previous one, and suckers torn away from trees continued to live; in this procedure the slips are torn away with their haunch as well, and carry off with them some portion also from their mother's body with its fibrous substance. This is a method used in striking pomegranates, hazels, apples, sorbs, medlars, ash plants, figs, and above all vines; but the quince if struck in this way deteriorates in quality. From the same method a way was discovered of cutting off slips and planting these, a plan first adopted with elders, quinces and brambles, which were planted for the purpose of making a hedge, but later it was also introduced as a way of growing trees, for instance poplars, alders, and willow, which last is even planted with the cutting upside down. Suckers are planted out at once in the place chosen for them to occupy; however, before going on to other classes of plants it is desirable to speak of the management of a nursery.

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§ 17.14.1  For, with a view to a nursery it pays to chose soil of the highest quality, since it often comes about that a nurse is more ready to humour young things than a mother. Consequently the soil should be dry and sappy, and well worked with a double mattock so as to be hospitable to the new arrivals, and it should resemble as closely as possible the earth into which they are to be transplanted; and before all the plot must be cleared of stones, and fenced in well enough to protect it even from the inroads of poultry; and it should be as free from cracks as possible, so that the sun may not penetrate into it and scorch the roots. The seeds should be sown eighteen inches apart, as if the plants touch one another, besides other defects they get worm-eaten; and it pays to hoe them and weed them fairly often, and also to prune the seedlings themselves when they branch and accustom them to endure the knife. Cato also recommends erecting hurdles supported on forked sticks, the height of a man, to catch the sun, and thatching these with straw to keep off the cold; and he says that this is the method for rearing pear and apple seeds, and pine cones, and also cypresses, as even they can be grown from seed. Cypress seed consists of very small grains, some of them scarcely perceptible, and we must not remark on Nature's miracle of producing trees from so small seed when a grain of wheat or barley is so much larger, not to reckon a bean. What resemblance have apple seeds and pear seeds to their source of origin? To think that from these beginnings is born the timber that contemptuously rebuffs the axe, presses that are not overcome by immense weights, masts for sails, battering rams for demolishing towers and walls! Such is the force and such the potency of Nature. But the crowning marvel will be that there is something that derives its origin from a teardrop, as we shall mention in the proper place.

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§ 17.14.2  Well then, in the months that we have specified, the tiny seed-balls are gathered from the female cypress — for the male tree, as we have said, is barren — and are put to dry in the sun; and they burst open and emit their seed, which has a remarkable attraction for ants, a fact that actually increases the marvel, for the germ of such huge trees to be consumed for the food of such a small animal! The seed is sown in April, after the earth has been levelled by means of rollers or rammers; it is scattered thickly and a layer of earth a thumb deep is sprinkled upon it from sieves: it is not strong enough to rise up against a greater weight, and it twists back under the ground; on this account another method is merely to tread it into the earth. Every three days it is given a light watering, after sunset so as to soak in the moisture even, until the plants break out from the earth. They are transplanted after a year, when the seedling is nine inches long, regard being paid to the weather so that they may be planted under a bright sky and when there is no wind. And wonderful to say, on that day and that day only it is dangerous for them if there is the smallest sprinkle of rain or a breath of wind; whereas for the future the plants are continually safe and secure, and later on they have a dislike for humidity. Jujube-trees are also grown from seed sown in April. Tuber-apples are better grafted on the wild plum, the quince or the buckthorn bush, the last being a wild thorn. Any thorn also takes grafts of the sebesten-plum extremely well, and also takes the sorb-plum satisfactorily.

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§ 17.14.3  As for the recommendation to transfer plants from the nursery to some other place before they are planted out in the place assigned to them, I consider that this causes unnecessary trouble, albeit this process does guarantee the growth of leaves of a larger size.

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§ 17.15.1  Elm-seed should be collected about the first of March, before the tree is clothed with foliage, when the seed is beginning to turn yellow. Then it should be left in the shade to dry for two days, and afterwards thickly sown in ground that has been broken up, and a layer of earth sifted fine in a sieve should be sprinkled on it, of the thickness recommended in the case of cypresses; and if no rain comes to your assistance, it must be watered. A year afterwards the plants should be removed from the rows of the beds to the elm-grounds and planted at a distance of a foot apart each way. Atinian elms it pays better to plant in autumn, because they are grown from cuttings, having no seed. For a grove in the neighbourhood of the city they should be transplanted when they are five years old, or, as some hold, when they have reached a height of twenty feet. They should be set in what is called a 'nine-square-foot' trench, 3 ft. deep and 3 ft. broad and even larger. When they have been planted, mounds 3 ft. high from the ground level should be heaped round them — the name for these mounds in Campania is 'little altars'. The spacing must be settled according to the nature of the place: in level country it is suitable to plant the young trees wider apart. It is also proper to plant out poplars and ashes earlier, because they bud more quickly — that is, planting should start on the 13th of February: these frees also growing from cuttings. In spacing out trees and plantations and planning vineyards the diagonal arrangement of rows is commonly adopted and is essential, being not only advantageous in allowing the passage of air, but also agreeable in appearance, as in whatever direction you look at the plantation a row of trees stretches out in a straight line. In the case of poplars the same method of growing them from seed is used as with elms, and also the same method of transplanting them from nurseries or forests.

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§ 17.16.1  It is consequently of the first importance for shoots to be transplanted into similar or better toil, and not moved from warm or early ripening positions into cold or backward ones, nor yet from the latter to the former either; and to dig the trenches some time in advance — if possible, long enough before to allow the holes to get covered over with thick turf. Mago advises a year in advance, so as to let the holes absorb the sunshine and rain, or, if circumstances do not allow of this, he recommends making fires in the middle of the holes two months before, and only planting the seedlings in the holes so prepared just after rain has fallen. He says that in a clay soil or a hard soil the pits should measure 4 ft. 6 in. each way, 3 or 4 inches more on sloping sites, and he prescribes their being dug like an oven, narrower at the orifice; in black earth he advises a hole 3 ft. 4 in. deep, in the form of a square of the same dimensions. The authorities agree that the holes ought not to be more than 24 ft. deep or 2 ft. wide, but nowhere less than 18 in. deep. Because of the fact that in damp pound one gets through to the neighbourhood of water, Cato advises that if the place is damp the holes should be a yard wide at the orifice and 16 inches wide at the bottom, and 4 ft. deep, and that they should be floored with stones, or, if stones are not available, with stakes of green willow, or, if these are also not available, with brushwood, so as to reduce their depth by six inches. To us, after what has been said as to the nature of trees, it appears proper to add that those which are fond of the surface of the ground, for instance the ash and the olive, must be sunk deeper in; these and similar trees should be sunk four feet down, but for the others a depth of three feet will be enough. And there is no harm in trimming the parts that have become exposed: 'Lop clear that root there,' said General Papirius Cursor when to intimidate the chief magistrate of Praeneste he ordered the lictor to draw his axe. Some persons recommend putting at the bottom a layer of potsherds — others prefer round stones — in order to hold in the moisture and also let some through, thinking that flat stones do not act in the same way and prevent the root from reaching the earth. A middle course between the two opinions would be to pave the bottom with a layer of gravel.

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§ 17.16.2  Some people recommend transplanting a tree when it is not less than two years old and not more than three, others when it is large enough round to fill the Cato's view a is that it ought to be more than five inches thick. The same authority would not have omitted, if it were important, to recommend making a mark in the bark on the south side, so that when trees were transplanted they might be set in the same directions as regards the seasons as those to which they were accustomed, to prevent their north sides from being split if set facing the midday sun and their south sides from being nipped if facing the north wind. Some people also follow the contrary plan in the case of a vine or a fig, replanting them turned the other way round, from the view that this makes them grow thicker foliage and afford better shelter to their fruit and be less liable to lose it, and that a fig-tree so treated also becomes strong enough to be climbed. Most people only take care to make the wound left where the end of a branch has been lopped face south, not being aware that this exposes it to cracks caused by excessive heat; I should prefer to let a lopped end point somewhat east of south or somewhat west of south. It is equally little known that care should be taken not to let the roots become dry owing to delay in replanting, and not to dig up trees when the wind is in the north or in any quarter between north and southeast, or at all events not to leave the roots exposed to the wind in these quarters; such exposure causes trees to die without the growers knowing the cause. Cato disapproves of wind in any quarter and of rain also during all the time while transplantation is going on. It will be a good precaution against wind and rain to leave as much as possible of the earth in which the trees have been living clinging to their roots, and to bind them all round with turf, though for this purpose Cato directs conveying the trees to the fresh place in baskets, no doubt most useful advice; and moreover be thinks it satisfactory for the top layer of soil to be put at the bottom of the hole. Some writers say that with pomegranates to lay stones at the bottom of the hole will prevent the fruit from bursting open on the tree. It is better to plant the roots in a bent position; and it is essential for the tree itself to be so placed as to be exactly in the middle of the hole. It is said that if a fig-tree is planted stuck in a squill — this is a kind of bulb — it bears fruit very quickly, and is not liable to attacks of worm, a defect from which all other kinds of fruit trees planted in a similar way are exempt. Who can doubt that great care ought to be taken with the fibres of the roots, so that they may appear to have been taken, not torn, out of the ground? On this account we omit the remaining rules that are admitted, for instance that the earth round the roots should be rammed tight with a light mallet, which Cato thinks of primary importance in this matter, also advising that a wound made on the trunk should be plastered over with dung and bandaged with leaves.

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§ 17.17.1  A part of this topic is the question of the spaces between the trees. Some people have advised planting pomegranates, myrtles, and laurels rather close together, only three yards apart, apples a little wider apart, pears still wider, and almonds and figs wider again; although this matter will best be decided by taking account of the length of the branches and the dimensions of the places concerned, as well as of the shadow of each particular tree, since these too must be considered: even large trees throw only small shadows when their branches curve round into a circular shape, as in the ease of apples and pears, whereas cherries and laurels throw exceptionally wide shadows.

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§ 17.18.1  We turn now to certain special properties of the shade of different trees. That of walnut is heavy, and even causes headache in man and injury to anything planted in its vicinity; and that of the pine-tree also kills grass; but both the pine and the walnut withstand wind, as also their projecting branches shield them like penthouses. Very heavy raindrops fall from the pine oak and holm-oak, but none at all from the cypress, which throws a very small compact shadow around it; and fig-trees give only a light shadow, however much spread out, and consequently it is not necessary to make it a rule not to plant them between vines. Elms give a gentle shade which actually promotes the growth of any plants that it falls on, although Atticus holds the view that also the shade of elms is one of the most oppressive, nor do I doubt that it is so if they are allowed to shoot out into branches, although I do not think that the shade of the elm does any harm when the tree is kept within bounds. The shade of the plane also though dense is agreeable, as we may learn from the evidence of grass, which under no other tree covers the banks more luxuriantly. The poplar with its gaily quivering leaves gives no shade at all; the shade of the alder is dense but permits the growth of plants. The vine gives enough shade for itself, as its quivering foliage and constant tossing tempers the sunshine with shadow, while by the same means it affords shelter in a heavy shower of rain. Nearly all trees of which the leaves have long stalks afford only light shade.

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§ 17.18.2  Even this department of knowledge is not to be despised, nor put in the last class, inasmuch as to each kind of plant shade is either a nurse or else a stepmother — at all events for the shadow of a walnut tree or a stone pine or a spruce or a silver fir to touch any plant whatever is undoubtedly poison.

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§ 17.19.1  The question of raindrops falling from trees can be settled briefly. With all the trees which are so shielded by the spread of their foliage that the rainwater does not flow down over the tree itself the drip does cruel injury. Consequently in this enquiry it will make a great deal of difference over what space the soil in which we are going to plant causes the various trees to grow. In the first place, hillsides in themselves require smaller intervals between the trees. In places exposed to the wind, it pays to plant trees closer together, but nevertheless to give the olive very wide spacing, Cato's opinions for Italy being that olives should be planted 25 or at most 30 feet apart; but this varies with the nature of the sites. The olive is the largest of all the trees in Andalusia; in Africa, however, so it is stated — the guarantee for this statement will rest with the authorities who make it — there are a number of trees called 'thousand-pounders', from the weight of oil that they produce in a year's crop. Consequently Mago has prescribed a space of 75 feet all round, or in thin, hard soil exposed to the wind, 45 feet at least. Andalusia however reaps most abundant crops of corn grown between the olives. It will be agreed that it shows shameful ignorance to thin full-grown trees more than a proper amount and hasten them into old age, or to cut them down altogether, by doing which the persons who planted them frequently manifest their own incompetence. Nothing is more disgraceful for farmers than to do a thing and then have to be sorry for it, so that in fact it pays much better to err by leaving too much space between some trees are by nature slow growers, and in particular those that only grow from seed and that live a long time. Those on the other hand that are short-lived, for instance the fig, pomegranate, plum, apple, pear, myrtle and willow, grow quickly, and nevertheless they lead the way in producing their riches, for they begin to bear at three years old, making some show even before. Among these the pear is the slowest of all to bear, and the cypirus and the false cypirus bush the quickest, for this group flowers straight away and goes on to produce its seed. But all trees mature more quickly if the suckers are removed and the nourishing juices brought back into a single stem.

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§ 17.21.1  Nature has likewise also taught the art of reproducing from layers. Brambles curving over with their slender and also excessively long shoots plant their ends in the earth again and sprout afresh out of themselves, in a manner that would fill up the whole place if resistance were not offered by cultivation, so that it would be positively possible to imagine that mankind was created for the service of the earth. Thus a most evil and execrable circumstance has nevertheless taught the use of the layer and the quickset. Ivies also have the same property. Beside the vine, Cato gives instructions for layering the fig, olive, pomegranate, all kinds of apples, laurels, plums, myrtle, filberts and Praeneste nuts, and the plane.

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§ 17.21.2  There are two kinds of layer. A branch is bent down from the tree into a hole measuring four feet each way, and after two years is cut off at the bend, and three years later the growth is transplanted to another place; if it is desired to carry layers so struck a considerable distance, it is most suitable to plant them at once in baskets or earthenware pots, so that they may be carried to the fresh site in these. The other method is more elaborate; it is effected by inducing roots to grow on the tree itself by passing branches through earthenware pots or baskets and packing them round with earth, and so enticing roots to grow right among the fruit and at the ends of the branches — as branch-ends to form roots in this way are obtained at the top of the tree, by the daring device of creating another tree a long way off the ground — and after the same interval of two years as in the previous method cutting off the layer and planting it together with the basket. Savine is grown from a layer and also from a slip; it is said that wine-lees or crushed brick from walls make it grow marvellously; and rosemary is reproduced by the same methods and also from a branch, since neither savine nor rosemary has a seed; the rhododendron is grown both by layering and from seed.

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§ 17.22.1  Nature has also taught the method of grafting by means of seed; a seed that has been hurriedly swallowed whole by a hungry bird and has become sodden by the warmth of its belly is deposited together with a fertilizing manure of dung in a soft bed in the fork of a tree, or else, as often happens, is carried by the wind into some crevice or other in the bark; a result of this we have seen a cherry tree growing on a willow, a plane on a laurel, a laurel on a cherry, and berries of different colours growing together. lit is also reported that the same thing may be caused by a jackdaw when it hides seeds in the holes that are its storehouses.

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§ 17.23.1  From this has been derived the process of inoculation, consisting in opening an eye in a tree by cutting away the bark with a tool resembling a shoemaker's punch and enclosing in it a seed that has been removed from another tree by means of the same tool. This was the method of inoculation used in old days in the case of figs and apples; but the method described by Virgil is to find a recess in a knot of bark burst open by a shoot and to enclose in this a bud obtained from another tree.

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§ 17.24.1  And so far Nature has herself been our instructor; but grafting was taught us by Chance, another tutor and one who gives us perhaps more frequent lessons, and this was how he did it: a careful farmer, making a fence round his house to protect it, put under the posts a base made of ivy-wood, so as to prevent them from rotting; but the posts when nipped by the bite of the still living ivy created life of their own from another's vitality, and it was found that the trunk of a tree was serving instead of earth. Continuing, the surface of the wood is levelled off with a saw and the trunk smoothed with a pruning-knife. Afterwards there is a twofold method of procedure; and the first method consists of inserting the graft between the bark and the wood, as people in former days were afraid of making a cleft in the trunk; although subsequently they ventured to bore right into the middle and adopted the plan of forcing the graft into the pith itself inside it, inserting only one graft as the pith would not take more. But subsequently a more elaborate method is for as many as six grafts to be added to reinforce their liability to die and their number, a cleft being carefully made through the middle of the trunk and being kept open by means of a thin wedge until the graft, the end of which has been pared into a point, goes right down into the crack.

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§ 17.24.2  In this process a great many precautions have to be observed. First of all we must notice what kind of tree will stand grafting of this nature, and what tree it will take a graft from. Also the sap is variously distributed, and does not lie under the bark in the same parts with all trees: in vines and figs the middle is drier, and generation starts from the top, shoots for grafting being consequently taken from the top of the tree, whereas in olives the sap is round the middle and grafts are also taken from there, the tops being parched up. Grafts and trunk grow together most easily when they have the same kind of bark and when they flower at the same time, so that they have the affinity of the same season and a partnership of juices; whereas it is a slow business when there is incompatibility between dry tissues and damp ones, and between hard and soft barks. The other points to be observed are not to make the cleft at a knot, as the inhospitable hardness repudiates a newcomer; to make it at the shiniest place; not to make it much more than three inches long, nor on a slant, nor so as to be transparent. Virgil says that grafts must not be taken from the top, and it is certain that the slips should be obtained from the shoulders of the tree that look north-east, and from trees that are good bearers and from a young shoot, unless the tree on which they are to be grafted is an old one, as in that case the slip must be stouter. A further point is that slips that are going to be grafted must be pregnant, that is, swelling with bud-formations, and in expectation of giving birth in that year, and they must be at all events two years old, and not thinner than the little finger. But grafts are also inserted the other way round a when the intention is for them not to grow so long but to spread out. Before all things it will be serviceable for them to have buds and to be glossy, as nothing shabby or shrivelled anywhere will gratify one's hopes. The pith of the slip grafted should be put touching the place in the mother tree where the wood and the bark meet, for that is more satisfactory than to place it level with the bark outside. The process of giving a point to the slip for grafting must not strip the pith quite bare, but only make it visible through a narrow aperture; the point must slope off in an even wedge not more than three inches long, which is most easily achieved by dipping the slip in water when paring it. It must not be exposed to wind while it is being pointed. The bark must not be allowed to become separated from the wood in either the graft or the trunk. The graft must be pressed right down to where its bark begins, but it must not be forced out of shape while it is being pressed home, nor have its bark folded back in wrinkles. Consequently shoots dripping with sap should not be used for grafting, no more, I swear, than ones that are dry, because in the former case excess of moisture causes the bark to slip, while in the latter owing to defective vitality it makes no moisture and does not incorporate with the trunk. Moreover there is a religious rule that a graft must be inserted while the moon is waxing; and that both hands must be used in pressing it home; and apart from that, to use both hands at once in this job requires less effort, as it involves combining their forces. Grafts pressed in too forcibly are slower in bearing but last more stoutly, while the contrary procedure has the opposite results. The crack must not gape too wide and afford a loose hold, nor yet not wide enough, so as to squeeze the graft out or to kill it by pressure; special care must be taken to avoid the latter in the trunk of a tree that takes the graft with an excessively powerful hold. In order that a cleft may be left in the middle, some people make a line of cleavage in the trunk with a pruning-hook and bandage the actual edge of the incision with a withe, and afterwards force it apart with a wedge, the bandage keeping it from gaping open too freely. Some slips are grafted on plants in a seed-plot and then are transplanted on the same day. If a rather thick stock is used for grafting, it is better to insert it between the bark and the wood, after using a wedge, preferably of bone, to loosen the bark, so as not to break it. Cherry-trees have their inner rind removed before the incision is made. They are the only trees that are grafted even after midwinter. After the bark has been removed they have a layer of a sort of down, and if this gets a hold on the graft it makes it decay. The most effective way of tightening the bandage is by driving a wedge into it; it suits best to insert it as close to the ground as the formation of the tree and the knots allows. Grafts ought not to project to a length of more than six inches.

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§ 17.24.3  Cato recommends making a mixture of pounded white clay or chalk and cow-dung and so working it to a sticky consistency, and putting this into the fissure and smearing it round it. From his remarks on the subject it is easily seen that at that period they used to insert the graft between the wood and the bark and not otherwise, nor used they to put the slips more than two inches in. He advises grafting pear and apples during the spring and fifty days after midsummer and after the vintage, but olives and figs only in the spring and when a cloudless moon is shining, and moreover in the afternoon and not if there is a south wind blowing. It is remarkable that he is not content to have safeguarded the graft in the manner described, and to have protected it against rain and frost by means of turf and soft bundles of split osiers, but he says it must be covered with a layer of buglois — a species of plant — as well, and that this should be tied on with a layer of straw; whereas nowadays they think it is very adequately packed with a wrapping of mud and chaff, the graft projecting two inches from the bark.

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§ 17.24.4  Those who do their grafting in spring are pressed for time, as the buds are just shooting, except in the case of the olive, the eyes of which are pregnant for a very long time, and it has a very small amount of sap under the bark, which when too abundant is injurious to the grafts. But with pomegranates and the fig and other trees of a dry nature it is far from beneficial to put off grafting till a late season. A pear-tree however may be grafted when actually in blossom, and the process may be carried forward even into May. If however cuttings of fruit trees have to be brought from a considerable distance, it is believed that they best preserve their sap if they are inserted in a turnip, and it is best to store them near a stream or a pond, packed between two hollow tiles blocked up at each end with earth; but it is thought that vine-cuttings are best stored in dry ditches, under a covering of straw, with earth then piled over them so as to let their tops protrude.

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§ 17.25.1  Cato has three ways of grafting a vine: he advises cutting the stock short and splitting it through the pith, and then inserting into it the shoots after sharpening them at the end in the manner stated above, and making the cambium of the two meet; the second method is, in case the vines are contiguous with one another, to pare down on a slant the side of each that faces the other and to tie them together with the cambiums joined; and the third is to bore a slanting hole in the vine down to the pith and insert slips a couple of feet long, and to tie the graft in that position and cover it up with a plaster of pounded earth, with the shoots upright. Our generation has improved on this method, so as to employ a Gallic auger which makes a hole in the tree without scorching it, because all scorching weakens it, and to select a slip that is beginning to bud, and not to let it protrude from the stock by more than two eyes, ... of an elm ... tied on with a withe put two round ... on two sides with a knife, so that the slime which is the greatest enemy of vines may chiefly exude through them, and then when the whips have made two feet of growth, to cut the tie of the graft, allowing its growth to make thickness. They have fixed the time for grafting vines from the autumn equinox till the beginning of budding. Cultivated plants are grafted on roots of wild ones, which are of a closer texture, whereas if slips of cultivated plants arc grafted on the trunks of wild ones they degenerate to the wild variety. The rest depends on the weather: dry weather is most favourable for grafts, because a remedy for its ill effects is to place earthenware pots of ashes on the stock and let a small amount of water filter through the ashes; but grafting by inoculation likes a light fall of dew.

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§ 17.26.1  Scutcheon grafting may itself also be thought to have sprung from grafting by inoculation, but it is most suited to a thick bark, such as that of fig-trees. The procedure is to prune all the branches so that they may not attract the sap, and then, at the most flourishing part of the tree and where it displays exceptional luxuriance, to remove a scutcheon, without allowing the knife to penetrate below the bark; and then to take a piece of bark of equal size from another tree, together with a protuberant bud, and press it into the place, fitting the join so closely that there is no room for a scar to form and a single substance is produced straight away, impervious to damp and to air — though all the same it is better to protect the splice by plastering it with mud and tying it with a bandage. People in favour of modem fashions make out that this kind of grafting was only recently invented, but it is found already in the old Greek writers and in Cato, who prescribed this method of grafting for the olive and the fig, in conformity with his invariable precision actually defining the proper measurement: he says that a piece of bark four inches long and three wide should be cut out with a knife, and so fitted to its place and smeared with that pounded mixture of his described above, in the same way as in grafting an apple. In the case of vines some people have combined with this kind of grafting the fissure method, removing a little square of bark on the side and then forcing in the shoot. We have seen beside the Falls of Tivoli a tree that has been grafted in all these ways and was laden with fruit of every kind, nuts on one branch, berries on another, while in other places hung grapes, pears, figs, pomegranates and various sorts of apples; but the tree did not live long. And nevertheless it is impossible for us by our experiments to attain to all the things found in Nature, as some cannot possibly come into existence except spontaneously, and these only occur in wild and uninhabited places. The tree most receptive of every kind of graft is believed to be the plane, and next to it the hard-oak, but both of these spoil the flavours of the fruit. Some trees, for instance the fig and the pomegranate, can be grafted in all the different methods, but the vine does not admit scutcheons, nor do trees that have a thin bark or one that peels off and cracks; nor do trees which are dry or contain only a little sap admit of inoculation. Inoculation is the most prolific of all methods of grafting, and grafting by scutcheon comes next, but both are very subject to displacement; and a graft that relies on the support of the bark only is very speedily dislodged by even a light breeze. Grafting by insertion is the firmest, and produces more fruit than a tree grown from planting.

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§ 17.26.2  We must not omit one extremely exceptional case. In the territory of Naples a Knight of Rome named Corellius, a native of Este, grafted a chestnut with a slip cut from the tree itself, and this is how the celebrated variety of chestnut tree named after him was produced. Subsequently his freedman Tereus grafted a Corellius chestnut again. The difference between the two varieties is this: the former is more prolific but the latter, the Tereus chestnut, of better quality.

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§ 17.27.1  It is mere accident that by its own ingenuity has devised the remaining kinds of reproduction; it taught us to break off branches from trees and plant them because stakes driven into the earth had taken root. This method is used to grow many frees, especially the fig, which can be grown in all the other ways except from a cutting; the best plan indeed is to take a comparatively large branch and point it at the end like a stake and drive it deep into the earth, leaving a small head above ground and covering up even this with sand. Pomegranates also are grown from a branch, the passage into the hole having first been widened with stakes; and so also the myrtle; in all of these a branch is used that is three feet long and not so thick as a man s arm, and the bark is carefully preserved and the trunk sharpened to a point at the end.

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§ 17.28.1  The myrtle is grown from cuttings as well as in other ways, and that is the only way used for the mulberry, because superstitious fear of lightning forbids its being grafted on an elm. Consequently we must now speak about the planting of cuttings. In this care must be taken above all that the cuttings are made from trees that bear well, that they are not bent in shape nor scabbed or forked, that they are thick enough to fill the hand and not less than a foot long, that they are planted without injury to the bark and always with the cut end and the part that was nearest the root downward, and during the process of budding the plant is kept heaped over with earth until it attains strength.

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§ 17.29.1  We shall best convey in Cato's own words the rules that he judged necessary to keep in looking after olives: 'Make the olive slips that you are going to plant in the hole a yard long, and handle them carefully so as not to damage the bark when cutting or trimming them. Make those you are going to plant in the nursery a foot long. Plant them thus: the place must be first dug over with a mattock and have the soil well loosened; when you put the slip in, press down the slip with your foot; if it does not go down far enough, drive it in with a mallet or a beetle, and be careful not to break the bark while you are driving it in. Do not make a hole beforehand with a dibble into which to put the slip: if you do not, it will live better. The slips do not mature till three years old, when the bark will turn. If you plant them in holes or in furrows, put them in groups of three and keep these apart. Cheek just by the eye that they do not project more than four fingers' breadth above the earth. — In taking up an olive tree you should use great care and carry the roots with as much earth as possible; when you have well covered up the roots, tread them down well, so that nothing may injure them. If anyone asks what is the time for planting an olive, the answer is, where there is a dry soil, at seed-time, but where it is rich, in the spring.

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§ 17.30.1  Begin to prune an olive-yard a fortnight before the spring equinox; the six weeks from then onward will be the right time for pruning. Prune it in this way: in a really fertile place, remove all the parts that are dry and any branches broken by the wind; in a place that is not fertile, trim away more and reduce well and disentangle out and make the stocks smooth. — In the autumn season turn up the earth round the olive-trees and add dung. — The man who stirs over his olive-yard most often and deepest, will plough up the thinnest roots. If be ploughs badly, the roots will spread out on the top of the ground and will become thicker, and the strength of the olive-trees will go away into them.

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§ 17.30.2  We have already stated, in treating of olive-oil, what kinds of olive trees Cato tells us to plant and in what kind of soil, and what aspect he advises for olive-yards. Mago recommends that on sloping ground and in dry positions and in a clay soil they should be planted between autumn and the middle of winter, but in heavy or damp or watery soil between harvest and the middle of winter — though it must be understood that he gave this advice for Africa. Italy at any rate, at the present time, does its planting chiefly in spring, but if one chooses to plant in autumn as well, there are only four days of the forty between the equinox and the setting of the Pleiades on which it injures olives to be planted. It is peculiar to Africa that it grafts them on a wild olive, in a soft of everlasting sequence, as when they begin to get old the shoot next for engrafting is put in and so another young tree grows out of the same one and the process is repeated as often as is necessary, so that the same olive-yards go on for generations. The wild olive however is propagated both by grafting and by inoculation.

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§ 17.30.3  It is bad to plant an olive where an oak-tree has been dug up, because the worms called raucae breed in oak roots and go over to olives. It has been ascertained to pay better not to bury the cuttings in the ground or to dry them before they are planted. It has been found better for an old olive-yard to be raked over every other year between the spring equinox and the rising of the Pleiades, and also to have the moss scraped off the trees, but for them to be dug round every year just after midsummer with a hole a yard across and a foot deep, and to be manured with dung every third year.

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§ 17.30.4  Mago also tells us to plant almonds between the rising of Arcturus and the shortest day, and not to plant all kinds of pears at the same time, as they do not blossom at the same time either; he says that those with oblong or round fruit should be planted between the setting of the Pleiades and the shortest day, but the remaining kinds in midwinter after the setting of the Arrow, with an eastern or northerly aspect; and a laurel between the setting of the Eagle and the setting of the Arrow. For the rule as to the time for planting and that for grafting are connected: the authorities have decided that for the greater part grafting should be done in spring and autumn, but there is also another suitable season, about the rising of the Dog-star, known to fewer people because it is understood not to be equally advantageous for all localities, but as we are enquiring into the proper method not for a particular region but for the whole of nature we must not omit it. In the district of Cyrene they plant when the yearly winds are blowing, as they also do in Greece, and particularly the olive in Laconia. The island of Cos also plants vines at that season, but the rest of the farmers in Greece, though they do not hesitate to inoculate and to graft trees at that season, do not plant trees then. And the natural qualities of the localities carry very great weight in this matter; for in Egypt they plant in every month, and so in every country that has a summer rainfall, but in India and Ethiopia trees are necessarily planted later, in autumn. Consequently there are three regular periods for germination, spring and the rise of the Dog-star and that of Arcturus. For in fact not only do animals possess a strong appetite for copulation, but the earth and all vegetable growths have a much greater desire, the indulgence of which at the proper season is of the greatest importance for conception, and peculiarly so in the case of grafts, as both graft and stock share a mutual eagerness to unite. Those who approve of spring for grafting begin it immediately after the equinox, stating that the buds are just coming out, which facilitates the joining of the barks; but those who prefer autumn begin at the rising of Arcturus, because the grafts at once so to speak take root and are prepared when they reach springtime, and do not have their strength taken away immediately by budding. Some kinds of trees however have a fixed time of year everywhere, for instance cherries and almonds, which have to be planted or grafted about midwinter; but as to the greater number of trees the lie of the land will make the best decision, as cold and damp lands must be planted in spring, but dry and warm sites in autumn. The system general in Italy at all events assigns the times for planting in the following manner: for a mulberry from February 13 to the spring equinox; for a pear the autumn, provided it is not less than a fortnight before the shortest day; for summer apples and quinces, and also sorbs and plums, from midwinter to February 13; for the Greek carob and for peaches, right through autumn till midwinter; for the nuts, walnut and pine-cone and filbert and almond and chestnut, from March 1 to March 15; for the willow and broom about March 1. The broom is grown from seed in dry places and the willow from a slip in damp localities, as we have stated.

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§ 17.30.5  There is moreover a new method of grafting — so that I may not wittingly pass over anything that I have anywhere discovered — devised by Columella, as he himself states, for the purpose of effecting a union even between trees of different natures and not easily combined, for example figs and olives. He gives instructions to plant a fig-tree near to an olive, with not too wide a space between for the fig at full spread to touch a branch of the olive, the most supple and pliant branch possible being chosen, and all the time during the process it must be trained by practice in curving; and afterwards, when the fig has gained full strength, which he says is a matter of three or at most five years, the top of it is cut off and the branch of the olive is itself also pruned and with its head shaved to a point in the way that has been stated is inserted in the shank of the fig, after having been secured with ties to prevent its escaping because of the bend in it. In this way, he says, by a sort of combination of layering and grafting, in three years the branch shared between the two mother trees grows together, and in the fourth year it is cut away and belongs entirely to the tree that has adopted it; this method however is not yet generally known, or at all events I have not yet obtained a complete account of it.

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§ 17.31.1  For the rest, the same account that has been given above about warm and cold and damp and dry substances has also demonstrated the method of trenching. In watery soils it will be suitable to make trenches neither broad nor deep, but the contrary in warm and dry ground, so that they may receive and retain water as much as possible. This is the method used in cultivating old trees as well, as in very warm localities growers heap earth over the roots in summer and cover them up, to prevent the heat of the sun from parching them. In other places they turn up the earth round them and give access to the air, but also in winter pile up earth to protect them from frost; whereas growers in hot climates open up the roots in winter and try to obtain moisture for the thirsty trees. Everywhere the rule is to dig a circular trench three feet in circumference round the tree, though this is not done in meadowland because the roots, owing to their love of sun and moisture, wander about on the surface of the ground — And let these be our general observations in regard to planting and grafting trees for fruit.

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§ 17.32.1  It remains to give an account of those which are grown as supports for other trees, particularly for vines, and which are felled for timber. Among these the first place is taken by willows, which arc planted in a damp place, but in a hole dug two and a half feet deep, a truncheon or rod 18 inches long being used, the stouter the more serviceable. They should be set six feet apart. When three years old they are lopped off two feet from the ground to make them spread out wide and to enable them to be cut back without using ladders; for the willow is the more productive the nearer it is to the ground. It is advised that these frees also should be dug round every year, in April. This is the mode of cultivating the osier willow. The stake willow is grown both from a rod and from a truncheon, in a hole of the same depth. It is proper to cut rods from it in about three years; but these also fill up the place of trees that are growing old, by means of a layered new growth cut off after a year. A single acre of osier-willow will supply enough for 25 acres of vineyard. The white poplar is also grown for the same purpose, the hole being two feet deep and the cutting eighteen inches long and left two days to dry; the truncheons are planted one foot nine inches apart and a layer of earth a yard deep is thrown on the top of them.

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§ 17.33.1  The reed likes an even moister soil than osiers do. It is planted by putting the bulb of the root, which others call the 'eye' in a hole nine inches deep, two feet six inches apart; and it renews itself of its own accord when an old reed-bed has been rooted up, a method that has been found to pay better than thinning out, as used to be done previously, because the roots get twisted up together and are hilled by their mutual inroads. The time to plant is before the eyes of the reeds swell up, which is before the first of March. It goes on growing till midwinter, and stops when it is beginning to get hard, which is the indication that it is ready for cutting; though it is thought that the reed also requires digging round as often as the vine does. It is also planted in a horizontal position, not buried deep in the ground, and as many shoots spring up as there are eyes. It is also grown by being planted out in a hole a foot deep, with two eyes buried so that the third knot is just touching the earth, and with the head bent down so as not to hold the dew. It is cut when the moon is on the wane. For propping vines a reed dried in smoke is more serviceable than one still green.

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§ 17.34.1  The chestnut-tree is preferred to all other props because of the ease with which it is worked its obstinate durability, and because when cut it nuts again even more abundantly than the willow. It asks for a light yet not sandy soil, and especially a damp gravel or glowing-coal earth or even a powdery tufa, and it will grow in a site however shady, and facing north and extremely cold, or even in one on a slope; but at the same time it refuses dry gravel, red earth, chalk, and all rich fertile soils. We have said that it is grown from the nut, but it will only grow from very large ones, and only when they are planted five in a heap together. The soil underneath must be kept broken up from November to February, when the nuts detach themselves and fall from the tree and sprout in the ground underneath it. They should be planted in a hole measuring nine inches each way, with spaces of a foot between them. After two years they are transferred from this seed-plot to another and replanted two feet apart. People also grow them from a layer, which indeed is easier in their case than with any other tree: for the root is bared and the layer laid in the trench at full length, and then it throws out a new shoot from the top left above the earth and another from the root. When transplanted however it does not know how to make itself at home and dreads the novelty for almost two years, but afterwards it puts out shoots. Consequently plantations felled for timber are replenished by sowing nuts rather than by planting quicksets. The mode of cultivation is not different from that used for the trees a mentioned above: it is by loosening the soil and pruning the lower part for the next two years. For the rest the tree looks after itself, as its shadow kills off superfluous suckers. It is lopped before the end of the sixth year. The props provided by one acre are enough for twenty acres of vines, as they even grow forked in two from the root, and they last till after the next lopping of the plantation they come from.

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§ 17.34.2  The sessile-fruited oak is grown in a similar way, though later by three years in lopping, and less difficult to propagate in whatever soil it is sown; this is done in spring, with an acorn (but only a sessile-oak is grown from one) in a hole nine inches deep, with two foot spaces between the plants; the ground is lightly hoed four times a year. A sessile-oak grown as a prop is least liable to rot, and it makes new shoots when lopped most of any timber. Timber trees in addition to those we have mentioned are the ash, laurel, peach, hazel, apple, but these shoot more slowly and when fixed in the ground scarcely stand the action of the soil, not to mention the damp. The elder, on the contrary, which is very strong timber for a stake, is grown from cuttings like the poplar. About the cypress we have already said enough.

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§ 17.35.1  And now that a preliminary account has been given of what may be called the rigging that supports the vines, it remains to give a particularly careful description of the nature of the vines themselves.

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§ 17.35.2  The shoots of the vine, and of certain other trees that have a somewhat spongy inner substance, have stalks with knotted joints that make divisions across the pith. The actual lengths of cane are short, and get shorter towards the top, and they close up their pieces between the knots with joints at each end. The pith, or what is really the life-giving soul of the tree, stretches forward filling up the length in front of it, so long as the knots are open, with a tube that allows a passage; but when they have become solidified and prevent passage, the pith is thrown back and bursts out at its lowest part close to the previous knot with a series of alternate lateral forks, as has been stated in the case of the reed and of the giant fennel; with these the swelling from the bottom knot can be observed on the right and that at the next one on the left, and so on alternately. In the case of a vine, when this swelling makes a knob at the knot it is called a 'germ', but before it makes a knob, in the hollow part it is called an 'eye' and at the actual top a 'germ'. This is the way in which the main shoots, side-shoots, grapes, leaves and tendrils are formed; and it is a remarkable fact that those growing on the right-hand side are the stronger.

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§ 17.35.3  Consequently when these slips are planted it is necessary to cut the knots in them across the middle, without letting the pith run out. And in the case of a fig nine-inch slips are planted in holes made in the ground with pegs, in such a way as to have the parts that were nearest to the tree sunk into the earth and two eyes projecting above the surface (the term 'eyes' in slips of trees properly denotes the points from which they send out shoots). It is because of this that even when bedded out the slips occasionally produce in the same year the fruit they were going to bear on the tree if they have been planted at the proper time when pregnant, and give birth in their other position to the progeny they had begun to conceive. Fig-trees struck in this way are easily transplanted two years later, as this tree in compensation for the rapidity with which it grows old is endowed with the property of coming to maturity very rapidly.

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§ 17.35.4  Vines give more numerous kinds of shoots for planting. The first point is that none of these are used for planting except useless growths lopped off for brush-wood, whereas any branch that bore fruit last time is pruned away. It used to be the custom to plant the shoot with a knob of the hard wood on each side of it, and this explains why it is still called a 'mallet-shoot'; but afterwards the practice began of pulling it off with its own heel, as is done in the case of the fig; and there is no kind of slip that grows better. A third kind has been added that strikes even quicker, which has the heel removed; these slips are called 'arrows' when they are twisted before being set out, 'three-bud slips' when they are cut off and set without being twisted. By this method several can be obtained from the same shoot. To plant from young leafy shoots is unproductive, and a slip for planting must only be taken from a shoot that has already borne fruit. A shoot that has few knots in it is deemed unlikely to bear, whereas a crowd of buds is a sign of fertility. Some people say that only shoots that have flowered should be planted. It does not pay so well to plant arrow-slips, because anything that is twisted easily gets broken in being moved. Shoots chosen for planting should be not less than a foot long, with five or six knots; that length of shoot will not possibly have less than three buds. It pays best to plant them on the same day as they are cut off, or if a considerable postponement cannot be avoided, to keep them well protected, as we have instructed, or at all events to be careful not to lay them down on the surface of the earth and let them be dried up by the sun and nipped by wind or frost. Shoots that have been left too long in a dry place should be soaked in water for several days to restore their freshness.

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§ 17.35.5  The soil whether in a nursery or a vineyard should be exposed to the sun and should he as soft as possible, and it should be tinned over with a two-pronged fork three feet down, and thrown back with a two-spit spade or mattock to swell naturally in ridges four feet high, so that each trench goes down two feet; and when dug the earth must be cleaned of weeds and spread out, so that no part may be left uncultivated, and it must be levelled accurately by measurement: unequal ridges show that the ground has been badly dug. The part of the ground lying between the banks must also be measured. Shoots are planted either in a hole or in a longer trench, and the finest possible layer of earth is heaped over them, although in a thin soil this is of no use unless a layer of richer soil is spread underneath. The earth should cover up not fewer than two buds and should just touch the third; it must be pressed down to the same level and compacted with the dibble; in the nursery plot there should be spaces eighteen inches broad and six inches longways between every two settings; and the mallet-shoots so planted should after two years be cut back to their bottom knot, if the knot itself is spared. From this point they throw out the substance of eyes, with which at the end of three years the quickset is planted.

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§ 17.35.6  There is also a luxury method of growing vines — to tie four mallet-shoots together at the bottom with a tight string and so pass them through the shank bones of an ox or else through earthenware pipes, and then bury them in the earth, leaving two buds protruding. This makes the shoots grow into one, and when they have been cut back they throw out a new shoot. Afterwards the pipe is broken and the root is left free to acquire strength and the vine bears grapes on all its constituent shoots. Under another method recently discovered a mallet-shoot is split down the middle and after the pith has been scraped out the actual lengths of stalk are tied together, every precaution being taken to avoid hurting the buds. The mallet-shoot is then planted in a mixture of earth and dung, and when it begins to throw out stalks, it is cut down and dug round several times. Columella guarantees that a vine so grown will bear grapes with no stones in them, although it is extremely surprising that the planted slips themselves will live after being deprived of their pith.

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§ 17.35.7  think I ought not to omit to mention that trees will grow even from slips that have no joint in them; for instance box-trees come up if planted with five or six extremely slender slips tied together. It was formerly the practice to break off these slips from a box tree that had not been pruned, as it was believed that otherwise they would not live; but experience has done away with that notion.

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§ 17.35.8  After the management of the nursery follows the arrangement of the vineyards. These are of five kinds — with the branches spreading about on the ground, or with the vine standing up of its own accord, or else with a stay but without a cross-bar, or propped with a single cross-bar, or trellised with four bars in a rectangle. It will be understood that the same system that belongs to a propped vine is that of one in which the vine is left to stand by itself without a stay, for this is only done when there is a shortage of props. A vineyard with the single cross-bar is arranged in a straight row which is called a canterius; this is better for wine, as the vine so grown does not overshadow itself and is ripened by constant sunshine, and is more exposed to currents of air and so gets rid of dew more quickly, and also is easier for trimming and for harrowing the soil and all operations; and above all it sheds its blossoms in a more beneficial manner. The cross-bar is made of a stake or a reed, or else of a rope of hair or hemp, as in Spain and at Brindisi. More wine is produced by a rectangle-frame vineyard (the name is taken from the rectangular openings in the roofs of the courts of houses); this is divided into compartments of four by the same number of cross-bars. The method of growing vines with this frame will be described, and the same account will hold good in the case of every sort of frame, the only difference being that in this case it is more complicated.

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§ 17.35.9  There are in fact three ways of planting a vine; the best is to use ground that has been dug over, the next best to plant in a furrow, and the last to plant in a hole. The method of digging over has been described; for a furrow a spade's breadth is enough, and for holes the breadth of a yard each way. In each method the depth must be a yard, and consequently the vine transplanted must be not less than a yard long, even so allowing two buds to be above the surface. It is essential to soften the earth by making very small furrows at the bottom of the hole and to mix dung with it. Sloping ground requires deeper holes, with their edges on the lower side banked up as well. Some of these holes will be made longer, so as to take two vines at opposite ends, and these will be called beds. The root of the vine should be in the middle of the hole, but the slip itself, bedded in firm soil, should be pointing due east, and at first it should be given supports made of reed. Vineyards should be bisected by a main path running east and west, six yards wide so as to allow the passage of carts going in opposite directions; and they should be intersected by other cross-paths ten feet wide running through the middle of each acre, or, if the vineyard is a specially large one, it should have a main cross-path north and south as many feet wide as the one east and west, but always be divided up by fifth-row cross-paths — that is, so that each square of vines may be enclosed by every stay. Where the soil is heavy it should only be planted after being dug over several times, and only quickset should be planted, but in a thin, loose soil even a mallet-shoot may be set in a hole or a furrow. On hillsides it is better to drive furrows across the slope than to dig up the soil, so that the falling away of earth may be held up by the cross-banks formed by the furrows. In rainy conditions or dry soil when the weather is wet mallet-shoots are best planted in autumn, unless the character of the particular area requires otherwise: a dry and hot soil will call for autumn planting, but a damp and cold soil will need it as late as the end of spring. It is no good planting a quickset either in dry soil, nor is it much use to plant a mallet-shoot in dry soils either, except after rain, but in well watered soils a vine may properly be planted even when it is producing leaves, and right on to midsummer, as is the practice in Spain. It is most advantageous if there is no wind on the day for planting, and though many growers like a south wind, Cato disapproves of this.

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§ 17.35.10  The space between every two vines in a soil of medium density should be five feet, and in a rich soil four feet at least, and in a thin soil eight feet at most — growers in Umbria and Marsia leave a space of up to twenty feet to allow of ploughing between the rows, in the case of the vineyards for which the local name is 'ridged fields'; vines should be planted further apart in a rainy and misty district but closer together in a dry one. Elaborate economy has discovered a way of saving space, when planting a vineyard on ground that has been well dug over, by making a nursery-bed at the same time, so that while the quickset is planted in the place it is to occupy, the mallet-shoot is also planted, so that it may be transplanted between the vines as well as between the rows of props; this plan gives about 16,000 quick-sets in an acre of ground, while it makes a difference of two years' fruit, as a planted quickset bears two years later than a transplanted mallet-shoot.

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§ 17.35.11  A quickset placed in a vineyard after two years is cut back right down to the ground, leaving only one eye above the surface; a stake is fixed close to the plant, and dung is added. In the following year also it is again lopped in a similar way, and it acquires and fosters within it sufficient strength to bear the burden of reproduction. Otherwise in its hurry to bear it would shoot up slim and meagre like a bulrush and unless it were restrained with the pinning described would spend itself entirely on growth. No tree sprouts more eagerly than the vine, and unless its strength is kept for bearing, it turns entirely into growth.

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§ 17.35.12  The best props for vine are those of which we have spoken, or else stakes from hard-oak and olive or if they are not available, props obtained from the juniper, cypress, laburnum or elder. Staves of all other kinds must be cut back every year. For the cross-bar, reeds tied together in bundles are best for the growth of the vine, and they last five years. When shorter branches are tied together with brush-wood so as to make a sort of rope, the arcades made of them are called rope-trellises.

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§ 17.35.13  In its third year a vine sends out a quick-growing strong sprig (which in time becomes a tree); and this leaps up to the cross-bar. Thereupon some growers 'blind' it by removing the eyes with a pruning-knife turned upward, with the object of making it grow longer — a most damaging practice, as the tree's habit of putting out shoots is more profitable, and it is better to trim off leafy shoots from the plant tied to the cross-bar to the point where it is decided to let it make strength. Some people forbid touching it in the year after it is transplanted, and do not allow it to be trimmed with a pruning-knife till after 5 years, but then advise cutting it back to three buds. Others prune it back even the next year, but so as to let it add three or four new joints every year, and finally bring it up to the level of the cross-bar in the fourth year. Both methods make the tree slow to fruit, and also shrivelled and knotty, with the growth natural to dwarfs. But it is best for the mother to be strong and for the new growth to strike out boldly. Also there is no safety in a shoot covered with scars — that idea is a great mistake, due to inexperience: any growth of that sort arises from a blow, it is not due to the mother vine. She should possess her full strength while the new shoot is growing sturdy, and she will welcome her yearly progeny with her whole substance when it is permitted to be born: Nature engenders nothing piecemeal. When the new growth has become strong enough it will have to be put in position on a cross-bar at once, but if it is still rather weak it must be pruned back and put in a sheltered position directly under the bar. It is the strength of the stem and not its age that decides; it is rash to put a vine under control before it has reached the thickness of one's thumb. In the following year one branch or two according to the strength of the parent vine should be brought on, and the same shoots must be nursed in the following year also if lack of strength makes this necessary, and only in the third year should two more be added; nor should more than four branches ever be allowed to grow — in short no indulgence should be shown, and fertility should always be kept in check. Also Nature is such that she wants to produce offspring more than she wants to live — all that is subtracted from a plant's wood is added to the fruit; the vine on the contrary prefers its own growth to the production of fruit, because fruit is a perishable article; thus it luxuriates ruinously, and does not fill itself out but exhausts itself.

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§ 17.35.14  The nature of the soil will also provide advice: in a thin soil, even if the vine possesses strength, it must be pruned back and kept within the cross-bar, so that all its young growth may shoot underneath the bar. The gaps between will have to be very small, so that the vine may just touch the bar and hope to grasp it but not actually do so, and consequently may not recline upon it and spread itself out luxuriously. This restriction must be so carefully managed that the vine may still want to grow rather than to bear.

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§ 17.35.15  The main branch should have two or three buds below the cross-bar from which wood may be produced, and then it should be stretched out along the bar and tied to it, so as to be held up by it, not to hang down from it, and then after the third bud it should be fastened more tightly to it by means of a tie, because that also has the effect of restraining the outgrowth of the wood and causing a more abundant outburst of shoots short of the tie; but it is forbidden to tie the end of the main branch. The nature of the vine is that the part hanging down or bound with a ligature yields fruit, and most of all the actual curve of the branch, but that which is short of the ligature makes wood, I suppose because the vital spirit and the pith mentioned above meets an obstacle. The woody shoot so produced will bear fruit in the following year. Thus there are two kinds of main branches; the shoot which comes out of the hard timber and promises wood for the next year is called a leafy shoot a or else when it is above the scar a fruit-bearing shoot, whereas the other kind of shoot that springs from a year-old branch is always a fruit-bearer. There is also left underneath the cross-bar a shoot called the keeper — this is a young branch, not longer than three buds, which will provide wood next year if the vine's luxurious growth has used itself up — and another shoot next to it, the size of a wart, called the pilferer, is also left, in case the keeper-shoot should fail.

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§ 17.35.16  A vine called on to produce fruit before it completes seven years from being planted as a slip turns into a rush-like growth and dies. Nor is it thought proper to allow an old main branch to shoot out to a great length and as far as a fourth prop, like the old growths called by some 'snake-branches' and by others 'cables', so as to make what are named male growths'. When a vine has become hard, it is very bad to bring it across on a trellis. When a vine is four years old the main branches themselves also are twisted over, and each throws out one growth of wood, first one and then the next ones, and the earlier shoots are pruned away. It is always better to leave a keeper-shoot, but this should be one next the vine, and not longer than the length that was stated; and if the main branches shoot too luxuriantly, to twist them back, so that the vine may produce only four growths of wood, or even only two if it is trained on a single cross-bar.

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§ 17.35.17  If the vine is to be trained by itself without a prop, at the beginning it will want some sort of support until it learns to stand and to rise up straight, while in all other respects it will need the same treatment from the start, except that it will need to have the pruned stumps distributed by pruning in a regular cluster all round, so that the fruit may not overload one side of the tree. Incidentally, the fruit weighing down the bough will prevent it from shooting right up high. With this vine a height of above a yard begins to bend over, but all the others start bending at five feet, only the height must not be allowed to exceed the average height of a man. Growers also put low cages round the vines that spread out on the ground, to restrict their spread, with trenches made round them, so that the straggling branches may not meet each other and fight; and the greater part of the world lets its vintage grapes lie on the ground in this manner, inasmuch as this custom prevails both in Africa and in Egypt and Syria and the whole of Asia and at many places in Europe. In these vineyards therefore the vine ought to be kept down close to the ground, nourishment being given to the root in the same way and at the same time as in the case of a vine trained on a cross-bar, care being always taken to leave merely the pruned stumps, with three buds on each in fertile land and two where the soil is thinner, and it pays better to have many of them than to have long ones. The properties of soil that we have spoken of will make themselves felt more powerfully the nearer the bunches of grapes are to the ground.

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§ 17.35.18  It pays best to keep the different kinds of vine separate and plant each plot with only one sort, for a mixture of different varieties spoils the flavour even in the wine and not only in the must; or if they are mixed, it is essential not to combine any but those that ripen at the same time. The richer the soil and the more level the ground the greater the height of the cross-bars required, and high cross-bars also suit land liable to dew and fog and where there is comparatively little wind, whereas lower bars suit thin, dry and parched land and places exposed to the wind. The cross-bars should be tied to the prop as tightly as possible, but the vine should be kept together with an easy tie. We stated what kinds of vines should be grown and in what sort of soil and with what aspect when we were enumerating the natures of the various vines and wines.

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§ 17.35.19  The remaining points connected with the cultivation of the vine are vehemently debated. The majority of writers recommend digging over the vineyard after every fall of dew throughout the whole of the summer, but others forbid this while the vines are in bud, because the eyes get knocked off or rubbed by the drag of people going between the rows, and for this reason it is necessary to keep away all cattle, but especially sheep, as their fleeces most easily remove buds; they also say that raking does harm while bunches of grapes are forming; that it is enough for a vineyard to be dug over three times in a year, between the spring equinox and the rising of the Pleiades, at the rise of the Dog-star, and when the grapes are turning black. Some people give the following rules: to dig over an old vineyard once between vintage and midwinter (though others think it is enough to loosen the soil round the roots and manure it), a second time after April 13 but before the vines bud, that is before May 10, and then before the vine begins to blossom, and after it has shed its blossom, and when the bunch is changing colour; but more expert growers declare that if the ground is dug more often than necessary the grapes become so thin-skinned that they burst. It is agreed that when vineyards are dug it should be done before the hottest part of the day, and likewise that a mud-like wet soil ought not to be either ploughed or dug; and that the dust raised by digging is beneficial to the vine as a protection against sun and fog.

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§ 17.35.20  It is agreed that the spring trimming of foliage should take place within ten days from May 15, at all events before the vine begins to blossom, and that it should be done below the level of the cross-bar. As to the subsequent trimming opinions vary: some people think that it should take place when the vine has shed its blossom, others when the grapes are just beginning to ripen. But on this point the instructions of Cato shall decide; for we also have to describe the proper method of pruning.

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§ 17.35.21  This is set about directly after the vintage when the warmth of the weather allows; but even in warm weather on natural principles it never ought to be done before the rise of the Eagle, as we shall show when dealing with astronomical considerations in the following volume, nor yet when the wind is in the west — inasmuch as excessive haste involves a double possibility of error. If a late snap of wintry weather should nip the vines while still suffering from wounds inflicted by recent treatment, it is certain that their buds will be benumbed by the cold and the wounds will open, and the eyes, owing to the juice dripping from them, will be nipped by the inclemency of the weather; for who does not know that frost makes them brittle? All this depends on calculations regarding labour on large estates, not on the legitimate acceleration of Nature's processes. Given suitable weather, the earlier vines are pruned, the larger amount of wood they make, and the later they are pruned, the more abundant supply of fruit. Consequently it will be proper to prune meagre vines earlier and strong ones last; and always to make the cut on a slant, so that rain may fall off easily, and turned towards the ground, with the lightest possible scar, using a pruning-knife with a well sharpened edge and giving a smooth cut; but always to prune between two buds, so as not to wound the eyes in the part of the shoot cut back. They think it a sign of damage for this to be black, and that it should be cut back till one comes to the sound part, since useful wood will not shoot from a bad stock. If a meagre vine has not got suitable branches, it is a very good plan to cut it back to the ground and get it to put out new branches, and in trimming it pays not to remove the shoots growing with a cluster of grapes, for that dislodges the grapes also, except in a newly planted vine. Shoots springing on the side of the branch and not from an eye are judged to be of no use, since moreover a bunch of grapes that springs from a hard branch is so stiff that the bunch can only be removed with a knife. Some people consider that it pays better for a prop to be set between two vines, and that method does make it easier to turn up the earth round them, and it is better for a vine on a single cross-bar, provided, that is, that the trellis itself is a strong one and the locality is not exposed to high winds. In the case of a vine supported by four cross-rails the stay ought to be as close as possible to the load, although to avoid interfering with digging over the soil it ought to be 18 inches away, not more; but they advise digging over before pruning.

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§ 17.35.22  The following are the instructions given by Cato on the whole subject of vine growing: 'Make the vine grow as high as possible, and tie it up well, only not binding it too tight. Treat it in the following manner: turn over the earth round the base of the vines during seed-time; after pruning a vine dig round it and begin to plough; drive continuous furrows to and fro; plant layers of young vines as soon as possible, and then harrow the ground. Prune old vines as little as possible; preferably, if necessary, layer them on the ground and cut off the layers two years later. The time for cutting back a young vine will be when it has gained strength. If a vineyard has become bare of vines, make furrows between the vines and plant a quickset in each; prevent any shade from falling on the furrows, and dig them over frequently. Plant ocinuma clover in an old vineyard if the soil is meagre — forbear to sow anything that makes seed — and put dung, chaff and grape husks or something of that sort round the feet. When a vine begins to show leaves, trim it. Fasten young vines with several ties, so that the stems may not get broken; and as soon as a vine begins to run out into a rod, tie down its young shoots lightly and stretch them out so as to be in the right position. When the grapes begin to become mottled, tie up the vines below. One season for grafting a vine is during spring, and another when the bunch blossoms: the latter is the best. If you want to transplant an old vine, you will only be able to do so if it is of the thickness of an arm. First prune it; do not leave more than two buds on the stem. Dig it well up from the roots, and be careful not to injure the roots. Place it in the hole or furrow just as it was before, and cover it up and tread it down well; and set up the vine and tie it and bend it over in the same direction as it was before; and dig the ground frequently. — Ocinum, which Cato recommends planting in a vineyard, was the old name for a fodder-plant capable of standing shade, and refers to its rapid growth.

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§ 17.35.23  There follows the method of growing vines on a tree, which was condemned in a remarkable way by Saserna the elder and by his son, but highly spoken of by Scrofa — these are the oldest writers on agriculture after Cato, and are very great authorities; and even Scrofa only allows it in Italy, although so long a period of time gives the verdict that high-class wines can only be produced from vines on trees, and that even so the choicer wines are made from the grapes at the top of the trees, while those lowest down give a large quantity: so beneficial is the effect of height. It is on this principle also that trees are selected: first of all the elm (excepting the Atinian variety because it has too many leaves), then the black poplar, for the same reason, it having less dense foliage; also the ash and the fig are not despised by most growers, and even the olive if it has not shady branches. The planting and cultivation of these trees has been abundantly treated. It is prohibited to touch them with the pruning-knife before they are three years old; alternate branches are kept, they are pruned every other year, and in their sixth year they are wedded to the vines. Italy north of the Po beside the trees mentioned above plants its vineyards with cornel, guelder rose, lime, maple, rowan, hornbeam, and oak, but the Venezia uses willow because of the dampness of the soil. Also the elm is lopped of its top and has its middle branches spread out on three levels, no tree as a rule being left more than twenty feet high. On hills and in dry lands the stages of the elms are spread out at a height of eight feet, and on plains and in damp localities at twelve feet.

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§ 17.35.24  The branching of the trunk should face south, and the boughs should spread up from the fork like fingers on the hand, and also have their shaggy growth of thin twigs shaved off, so as not to give too much shade. The proper space between the trees, if the soil is to be ploughed, is forty feet behind and in front and twenty at the sides, but if it is not to be ploughed, twenty feet every way. Growers often grow ten vines against each tree, great fault being found with a farmer who trains less than three on each. It damages any but strong trees to wed vines to them, as the rapid growth of the vines kills them off. It is essential to plant the vines in a trench three feet deep, with a space of a foot between them and the tree; this saves the need of a mallet-shoot and of turning over the ground and the expense of digging, inasmuch as this method of using a tree has the special advantage that for the same ground to carry corn actually benefits the vines, and moreover that the height of the vine looks after itself, and does not make it necessary, as in a vineyard, to guard it with a wall or hedge, or at all events by going to the expense of ditches, so as to protect it from injury by animals.

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§ 17.35.25  In growing vines on a tree the only method used among those already described is that of quicksets or of layers; and of layering there are two varieties, as we have said: that of using baskets projecting from the actual staging of the tree, the most approved method, as it is safest from cattle, and the other one by bending down a vine or a main branch at the side of its own tree or round the nearest to it not occupied. It is recommended that the part of the parent tree above the ground should be scraped, to prevent it from making shoots; and not less than four buds are covered up in the ground so as to take root, while two are left above ground on the head. A vine grown on a tree is set in a trench four feet long, three broad and two and a half deep. After a year a cut is made in the layer down to the cambium, so that it may gradually get used to its roots, and the stem is pruned back at its end down to two buds from the ground; and at the end of two years the layer is completely cut off from the stock and is put back deeper into the ground, so that it may not shoot from the place where it was cut off. As for a quickset, it should be removed immediately after the vintage.

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§ 17.35.26  plan has recently been invented of planting a snake-branch near the tree — that is our name for a veteran main branch that has grown hard with many years' service. The quickest plan in the case of a vine is to cut this old branch off as long as possible and scrape the bark off three-quarters of its length, down to the point to which it is to be buried in the ground — for this reason it is also called a scraped shoot — and then to press it down in the furrow, with the remaining part standing straight up against the tree. If the vine be meagre or the soil thin, it is customary to cut down the plant as close to the round as possible, until the root gets strong, and likewise not to plant it when there is dew on it, nor in a place exposed to a north wind; the vines themselves ought to face north-east, but their young shoots should have a southerly aspect.

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§ 17.35.27  There must be no hurry to prune a young vine, but at first the growth should be collected together into circular shapes, and no pruning should be applied except to a strong plant, a vine trained on a tree being about a year later in bearing fruit than one trained on a cross-bar. Some people forbid pruning altogether until the vine equals the tree in height. At the first pruning it should be cut back six feet from the ground, a shoot being left below and encouraged to grow by bending over the wood. It should have three buds and not more left when it has been pruned. In the following year the branches sent out from these should be spread out on the lowest stages of the trees and allowed to climb to the next higher level every year, one hard growth being always left at each stage, and one growing shoot left to mount up as high as it pleases. In addition, all the whips that have borne fruit last time should. be cut back by pruning, and fresh shoots should have their tendrils cut away all round and be spread out on the stages. Our Italian method of pruning drapes the tree with tresses of vines festooned along the branches and clothes the tresses themselves with bunches of grapes, but the Gallic method spreads out into growths passing from tree to tree, while the method used on the Aemilian Road spreads over supports consisting of Atinian elms, twining round them but avoiding their foliage.

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§ 17.35.28  An ignorant way of some growers is to suspend the vine by means of a tie beneath a bough of the tree, a damaging procedure which stifles it, as it ought to be held back with an osier withe, not tied tightly (indeed even people who have plenty of willows prefer to do it with a tie softer than the one which these supply, namely with the plant which the Sicilians call by the Greek name 'vine-tie', while the whole of Greece uses rush, galingale and sedge); also it ought to be released from its tie for some days and allowed to stray about and spread in disorder and lie down on the ground which it has been gazing at all the year through; for just as draft cattle when unyoked and dogs after a run like to roll on the ground, so even the vines' loins like a stretch when released; also the tree itself enjoys being relieved of the continual weight, like a man recovering his breath, and there is nothing in Nature's handiwork that does not desire some alternations of holiday, after the pattern of the days and nights. On this account pruning the vines directly after vintage and when they are still weary from producing fruit is disapproved of. When they have been pruned they must be tied to the tree again in another place, for unquestionably they feel annoyance at the marks made round them by the tie.

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§ 17.35.29  The cross-shoots of the Gallic method of growing — two from each side if the pair of vines are forty feet apart, but four if twenty — when they meet are intertwined with each other and tied together in a single cluster, during the process being stiffened with the aid of wooden rods where they fail, or if the shoots themselves are too short to allow of this, they are stretched out to reach an unoccupied tree by means of a hook tied to them. lit used to be the custom to prune these cross-shoots every two years, as they make too heavy a weight when they grow old; but it is better to give them time to make a 'scraped' shoot, if their thickness is sufficient; otherwise it pays to supply nourishment to the knobs of the snake-branch about to form.

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§ 17.35.30  There is still one other method intermediate between this one and propagation by layering — that of throwing down the whole vine on the earth and splitting it with wedges, and leading the shoots from a single vine into several trenches, reinforcing the slenderness of each shoot by tying it to a rod, and not lopping off the branches which run out from the sides. A farmer at Novara, not content with a multitude of shoots carried from tree to tree nor with an abundance of branches, also twines the main branches round forked props set in the ground; and thus beside the faults of the soil the wines are also made harsh by the method of cultivation. Another mistake is made with the vines near the city of Aricia, which are pruned every other year, not because that is beneficial for a vine but because owing to the low price at which the wine sells the expenses might exceed the return. In the Casigliano district they follow an intermediate compromise, and by the plan of pruning away only the decayed parts of the vine and those beginning to wither, and leaving the rest to bear grapes relieved of superfluous weight, the scantiness of the injury inflicted serves instead of all nutriment; but except in a rich soil this method of cultivation degenerates into a wild vine.

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§ 17.35.31  The trees for training vines on require the ground to be ploughed as deep as possible, although the system of growing corn there does not need this. It is not customary for them to be trimmed of leaves, and this economizes labour. They are pruned together with the vine, light being let through the density of branches that are superfluous and consume nutriment. We have given the rule against leaving lopped ends facing north or south, and it is better not to let them face west either, as wounds facing in those directions too suffer for a long time and heal with difficulty, because of undergoing excessive cold or heat; there is not the same freedom as in the ease of the vine, since trees have fixed aspects, but it is easier to hide away the wounds of a vine and twist them in any direction you like. In pruning trees cup-like hollows should be made with a mouth sloping downwards, to prevent water from lodging in them.

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§ 17.36.1  Props should be placed against a vine which it may catch hold of and climb up if they are taller than it is. It is said that espaliers for vines of high quality should be cut about March 19th-23rd, and, if it is intended to keep the grapes for raisins, when the moon is on the wane, but that those cut between the old moon and the new are immune from all kinds of insects. Another theory holds the opinion that vines should be pruned by night at full moon when the moon is in the Lion or Scorpion or Archer or Bull; and in general that they should be planted when the moon is at full, or at all events is waxing. In Italy a gang of ten farmhands is enough for a hundred acres of vineyard.

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§ 17.37.1  And having treated of the planting and cultivation of trees with sufficient fullness, since we have said enough about palms and tree-medick among foreign trees, in order that nothing may be lacking a statement must be given of the other natural features of great importance in relation to all these matters. For even trees are liable to attacks of disease — since what created object is exempt from these evils? But forest trees at all events are said not to have any deadly diseases and only to be liable to damage by hail when they are budding or in flower, and also to be nipped by heat or exceptionally cold wind coming out of season, for cold weather in its proper season actually does them good, as we have stated. 'What then?' it will be said. 'Does not frost kill even vines?' Well, that is how a fault of soil is detected, because it only happens on chilly ground. And consequently we approve of cold in winter time that is due to the climate and not to the soil. And it is not the weakest trees that are endangered by frost, but the largest ones, and when they are thus attacked it is their tops that dry away first, because the sap has been congealed and has not been able to get there.

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§ 17.37.2  Some diseases are common to all trees and some are peculiar to special kinds. Common to all are damage by worms and star-blight and pain in the limbs, resulting in debility of the various parts — maladies sharing even their names with those of mankind: we certainly speak of trees being mutilated and having the eyes of their buds burnt out and many misfortunes of a kind resembling our own. Accordingly they suffer both from hunger and from indigestion, maladies due to the amount of moisture in them, and some even from obesity, for instance all which produce resin owing to excessive fatness are converted into torch-wood, and when the roots also have begun to get fat, die like animals from excessive adipose deposit; and sometimes also they die of epidemics prevailing in certain classes of tree, just as among mankind diseases sometimes attack the slaves and sometimes the urban or the rural lower classes.

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§ 17.37.3  Particular trees are attacked by worm in a greater or smaller degree, but nearly all are liable, and birds detect worm-eaten wood by the hollow sound when they tap the bark. Nowadays indeed even this has begun to be classed as a luxury, and specially large wood-maggots found in oak-wood — the name for these is cosses — figure in the menu as a special delicacy, and actually even these creatures are fed with flour to fatten them for the table. The trees most liable to be worm-eaten are pears, apples, and figs; those that have a bitter taste and a scent are less liable. Of the maggots found in fig-trees some breed in the trees themselves, but others are produced by the insect called in Greek the horned insect; all of them however assume the shape of that insect, and emit a little buzzing sound. Also the service-tree is infected with red, hairy caterpillars, which eventually kill it; and the medlar as well is liable to the same disease when it grows old.

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§ 17.37.4  Star-blight depends entirely on the heavens, and consequently we must include among these causes of injury hail and carbuncle-blight, and also damage due to frost. The former when the plants are tempted by the warmth of spring to venture to burst out settles on them while they are fairly soft and scorches the milky eyes of the buds, the part which in the flower is called the carbuncle. Frost is of a more damaging nature, because when it has fallen it settles down and freezes, and is not dispelled even by any slight breeze, because it only occurs when the air is motionless and calm. A peculiarity however of star-blight at the rising of the Dog-star is a parching heat, when grafts and saplings die, especially figs and vines.

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§ 17.37.5  The olive besides suffering from worm, to which it is as liable as is the fig, is also affected by wart, or, as some prefer to call it, fungus or 'platter'; this is a scorch caused by the sun. Cato states that red scale is also injurious to the olive. Excessive fertility also usually injures vines and olive. Scab is common to all trees. Eruption and epidermic growths on the bark called 'snails' are maladies peculiar to figs, and that not in all districts — for some diseases belong to particular localities.

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§ 17.37.6  But just as man is subject to affliction of the sinews, so also is a tree, and in two ways, as is the case with man: for the force of the disease either attacks its feet, that is the roots, or its knuckles, that is the fingers of the top branches, which project farthest from the whole body; with the Greeks there are special names for each of these diseases. Consequently they turn black, and first there is pain all over and then the parts mentioned also become emaciated and brittle, and lastly comes wasting consumption and death, the sap not entering or not permeating the parts affected. Figs are extremely liable to this disease, but the wild fig is immune from all the maladies we have so far specified. Scab is caused by gentle falls of dew occurring after the rising of the Pleiades; for if the dew has been more copious it gives the tree a good drenching, and does not streak it with scab, although the green figs fall off; but if there has been excessive rain a fig-tree is liable to another malady due to dampness of the roots.

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§ 17.37.7  In addition to worm-disease and star-blight vines suffer from a disease of the joints that is peculiar to them; it is due to three causes — first, loss of buds owing to stormy weather, second, as noted by Theophrastus, pruning done with an upward cut, and third, damage caused by lack of skill in their cultivation; for all injuries to which vines are liable are felt in their joints. One kind of star-blight is dew-disease, when the grapevines shed their blossoms, or when the grapes shrivel up into a hard lump before they grow big. Vines are also sickly when they have been nipped by cold, the eyes being injured by frostbite after the branches have been pruned. This also happens owing to unseasonable hot weather, since everything depends on measure and on a fixed proportion. Defects may also be caused by the fault of the vine-dressers, when the vines are tied too tight, as has been said, or else when the digger trenching round them has injured them with a damaging blow, or even when a careless person ploughing underneath them has displaced the roots or scaled the bark off the trunk; also a contusion may be caused by pruning with too blunt a knife. All of these causes make it more difficult for a vine to bear cold or hot weather, since every harmful influence from outside makes its way into the sore. But the most delicate of all trees is the apple, and particularly any kind that bears sweet fruit. With some trees weakness causes barrenness but does not kill them, as is the case with a pine or a palm if you lop off their top, as they cease to bear but do not die. Sometimes also the fruit by itself is attacked by disease but not the tree, if there has been a lack of rain or of warm weather or wind at the times when they are needed, or if on the contrary they have been too plentiful, for the fruit falls off or deteriorates. The worst among all kinds of damage is when a vine or olive has been struck by heavy rain when shedding its blossom, as the fruit is washed off at the same time.

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§ 17.37.8  Heavy rain also breeds caterpillars, noxious creatures that gnaw away the foliage of olives, and others the flower too, as at Miletus, and leave the half-eaten tree shamefully disfigured. This pestilence is bred by damp sticky heat; and another one due to the same cause occurs if too keen a sun follows, and burns in the damage done by the damp and so alters its nature. There is in addition a malady peculiar to olives and vines, called cobweb, when the fruit gets wrapped up in a soft of webbing which stifles it. There are also certain currents of air which are specially blighting to olives, though they dry up other fruit as well. As to worm, in some trees even the fruits of themselves suffer from it — apples, pears, medlars and pomegranates; but in the case of the olive an attack of worm has a twofold result, inasmuch as if they breed under the skin they destroy the fruit, while if they have been in the actual stone, gnawing it away, they make the fruit larger. Rain following the rising of Arcturus prevents their breeding; and also if this rain is accompanied by a south wind it breeds worms in overripe olives as well, which are then particularly liable to fall off when ripening. This happens particularly with olives in damp localities, making them very unattractive even if they do not drop off. There is also a kind of gnat troublesome to some fruits, for instance acorns and figs, which appears to be bred from the sweet juice a secreted underneath the bark at that season; and indeed these trees are usually sickly.

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§ 17.37.9  Some influences of seasons or localities cannot properly be called diseases, since they cause instantaneous death, for instance when a tree is attacked by wasting or blast, or by the effect of a special wind prevailing in a particular district, like the sirocco in Apulia or the Olympias wind in Euboea, which if it blows about midwinter shrivels up trees with dry cold so that no amount of subsequent sunshine can revive them. This kind of blight infests narrow valleys and trees growing by rivers, and particularly vines, olive and figs; and when this has occurred, it is at once detected at the budding season, though rather later in the case of olives. But it is a sign of recovery in all of them if they lose their leaves; failing that, the trees which one would suppose to have been strong enough to resist the attack die. Sometimes however the leaves dry on the tree and then come to life again. Other trees in the northern countries like the province of Pontus and Thrace suffer from cold or frost if they go on for six weeks after midwinter without a break; but both in that region and in the remaining parts of the world, a heavy frost coming immediately after the trees have produced their fruit kills them even in a few days.

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§ 17.37.10  Kinds of damage due to injury done by man have effects proportionate to their violence. Pitch, oil and grease are particularly detrimental to young trees. To strip off the bark all round trees kills them, except in the case of the cork tree, which is actually benefited by this treatment, because the bark thickening stifles and suffocates the tree; nor does it do any harm to purslane if care is taken not to cut into the body of the plant as well. Beside this, the cherry, the vine and the lime shed some bark, though not the layer next to the body which is essential to life, but the layer that is forced outward as another forms underneath it. The bark of some trees, for instance planes, is fissured by nature. That of the lime after it is stripped grows again almost in its entirety. Consequently with trees the bark of which forms a sear, the sears are treated with mud and dung, and sometimes they do the tree good, if the stripping is not followed by a period of exceptionally cold or hot weather. But some trees, for instance hard oaks and common oaks, die, but rather slowly, under this treatment. The time of year also matters; for instance if a fir or a pine is stripped of its bark while the sun is passing through the Bull or the Twins, when they are budding, they die at once, whereas if they undergo the same injury in winter they endure it longer; and similarly the holm-oak, the hard oak and the common oak. If only a narrow band of bark is removed, it causes no harm, as with the trees above mentioned, although with weaker trees at all events and in a thin soil to remove the bark even from only one part kills the tree. A similar effect is also produced by lopping the top of a spruce, prickly cedar or cypress, for to remove the top or to scorch it with fire is fatal to these trees; and the effect of being gnawn by animals is also similar. Indeed, according to Varro, as we have stated, an olive goes barren if merely licked by a she-goat. Certain trees die of this injury, but some only deteriorate, for instance almonds, the fruit of which is changed from sweet to bitter, but others are actually improved, for instance the pear called the Phocian pear in Chios. For we have mentioned trees that are actually benefited by having the top lopped off. Most trees die also when the trunk is split, excepting the vine, apple, fig and pomegranates, and some merely from a wound, though the pine and all the resinous trees despise this injury. For a tree to die when its roots are cut off is not at all surprising; most trees die even when deprived not of all their roots but of the largest ones or those among them that are essential to life.

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§ 17.37.11  Trees kill one another by their shade or the thickness of their foliage and by robbing each other nutriment; they are also killed by ivy binding them round, and mistletoe does them no good, and cytisus kills them, and they are killed by the plant called halimon by the Greeks. The nature of some plants though not actually deadly is injurious owing to its blend of scents or of juice — for instance the radish and the laurel are harmful to the vine; for the vine can be inferred to possess a sense of smell, and to be affected by odours in a marvellous degree, and consequently when an evil-smelling plant is near it to turn away and withdraw, and to avoid an unfriendly tang. This supplied Androcydes with an antidote against intoxication, for which he recommended chewing a radish. The vine also abhors cabbage and all sorts of garden vegetables, as well as hazel, and these unless a long way off make it ailing and sickly; indeed nitre and alum and warm seawater and the pods of beans or bitter vetch are to a vine the direst poisons.

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§ 17.38.1  Among the maladies of trees it is in place to speak also of prodigies. We find that figs have grown underneath the leaves of the tree, a vine and a pomegranate have borne fruit on their trunk, not on a shoot or a branch, a vine has borne grapes without having any leaves, and also olives have lost their leaves while the fruit remained on the tree. There are also marvels connected with accident: an olive has come to life again after being completely burnt up, also fig-trees in Boeotia gnawed down by locusts have budded afresh. Trees also change their colour and turn from black to white, not always with portentous meaning, but chiefly those that grow from seed; and the white poplar turns into a black poplar. Some people also think that the service-tree goes barren if transplanted to warmer localities. But it is a portent when sour fruits grow on sweet fruit-trees and sweet on sour, and figs on a wild fig-tree or the contrary, and it is a serious manifestation when trees turn into other trees of an inferior kind, from an olive into a wild olive or from a white grape or green fig into a black grape or a black fig, or as when a plane-tree at Laodicea changed into an olive on the arrival of Xerxes. Not to launch out into an absolutely boundless subject, the volume by Aristander teems with portents of this nature in Greece, as do the Notes of Gaius Epidius in our own country, including cases of trees that talked. An alarming portent occurred a little before the civil wars of Pompey the Great, when a tree in the territory of Cumae sank into the ground leaving a few branches projecting; and a statement was found in the Sibylline Books that this portended a slaughter of human beings, and that the nearer to the city the portent had occurred the greater the slaughter would be.

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§ 17.38.2  Another class of portent is when trees grow in the wrong places, as on the heads of statues or on altars, and when different kinds of trees grow on trees themselves. At Cyzicus before the siege a fig-tree grew on a laurel; and similarly at Tralles about the time of Caesar's civil wars a palm grew up on the pedestal of the dictator's statue. Moreover at Rome during the war with Perseus a palm-tree grew up on the altar of Jove on the Capitol, portending victory and triumphal processions; and after this tree had been brought down by storms, a fig-tree sprang up in the same place, this occurring during the censorship of Marcus Messala and Gaius Cassius, a period which according to so weighty an authority as Piso dates the overthrow of the sense of honour. A portent that will eclipse all those ever heard of occurred in our own day in the territory of the Marrucini, at the fall of the emperor Nero: an olive grove belonging to a leading member of the equestrian order named Vettius Marcellus bodily crossed the public highway, and the crops growing on the other side passed over in the opposite direction to take the place of the olive grove.

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§ 17.39.1  Now that we have set out the diseases of trees it is suitable also to state the remedies for them. Some of these are common to all trees and some peculiar to some of them. Remedies common to all are loosening the soil, banking it up, admitting air to the roots or covering them up, making a channel to give them water or to drain it away, dung refreshing them with its juice, pruning to relieve them of weight, also letting out the sap like a surgical blood-letting, scraping a ring of bark, stretching out the vine-sprays and checking the shoots, trimming off and as it were polishing up the buds if they have been shrivelled and roughened by cold weather. Some trees like these treatments more and others less, for example the cypress scorns both water and dung and hates being dug round and pruned and all kinds of nursing, in fact irrigation kills it, whereas it is exceptionally nourishing for vines and pomegranates. In the case of the fig irrigation nourishes the tree itself but makes the fruit decay. Almond-trees lose their blossom if the ground round them is made clean by being dug over. Also trees that have been grafted must not be dug round before they are strong and begin to bear fruit. Most trees however want to have their burdensome and superfluous growth pruned away, just as we have our nails and hair cut. Old trees are cut down entirely and spring up again from some sucker, but they will not all do this but only those whose nature we have stated to allow of it.

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§ 17.40.1  Irrigation is good for trees in the heat of summer but bad for them in winter; in the autumn its effect varies and depends on the nature of the soil, inasmuch as in the Spanish provinces the vintager picks the grapes when the ground is under water, whereas in the greater part of the world it pays to drain off the rain water even in autumn. Irrigation is most beneficial about the rising of the Dog-star, and even then not too much of it, because it hurts the roots when they are soaked to the point of intoxication. The age of the tree also controls the due amount; young saplings are not so thirsty. But those that require most watering are those that have been used to it, whereas those which have sprung up in dry places only need a bare minimum of moisture.

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§ 17.41.1  The harsher vines need to be watered, at all events in the Fabii district of the territory of Sulmo in Italy, where they irrigate even the plough-land; and it is a remarkable fact that in that part of the country water kills herbaceous plants but nourishes corn, and irrigation takes the place of a hoe for weeding. In the same district they irrigate the land round the vines at midwinter to prevent their suffering from cold, the more so if snow is lying or there is a frost; this process is there called 'warming' the vines, owing to the remarkable influence of the sun on the river, which in summer is almost unbearably cold.

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§ 17.42.1  We shall point out the remedies for glowing-coal-blight and mildew in the next Book. In the meantime the list of remedies includes a sort of scarification. The bark when rendered meagre by disease shrinks up and exerts an undue amount of compression on the vital parts of the tree; for this the vine-dressers holding a pruning knife with a very sharp edge in both hands press it into the trunk and make long incisions downwards, and as it were loosen its skin. It proves that this treatment has been beneficial if the scars widen out and fill up with new wood growing between their edges;

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§ 17.43.1  and to a large extent the medical treatment of trees resembles that of human beings, as the bones of trees also are treated by perforation. Bitter almonds are made into sweet ones if the stem of the tree has the earth dug away round it and a ring of holes pierced in it at the bottom, and then the gum exuding is wiped off. Also elms can be relieved of useless sap by having holes pierced in them above the level of the earth right into the cambium when they are getting old, or when they are observed to be receiving excessive nourishment. The sap is also discharged from the bark of figs when swollen by means of light cuts made on a slant; this treatment prevents the fruit from falling off. Fruit-trees that make buds but produce no fruit are treated by making a cleft in the root and inserting a stone in it, and this makes them bear; and the same result is produced in almonds by driving in a wedge of hard oak, and in pears and service-berries by means of a wedge of stone pine, and covering up the hole with ashes and earth. It also pays to cut round the roots of vines and figs when over-luxuriant and to put ashes on the cut parts. Late figs are produced if those of the first crop are picked off the tree still unripe, when they are a little larger than a bean, as a second crop grows which ripens later. Also fig-trees are made stronger and more productive if the tips of all the branches are docked when they begin to make foliage. The object of the process that employs the gall-insect from the wild fig is to ripen the fruit.

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§ 17.44.1  In the gall-insect process it is clear that the unripe figs give birth to gnats, since when these have flown away the fruit is found not to contain any seeds, which have obviously turned into the gnats; these are so eager to escape that most of them leave a foot or part of a wing behind them in forcing their way out. There is also another kind of gnat with a Greek name meaning 'sting-fly'; these resemble drone bees in their sloth and malice, and also in killing the genuine and serviceable insects; for the sting-flies kill the real gnats and themselves die with them. The seeds of figs are also infested by moths, a remedy against them being to bury a slip of mastich upside down in the same hole. But the way to make fig-trees bear very large crops is to dilute red earth with the lees from an olive-press, mix dung with it, and pour the mixture on the roots of the trees when they are beginning to make leaves. Of wild figs the black ones and those growing in rocky places are the most highly spoken of, because they contain the largest number of grains; the best times for the actual process of transference of the gall-insect from the wild fig is said to be just after rain has fallen.

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§ 17.45.1  But it is of the first importance to avoid allowing our remedies to produce other defects, which results from using remedial processes to excess or at the wrong time. To prune away branches is beneficial for trees, but to slaughter them every year without respite is extremely unprofitable. A vine only requires a yearly trimming, but myrtles, pomegranates and olives one every other year, because they produce shoots with great rapidity. All other trees should be trimmed less frequently, and none in autumn; and they must not even have their trunks scraped except in spring. Pruning must not be assault and battery: every part of the tree that is not actually superfluous is conducive to its vitality.

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§ 17.46.1  A similar method belongs to dung. Trees delight in it, but care must be taken not to apply it while the sun is hot, or while it is too fresh, or stronger than is necessary. Swine dung burns the vines unless used at intervals of five years, except if it is diluted by being drenched with water; and so will manure made from tanners refuse unless water is mixed with it, and also if it is used too plentifully: the proper amount is considered to be three modii for every ten square feet. Anyhow that will be decided by the nature of the soil.

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§ 17.47.1  Pigeon and swine manure are also used for dressing wounds in trees. If pomegranates produce sour fruit, it is advised to dig round the roots and apply swine's dung; then in that year the fruit will have a flavour of wine, but next year it will be sweet. Others are of opinion that pomegranates should be watered four times a year with human urine mixed with water, an amphora to each tree, or that the ends of the branches should be sprinkled with silphium diluted with wine; and that if the fruit splits on the tree, its stalk should be twisted; and that figs in any case should have dregs of olive oil poured on them, and other trees when ailing wine-lees, or else lupines should be sown round their roots. It is also good for the fruit to pour round the tree water in which lupines have been boiled. Figs are liable to fall off when it thunders at the Feast of Vulcan; a remedy is to have the ground round the trees covered with barley straw in advance. Cherries are brought on and made to ripen by applying lime to the roots; but with cherries also, as with all it is better to thin the crop, in order to make the fruit left on grow bigger.

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§ 17.47.2  Some trees are improved by severe treatment or stimulated by a pungent application — for instance the palm and the mastich, which get nutriment from salt water. Ashes also have the effect of salt, but it acts more gently; consequently they are sprinkled on figs and on rue, to prevent their getting maggotty or rotting at the roots. It is also advised to pour salt water on the roots of vines if they are too full of moisture, but if their fruit falls off, to sprinkle ashes with vinegar and smear them on the vines themselves, or ashes with sandarach if the grapes rot; but if the vines do not bear, to sprinkle and smear them with ashes mixed with strong vinegar; and if they do not ripen their fruit but let it dry up first, the vines should be lopped down to the roots and the wound and fibres of the wood drenched with strong vinegar and stale urine and covered up with the mud so produced, and repeatedly dug round. If olives give too little promise of fruit, growers bare their roots and expose them to the winter cold, and the trees profit by this drastic treatment. All these methods depend on the state of the weather in each year and sometimes are required later and sometimes more speedily. Also fire is beneficial for some plants, for instance reeds, which when burnt off grow up again thicker and more pliable. Cato moreover gives prescriptions for certain medicaments, also specifying quantity — for the roots of the bigger trees an amphora, for those of the smaller ones half that measure of olive-lees and water in equal amounts, and his instructions are first to dig round the roots and then to pour the liquid on them gradually. In the ease of an olive it should be used more copiously, straw having first been put round the stem, and the same with a fig; with a fig, especially in spring, earth should be heaped up round the roots, and this will ensure that the unripe fruit will not fall off and the tree will bear a larger crop and will not develop roughness of the bark. In a similar manner to prevent a vine from breeding leaf-rolling caterpillar he advises boiling down two gallons of lees of olive-oil to the thickness of honey, and boiling it again mixed with a third part of bitumen and a fourth part of sulphur, this second boiling being done in the open air because the mixture may catch fire indoors; and he says this preparation is to be smeared round the bases and under the arms of the vines, and that will prevent caterpillar. Some growers are content with submitting the vines for three days on end to the smoke from this concoction boiled to the windward of them. Most people think there is as much food value for the plants in urine as Cato assigns to wine-lees, provided it is mixed with an equal quantity of water, because it is injurious if used by itself. Some give the name of the 'fly' to a creature that gnaws away the young grapes; to prevent this they wipe the pruning-knives on a beaver skin after they have been sharpened and then use them for pruning, or smear them with bear's blood after pruning. Ants also are pests to trees; these are kept away by smearing the trunks with a mixture of red earth and tar, and also people get the ants to collect in one place by hanging up a fish close by, or they smear the roots of the tree with lupin pounded with oil. Many people kill ants and also moles with the dregs of olive oil, and to protect the tops of the trees against caterpillars and pests productive of decay they advise touching them with the gall of a green lizard, but as a protection against caterpillars in particular they say that a woman just beginning her monthly courses should walk round each of the trees with bare feet and her girdle undone. Also to prevent any creature from injuring the foliage by noxious nibbling they recommend sprinkling the leaves with cow-dung mixed with water every time there is a shower of rain, as the rain smears the poison of the mixture over the tree: so remarkable are some of the devices invented by human skill, inasmuch as most people believe that hailstorms can be averted by means of a charm, the words of which I would not for my own part venture seriously to introduce into my book, although Cato has published the words of a charm for sprained limbs which have to be bandaged to reed splints. The same author has allowed the felling of consecrated trees and groves after a preliminary sacrifice has been performed, the ritual of which and the accompanying prayer he has reported in the same volume.

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§ 18.1.1  OUR next subject is the nature of the various kinds of grain and of gardens and flowers and the other products of Earth's bounty beside trees or shrubs, the study of herbaceous plants being itself of boundless scope, if one considers the variety and number, the blossoms, scents and colours, and the juices and properties of the plants that she engenders for the health or the gratification of men. And in this section it is our pleasant duty first of all to champion Earth's cause and to support her as the parent of all things, although we have already pleaded her defence in the opening part of this treatise. Nevertheless, now that our subject itself brings us to consider her also as the producer of noxious objects, they are our own crimes with which we charge her and our own faults which we impute to her. She has engendered poisons — but who discovered them except man? Birds and beasts are content merely to avoid them and keep away from them. And although the elephant and the ure-ox sharpen and whet their horns on a tree and the rhinoceros on a rock, and boars point the poniards of their tusks upon both trees and rocks, and even animals know how to prepare themselves for inflicting injury, yet which of them excepting man also dips its weapons in poison? As for us, we even poison our arrows and add to the destructive properties of iron itself; we dye even the rivers and the elemental substances of Nature, and turn the very means a of life into a bane. Nor is it possible for us to suppose that animals do not know of these things; for we have indicated the preparations that they make to guard against encounters with serpents and the remedies that they have devised to employ after the battle. Nor does any creature save man fight with poison borrowed from another. Let us therefore confess our guilt, we who are not content even with natural products, inasmuch as how far more numerous are the varieties of them made by the human hand! Why, are not even poisons actually the product of man's violence? Their livid tongue flickers like the serpent's, and the corruption of their mind scorches the things it touches, maligning all things as they do and like birds of evil omen violating even the darkness that is their own element and the quiet of the night itself with their groaning, the only sound they utter, so that like animals of evil omen when they even cross our path they forbid us to act or to be of service to life. And they know no other reward for their abhorred vitality than to hate all things. But in this matter also Nature's grandeur is the same: how many more good men has she engendered as her harvest! flow much more fertile is she in products that give aid and nourishment! We too then will continue to enrich life with the value we set on these things and the delight they give us, leaving those brambles of the human race to the consuming fire that is theirs, and all the more resolutely because we achieve greater gratification from industry than we do from renown. The subject of our discourse is indeed the countryside and rustic practices, but it is on these that life depends and that the highest honour was bestowed in early days.

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§ 18.2.1  Romulus at the outset instituted the Priests of the Fields, and nominated himself as the twelfth brother among them, the others being the sons of his foster-mother Acca Larentia; it was to this priesthood that was assigned as a most sacred emblem the first crown ever worn at Rome, a wreath of ears of corn tied together with a white fillet; and this dignity only ends with life, and accompanies its holders even into exile or captivity. In those days two acres of land each was enough for the Roman people, who assigned to no one a larger amount — which of the persons who but a little time before were the slaves of the Emperor Nero would have been satisfied with an ornamental garden of that extent? They like to have fishponds larger than that, and it is a thing to be thankful for if someone does not insist on kitchens covering a greater area. Numa established worship of the gods with an offering of corn and winning their favour with a salted cake, and, according to Hemina, of roasting emmer wheat because it was more wholesome for food when roasted — though he could attain this only in one way, by establishing that emmer was not in a pure condition for a religious offering unless it had been roasted.

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§ 18.2.2  It was also Numa who established the Feast of Ovens, the holiday when emmer is roasted, and the equally solemn holiday dedicated to the boundary-marks of estates, these bounds being in those days particularly recognized as gods, with the goddesses Seia named from sowing the seed and Segesta from reaping the harvest, whose statues we see in the Circus — the third a of these divinities it is irreverent even to mention by name indoors — and people used not even to taste the produce of a new harvest or vintage before the priests had offered a libation of the first-fruits.

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§ 18.3.1  An area of land that one yoke of oxen could plough in a day used to be called an acre, and a distance which oxen could be driven with a plough in a single spell of reasonable length was called a furlong; this was 40 yards, and doubled longways this made an acre. The most lavish gifts bestowed on generals and valorous citizens were the largest area of land that a person could plough round in one day, and also a contribution from the whole people of one or two quarterns of emmer wheat a head. Moreover the earliest surnames were derived from agriculture: the name 'Pilumnus' belonged to the inventor of the 'pestle' for corn-mills, 'Piso' came from 'pounding' corn, and again families were named Fabius or Lentulus or Cicero according as someone was the best grower of some particular crop. One of the Junius family received the name of Bubulcus because he was very good at managing oxen. Moreover among religious rites none was invested with more sanctity than that of Communion in Wheat, and newly married brides used to carry in their hands an offering of wheat. Bad husbandry was judged an offence within the jurisdiction of the censors, and, as Cato tells us, to praise a man by saying he was a good farmer and a good hush and man was thought to be the highest form of commendation. That is the source of the word locyples, meaning 'wealthy', 'full of room', i.e. of land. Our word for money itself was derived from pecus, 'cattle', and even now in the censor's accounts all the sources of national revenue are termed 'pastures', because rent of pasture-land was for a long time the only source of public income. Moreover flues were only specified in terms of payment of sheep and oxen; nor must we omit the benevolent spirit of the law of early times, in that a judge imposing a fine was prohibited from specifying an ox before he had previously fined the offender a sheep. There were public games in honour of oxen, those conducting them being called the Bubetii. King Servius stamped first the bronze coinage with the likeness of sheep and oxen. Indeed the Twelve Tables made pasturing animals by stealth at night on crops grown under the plough, or cutting it, a capital offence for an adult, and enacted that a person found guilty of it should be executed by hanging, in reparation to Ceres, a heavier punishment than in a conviction for homicide; while a minor was to be flogged at the discretion of the praetor or sentenced to pay the amount of the damage or twice that amount. In fact the system of class and office in the state itself was derived from no other source. The rural tribes were the most esteemed, consisting of those who owned farms, whereas the city tribes were tribes into which it was a disgrace to be transferred, this stigmatizing lack of activity. Consequently the city tribes were only four, named from the parts of the city in which their members resided, the Suburan, Palatine, Colline and Esquiline. They used to resort to the city on market-days and consequently elections were not allowed to be held on market-days, so that the common people of the country might not be called away from their homes. Beds of straw were used for a siesta and for sleeping on. Finally the actual word 'glory' used to be 'adory', owing to the honour in which emmer was held. For my own part I admire even actual words used in their old signification; for the following sentence occurs in the Memoranda of the Priesthood: 'Let a day be fixed for taking augury by the sacrifice of a dog before the corn comes out of the sheath and before it penetrates through into the sheath.'

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§ 18.4.1  Accordingly these being the customs not only were the harvests sufficient for them without any of the provinces providing food for Italy, but even the market price of corn was unbelievably low. Manius Marcius when aedile of the plebs for the first time [456 B.C.] provided the people with corn at the price of an as a peck. Lucius Minucius Augurinus, who had procured the conviction of Spurius Maelius, when he was tribune of the people reduced the price of emmer to an as for a fortnight, and consequently had his statue erected outside the Porta Trigemina, the cost being met by public subscription. Titus Seius during his aedileship supplied the public with corn at an as a peck, on account of which he too had statues erected to him on the Capitol and the Palatine, and he himself at the end of his life was carried to his cremation on the shoulders of the populace. Then it is recorded that in the summer of the year in which the Mother of the Gods was carried to Rome there was a larger harvest than in the preceding ten years. Marcus Varro states that at the date when Lucius Metellus gave a procession of a very large number of elephants in his triumph, the price of a peck of emmer wheat was one as, as also was that of a gallon of wine, 30 pounds of dried figs, 10 pounds of oil and 12 pounds of meat. Nor was this the result of the large estates of individuals who ousted their neighbours, inasmuch as by the law of Licinius Stolo the limit was restricted to 500 acres, and Stolo himself was convicted under his own law because he owned a larger amount of land, held under his son's name instead of his own. Such was the scale of prices when the state had already some luxury. At any rate there is a famous utterance of Manius Curius, who after celebrating triumphs and making a vast addition of territory to [290 B.C.] the empire, said that a man not satisfied with seven acres must be deemed a dangerous citizen; for that was the acreage assigned for commoners after the expulsion of the kings. What therefore was the cause of such great fertility? The fields were tilled in those days by the hands of generals themselves, and we may well believe that the earth rejoiced in a laurel-decked ploughshare and a ploughman who had celebrated a triumph, whether it was that those farmers treated the seed with the same care as they managed their wars and marked out their fields with the same diligence as they arranged a camp, or whether everything prospers better under honourable hands because the work is done with greater attention. The honours bestowed on Serranus found [297 B.C.] him sowing seed, which was actually the origin of his surname. An apparitor brought to Cincinnatus his commission as dictator when he was ploughing his four-acre property on the Vatican, the land now called the Quintian Meadows, and indeed it is said that he had stripped for the work, and the messenger as he continued to linger said, 'Put on your clothes, so that I may deliver the mandates of the Senate and People of Rome'. That was what apparitors were like even at that time, and their name itself a was given to them as summoning the senate and the leaders to put in an immediate appearance from their farms. But nowadays those agricultural operations are performed by slaves with fettered ankles and by the hands of malefactors with branded faces! Although the Earth who is addressed as our mother and whose cultivation is spoken of as worship is not so dull that when we obtain even our farm-work from these persons one can believe that this is not done against her will and to her indignation. And we forsooth are surprised that we do not get the same profits from the labour of slave-gangs as used to be obtained from that of generals!

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§ 18.5.1  Consequently to give instructions for agriculture was an occupation of the highest dignity even with foreign nations, inasmuch as it was actually performed by kings such as Hiero, Attalus Philometor and Archelaus, and by generals such as Xenophon and also the Carthaginian Mago, on whom indeed our senate bestowed such great honour, after the taking of Carthage, that when it gave away the city's libraries to the petty kings of Africa it passed a resolution that in his ease alone his twenty-eight volumes should be translated into Latin, in spite of the fact that Marcus Cato had already compiled his book of precepts, and that the task should be given to persons acquainted with the Carthaginian language, an accomplishment in which Decimus Silanus, a man of most distinguished family, surpassed everybody. But we have given at the beginning a list of the philosophers of originality and the eminent poets and other distinguished authors whom we shall follow in this volume, although special mention must be made of Marcus Varro, who felt moved to publish a treatise on this subject in the eighty-first year of his life.

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§ 18.5.2  Vine-growing began among the Romans much later, and at the beginning, as of necessity, they only practised agriculture, the theory of which we will now deal with, not in the common method but, as we have done hitherto, by making an exhaustive research into both ancient practices and subsequent discoveries, and at the same time delving into causes and principles. We shall also treat of astronomy, and shall give the indubitable signs which the stars themselves afford as regards the earth, inasmuch as authors who have hitherto handled these subjects with some degree of thoroughness may be thought to have been writing for any class of people rather than farmers.

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§ 18.6.1  And first of all we will proceed for the most part by the guidance of oracular precepts, which in no other department of life are more numerous or more trustworthy — for why not assign oracular value to precepts originating from the infallible test of time and the supremely truthful verdict of experience?

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§ 18.6.2  We will borrow a commencement from Cato: 'The agricultural class produces the bravest men, the most gallant soldiers and the citizens least given to evil designs.' 'In buying a farm do not be too eager. In rural affairs do not be sparing of trouble, least of all in buying land'; a bad purchase is always repented. Those about to buy land should before all things give an eye to 'the water supply, the road, and the neighbour'. Each of these rules admits of an important and unquestionable interpretation. Cato advises that in regard to the neighbouring farmers further consideration should be given to the question how prosperous they look; 'for in a good district', he says, 'the people look in good condition'. Atilius Regulus who was twice consul during the Punic war a used to say that it is a mistake to buy unhealthy land in the most fertile districts or the most healthy land in districts that have been worked out. The healthy quality of the district is not always disclosed by the complexion of the inhabitants, because people can carry on even in very unhealthy localities when they are used to them. Moreover some districts are healthy during portions of the year, but no place is really salubrious unless it is healthy all the year round. 'Land with which the owner has a continual struggle is bad land.' Cato bids us as one of the first points to see that the land, if in the position stated above has a good quality of its own, that there is a supply of labour near, and a thriving town, routes for carrying produce away by water or by road, and that the farm is furnished with good buildings and has been well farmed — it is in this that I notice most people make a mistake, as they think that the purchaser scores from slack farming on the part of the previous landlord, whereas nothing is a greater source of loss than a farm that has been neglected. For this reason Cato says that it is better to purchase from a good landlord, and that the lessons to be learnt from others should not be despised, and that it is the same with land as with a human being — it may make large profits, yet if it also involves large expenses, not much balance is left over. In Cato's opinion the most profitable in part of a farm is a vineyard — and not without reason, since above everything he has been cautious as to the matter of outlay of money — and next he puts kitchen-gardens well supplied with water; and this is true, if they are near a town — and the old word for 'meadows' means 'land ready to hand'. Cato moreover when asked what was the most reliable source of profit said, 'Good pasture', and when asked what was the next best, said, 'Fairly good pasture the most important point in considering profit being that the crop that was going to cost the smallest outlay in expenses was the crop most to be recommended. This is a question decided differently in different places, in accordance with the suitability of the various localities; and the same applies to Cato's dictum that a farmer ought to be a good seller; and that he should begin to plant his farm without delay, in his youth, but only build when the land is fully under cultivation, and even then go slowly (and the best course is, as the common saying was, to profit by the folly of other people provided however that keeping up houses is not allowed to be a burden on your estate); but that the owner who is well housed should nevertheless keep visiting his farm rather frequently — and it is a true saying that 'the master's face does more good than the back of his head'.

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§ 18.7.1  The satisfactory plan is that the house shall not be inadequate to the farm nor the farm to the house, not as was done on adjacent estates by Lucius Lucullus and Quintus Scaevola, acting on opposite principles though at the same period, when Scaevola's farmhouse would not hold the produce of his farm and Lucullus's farm was not big enough for his house — a sort of extravagance that occasioned the censor's rebuke that there was less ground to plough than floor-space to sweep. The proper arrangement requires a certain amount of technical skill. Quite recently Gaius Marius, who was seven times consul, built a country house in the district of Misenum, but he relied on the skill he had acquired in planning the layout of a camp, so that even Sulla the Fortunate declared that all the others had been blind men in comparison with Marius. It is agreed that a country house ought not to be put near a marsh nor with a river in front of it — although Homer has stated with the greatest truth that in any case there are always unhealthy currents of air rising from a river before dawn. In hot localities the house should look north, in cold ones south and in temperate situations due east.

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§ 18.7.2  As to proofs by which the quality of the land itself can be judged, we may possibly be thought to have spoken of these with sufficient fullness when discussing the best kind of soil, but nevertheless we will still supplement the indications we have given by some words of Cato more particularly: 'The danewort or the wild plum or the bramble, the small-bulb, trefoil, meadow grass, oak, wild pears and wild apple are indications of a soil fit for corn, as also is black or ash-coloured earth. All chalk land will scorch the crop unless it is an extremely thin soil, and so will sand unless it also is extremely fine; and the same soils answer much better for plantations on level ground than for those on a slope.'

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§ 18.7.3  In old times it was thought that to observe moderation in the size of a farm was of primary importance, inasmuch as the view was held that it was more satisfactory to sow less land and plough it better; and I observe that Virgil was of this opinion. And if the truth be confessed, large estates have been the ruin of Italy, and are now proving the ruin of the provinces too — half of Africa was owned by six landlords, when the Emperor Nero put them to death; though Gnaeus Pompeius must not be cheated out of this mark of his greatness also: he never bought land belonging to a neighbouring estate. Mago's opinion that a landlord after buying a farm ought to sell his town house — that being the opening with which he begins the exposition of his instructions — was too rigorous, and not to the advantage of public affairs, though nevertheless it has the effect of showing that he laid stress on the need for constant oversight.

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§ 18.7.4  The next point requiring attention is the efficiency of bailiffs, and Cato has given many instructions with regard to these. Let it be enough for us to say that the bailiff ought to be as near as possible to his master in intelligence, and nevertheless not think so himself. Farming done by slave-gangs hired from houses of correction is utterly bad, as is everything else done by desperate men. It may appear rash to quote one dictum of the old writers, and perhaps it may be judged impossible to credit unless its value is closely examined — it is that nothing pays less than really good farming. Lucius Tarius Rufus, who, though of extremely humble birth, by his soldierly efficiency won a consulship, though in other respects a man of old-fashioned economy, spent the whole of the money he had accumulated through the generosity of his late Majesty Augustus, about 100 million sesterces, in buying up farms in Picenum and farming them with the purpose of making a name for himself, so that his heir refused to take over the estate. Is it our opinion then that this policy means ruin and starvation? Nay rather, I vow, it is that moderation is the most valuable criterion of all things. Good farming is essential, but superlatively good farming spells ruin, except when the farmer runs the farm with his own family or with persons whom he is in any case bound to maintain. There are some crops which it does not pay the landlord to harvest if the cost of the labour is reckoned, and olives are not easily made to pay; and some lands do not repay very careful farming — this is said to be the case in Sicily, and consequently newcomers there find themselves deceived.

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§ 18.8.1  What then will be the most profitable of farming land? Presumably to follow the oracular dictum: By making good from bad. But it is only fair to justify our forefathers who laid down rules for conduct by their teachings; for the term 'bad lands' they meant to be understood to mean the cheapest lands, and the chief point in their economy was to keep down expenses to the minimum. For the sort of instructions in question were given by men who though they had headed triumphal processions deemed ten pounds of silver as part of one's furniture a criminal extravagance, who when their bailiff died insisted on leaving their victories and returning to their farms, and the cultivation of whose estates was taken over by the government and who commanded armies while the senate acted as their bailiff. Then come all those other oracular utterances: Whoever buys what his farm could supply him with is a worthless farmer; whoever does by day work that he could do by night, except during bad weather, is a bad head of a family, and he who does on working days things that he ought to do on holidays is a worse; and one who works indoors on a fine day rather than in the field is the worst farmer of all.' I cannot refrain from adducing one instance from old times which will show that it was customary to bring before the Commons even questions of agriculture, and will exhibit the kind of plea that men of those days used to rely on to defend their conduct. Gaius Furius Chresimus, a liberated slave, was extremely unpopular because he got much larger returns from a rather small farm than the neighbourhood obtained from very large estates, and he was supposed to be using magic spells to entice away other people's crops. He was consequently indicted by the curule aedile Spurius Albinus; and as he was afraid he would be found guilty, when the time came for the tribes to vote their verdict, he brought all his agricultural implements into court and produced his farm servants, sturdy people and also according to Piso's description well looked after and well clad, his iron tools of excellent make, heavy mattocks, ponderous ploughshares, and well-fed oxen. Then he said: 'These are my magic spells, citizens, and I am not able to exhibit to you or to produce in court my midnight labours and early risings and my sweat and toil.' This procured his acquittal by a unanimous verdict. The fact is that husbandry depends on expenditure of labour, and this is the reason for the saying of our forefathers that on a farm the best fertilizer is the master's eye.

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§ 18.8.2  The remaining rules will be given in their proper places, according as they belong to the various kinds of agriculture. In the meantime we will not omit the principles of general application which occur to us, and particularly that most humane and most profitable advice of Cato to do your best to win the esteem of your neighbours. Cato gives reasons for this advice, but for our part we imagine that nobody can doubt what the reasons are. Also one of Cato's first pieces of advice is a warning to keep your farm hands in good condition. That in agriculture nothing must be done too late is a rule universally held, as is a second rule that each thing must be done at its own time, and a third that it is no use calling back lost opportunities. The malediction uttered by Cato against rotten land has been pointed out at sufficient length; though he is never tired of declaring that whatever can be done by means of an ass costs the least money. Bracken dies in two years if you do not let it make leaf, the best way to kill it is to knock off the stalk with a stick when it is budding, as the juice trickling down out of the fern itself kills the roots. It is also said that ferns plucked up about midsummer do not spring up again, nor do those cut with a reed or ploughed up with a reed placed on the ploughshare. Similarly they also advise ploughing up reed with bracken placed on the ploughshare. A field grown over with rushes should be turned up with the spade after having been first broken with two-pronged forks. Brushwood is best removed by setting fire to it. When land is too damp it is very useful to cut ditches through it and drain it; and in clayey places to leave the ditches open, but in looser soil to strengthen them with hedges or let them have theft sides sloping and on a slant; and to block up some and make them run into other larger and wider ones, and, if opportunity offers, to pave them with flint or gravel; and to stay their mouths with two stones, one on each side, and roof them over with another stone on top. — Democritus has put forward a method of clearing away forest by soaking lupin-flower for one day in hemlock juice and sprinkling it on the roots of the trees.

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§ 18.9.1  And now that the ground has been prepared, we shall proceed to describe the nature of the various kinds of grain. There are two primary varieties, the cereals, such as wheat and barley, and the legumina, such as the bean and chick-pea. The difference between them is too well known to need description.

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§ 18.10.1  There are also two varieties of corn itself distinguished by the different seasons at which they are sown: winter grains, which are sown about the setting of the Pleiades and get their nourishment through the winter from the earth, for instance wheat and barley, and summer grains, which are sown in summer before the rising of the Pleiades, for instance common and Italian millet, gingelly, clary and winter cress: at all events this is the method of Italy. In Greece and Asia however all grains are sown after the setting of the Pleiades, while in Italy some are sown at both dates, and some of these have a third sowing, in spring. Some persons give the name of spring grain to common millet, Italian millet, lentils, chick-pea and groats-wheat, but term bread-wheat, barley, beans and turnip autumn-sowing grains. In the class of wheat one division consists of fodder sown for animals, such as mixed feed, and the same also in the leguminous plants, such as vetch; but lupine is grown for the use of animals and men in common.

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§ 18.10.2  All the leguminous plants except the bean have a single root, which has a woody substance because it is not divided into many branches; the chick-pea has the deepest root. Corn has a number of fibrous roots without ramifications. Barley bursts out of the ground seven days after it is first sown, leguminous plants on the fourth day, or at latest the seventh, beans from fifteen to twenty days; in Egypt leguminous plants emerge on the third day. In barley one end of the grain sends out a root and the other a blade, which flowers before the other corn; and the root shoots out from the thicker end of the grain and the flower from the thinner, whereas with all other seeds both root and flower come from the same end.

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§ 18.10.3  Corn is in the blade during winter; in the spring time corn of the winter variety shoots up into a stalk, but common and Italian millets into a knotted hollow straw, and sesame into a stalk like fennel. The fruit of all kinds of sown grain is either contained in ears, as in the case of wheat and barley, and is protected against birds and small animals by a fence of beard, or is enclosed in pods, as with leguminous plants, or in capsules, as with gingelly and poppy. Both millets are accessible also to small birds, in what can only be called joint ownership with the grower, inasmuch as they are contained in thin skins, leaving them unprotected. Panic, named from its panicles or tufts, has a head that droops languidly and a stalk that tapers gradually almost into a twig; it is heaped with very closely packed grains, with a corymb that is at its longest a foot in length. In millet the hairs embracing the seed curve over with a fringed tuft. There are also varieties of panic, for instance the full-breasted kind, clustered with small tufts growing out of the ear, and with a double point; moreover these grasses are of various colours, white, black, red and even purple. Bread of several kinds is made even from millet, but very little from panic; but there is no grain heavier in weight or that swells more in baking: they get sixty pounds of bread out of a peck, and a peck of porridge out of three-sixteenths of a peck soaked in water. A millet has been introduced into Italy from India within the last ten years that is of a black colour, with a large grain and a stalk like that of a reed. It grows to seven feet in height, with very large hairs — they are called the mane — and is the most prolific of all kinds of corn, one grain producing three-sixteenths of a peck. It should be sown in damp ground.

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§ 18.10.4  Some kinds of grain begin to form the ear at the third joint of the stalk and some at the fourth, but it still remains concealed. Wheat a has four articulations in each stalk, emmer six and barley eight; but the ear does not begin to form before the above-mentioned number of articulations is complete; when this has given signs of occurring, in four or at latest five days they begin to blossom, and after the same number of days or a few more they finish flowering; but with barley this happens in seven days at latest. Varro states that the grains are fully formed in thirty-six days and are ready for reaping after eight months.

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§ 18.10.5  Beans shoot out into leaves and then throw out a stalk which is divided by no joints. The rest of the leguminous plants are tough and woody. Some of them are branching — the chick-pea, the bitter vetch and the lentil. In some the stems spread along the ground if they are not propped up, but peas climb if given a prop, or else they deteriorate. The bean is the only one of the leguminous plants that has a single stem; the lupine also has only one but it does not stand up straight, all the others having branches with a very thin woody stalk, but all of them hollow. Some send out a leaf from the root, some from the top, for instance wheat and barley. Each of these and all the plants that make straw have one leaf at the top — though barley leaves are rough and those of the rest smooth — whereas the bean, the chick-pea and the pea are many-leaved. In corn the leaf is like that of a reed; those of the bean and a large part of the leguminous plants are round; those of the fitch and the pea rather long, that of calavance veined, that of sesame and winter cress the colour of blood. Only the lapin and the poppy shed their leaves. Leguminous plants remain longer in flower, and among them more particularly the fitch and the chick-pea, but longest of all the bean, which flowers for forty days, though the single stalks do not keep their flowers so long, since when one goes off another begins, nor does the whole crop flower at the same time, as with corn, but all the pods form on different days, the blossom starting first at the bottom and rising gradually.

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§ 18.10.6  When cereals have finished flowering, they gradually swell and ripen in 40 days at most, and the same is the case with the bean, but the chick-pea ripens in the fewest days, as it is completely ready in 40 days from sowing. Millet (common and Italian) and gingelly and all the summer grains ripen within 40 days of blossoming, although with considerable differences due to soil and weather; for in Egypt barley is reaped in the sixth month after sowing and wheat in the seventh, while in Greece barley is cut in the seventh month and in the Peloponnese in the eighth, and wheat even later. Grains growing on a stalk form ears with a texture like a tuft of hairs; in beans and leguminous plants the grains are in pods shooting on each side alternately. Cereals are stronger to withstand winter, but the leguminous plants provide a more substantial article of food.

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§ 18.10.7  In wheat the grain has several coats, but barley and good emmer wheat are largely naked, and the oat is especially so. Wheat has a taller stalk than barley, but barley has a more prickly ear. Hard wheat, common wheat and barley are threshed on a threshing floor; thus they are also sown without the husk, just as they are milled, because they are not dried first. On the other hand emmer wheat, and common and Italian millet cannot be freed of husk until they have been dried, and consequently these grains are sown unthreshed, with their husks on. People also keep emmer in its little husks for sowing, and do not dry it by heat.

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§ 18.11.1  Of these grains the lightest is barley, which rarely exceeds fifteen pounds to the peck, and beans twenty-two pounds. Emmer is heavier and wheat heavier still. In Egypt they make flour out of olyra, a third kind of corn that grows there. The Gallic provinces have also produced a special kind of emmer, the local name for which is brace, while with us it is called scandala; it has a very glossy grain. There is also another difference in that it gives about four corn used by the Roman nation for 300 years.

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§ 18.12.1  There are several kinds of wheat that have been produced by various races. For my own part I should not rank any of them with Italian wheat for whiteness and for weight, for which it is particularly distinguished. Foreign wheat can only be compared with that of the mountain regions of Italy; among foreign kinds Boeotia has obtained the first rank, then Sicily, and after that Africa. The third place for weight used to belong to Thracian and Syrian wheat and later also to Egyptian, by the vote of athletes in those days, whose capacity for cereals, resembling that of cattle, had established the order of merit that we have stated. Greece also gave praise to wheat from Pontus, which did not get through to Italy; but of all the varieties of grain Greece gave the preference to dracontias, strangias and the wheat of Selinunte, recognized by the thickness of the straw, because of which it used to count these kinds as appropriate for a rich soil. For sowing in damp soils Greece prescribed spendias, a very light and extremely scanty-growing grain with a very thin stalk, because it required a great deal of nourishment. These were the opinions held in the reign of Alexander the Great, when Greece was most famous and the most powerful state in the whole world, although nevertheless about 145 years before his death the poet Sophocles in his play Triptolemus praised Italian corn before all other kinds, in the phrase of which a literal translation is 'And that happy Italy glows white with bright white wheat'; and also today the Italian wheat is especially distinguished for whiteness, which makes it more surprising to me that the later Greeks have made no mention of this corn.

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§ 18.12.2  At the present the lightest in weight among the kinds of wheat imported to Rome is the wheat Gaul, and that brought from the Chersonese, as they do not exceed twenty pounds a peck, if one weighs the grain by itself. Sardinian grain adds half a pound to this figure, and Alexandrian a third of a pound more — this is also the weight of Sicilian wheat — while that of Southern Spain scores a whole pound more and that of Africa a pound and three-quarters. In Italy north of the Po the peck of emmer to my knowledge weighs 25 pounds, and around Clusium even 26 pounds. It is a fixed law of nature that in any kind of commissariat bread a third part is added in the making to the weight of the grain, just as that the best wheat is that which absorbs three quarts of water into the peck of grain kneaded. Some kinds of grain used by themselves give their full weight, for instance a peck of Balearic wheat produces 35 pounds of bread, but some only do so when blended — for example, Cyprian wheat and Alexandrian, which used by themselves do not go beyond 20 pounds a peck. Cyprus wheat is of a dusky colour and makes black bread, and consequently the white Alexandrian is mixed with it, and that gives 25 pounds of bread to the peck. The wheat of the Thebaid in Egypt makes a pound more. To knead the flour with sea water, which they frequently do in seaside places for the sake of economizing salt, is extremely inexpedient, as there is nothing else that renders the body more liable to disease. When the corn of Gaul and Spain of the kinds we have stated is steeped to make beer the foam that forms on the surface in the process is used for leaven, in consequence of which those races have a lighter kind of bread than others. There is also a difference in the stalk, that of the better sort of grain being thicker. Thracian wheat is clothed with a great many husks, which is necessary for that region because of the excessive frosts. The same reason has also led to the discovery of a three-month wheat, because the snow holds back the ground; it is reaped about three months after sowing, at the same time as wheat is harvested in the rest of the world. This wheat is known all over the Alps, and in the provinces with cold climates no corn flourishes better than this; moreover it has a single stem and in no region holds much grain, and it is never sown except in a thin soil. There is actually a two-month variety in the neighbourhood of Aenus in Thrace, which begins to ripen six weeks after it is sown; and it is surprising that no corn weighs heavier, and that it produces no bran. It is also used in Sicily and Achaia, in both cases in mountain districts, and in Euboea in the neighbourhood of Carystus. So greatly is Columella mistaken in his opinion that even three-month wheat is not a distinct variety, although it is of extreme antiquity. The Greeks call it setanion. It is said that in Bactria the grains of wheat grow so large that a single grain is as big as our ears of corn.

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§ 18.13.1  The one sown first of all the cereals is barley. After explaining the nature of each variety we will also give the date for sowing. India has both cultivated and wild barley, and from it the natives make their best bread, and also porridge. Their favourite grain is however rice, of which they make a drink like the barley-water made by the rest of mankind. Rice leaves are fleshy, resembling leek but broader; the plant is 18 inches high, with a purple blossom and a root of a round shape like a precious stone.

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§ 18.14.1  Barley is the oldest among human foods, as is proved by the Athenian ceremony recorded by Menander, and by the name given to gladiators, who used to be called 'barley-men'. Also the Greeks prefer it to any other grain for porridge. There are several ways of making barley porridge: the Greeks soak some barley in water and then leave it for a night to dry, and next day dry it by the fire and then grind it in a mill. Some after roasting it more thoroughly sprinkle it again with a small amount of water and dry it before milling; others however shake the young barley out of the ears while green, clean it and while it is wet pound it in a mortar, and wash it of husk in baskets and then dry it in the sun and again pound it, clean it and grind it. But whatever kind of barley is used, when it has been got ready, in the mill they mix in three pounds of flax seed, half a pound of coriander seed, and an eighth of a pint of salt, previously roasting them all. Those who want to keep it for some time in store put it away in new earthenware jars with fine flour and its own bran. Italians bake it without steeping it in water and grind it into fine meal, with the addition of the same ingredients and millet as well.

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§ 18.15.1  Barley bread was much used in earlier days, but has been condemned by experience, and barley is now mostly fed to animals, although the consumption of barley-water is proved so conclusively to be very conducive to strength and health: Hippocrates, one of the most famous authorities on medical science, has devoted one whole book to its praises. Utica barley-water is of outstanding quality. There is a kind in Egypt made of the double-pointed grain. The kind of barley used for making this drink in Baetica and Africa is called by Turranius smooth barley. The same authority is of opinion that alpaca and oryza (rice) are the same plant. The recipe for making barley-water is universally known.

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§ 18.16.1  Hulled-wheat grain is used in a similar way for making pap, at all events in Campania and in Egypt;

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§ 18.17.1  and starch is made from, every kind of wheat and common wheat, but the best from three-month wheat. For its discovery we are indebted to the island of Chios, and that is where the best kind comes from today. Its name is Greek, and means 'made without milling'. Next to the starch made from three-month wheat is the kind made of the lightest sort of wheat. This is soaked with fresh water in wooden tubs, with the grain completely covered, the water being changed five times in the course of a day, and preferably in the night time as well, so as to get it mixed up evenly with the grain. When it is quite soft but before it goes sour it is strained through linen or wicker baskets and poured out on a tiled surface that has been smeared with leaven, and left to thicken in the sun. Next to the starch of Chios that from Crete is most highly spoken of; and then comes the Egyptian kind. The test of its quality is smooth consistency and light weight, and the condition of being flesh. It has moreover been mentioned already by Cato among ourselves.

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§ 18.18.1  Barley meal is used as a medicine, and it is remarkable how in treating cattle pills made of it after it has been hardened by roasting at the fire and afterwards ground, sent down into the animal's stomach by the human hand, serve to increase the strength and enlarge the muscles of the body. Some ears of barley have two rows of grains and some more, up to as many as six. In the grain itself there are some varieties: it is longer and smoother or shorter and rounder, lighter or darker in colour, the kind with a purple shade being of a rich consistency for porridge; the light-coloured grain offers the weakest resistance to storms. Barley is the softest of all the grains. It likes to be sown only in a dry, loose soil, which must also be of rich quality. Its chaff is one of the best, indeed for straw there is none that compares with it. Barley is the least liable to damage of all corn, because it is harvested before the wheat is attacked by mildew (and so wise farmers only sow wheat for the larder, whereas barley is sown by the sack, as the saying is), and consequently it brings in a return very quickly; and the most prolific kind is the barley harvested at Carthage in Spain in the month of April. In Celtiberia this barley is sown in the same month, and there are two crops in the same year. All barley is cut sooner than any other grain, as soon as it first ripens, because the grain is carried on a brittle straw and contained in a very thin chaff. Moreover we are told that it makes better pearl-barley if it is lifted before its ripening has been completed.

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§ 18.19.1  Varieties of wheat are not the same everywhere, and where they are the same they do not always bear the same names. The most widely known of them and the most prevalent are emmer (the old name for which was adoreum), common wheat and hard wheat — these are common to most countries. Ariaca wheat which is indigenous in the Gallic provinces is also frequent in Italy; while zea, olyra, and 'rice' or tiphe are only found in Egypt, Syria, Cilicia and Asia and Greece. Egypt makes a prime flour out of its own wheat, but it by no means matches that of Italy. The places that use sea have not got our emmer. Zea also is found in Italy, particularly in Campania, and is called 'seed'; it has that name as being a remarkable thing, as we shall soon explain, which is the reason for Homer's expression zeidoros aroura, 'the tilth that gives us sea' — it is not on account of its 'bestowing life', as some people think. Starch of a coarser quality than the kind mentioned before but otherwise identical is made from it. Emmer is the most hardy of every kind and the one that resists winter best. It stands the coldest localities and those that are under-cultivated or extremely hot and dry. It was the first food of the Latium of old times, a strong proof of this being found in the offerings of adoria, as we have said. It is clear however that for a long time the Romans lived on pottage, not on bread, since even today foodstuffs are also called 'pulmentaria', and Ennius, the oldest of our bards, describing a famine during a siege, recalls how fathers snatched away a morsel from their crying children. Even nowadays primitive rituals and birthday sacrifices are performed with gruel-pottage; and it appears that pottage was as much unknown to Greece as pearl-barley was to Rome.

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§ 18.20.1  No grain is greedier than wheat or draws more nourishment out of the soil. Common wheat may properly designate the choicest variety, whether in whiteness or goodness or weight. It is suitable for moist districts like those in Italy and Gallia Comata, but across the Alps it only keeps its character in the territory of the Allobroges and Remi, while in the other parts of that country it changes in two years into ordinary wheat. The cure for this is to select its heaviest grains for sowing. Common wheat flour makes bread of the highest quality and the most famous pastry. The top place in Italy is taken by a mixture of Campanian common wheat flour with that grown at Pisa, the former being reddish but the chalk-like Pisa variety whiter and heavier. A fair yield from the Campanian grain called 'bolted' is to give four sixteenths of fine flour to the peck, or from what is called common grain, not bolted, five sixteenths, as well as half a peck of fine flour and four sixteenths of the coarse meal called 'seconds', and the same amount of bran; whereas Pisa wheat should give four sixteenths of prime flour, while of the other kinds the yield is the same. The wheats of Clusium and Arezzo give an additional sixteenth of prime flour, but in the remaining qualities they are on a level. If however it is wished to make special flour, the return is sixteen pounds of bread and three pecks of seconds and half a peck of bran. This depends on different methods of milling; for grain ground when dry gives more flour, but if sprinkled with salt water it makes a whiter meal, but keeps more back in the bran. The name for flour, farina, is obviously derived from far, emmer. A peck of flour made of Gallic conmion wheat gives 20 pounds of bread, that of the Italian kind two or three pounds more, in the case of bread baked in a tin — for loaves baked in the oven they add two pounds in either kind of wheat. 'Hard' flour is made from hard wheat, the most highly esteemed coming from Africa. A fair return is half a peck from a peck with five sixteenths of special flour — that is the name given in the case of hard wheat to what in common wheat is called the 'flower'; this is used in copper works and paper mills — and in addition four sixteenths of second quality flour and the same amount of bran, but from a peek of 'hard' flour 22 pounds of bread and from a peck of flower of wheat 16 pounds. The price for this when the market rate is moderate is 40 asses a peek for flour, 8 asses more for 'hard' flour and twice as much for bolted common wheat. There is also another distinction, that when bolted a single time it gives 17 pounds of bread, when twice 18, when three times 19 1/3, and 2 1/2 pounds of second quality bread, the same amount of shorts and six sixteenths of bran.

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§ 18.20.2  Common wheat never ripens evenly, and yet no corn crop is less able to stand delay as, owing to its delicacy of structure, the ears that have ripened shed their grain at once. But it is less exposed to danger in the straw than other cereals, because it always has the ear on a straight stalk and it does not hold dew to cause rust. Best emmer makes the sweetest bread; the grain itself is of closer fibre than ordinary emmer and the ear is at once larger and heavier: a peck of the grain seldom fails to make 16 pounds. In Greece it is difficult to thresh and consequently Homer speaks of it as being fed to cattle