Philemon Holland, translator (1601): C. Plinius Secundus The Historie of the World. Book XIII. (Pages 380-402).
THE XIII. BOOKE OF
THE HISTORIE OF NATVRE,
WRITTEN BY C. PLINIVS
HUS farre forth the woods and forrests are of estimation, in regard of the pleasure they doe unto us: for perfumes and sweet odours: and in truth, if wee consider onely these aromaticall plants, admirable they be every one in their kind, even as they bee weighed apart by themselves alone. But such is the riot and superfluitie of man, that being not content with that perfection of Nature shining in those plants and trees above rehearsed, he hath not ceased to mingle and compound them, and so of them all together for to make one confused smell: and thus were our sweet ointments and precious perfumes devised, whereof we purpose to write in this booke next ensuing.
Of Ointments, Perfumes, and their compositions: and when they came into knowledge first at Rome.
AStouching the invention of Ointments, it is not well knowne who the first that devised them. Certaine it is, that during the reigne of the Trojans, and whiles Ilium stood, men knew not what they meant: nay, they used not so much as Incense in sacrifice and divine service.1 The fume and smoke of the Cedar and the Citron trees only, the old Trojans were acquainted with when they offered sacrifice: their fuming and walming steame (more truly I may so tearme it, than any odoriferous perfume) they used: which they might easily come by, since they were plants growing among them, and so familiar; notwithstanding they had found out the juice of Roses, wherewith yet they would not correct the foresaid strong fumes in those daies; for that also was known to be a commendable qualitie of Oile Rosate. Butthe truth is, The Persians and none but they ought to be reputed the inventors of precious perfumes and odoriferous ointments. For they to palliate and hide the ranke and stinking breath which commeth by their surfet and excesse of meats and drinkes, are forced to helpe themselves by some artificiall meanes, and therefore goe evermore all to be perfumed and greased with sweet ointments. And verily, so far as ever I could find by reading histories, the first prince that set such store by costly perfumes, was king Darius, among whose coffers (after that Alexander the Great had defeated him and woon his campe) there was fond with other roiall furniture of his, a fine casket full of perfumes and costly ointments. But afterwards they grew into so good credite even among us, that they were admitted into the ranke of the principall pleasures, the most commendable delights, and the honestest comforts of this life. And more than that, men proceeded so farre, as therewith to honour the dead: as if by right that dutie belonged to them. And therefore it shall not be amisse to discourse of this theame more at large. Wherein I must advertise the reader by the way, that for the present I will but only name those ingredients that got into the composition of these ointments: such I meane as came not from hearbs and trees, shrubs and plants; reserving the treatise of their natures, vertues, and properties, unto their due place.
First and foremost therefore, all perfumes tooke their names either of the countrie where they were compounded, or of the liquors that went to their making, or of the plants that yeelded the simples and drugs: or else of the causes and occasions proper and peculiar unto them. And here it would be noted also principally, that the same ointments were not alwaies in like credite and estimation: but one robbed an other of their honour and worth: insomuch, as many times upon sundrie occasions, that which was lately in request and price, anone gave place to a new and later invention. At the first in ancient time, the best ointments were thought to come from Delos, but afterwards, those that were brought out of Ægypt: no talke then but of Mendesium, compounded at Mendes, a cittie there. And this varietie and alteration was not occasioned alwaies by the diversitie of composition and mixtures, but otherwhiles by reason of good or bad drugs: for ye should have the same kind of liquors and oiles better in this countrey for our purpose, and in that for another: yea, and that which in some place was right and true, the same did degenerate and grow to a bastard nature, if you chaunged once the region. For a long time, the oile or ointment of Iris or the Floure de luce root made at Corinth, was in much request; and highly praised: but afterwards that of Cizicum woon the name & credite, for the artificiall composition thereof. Semblably, the oile of Roses that came from Phaselus, was greatly called for: but in processe of time, Naples, Capua, and Præneste, stole that honour and glorie from thence in that behalfe. The ointment of Saffron,2 confected at Soli in Cilicia, imported for a good while and carried the praise alone: but soone after, that of Rhodes was every mans money. The Oile drawne out of the floures of the wild vine3 in Cyprus, bare the name once; but afterwards that of Ægypt was preferred before it: and in the end the Adramyttians gained the credite and commendation from both places, for the perfect and absolute confection thereof.4 The ointment made of Marjoram, gave credit for a certain time to the Isle of Coos: but not long after, their name was greater for another made of Quinces.5 As for the oile of Cyprinum, which came of Cypros, the best was thought to be made in Cyprus: but afterwards there was a better supposed to be in Ægypt: where the ointments Metopium and Mendesium all of a sudden were better accepted than all the rest. It was not long first, but that Phoenice put Ægypt by the credit for those two singular compositions, and left the Ægyptians the name alone for the foresaid Oile Cyprinum.6 The Athenians were renowned for their ancient Panathenaicum, and ever held their owne. There was in old time a notable composition named Pardalium, made in Tharsus: but now the mixture and making thereof is quite lost. The ointment likewise Narcissimum, where the flower of the Daffodill was the Basis, is now forgotten, and no more made of it. The manner of compounding all these ointments, was two fold, to wit, either of the juice and liquor, or els of the very substance and bodie of the simples. The former sort resemble the nature rather of Oiles: but the latter of ointments. And these the Greeks call either Stymmata, which yeeld the consistence and thicknesse to ointments; or Hedysmata, which serve to aromatize and give a compleat perfection unto them. There is a third thing between these, requisite also to the full making of these sweet ointments, namely, the colour: although many take no regard at all of it. And for this purpose, the perfumers put into their compositions Cinnabaris [i. Vermillion or Sanguis Draconis] and Orcanet.7 The salt moreover that is strewed among, serveth to represse and correct the nature of the oile that uniteth all the ingredients besides. But those that have the root of Orcanet in them, need no salt at all to be put in besides. As for Rosin and Gum, they are mingled with the rest to incorporate the drugs and spices, and to keepe in the sweet odour thereof, which otherwise would evaporate and soone be lost. We are to presume by all likelyhood, that the first composition of ointments and soonest made, was of the odoriferous mosse Bryon, and the oile of Ben onely: whereof we have written in the former booke. Then came in place a more compound ointment called Mendesium, and that received Rosin also to the aforesaid oile of Ben. And more than that, another besides named Metopium. Now is this Metopium an oile compounded, which the Ægyptians doe presse out first of bitter Almonds, but they added thereto for to incorporate the better, grape Verjuice: and the ingredients besides, were Cardamum, Squinanth, sweet Calamus, Honnie, Wine, Myrrhe, the graines or seeds of Baulme, Galbanum, Rosin, and Terpintine.8 One of the meanest and basest ointments now adaies, and therefore thought to be as auncient as any other, is that which consisteth of the oile of Myrtles, sweet Calamus, Cypresse, and Cypros [Squinanth] Lentiske,9 and the rind of the Pomegranate. But I would thinke verily, that Oyntments came to be so divulged and common every where abroad, by meanes of Roses most of all: considering, that nothing groweth more rife in all places. Which was the cause, that the simple mixture of Oile Rosate, without any sophistications besides, continued for a long time, having the addition of grape of Verjuice, the flower of Roses, the Saffron, Cinnabaris or Sang-Dragon, Calamus, Hony, Squinanth, the floure of salt called Sperma-ceti, or els in lieu thereof the root of Orcanet, and Wine. The oile or ointment of Saffron was after the same sort made, by putting thereto Cinnabaris, Orcanet, and wine. Semblably is to be said of the oile of the sweet lesse Majoran, wherin was mixed grape verjuice and sweet Calamus. This composition was singularly wel made in Cyprus and at Mitylene, where great store of sweet * Majoran groweth. There bee other oiles likewise which are not of so good reckoning, namely, of Myrtles and Baies, which receive a mixture with the addition of Majoran, Lillies, Fenigreek, Myrrhe, Casia, Spikenard, Squinanth, and Cinnamon. Moreover, of great Quinces and the lesse called Malla Struthea, is made the oile Melinum, whereof we will speake hereafter:10 which the perfumers use in their ointments, by putting thereto grape Verjuice, the oile Cyprinum, the oile Sesamine, Baulme, Squinanth, Casia, and Southernwood. As touching the oile of ** Lillies, which is the most subtile and thinnest of all other, it is made of Lillies, Ben, sweet Calamus, Honie, Cinnamon, Saffron, Myrrhe, & Aspalathus.11 Also the foresaid oile Cyprinum is made of the flowers of Cypros, of Verjuice, Cardamonum, Calamus, Aspalathus, and Sothernwood. Some there be that put more over unto this oile, Myrrhe and Panace. The Sidonians are excellent at the making of this composition: & after them the Ægyptians, so that they put not in Sesamium oile. For it will last & keep good full foure years: and if it begin to loose the smell, it is quickened and refreshed again with Cinnamon. Now as touching the ointment of *** Feni-Greeke, it is made of fresh oile, Cyperus, Calamus, Melilot, Feni-greeke, Honie, oile of Quinces, the greater & the lesse sweet Marjaram.This was of highest reputation, in the daies of Menander the Comicall poet. But long after these succeeded upon the same place of credit, the ointment Megalium; so called for the great glorie that it caried: and this was compounded of the oile of Ben, of Baulme liquor, sweet Calamus, Squinanth, Balme-wood, Casia, and Rosin. In the making hereof, this propertie it had by it selfe, that all the while it was a compounding and seething, it should ever and anon be vented, and shifted out of one vessell into another, untill the smell of it were gone. Which neverthelesse it would recover againe after it was once cold. Moreover, some liquors there be of themselves, that without any other mixtures may serve and go for noble sweet ointments. Among which, that of Malabathrum is the cheefe: next to it the Flower de Luce of Sclavonia, and the great sweet Marjoram of Cyzicum. However the Hearbarists love to be putting in some few spices besides, as well in the one as the other: but some make choise of one thing, some of another to entermingle withall. They that take delight to have their mixtures most compound, adde unto either of those abovenamed, Honie, the flour of Salt, grape Verjuice, the leaves of Agnus Castus, and Panace, As generally all that be strange and forraine, to make their compositions seeme more wonderfull. To the oile or ointment of Cinnamon, there goeth the oile of Ben, Baulme wood, sweet Calamus, Squinanth, the 4 fruit or seeds of Balsamanum, Myrrhe, and Honie Aromaticall. This is of all other the thickest ointment in substance. The price of this, is from 35 deniers to 300 the pound. As for the ointment Nardinum or Foliatum, it is composed of the oile of greene Olives or grape Verjuice, of the oile of Ben, of Squinanth, Costus, Spikenard, Amomum, Myrrhe, and Baulmes. Howbeit, this point would not be forgotten in the making of this composition, that it is a very easie manner to sophisticate it, by reason that there be no fewer than nine hearbes or simples which we have declared, that come neare to the Indian Spikenard, and may bee taken for it.12 Finally, to quicken and fortifie the sent of all these ointments, there must no spare bee made of Costus and Amomum, which of all other drugs pierce into the nosthrils, and cast a strong smell. To make them thicker and more pleasant, there would be good store of Myrrhe put in: but to have them better for the use of Physicke, and more medicinable, it is good to season them well with Saffron. As for Amomum, of it selfe alone it causeth all ointments where it commeth to bee most quicke and penetrative: insomuch as it causeth headach. Some for to spare cost, thinke it sufficient to aromatize onely those ointments with those drugs which are so deare and precious, either by strewing the powder, or sprinckling their liquors among, whereas the rest of the ingredients be boiled: but such compositions bee nothing so effectuall, as when all be sodden and fermented together. As for Myrrhe it selfe, it maketh alone a precious ointment without any other oile, I mean that only of the liquor Stacte: for otherwise it is exceeding bitter and unpleasant. If it bee mingled with the oile Cyprinum, it looketh greene; if with the oile of Lillies, it will bee fattie and unctuous; if with Mendesium, blacke; with oile Roset, white; with that of Myrrhe, pale. Lo what were the inventions in old time of aromaticall and odoriferous ointments: loe what were the devises afterwards of the shopkeepers and perfumers, to picke pence out of our purses, and to rob us. It remaineth now to speake of the parangon indeed of all these pleasures and delights: of that I say wherein consisteth the very height and cheefe point of this argument in hand.
Of the Oyntment called Royall: of drie Perfumes, Powders, and Pomanders: and how they be kept.
THE Royall Ointment therefore (which the Parthian Kings used ordinarily, and of whome it tooke that name to be called Royall) is tempered and composed in this manner: to wit, of Ben, Costus, Amonium, Cinamon, the Arbut or Comarus,13 Ca[r]damonum, Spikenard, Marum, Myrrhe, Casia, Storax Calamita, Ladanum, Baulme liquor, sweet Calamus, Squinanth of Syria, the flower of the wild Vine, Malabathrum, Serichatum, Cyperus, Aspalathus, Panace, Saffron, Cypros, Marjoram the greater, clarified or purified Honey, and Wine. As for Italie (the ladie and conqueresse of all other nations) there groweth nothing in it good to make ointments; no nor nothing throughout all Europe, unlesse it be the Floure-deluce root, & the Celticke Spikenard: for wine, Roses, Myrtle leves, and Oils, are well knowne to be common for all countries.
As for those mixtures which be called Diapasmata, they consist of drie spices and drugs. Also the dregs or grounds of Ointments, they call Magma.14 Moreover, this is to be observed in the mixture and composition of those Ointments, That the drugs which be put in last, are ever the strongest and most effectuall.
Now as touching the keeping of Ointments, they are best preserved in pots or vessels of Alabastre: and Odors are surest maintained and continue longest, being incorporate in oile: which the fatter that it is, serveth better for a continuance of their sent; as a man may see very well in the oyle of Almonds. And to say a truth, the older that a oyntment is, and the longer fermented, the more vertue it hath for the age. The sunne is an enemie unto them, and therefore they must incorporate and unite together in the shade, and be put up in vessels of lead. The triall of them is with the back-part of the hand, for fear least that the heat of the fleshie side within, should corrupt and marre them.
Of the superfluitie in expence at rome, about these Ointments: and at what time they were first used there.
AT this day there is not in Rome any thing wherein men more exceed, than in these costly and precious Ointments: and yet of all other, they are most superfluous and may be best spared. True it is, that much money is laid out upon Pearles and precious stones; but these are in the nature of a domaine and inheritance, and fall to the next heire in succession. Againe, rich and costly apparell stand us in a great deale of coine; howbeit they are durable and last a long time: but Perfumes and Ointments, are soon done and gone; they exhale and breath away quickly; they are momentarie, they serve but for the present, and die sodainely. The greatest matter in them, and their commendation is this, To cause a man (what busines soever he hath otherwise) to cast his eye and looke after a gentlewoman as she passeth by perfumed in the streets, and sendeth a smell from her as she goes. This is all the good they doe: and yet forsooth a pound of this ware must cost 400 deniers: so deer is the pleasure that passeth from ourselves and goeth to another: for the partie himselfe that carrieth the perfume about him, hath little or no delight at all in it; others they be that reape the benefit and pleasure thereof. And yet among these odoriferous compositions, there is choise and difference between one and another. We find in the writings of M. Cicero, that hee made more account of those ointments which savoured of the earth, than those which smelled all strong of Saffron:15 as if hee meant thereby, That in this excessive disorder and most corrupt enormitie of all others, a certaine moderation yet and sad delay would doe well; and that a severitie (if I may so say) in the vice it selfe, were better to be liked. But some take delight especially in thick and grosse ointments, and are not content to be perfumed, yea and bathed all over, unlesse they be besmeared, greased, and dawbed also therewith. I have my selfe seene some of them to annoint the very soles of their feet with these pretious baulmes: and (by report) it was M. Otho that first taught the Emperour Nero this wanton delicacie. But I would gladly know, and some good bodie tell me, I pray, How he could feele the smell thereof, and what delight or contentment it might yeeld from that part of the bodie? I have heard say besides, by some of the inward familiars and speciall favorites of this prince, That he commanded the very walls of his baines and stouves to be perfumed with pretious ointments: and that C. Caligula the Emperour, caused the very vessels and seats wherein he used to sit when hee bathed or swet in his hothouse, to be in that manner annointed. And because this might not seem to be a speciall pleasure fit for an Emperour onely, I knew one of Neroes servants afterwards, who used so to doe as well as his lord and master. But I muse and marveile at nothing so much, as that this wanton delight should find the way and enter so farre as into the mids of the came. For wot ye what? I assure you the very standerds and ensignes, the Ægles (I say) and Minotaures, so dustie as they be otherwise, so foule and ill-favoured, as being kept so long, and standing by unoccupied, are wont forsooth to be annointed and perfumed upon high and festivall daies. And, so god helpe me, I would I knew who it was that first brought up this fashion and needlesse superfluitie: Certes, I would not defraud him of his due honor: I would (I say) recommend his name unto all posteritie. But thus it is (no doubt) and it cannot otherwise be; Our Ægles and standers (bribed, hired, and corrupted with this so good a reward) have therefore in recompense conquered the whole world. Under such colours and pretences (indeed) wee deceive ourselves, and cloake the vice and riot of our times: and thus having so good a reason as this, to induce and draw us on, we may not sticke to have pretious baulmes upon our heads, so it be under our sallats and mourrons.
To say for certeintie and precisely, when this enormitie entred first into Rome and began there to raigne, I am not able.16 Sure it is, as appeareth upon record, That after the subduing of K. Antiochus and the conquest of Asia, which was about the 565 yeere from the foundation of Rome, P. Licinius Crassus, and L. Iulius Cæsar the Censors, published an edict, prohibiting and forbidding to sell any forrein or strange ointments within Rome: for so they tearmed these sweet mixtures and compositions.17 But (beleeve me) now adaies, some there be so wanton and delicate, that there is no wine or other drinke good with them, nor will goe downe their throat, unlesse it be spiced and aromatized with these baulmes: and so little passe they for the bitternesse of these odours and smels, that they are well content to wast and spend a deale thereof, without and within, behind and before, above and beneath, to enjoy the perfume thereof in all parts of the bodie wheresover. Well knowne it is, that L. Plotius, brother to L. Plancus, a man of great credit and authoritie, as having been twice Consull, and Censor besides, beeing outlawed and proclaimed a banished person by the decree of the Triumvirs, was discovered within a certain cave at Salernum, where he lay close hidden and sure enough otherwisse, by the very smell onely of a pretious oyntment that he had about him: and so by that meanes (besides the shame and disgrace that he received, thus to detect himselfe and be found of his enemies) the rigour of the act and arrest that passed against him, was executed and performed upon his bodie. And who would ever pitie such persons, & not judge them worthie to come to so bad an end? But to conclude all this discourse, There is not a country in the world that yeeldeth such plentie and varietie of drugs fit for these compositions, as Ægypt: and next to it, Campaine in Italie may carrie the name, for the store of Roses there growing.
Of Dates, and Date trees: their nature and severall kinds.
THE land of Iurie is as much renowmed, or rather more, for the aboundance of Palmes or Date trees which it affourdeth the discourse whereof we now will enter into. True it is, and it cannot be denied verily, that there be of them found in Europe, & namely, every where in Italy; but such, be all of them barren. Also in the maritime parts and sea-coasts of Spaine, we shall meet with Palmes that beare Dates, but they are but tart and unpleasant, and indeed never come to their maturitie and ripenesse. Those of Affrick, I must needs say, bring forth a sweet and pleasant fruit, but it will not last, and soone is gone: whereas contrariwise, in the East parts the people make wine thereof; and in some countries they use it for bread, yea the very bruit & four-footed beasts doe ordinarily feed of Dates: and therefore we hold and conclude, that Dates may be truly called, Forrein fruits; and their Trees, Meere straungers in this part of the world. For in Italy a man shall not find so much as one Palme tree that commeth up of it selfe, without it be set or planted by mans hand: neither in any other region whatsoever, unlesse it lie under some hote climat: but to beare fruit ye shall never know it in any countrey, if the same be not extreme ardent and scortching. Date trees love a light and sandie ground, and specially (for the most part) if it stand much upon a veine of Nitre besides. And yet contented will they be to grow by some river side, where they ma have as it were, one foot in the water, and be ever drinking all the yeer long, especially in a drie season. Some thinke, that dung is as contrarie and hurtfull to them, as to some kind of Citron trees in Assyria, unlesse it be mingled and tempered with water, or the trees planted neare to some running river. Moreover, many kinds there be of Date trees: and the first are small, and exceed not the bignesse of shrubs: these in some parts are barrein, and in others fruitfull: they shute out little short branches round about, but very full of leaves, the which in most places serve in stead of parget & rough-cast, to defend walls of houses against the weather and drifts of raine. Howbeit a second sort there be that are much taller, and whole forrests stand onely upon those trees: they put forth leaves sharpe pointed, and they grow round about disposed one close unto another in manner of comb-teeth: and these must of necessitie bee taken for wild, and no better: and they love here and there as it falleth out, to be entermingled among those of the tamer kind, as if they tooke I wot not what pleasure in their companie. The rest growing in the East parts, be streight, round, and tall, environed about the bodie with circles or houpes made of the very barke it selfe, and they are of the thicknes of a mans thumbe, set in order one above another like steps and greeces neare togither, in such sort that the people of the East may easily climbe them, by meanes of the said barke, which serveth not only for a vestiment to the tree, but also for staires to him that would mount up, for that it is a wonder to see how nimbly a man will run up to the top. These Date trees beare all their braunches toward the head; and their fruit commeth not forth among the leaves as in other trees, but hangeth to certaine braunches and twigs of the owne between the boughs like clusters of grapes: insomuch as it resembleth partly the nature of a grape, and partly of an apple. The leaves made in form of a knife blade sharpe toward the point, slit as it were and cloven in the edge along both sides, make shew at the first of certain faire and beautifull gemmes: and now they serve instead of cords, and to bind vines togither: also being divided and slived into stakes, they are good to plait for hats and light bongraces for the head, against the heat of the sunne. Moreover, all learned men who are deeply studied in the secrets of Nature, be of opinion and doe teach us, That in all Trees and Plants, nay rather in all things that proceed out of the earth, even in the very Hearbs, there are both sexes. Let it suffice therefore to have spoken thus much once for all in this place. But there is no tree whatsoever, in which this distinction of male and female appeareth more, than in Palme trees: for the male putteth forth his bloome in the braunch; but the female sheweth no flower at all, but sprouteth and shooteth out buds in manner of a thorne: howbeit both in the one and the other, the pulpe or flesh of the Date commeth first, & after it the woodie stone within, which standeth in stead of the graine and seed of the Date. And this appeareth evidently by a good token, for that in the same braunch there be found little young Dates without any such stone at all. Now is the said stone or kernell of the Date, in forme long, not so round and turned like a ball as that of the Olive. Besides, along the back it hath a cut or deepe slit chamfered in (as it were) between two pillowes; but in the mids of the belly on the other side, for the most part, it hath a round specke formed like a navill, wherat the root or chit beginneth first to put forth. Moreover, for the better planting of Dates, they set two togither of their stones in a ranke with the bellies downward to the earth, and as many over their heads: for if one alone should come up, it were not able to stand of it selfe, the root and young plant would be so feeble; but foure togither so joyne, claspe, and grow to one another, that they do well enough and are sufficient to bear themselves upright. The kernell or woodie substance within the Date, is divided from the fleshie pulpe and meat thereof, by many white pellicles or thin skins betweene: neither lyeth it close thereto, but hollow a good distance from it, save that in the head it is fastened thereunto by a thred or string: and yet there be other pellicles that cleave fast and sticke to the substance of the Date within. The Date is a yeere in ripening. Howbeit in certaine places, as namely in Cyprus,18 the meat or fleshie pulpe thereof is sweet and pleasant in tast, although it bee not come to the full ripenesse: [where also the leafe of the tree is broader, and the fruit rounder than the rest:] mary then you must take heed not to eat and swallow downe the very bodily substance of it, but spit it forth after you have well chewed and sucked out the juice thereof. Also they say, that in Arabia the Dates have but a faint & weake sweetnes with them: and yet K. Iuba maketh great account of those which the region of the Scenites in Arabia doth yeeld, where they be called Dabula:19 and he commendeth them for their delicate and pleasant tast, before all others. Moreover, it is constantly affirmed, That the females be naturally barrein, and will not beare fruit without the companie of the males among them to make them for to conceive: yet grow they will neverthelesse and come up of themselves, yea and become tall woods: and verily a man shall see many of the femals stand about one male, bending and leaning in the head full kindly toward him, yeelding their braunches that way as if they courted him for to win his love. But contrariwise, he a grim sir and a coy, carrieth his head aloft, beareth his bristled & rough arms upright on high: and yet what with his very lookes, what with his breathing and exhalations upon them, or else with a certain dust that passeth from him, he doth the part of an husband, insomuch as all the females about him, conceive and are fruitfull with his onely presence. It is said moreover, That if this male tree be cut downe, his wives will afterwards become barrein and beare no more Dates, as if they were widdowes. Finally, so evident is the copulation of these sexes in the Date trees, and knowne to be so effectuall, that men have devised also to make the femals fruitfull, by casting upon them the bloomes and downe that the male beareth, yea and otherwhiles by strewing the powder which he yeeldeth, upon them. Besides the manner abovesaid of setting Date stones for encrease, the trees may bee replanted of the very truncheons of two cubits long, slived and divided from the very braine (as it were) of the of the greene tree in the top, and so couched and interred, leaving onely the head without the ground. Moreover, Date trees will take againe and live, if either their slips be plucked from the root, or their tendrils and small braunches be set in the earth. As for the Assyrians, they make no more doe, but if it be a moist soile, plash the very tree it selfe whole as it standeth, and draw it along and so trench it within the ground, and thus it will take root and propagate: but such will never prove faire trees, but skrubs onely. And therfore they devise certaine Seminaries or Nource-gardens of them, and no sooner bee they of one yeares growth, but they transplant them; and so againe a second time when they be two years old: for these trees love alone to be remooved from one place to another. But whereas in other countries this transplantation is practised in the spring, the Assyrians attend the very mids and heat of Summer, and in the beginning of the Dog-daies use to replant them. Moreover, in that country they neither cut off the heads, ne yet shred the braunches of the yong plants with their hooks and bills; but rather bind up their boughes, that they may shoot up in height the better. Howbeit when they are strong, they cut their braunches, for to make the bodies burnish and waxe thicker, but yet in the lopping they leave stumps of boughs halfe a foot long, to the very tree: which if they were cut off, in other places, would be the death of the mother stocke. And forasmuch as Date trees delight in a salt and nitrous soile, [according as hath been before said] the Assyrians therefore when they meet not with a ground of that nature, strew salt, not close about the roots, but somewhat farther off. In Syria and Ægypt, there be some Date trees that divide themselves and are forked in twaine, rising up in two trunks or bodies. In Crete, they have three, and some also five. The nature of the Palme or Date tree, is to eare ordinarily when they be three yeares old: howbeit in Cyprus, Syria, and Ægypt, it is foure yeares first ere some bring fruit; yea and five yeares before others begin and such never exceed a mans heigth, neither have they any stone or woodie kernell within the Date so long as they be young and tender: during which time they have a pretie name for them, and call them Gelded Dates: and many kinds there be of these trees. As for those that be barrein and fruitlesse, all Assyria and Persia throughout, use them for timber to make quarters and pamels for seeling, wainescot, and their fine joyned workes. There be also of Date trees coppey woods, which they use to fell and cut at certaine times: and evermore they put forth a young spring from the old root and stocke. These have in the very head and top, a certaine pleasant and sweet marow, which they tearme, The braine: and therefore those that love to eat it, will cut and take it away, and yet the tree will live neverthelesse: a thing that ye shall not lightly see in any others of that kind. As for those Date trees which have broader leaves, & the same soft and pliable, very good to make windings to bind vines and such like, they be named by the Greekes Chamæropes. Great abundance there is of them in Creta, but more in Sicily. The wood of Date trees yeeldeth coales, that in the burning will keepe fire long: howbeit a dead flame it is that they make, and nothing quicke. As touching those that be fruitfull, some beare Dates with a short stone or kernell within; others with a longer: these are more soft, those be harder. Some carie a kernell of a bonie substance, like the moone croissant, which many are wont to polish with some tooth, and in a kind of religion are persuaded, that it is good against witchcraft, and is of vertue to procure womens love. Some of these stones be clad and covered with many skins or pellicles, and others with fewer: ye shall have in this Date, those tunicles thicke and grosse; in that, thinner and more fine. In summe, if a man would search into them particularly, he should find fiftie sundrie sorts of Dates save one, with severall strange, and barbarous names, & as many different wines made of them. But the principall & most excellent of all the rest, surnamed Roiall Dates, for that they were reserved for the kings owne mouth of Persia, were known to grow no where els but in Babylon, and in one hortyard or parke only of a Bagous (for so they use to call their eunuches or guelded persons, and such in times past reigned as KK. over them:) and this parke was evermore annexed to the crown, and went with the Roiall scepter, as a chiefe demaine of the Empire, and passed from one prince to another by succession. But in the South countries and meridionall parts of the world, the Dates surnamed Syagri are highly commended above all others, and most esteemed: and next to them, those which be called margarides, are in account and good request: These be short, white, and round, more like in forme to berries and little buttons, than to mast-fruit and Dates indeed: wherupon they took their name of Pearls, which they do resemble. It is reported, that in the citie Chora, there is one of these trees which beareth Dates like to Pearles; as also another that carieth the Dates Syagri. I my selfe verily have heard straungest things of this kind of tree, and namely in regard of the bird Phoenix, which is supposed to have taken that name of this Date tree [called in Greek φοῖνιξ] for it was assured unto me, that the said bird died with that tree, and revived of it selfe as the tree sprung againe.20 Now at the very time that I wrote this Historie of Natures workes, I saw the same tree with fruit upon it: the Date that it beareth is great, hard, rough in handling, and in tast resembling some harsh and wild fruit, farre different from other kinds of Dates: in such sort, as I wondred not at the name of Syagros, so like it tasted to the flesh and venison of a wild Bore in the forrest, that commeth to our board. In a fourth rank of Dates for goodnes, are to be raunged those which they call Sandalides, for the resemblance of slippers or pantofles which they used in old time, named Sandalio. But in these daies they bee as rare, as otherwise pleasant; so that within the bounds of Æthiopia (a wonderfull matter) there be not above five of them to be found.21 After the Sandalide, the Dates Caryotæ are in greatest request: for they bee not onely good to eat, but also a wine is made of their juice, which they yeeld in great abundance: for all the people of the East make their speciall drinke thereof. But true it is, that this kind of wine is hurtfull to the head, and therupon the Greeks gave it that name.22 Now as these countries abovesaid doe affourd plentie of Date trees, and the same fruitfull enough, so Iurie alone carrieth the name and the praise for goodnes of Dates; and not all Iurie neither, but the territorie about Iericho especially: and yet I must needs say, that there be gathered very good Dates in the vales of Iury, which be named Archelais, Phaselis, and Livias. And these Dates of Iurie, have this especiall propertie above all others, To be full of a fat white liquor resembling milke, which hath a certaine tast of wine, and is exceeding sweet and pleasant withall like honey. The drier kind of these Dates be those that tooke name of one Nicolas, and were called Nicolaï:23 passing faire and great they be above all others by farre; for foure of them laid in a ranke one at the end of another, will make a cubit in length. Other Dates there be, not so faire to the eye as these Caryotæ, but surely for pleasant tast they may be well their sisters, like as they bee called thereupon Adelphides. And a third kind there be of the same Caryotæ, which they commonly call Pateton: over-full they are of liquor, and so drunke (as a man would say) with their owne juice, that they burst even as they hang upon the tree their mother, yeelding their wine in that manner of their owne accord, as if they were troden with mens feet in a wine-presse; and thereupon they got that name. Another kind there is yet by it selfe, of those Dates that be drier than the rest, and they be very long and slender, yea and otherwhiles not streight, but bending and crooked. As for those which we dedicate to holy uses, and namely, when wee sacrifice and offer oblations to the gods, the Iewes (a nation above all others noted for contempt and mockerie of the gods their worship and divine service) doe name Chydæi [i. vile and of no price.]24 The Dates in Ægypt called Thebaides, as also those in Arabia, be all over-drie and withered, poore, leane, and thin. Parched as they be continually with the heat of the Sunne, a man would deeme they were covered with a crust or shell, rather than with a skin or pill. Goe further into Æthiopia, there they be so drie that they will soone crumble into powder like meale; and indeed they make therof their bread when it is tempered and wrought with water. These Dates be round, and bigger than a good apple; and they grow upon a plant or shrub which spreadeth braunches of a cubit length: and the Greekes call them Cycæ. They hand three yeares before they be ripe: and evermore you shall see upon the tree Dates ripe, when others come new foorth greene and small. As for the Dates of Thebais in high Ægypt, so soone as they be gathered, presently they are put up into barrels, whiles their naturall heat is in them; for if that course were not taken with them, it would soone exhale and vanish away: yet will they decay and rot, if they be not baked againe in the oven. As touching all other Dates, they seeme to be the common and vulgar sort, simply called Dates: and yet both the Syrians and King Iuba,25 hold them for junkets and banketting dishes. For as in some parts of Phoenice and Cilicia, they bee called Balani,[i. glandes or mast] so we at Rome tearme them by the very name of their owne countrey Phoenice, and by no other. And even of them there be many kinds; and those different one from another, either in forme, for that some be round, others long; or else in colour, whiles there be of them red and blacke: in which regard, a man may observe in them (by report) as great varietie as in figs: howbeit the whitest be the best and most commended. Great diversitie there is also among them in quantitie and bignesse, insomuch as ye shall have many of them that want nothing of a cubit; and other for them26 againe no bigger than beane. Now as touching the Dates that be barrelled up and kept, they be such onely as come from salt and sandie grounds, as in Iurie, and Cyrenaica in Affricke: for those of Ægypt, Cyprus, Syria, and Seleucia in Assyria, will not keepe and be preserved: and therefore they must be spent out of hand: for which, they take good order to franke their swine and feed other cattaile fat with them. The true signe to know a faultie or a stale Date, is this, If a certaine white specke or wart which stucke upon it when it grew on the branch, be shed and falne off. Now to conclude this treatise, I think it not amisse to set downe for an example, what did betide the souldiers that were of Alexander's armie, who with eating of greene Dates new ripe, were choked, and so died. In the Gedrosians countrey, this accident befell unto them, onely by the nature of the fruit it selfe, eat they of it as moderately as they could: but in other parts, their greedie and over-liberall feeding upon them, was their bane. For surely new Dates as they come from the tree, are so exceeding pleasant and delicious, that a man can hardly forbeare and make an end in good time, before he surfet of them and catch a shrewd turne.
Of the trees in Syria.
Besides the Date tree, there be other especiall trees in Syria proper unto that countrey: for in the first place there are a kind of Nuts there growing, commonly knowne and called Pisticks.27 And (by report) this vertue they have, either taken as meat or drunk in drinke, to resist the sting and biting of serpents. Also our drie Figs, and a lesser sort than they named Cottana come from thence. Also the Damascene prunes, growing upon the mount Damascus; as also the fruit Sebesten,28 are the commodities of Syria: howsoever they are now familiar here with us in Italy. As for Sebesten, there be wines made thereof in Ægypt. Also the Phoenicians have a lesse kind of Cedars much like to the Iuniper: and two sorts there be thereof, the Lycian and the Phoenician, which differ in the leafe: for that which hath an hard, sharpe, and prickie leafe, is called Oxycedrus: full of braunches it is besides, and so knurrie, that it is troublesome to the hand. As for the other Cedar, it hath an excellent smell. Both twaine doe beare a fruit of the bignesse of Myrtle leaves, and sweet in tast. Moreover, of the greater Cedar there bee two kinds: that which doth blossome, beareth no fruit: and contrariwise, that which is fruitfull, sheweth no blossome: and in this, the new fruit commeth foorth alwaies before the old of the former yeare be ripe and gathered: also the seed of it is like that of the Cypresse. Some call this Cedar, Cedrelate: whereof commeth the best Rosin. And the timber of it is everlasting: wherefore in old time they were wont to make the images of the gods, of this wood, as it appeareth by the statue of Apollo Sosianus, made of Cedar wood, brought from Seleucia. In Arcadia there is a tree like the Cedar, but in Phrygia it is called a shrub.29
Of the Terebinth.
Moreover, in Syria groweth the Terebinth or Terpentine tree. The male beareth no fruit. The females be of two sorts: the one carieth red graines of the bignesse of Lentils, the other bring forth pale seeds. This fruit of the Terebinth ripeneth with grapes. Upon the mountaine Ida near Troas, it is as big as a Beane, more pleasant to smell unto, and glutinous like Rosin, if a man handle it. But in Macedonie the tree is but short, and spreadeth braunches like a shrub: contrariwise, about Damascus in Syria, it is very great and tall. The timber of it is verie tough, continueth a long time, and never shrinketh for age: of colour blacke, but passing faire, and resplendent withall. It putteth forth flowers in clusters after the manner of the Olive, but it is red: and the leaves otherwise grow very little. It beareth also certaine small cods or bladders full of a gummie and clammie moisture (which also issueth out of the barke) and out of those bladders there come forth little flies like gnats.
Also the male Rhus or Sumach of Syria doth beare fruit: wheras the females is barren. This plant putteth forth leaves like to the Elme, but that they be somewhat longer, and full of haires, and evermore the steles of the leaves grow contrarie one against the other. As for the braunches, they be slender and short, good for curriers to dresse their skins and make leather white. The seed or graine thereof resembleth Lentils: and being ripe, it is red, and commonly with the grape. The which is called Rhus or Sumach, even as the tree: a necessarie fruit for many medecines.
Of the Aegyptian and Cyprian Sycomores or Fig-trees.
In Ægypt likewise there be found many trees which grow not elsewhere: and principally the Sycomore, which thereupon is called the Ægyptian Figtree.30 The tree for leafe, bignesse, and barke, is like unto the Mulberie tree. It beareth fruit not upon the branches, but out of the very bodie of the stocke. And the same is a passing sweet fig, but without any graines at all within. It doth increase in exceeding great abundance, so it be scraped and clawed only with yron hooks: for otherwise it will not ripen. Come then foure daies after to gather it, you shall not misse but find it ripe, and new comming up in the place. Thus in every summer you shall have a sevenfold encrease, and the same in much plentie, yeelding also great abundance of milke. And say that you doe not use the scraping or paring abovenamed, yet shall you be sure of four fruits in a summer, one under another; but so as the new will drive the old before it, and cause it to shedd and fall before it bee well ripe, for want of that handling beforesaid. The timber of this tree is counted right good and profitable; having one singular propertie by it selfe. No sooner is it hewed, but presently it is cast into standing pooles, and there drowned. This is the only way to season, & drie it. And first (I say) it sinketh downe to the bottome: but afterwards it beginneth to flote above: and without all question, the water which useth to wet and drench all other trees, soketh and sucketh forth the sap and humiditie of this wood. Now when it beginneth once to swim aloft, it is a signe that it hath the full seasoning, and is good for building and other workes.
Like to this Sycomore in some sort is a certaine tree in Candie, which is called the Cyprian fig-tree. For this likewise beareth fruit comming out at the very stocke or the maine armes and boughes thereof, when they be growne to any thicknesse: but it putteth forth certain springs without any leaves at all, and they resemble roots. Now this tree is in bodie much like to the Poplar, but in leafe, to the Elme. It beareth fruit foure times a yeare, and as often doth it bud. But the greene figs will hang so still and never ripen, unlesse they be scarified and skiced31 so, as the milkie substance may run out. The fruit within, is made like a fig, and hath the same pleasant tast: but it is no bigger than the Sorvis.
Of the cod or fruit called Ceraunia Siliqua, [i. Carob.].
There is a kind of coddie shrub, which the Ionians call Ceraunia, not unlike to the Ægyptian Sycomore abovesaid, for the fruit thereof commeth likewise forth of the stocke, but yet it is contained within a cod. And thereupon it is, that some have called it the Ægyptian fig-tree: but they are grossely deceived. For it doth not so much as grow in Ægypt: but in Syria and Ionia, also about Gnidos and Rhodes. The tree hath greene leaves all the yeare long: it putteth forth white flowers of a strong smell. From the root there spring shoots, and about the foot of the tree it beareth many young impes, which are such suckers of the sap, that they draw away all the goodnesse, and rob the parts above of their nourishment, whereby the head is yellow, and nothing fresh and greene, but fadeth in the top. The fruit of the former yeare is gathered about the rising of the Dog-starre the next yeare after: and then presently it bringeth forth new. Afterwards it commeth a blossome, and the fruit thriveth and waxeth all winter until the occultation of Arcturus.
Of a tree in Ægypt called Persica: of Cucus, and the Ægyptian thorne Acacia.
There is found in Ægypt a certaine kind of tree by it selfe called Persica,32 like to a Peare-tree, but that it is greene all the year long, and sheddeth not the leaves: also it beareth fruit continually: for gather to day, and yee shall find new to morrow growing forth in the place. The fruit is ripe about the canicular daies when the Etesian winds doe blow. It resembleth a peare, save that it is longer, and inclosed with a shell or greene huske like the Almond: but where the Almond hath an hard shell without, as a nut, this is soft in manner of a Peare or Plum, containing the stone within: and yet it differeth somewhat both in shortnesse and tendernesse. The fruit is very good meat: and although the exceeding sweetnesse thereof entice one to eat still and not give over, yet no daunger of surfet ensueth thereupon. As touching the wood of this tree, it is durable, hard, strong, and blacke withall, in which respects it resembleth the Lote-wood very much.33 They used in times past to make images and statues thereof, not so beautifull altogether, nor of so fine a graine as some others; but for the timber thereof, which continueth sure, and listeth long, as that of the tree which we called Balanus. Much wherof doth grow curbed and crooked: and therefore is good onely for shipwrights to make keeles. But contrariwise, the wood of Cucus is highly esteemed.34
A tree this is, not unlike to the Date tree, in this regard especially, that the leaves be good to twist and plait for mats and such like: herein is the difference, for that it spreadeth into arms and great boughes. The fruit which it beareth, is as much as a man may well hold in his hand: of colour reddish or deepe shining yellow, and the tast very commendable: for it yeeldeth a juice betweene soure and sweet, and therefore wholesome for the stomacke. The woodie stone within, is great, massie, and exceeding hard, whereof they use to turne for courtaine rings and saile pullers. In the bellie of it there lieth a sweet kernill, whiles it is fresh and new. But if it bee once dried, it passeth for hardnesse: insomuch as no tooth can chew it, unlesse it be steeped in some liquor many daies before. As for the wood and timber of the tree, it hath a most daintie, fine, and curled graine: in which regard the Persians set much store by it.
In the same countrey there groweth a thornie plant, which the inhabitants make great account of: and especially that which is in colour blacke, because it will abide the water, and never rot nor putrifie in it: and therefore excellent good for the ribs and sides of ships. As for the white thorn of this kind, it will soone corrupt and be rotten. But both the one and other, is full of prickes even to the very leaves. The seed lieth in certain cods or huskes, wherewith curriers use to dresse their leather instead of gals. The flower that this thorne beareth, is beautifull, whereof folke make faire guirlands and chaplets; profitable also besides and good for many medicines. Out of the bark of this tree there commeth a gum likewise. But the cheefest commoditie and profite that it yeeldeth is this, Cut it down when you please, it will be a big tree againe within three yeares. It groweth plentifully about Thebes in Ægypt, among Okes, Olives, and Peach-trees, for the space of three hundred stadia from Nilus: where the whole tract is all woods and forrests, and nathelesse well watered with fountaines and springs among.
Of the Ægyptian Plum-tree, and other trees about Memphis.
In those quarters groweth likewise the Ægyptian Plum-tree, not unlike to the thorne of Acacia next before described: and this bringeth forth a fruit as big as a Medler, which never is ripe before mid-winter, when the daies be at shortest. The tree is alwaies greene, and sheddeth not the leaves all yeare long. Within the fruit aforesaid, there is a big stone: but the substance otherwise and bodie thereof is naturally so good, and so plenteous withall, that the inhabitants make their harvest of it. When they have gathered it, they cleanse it, stampe it, make it up into bals and lumpes, which they preserve and keepe. The countrey about Memphis in times past, was all woodie and full of forrests, wherein grew so mightie big trees, that three men were not able to fatham them about. But among the rest there was one by it selfe most wonderfull, not for any straunge fruit that it bare, nor yet for any singular use or emploiment: but in regard of an accident observed in it, and a speciall qualitie that it had. For the tree (forsooth) outwardly resembleth a thorne, but the leaves are made like feathers for all the world. Let a man shake the boughes never so little, shead they will and fall incontinently, but soone after there spring up new in their stead.35
Sundrie sorts of gum. Also of the cane Papyrus.
The best gum in all mens judgement, is that which commeth of the Ægyptian thorne Acacia, having veines within of checker worke, or trailed like wormes, of colour greenish, and cleare withall: without any peeces of barke intermingled among, and sticking to the teeth as a man cheweth it. A pound thereof is commonly sold at rome for three deniers. The gum that issueth from the bitter Almond trees and the Cherie-trees is not so good: but the worst of all is that which the Plum-tree yeeldeth. There runneth likewise out of vines a certaine gum, which is passing good for the bleach, scabs and scals in little children. And otherwhiles yee shall find some in Olive trees: and that cureth the tooth-ach. Moreover, the Elme growing upon Corycus, a mountaine in cilicia, and the Iuniper there, have a gum, but good for nothing. As for that of the elme, it breedeth gnats there. Moreover, of Sarcocolla, [a tree this is, so called36] there destilleth a gum of that name, which painters and Physicians both, have great use of. Like it is to Manna Thuris, which is the powder of Incense: and therefore the white is better than the red. Sold it is at the same price that the other abovenamed. And thus much concerning the trees growing upon mountaines and plaines.37
Now albeit we are not entred yet into the treatise of those plants and shrubs which grow either in marish grounds, or by river sides: yet before we depart out of Ægypt, wee must not forget the plant Papyrus, but describe the nature thereof, considering that all civilitie of this our life, the memoriall and immortalitie also of men after death, consisteth especially in paper which is made thereof. M. Varro writeth, that the first invention of making paper was devised upon the conquest of Ægypt, atchieved by Alexander the great, at what time as he founded the cittie Alexandria in Ægypt, where such paper was first made.38 For before that time there was no use at all (saith he) of paper: but men used to write in Date tree leaves first, and afterwards in the rinds and barkes of certaine trees. Then in processe of time they began to register publicke records in rols & sheets of lead: and soone after private persons set downe their owne affaires in linnen bookes,39 or els in tables covered with waxe.40 For wee read in Homer, that before the war of Troy there was use of writing tables.41 And at the very time when he wrate, Ægypt was not all continent and firme land, as now it is. For, as he42 saith, all the Papyrus wherof the paper is made, grew in that arm or branch of the river Nilus which answereth onely to the tract or territorie within the jurisdiction Sebennitis: but afterwards that part also was laid to Ægypt, by the shelves and banks made with the innundation of the said river. For, from the Island Pharos, which now joineth close unto Alexandria by a bridge or narrow causey betweene, it was a day and nights sailing, with a good forewind at the poupe unto the maine land, as Homer hath reported.43 But afterwards, as Varro hath written, by occasion of a certaine envious strife and emulation that arose betweene one of the Ptolomees king of Ægypt, & Eumenes king of Pergamus, about the erecting of their great Libraries; when Ptolomæus suppressed and kept all the paper made in Ægypt, there was parchment devised by the said Eumenes to be wrought at Pergamus, of skins.44 And finally, the use was commonly taken up of both, to wit, Paper and Parchment, which continueth the perpetuitie and everlasting remembrance of men, and their affaires. But to returne unto our plant Papyrus, it groweth in the marishes of Ægypt, or els in the dead standing waters of Nilus; namely, in certaine plashes and pits whereas the water did overflow, and remained still after the river was fallen and downe again: and namely, such holes and ditches which are not above two cubites deepe. The root is wrythen and crooked, of the thicknesse of a mans arme: and the scape or stalke that ariseth from it, hath three sides with three corners triangle-wise, not above ten cubites in heigth, growing taper-wise, small and sharpe in the top, where it beareth an head enclosed and round, in manner of a cabbage.45 Howbeit, no seed it carieth within: neither serveth the flower for any purpose but onely for chaplets to adorne the images of the gods.46 The inhabitants of Ægypt doe use the root in stead of wood, not for fewell onely, but also to make thereof sundrie vessels and utensils in an house. The verie bodie and pole of the Papyr it selfe, serveth very well to twist and weave therwith little boats: and the rings therof be good to make saile clothes, curtains, mats, and coverlets, clothes also for hangings, and ropes. Nay, they use to chew and eat it both raw and sodden: but they swallow the juice onely downe the throat, and spit out the grosse substance. Moreover, there is Papyrus found in Syria, about that very lake and meere whereas the sweet Calamus abovenamed doth grow. Neither used king Antigonus any other ropes about the tackling of his ships, but such as were made hereof. For as yet, the use of Spartum was not common. Moreover, it is not long since, that there was found growing in Euphrates about Babylon, this plant Papyrus; and knowne to serve for Paper, as well as the other in Ægypt. And yet for all that, the Parthians will not leave their old custome to weave and purfle letters in their cloths, after the manner of embroderie. Now as touching the writing Paper made of Papyrus. After that they have cut it into certaine trunkes, as long or as short as the size of their Paper, they doe devide and slive it with the point of a needle or bodkin for the purpose, into very thin plates of leaves, but they drive them as broad and large as possibly they can.
Of divers kinds of Paper: and how writing Paper is made: also the triall of good or bad Paper: and the glue or past belonging thereto.
The best sheets or leaves of paper bee those which are set out of the very middest and heart of the stem or stalke of Papyrus: and so consequently better or worse, according as they be nearer or farther from it. In auncient time the principall Paper and the largest, was called Hieratica, [i. sacred or holy] because it was emploied onely about religious & divine bookes. But afterwards the flatterers of the Emperour Augustus, named those of the best sort Augustæ: like as the second Liviæ, after the image of his wife. And hereupon it came, that the Paper Hieratica was set in a third ranke. Next to them in goodnesse was reputed the Paper Amphitheatrike, which name was given unto it of the place where it was made. The pollishing and trimming of this Paper, Fannius took in hand, who set up a shop at rome for the selling of it: and so skilfull was he and curious in the handling and dressing thereof, that by the time hee had done withall and brought it to a perfect finenesse, he made the same of a course and common Paper to bee roiall and fit for the best persons that should use it: in such sort, as there was none in any request to speake of, but it: & called after his name it was, Fanniana. As for that which passed not through his hands, nor had his workmanship, it retained still the old bare name Amphitheatrica. After this kind of Paper, followed that which they called Saitia, of a towne or citie in Ægypt, where great abundance was made thereof with the courser peeces and refuse of the said Papyrus. And yet there was another Paper, to wit, Taniotica, so called of a place neare adjoining; and made of the grosser part near to the barke & the outside: and this they sold for the weight, and no other goodnesse that it had besides.47 As for the merchant Paper or shop-paper, called Emporetica, it was not for to write in, onely it served as wast Paper for sarplers to wrap and packe up Wares in: also for coffins or cornets to lap spice and fruits in; and therupon merchants and occupiers gave it that name. And with this, the very cane it selfe is to be seene clad outwardly: and the utmost coat thereof is like to a reed or bulrush, fit for no purpose but to make cordage of: and not very good for that use neither, unlesse it be for the water only, which it will abide very well. Now the making of all these Papers, was in this sort, namely, upon a broad bord wet with the cleare water of Nilus. For the fattie and muddie liquor thereof serveth in stead of glew, wherewith at the first the thin leafe of the cane Papyrus, slived from the rest, and laid upon the bord to the full length (in manner of the warpe) according as the trunk will give leave, being cut off at both ends, namely, toward the top and the root, is wet and besmeared: then is there another laid overthwart it, after the order of the woofe, with a crosse graine to the other: and so is the web as it were of the Paper performed.48 pressed afterward it is in certaine presses, that both leaves may stick together: and then the whole sheets are dried in the Sunne. Which done, they bee so couched together, that the best and largest lie first, and so consequently in order as they be worse and of lesse size, untill you come to the worst. And one scape or trunke lightly of the cane Papyrus, yeeldeth not above twentie such sheets. Great difference there is in them for the breadth, notwithstanding the length be all one. The best, namely which were taken out of the heart of the cane, beare thirteen fingers in breadth. The Hieratica Paper wanteth two of that number. The Fannian is but tenne fingers broad. The common Paper Amphitheatrica, but nine. Saitica yet fewer, and will not beare the stroke of the hammer. And for the merchants Paper, it was so short and narrow, that it went not above six fingers. Moreover, in Paper these foure things must bee considered; that it be fine, well compact, white, and smooth. Howbeit, Claudius Cæsar the Emperour abated the credite of the Paper Augusta, that it was no more accounted the best: for indeed so thin it was, that it would not abide the dent of the pen: besides, it would not hold inke, but shew the letters on the otherside; and was evermore in daunger of blurring and blotting, especially on the backe part: and otherwise, unsightly it was to the eie: for that a man might so easily see through it. And therefore hee devised to fortifie and strengthen the said Paper, and laid another course or coat (as it were) over the former, in manner of a double woofe. Hee enlarged also the breadth of the Paper: for he caused it to be a foot broad, yea, and some a foot and an halfe, I meane that kind which was called Macrocola, or large Roiall Paper. But herein was a fault, & reason found it out: for if one leafe of this large Paper were plucked off, the more pages tooke harme thereby, & were lost. And therefore the former Claudian Paper, which had but three leaves of Papyrus, was preferred before all the rest. Howbeit, that which was named Augustane bare the name for letters missive, and the Liviane continued still in the owne credite, having no propertie of the first and principall, but all in a second degree. The roughnesse of Paper is polished and smoothed either with some tooth, or else with a Porcellane shell: but the letters in such slicke Paper, will soon fade and decay. For by the pollishing, it will not receive the inke so deepe as when it is not smoothed, although otherwise it will shine the better. Moreover, it falleth out many times, that if the humor be not artificially laid, the Paper is very stubborne: but this fault is soone found at the very first stroke of the hammer, or els discovered by the smell, especially if good heed were not taken in the tempering thereof. As for the spots & speckles, the eie will quickly spie them: but the long streaks and veines lying close couched betweene the pasted places, can hardly be discerned before that the letter runneth abroad, and sheweth how in the spongeous substance of the Paper wanting that past, the inke will sinke through, and make blots; so deceitfull is the making of this Paper. What remedie then? but to be at a second labour to past it new againe another way, to wit, with the common past that we use, made with the finest flower of wheat, and tempered with hote scalding water, and a little vinegre mingled therewith. For the joiners glue and that made of gums, is brittle, and will not abide the rolling up of these sheets into quiers. But they that will go more surely to worke, and make an exquisite past indeed, boile the soft and tender crums of leavened bread in seething water, & then let it run through a strainer, which they use to this purpose. For besides that the Paper hereby will be more firme, and have lesse flawes, it surmounteth also in sweetnesse the water of Nilus. Moreover, all kind of past whatsoever, for this effect, ought neither to be staler than a day old, nor yet fresher and under that age. After that it is thus pasted, they beat it thin with the hammer: and a second time runne lightly over with new past: and then being thus knit and bound fast againe, it is made smooth and void of wrinckles, and finally beaten even with the hammer, and driven out in length and breadth. After this manne was that Paper made, wherein were written the bookes and records of the two Gracchi, Tiberius and Caius, with their owne hands, long agoe: the which I saw in the house of Pomponius Secundus, a noble citizen of Rome, and a renowmed Poet, almost two hundred yeares after their death. As for the writings of Cicero, of Augustus late Emperour of famous memorie, and of Virgill, we daily see and handle them, by the meanes of Paper so good and durable.
Of the bookes of Numa.
We find many examples in stories, which very directly and mightily doe testifie against M. Varro, as touching Papers. For Cassius Hemina (a most faithful and auncient writer49) in the fourth book of his Annales, hath reported, That one ¶Cn. Terentius, a scribe or publick Notarie, as he digged and delved in a ground which he had neare to Ianiculum, light upon a chist, wherein lay the bodie of Numa, sometime king of Rome. In the same also were found the bookes of the said king. And (as he affirmeth) this happened in that yeare when Pub. Cornelius the sonne of Lucius, surnamed Cethegus, and M. Barbius sonne of Quintus, surnamed Pamphilius, were Consuls of Rome: betweene which time and the raigne of Numa, by just computation are reckoned 535 yeeres. He saith moreover, That those books were made of the Paper abovenamed. The greater wonder it was, how such kind of bookes should last so long, especially within the earth, and not putrifie? the thing therefore being so strange, and in manner miraculous, that Paper should continue all that time, I thinke it not amisse to set downe the very words of Hemina himselfe, as he delivereth them. The world made a great wonder (quoth he) how those books could possibly endure so many yeares? but the partie who found them yeelded this reason: That within the said coffer about the middest of it, there was a stone foure-square, lapped all about and bound every way with [waxe] candles in manner of a serecloth: upon which stone, the foresaid books were laid; and therefore it was (as he supposed) that they did not rot. Moreover, the books also were embaulmed with the rosin or oile of Cedar, which might be a good reason in his conceit, that the moths came not to them. Now these books contained the Philosophie and doctrine of Pythagoras: and for that they treated of that Philosophicall argument, burnt they were, by order from Q. Petilius the Pretour for that time being.50 The same storie in effect doth C. Piso Censorinus (a man who had been Censor) report in the first booke of his Commentaries: howbeit, he setteth downe their number withall: and saith they were foureteene in all, whereof seven treated of the Pontificall law, and matters of religion; and as many discoursed of Pythagoras his Philosophie. But tuditanus in the thirteenth booke of the Annales affirmeth, That they were the decretals onely of Numa, and contained his ordinances. As for Varro himselfe, he writeth in the fift booke of Humane Antiquities, that they were in all but twelve. And Antias in his second booke reporteth, That two of them were written in Latine, and contained the Pontificiall divinitie and church-matters: and other twaine penned in Greeke, were full of precepts in Philosophie. He also affirmeth in his third booke, for what cause the said bookes by vertue of a publicke decree were consumed with fire. But all Historiographers agree in this, That one of the Sibyls brought unto Tarquinius the prowd three books: of which, two were burnt by her own selfe:51 and the third likewise perished with fire, together with the Capitoll, during the troubles of Sulla.52 Over and besides, Mutianus, a man who had ben thrice Consull of rome, hath left upon record, that of late, while he was lord governour of Lycia, hee red in a certaine temple an Epistle written by prince Sarpedon in Paper, and bearing date from Troy. And I wonder the rather at this, if so be that when Homer lived and wrate his Poëme, there was no land of Ægypt as now there is: or why, in case there was such use of Paper then, himselfe should write, that in the very same Lycia, Bellerophon had writing tables given him to deliver as touching his owne death, and not rather letters missive written in Paper?53 Well, howsoever that bee, this is certaine, that there is a scarsitie otherwhiles of Paper also, as well as of other commodities: and this cane or reed Papyrus doth many times faile. For not long since, even in the daies of Tiberius the Emperor, in a dearth and want of Paper, there were commissioners deputed and appointed by the Senate of Rome, for the dispensing and distribution of it among the people: otherwise there had been a great mutinie and tumult at Rome about Paper.
Of the trees in Æthiopia.
As touching Æthiopia, and namely that quarter which confineth upon Ægypt, it hath in manner no trees at all of any name, save those that beare wooll or cotton: concerning the nature of which trees, we have sufficiently spoken in the description of the Indians, and of Arabia:54 and yet in very truth, the cotton that is brought from these trees in Æthiopia, commeth nearer to wooll than anything els; howsoever the trees be otherwise like to the rest of that kind: and the burse or cod wherein this woollie substance lyeth, is greater, as big as a Pomegranat. Besides these, there be Date trees also, like to such as we have before described. As touching other trees, and especially the odoriferous woods within the Isles that lie upon Æthiopia round about, we have said enough in the treatise of those Islands.55
Of the Trees growing in mount Atlas: of Citron tables: of the commendable perfections, and contrariwise the defaults thereof.
The mountaine Atlas (by report) hath a wood in it of peculiar trees that elsewhere grow not, wherof we have alreadie written.56 The Mores that border upon it, are stored with abundance of Citron trees:57 from whence commeth that excessive expense and superfluitie about Citron tables made thereof. And our dames and wives at home (by way of revenge) use to twit us their husbands therewith, when we would seeme to find fault with the costly pearls that they doe wear. There is at this day to be seene a board of Citron wood, belonging sometimes to M. Tullius Cicero, which cost him ten thousand Sesterces: a straunge matter, considering he was no rich man: but more wonderfull, if wee call to mind the severitie of that age wherein hee lived. Much speech there is besides of Gallus Asinius his table, sold for eleven thousand Sesterces. Moreover, there are two other, which K. Iuba sold: the one was prised at 15000 Sesterces, and the other held little under. Not long since, there was one of them chaunced to be burnt, and it came with other houshold stuffe but from the cottages in Mauritania, which cost 140000 Sesterces: a good round summe of money, and the price of a faire lordship, if a man would be at the cost to purchase lands so deare. But the fairest and largest table of Citron wood, that to this day hath beene seene, came from Ptolomæ king of Mauritania,58 the which was made of two demie-rounds or halfe circles, joyned togither so artificially, that for the closenesse of the joynt (which could not be discerned) it was more admirable than possibly it could have beene if it had beene naturally of one entire peece: the diameter of it caried foure foot and a halfe, and three inches thicke it was. Likewise another such table there was, surnamed Nomien, of one Nomius a slave, enfranchised by Tyberius the Emperour: the square or diametre whereof, was foure foot within three quarters of an inch; and the thicknes halfe a foot lacking so much. And here I cannot forget and overpasse, how that the Emperour Tyberius himselfe had a table, which being two inches & three quarters above four foot in the diametre, & an inch and an halfe thick throughout, he caused to be plated all over, for that Nomius his freed servant had one so rich and magnificent, made altogither of a knot: a knot (I say) or a knur in the root of the tree, which is the very beautie of the wood, and giveth all the grace to the tables made therof; and namely, if this knot lie altogither within ground it is without comparison excellent, and farre more rare and singular than any of the timber above, either in the trunke and bodie, or in the armes and boughes of the tree. So that (to say a truth) this costly ware bought so deare, is no better than the superfluous excrescence of trees: the largenesse whereof, as also of their roots, may be esteemed by the roundnes that they carrie. Now are these Citron trees much like to the female Cypresse (especially that of the wild kind) in leafe, in smell, and in bodie. A mountaine there is in high Mauritania, called Anchorarius, which was wont to yeeld the best and fairest Citron trees, although now it be naked and despoiled of them. But to return to our tables aforesaid; the principall be they which are either crisped in the length of the veine, or beset here and there with winding spots. In the former, the wood curleth in and out along the graine; and therefore such be named Tigrinæ, [i. Tigre-tables.] In the other, there be represented sundrie tufts as it were folded and enwrapped round, and those they call Pantherinæ, [i. Panther, or Luzerne tables.] There be againe, whereof the worke in wainescot resembleth the waves of the sea: and the better grace they have, and bee more esteemed, if they make a shew of the eies appearing in Peacockes tailes. Next in request and account to these abovenamed, bee those that are frisled with small spots standing thicke, as if many graines were gathered together, which they call thereupon (of some resemblance of little bees or flies) Apiatæ, as if they were speckled and filed with their dung.59 But be the worke and grain of the wood what it will, the colour maketh all. Here at Rome wee set most store by that colour which is like to mead or honied wine, shining and glittering in the veines of the wood. After which considerations, men regard much the breadth and largeness of the whole planke, standing of one entire peece which maketh the table. Some take a great pleasure to see in one Citron bourd many of those faults which bee incident to trees, to wit, the Lignum, for so they call the simple, plaine, and bare wood and timber without any branched or curled graine at all, without a shining lustre and glittering glosse, without worke to be seene in any order digested, or at the most (if any bee) representing the leaves of a Plane tree. Againe, the resemblance either of the veine or colour of a kind of Oke called Ilex. Moreover, the rifts and chinkes which timber is subject unto, by reason principally of wind and Sunnes heat: or else hairie streakes that be like to such clifts and crevisses. Afterwards men were delighted with a kind of Lamprey veine traversing and running over a blacke crosse way: and with an outward skin or coat marked with speckes or knottie knurs, like to Poppie heads: and generally with a colour all over, comming neare to blacke, or at leastwise bespotted with sundrie colours. The Barbarians for to season the wood of this Citron tree, use to burie the greene bourds or plankes thereof within the ground, and besmeare them all over with waxe. But the artificers and workemen doe put the for seven daies within heapes of corne, and stay seven daies more ere they be wrought: and a wonder it is incredible, how much of the weight the wood loseth by this meanes. Moreover, of late daies wee have found the experience by shipwrackes, that this timber also will by nothing in the world be sooner dried nor hardened to last a long time without corruption, than by seawater. Howbeit, to maintaine these tables best, and to cause them for to shine bright, the way is to rub them with a drie hand, especially after that a man is newly come out of the baines or hot house. Neither catch they any harme or stain, if wine bee spilt thereupon: so as it should seeme they were naturally made for wine. To conclude, a tree this is serving for the ornaments of this life, and the trim furniture of our house, few or none like to it: and therefore me thinks I do not amisse to continue the discourse thereof somewhat longer than ordinarie.
Of the tree Thya, what it is.
Well knowne unto Homer was this Tree, which in Greeke is named ¶¶ Θῦον, but some call it Thya: for among other daintie odors and sweet woods, he reporteth, That dame Circe (whome he would have to be reputed as a goddesse) burnt of this Thyon. And therefore much deceived are they, who understand by that word Thyon, perfumes and odoriferous spice, considering that in one and the very same verse, the Poët maketh mention of the Cedar and Larch tree togither with Thyon, whereby it appeareth plaine, that he spake of trees only. Theophrastus, who after the daies of Alexander the Great, was the first that wrate the history of those acts which happened about the 440 yeere from the foundation of Rome, gave great honour even then to this Tree, and reported, That all carpenters worke of temples in old time, was made of the same; as of a timber everlasting, and which in roufes would continue without all putrefaction and corruption whatsoever. Moreover, he writeth, That the wood of the root is so curled and frisled, as none more; and that of no timber besides are more curious peeces of workes made, nor of greater price. Over and besides, he saith, That the fairest and goodliest trees of this kind, doe grow about the temple of Iupiter Hammon: and some of them also within the countrey Cyrenaica toward the inland parts. But all this while not a word of the foresaid costly tables speaketh he in his whole historie: and verily before that of Ciceroes, there is no record in writers of any such tables: whereby it appeareth, that they be come up but of late daies. Another tree there is likewise of that name, bearing an apple or fruit, which some cannot abide for the strong flavour and bitternes withall, others againe like and love it as well. This tree also beautifieth and setteth out the house, but I purpose not to bestow any more words thereof.
Of the tree Lotus.
In the same coast of Affrick which regardeth Italie, there groweth Lotos, which they call Celtis.60 A notable tree it is and of speciall marke: found also here among us now in Italy, but togither with the soile, it hath chaunged the nature. The fairest and goodliest of them be about the Syrtes and Nasamones: they be as big and tall as Peare trees, howsoever Nepos Cornelius saith, they are but little and low. The leaves bee thicke cut and endented: otherwise, they were like to those of the Ilex or Holme tree. Many sorts there be of the Lote tree, and those for the most part according to their dives and severall fruits. Howbeit ordinarily the fruit is as big as a Beane, and of yellow colour as Saffron; yet before it is full ripe, it chaungeth into sundry colors, like as grapes doe. It groweth thicke among the branches of the tree, in manner of Myrtle berries, and not like to the Cherries of Italie: and in those plants above named, the meat thereof is so sweet and pleasant, that it hath given the name both to a nation and a countrey, insomuch as the people be called Lotophagi: and withall, so welcome be all straungers thither, and so well contented with their entertainment, that they forget their own native soile, for the love they have to this fruit, when they have once taken to it. By report, whosoever eateth thereof is free from the diseases of the bellie. This fruit is counted the better, which hath no kernell within; for there is another kind wherein the said kernell seemeth as hard a a bone. Moreover, out of this fruit there is pressed a wine like to Mede, which the above-named Nepos saith, will not last above ten daies: who reporteth besides, That the inhabitants doe stampe the berries thereof with wheat or frumentie into a past, and so put it up in great barrels and such like vessels for the provision of their food. Moreover, we have heard say, that whole armies passing too and fro through Africke, have fed thereof, and had no other meat: the wood is blacke of colour, and much sought for it is to make Pipes and fifes: of the root thereof, the hafts of daggers and knives be made, besides other pretie devises of small use. Thus much as touching the nature of the Lote tree in those parts: for there is an hearb also of that name [called Melilote.] As for the Ægyptian Lotus it is a plant bearing a stalke, and groweth in the marishes of Ægypt. For when the waters of Nilus are falne, which drenched the countrey, this plant commeth up in the flat & waterie levell along the river, with a stemme like unto the [Ægyptian] beane, with leaves thrust close and thicke together, howbeit shorter and lesse than those of the Beane: in the top of which stalke, it beareth fruit in manner of an head, for cuts and chamfres and every thing else like to those of the Poppie: within which, there be conteined certaine graines or seeds resembling Millet. The inhabitants of that countrey doe pile togither in heapes, those heads, and so let them putrifie: afterwards, they separate them, wash them faire, and when they be drie, stampe and mould them, and thereof make their bread. A straunge and wonderfull thing it is that is reported besides; namely, That when the Sunne goeth downe, those heads close up and be covered with leaves, and remaine shut untill the morning; at what time they open againe: and thus continue this course untill they be ripe, and that the flower which is white, doth fall of it selfe.
Of the very stalke, scape or stemme, and root of Lotus.
It is said moreover as touching this Ægyptian Lotus, that in Euphrates the very head of the stalke together with the flower, useth in the evening to be plunged and drowned under the water untill midnight, and so deepe to settle toward the bottome, that a man with his hand cannot reach thereto, nor find any part of it: but after that time, it beginneth to rise by little and little, and by Sun-rising appeareth above water, and openeth the flower, & still mounteth higher and higher a good height from the water. This Lotos hath a root as bigge as a Quince, covered with a blacke rind or barke, much like to the huske of a Chestnut. The substance within, is white and delectable to eat, but more pleasant beeing either sodden in water, or rosted under embres, than raw: and Hogs will feed fat with nothing better, than with the pills and partings of this root.
Of Paliurus, the Pomegranate, and the flower of the Pomegranate.
The region Cyrenaica in Affricke, maketh more account of their Paliurus than of Lotus: for the Paliurus shooteth forth more twigs and braunches, and hath a redder fruit than the Lotus. Besides, the fruit and the kernell be eaten apart: and in truth, pleasant it is of it selfe alone, but more pleasant with wine; yea and the juice thereof giveth a better tast to wine, if it be put into it. The inland parts of Affricke (as far as to the Garamants and the deserts) bee well planted with Date trees faire and great, bearing goodly and pleasant Dates, and those especially in that quarter of Barbarie which lieth about the temple of Iupiter Hammon. But the territorie of Carthage challengeth to it selfe the Punicke apple: some call it the Pomegranat: and they have made severall kinds thereof, calling that Apyrinon, which hath no woodie or hard kernell within: and indeed, these Pomegranats are naturally more white, the graines within more pleasant, and divided with membranes and pellicles betweene, nothing so bitter as the other: for in both sorts they bee framed and fashioned within, like to honey-combes. As for those Pomegranates which have such kernels or stones, there bee five kinds of them, to wit, sweete, sower, temperate betweene both, stypticke or austere, and tasting of wine. But the Pomegranats of Samos and Ægypt, have this difference one from another, That some have red flowers on the head, and be therefore called Erythrocoma: others are white, and such they name Leucocrona. The rind of sower Pomegranats, is better for tanners and curriours to dresse their leather with, than of the rest. The flower is called Balasutium, both medicinable and also good for to die cloth; and hereof commeth the colour Puniceus [i. a light red or a bay] taking the name of the apple Punicke or Pomegranate.
Of the shrubs in Asia and Greece.
In Asia and Greece there grow certaine shrubs, to wit, Epipactis, which some calle Elleborine ,with small leaves, which being taken in drinke are good against poison, like as the leaves also of ¶¶¶ Erice withstand the stinging of serpents.
Of Thymelæa or Chamelæa, Tragacanth, of Traginum or Scorpio. Also of Myrice, Brya, and Galla.
The shrub or bush which beareth the graine Gnidium, that some call Linum, is after some writers named Thymelæa, according to others Chamelæa: there bee that call it Pyrosachne: some againe give it the name of Cneston, others of Cneoros. This plant howsoever it be named, resembleth the wild olive, but that the leaves be narrower and gummie to the teeth, if a man bite them: for height and bignes answerable to the Myrtle: the seed thereof is for colour and fashion, like to the graine of wheat, and serveth onely for Physicke.
As touching the plant Tragium, it is to be found in the Iland Candie only. It hath a resemblance of the Terebinth, like as the seed also, which (by report) is most excellent and effectuall to heale wounds made by darts or arrowes. The same Iland hath the bush Tragacanth growing in it, the root whereof is like to that of Bedegnar: and the same Tragacanth is much preferred before that which groweth either in Media or Achaia. A pound of Tragacanth is worth thirteen deniers Romane. As for the plant Tragium or Scorpio, it groweth likewise in Asia. A kind of bramble or brier it is without any leaves, bearing fruit of berries much like to red grapes, wherof there is good use in Physicke.
Touching Myrice, which others call Tamarix; and Achaia Brya the wild; Italie bringeth it forth: this speciall propertie it hath, that the tame kind therof only, namely that which groweth in gardens, beareth a fruit like the galls. In Syria & Ægypt this groweth plenteously, & the wood thereof we call Unhappie: but the more unluckie & unfortunate be those of Greece: for there groweth Ostrys, named also Ostrya, a solitarie tree about waterie and moist rocks, having barke and braunches like to the Ash, but Peare-tree leaves, save that they be somewhat longer & thicker, with long cuts or lines wrinkled and riveled throughout: and the seed in forme and colour is like to barley. The wood of it is hard and strong: and some say if any peece therof be brought into an house where a woman is in travaile of child-birth, shee shall have difficult labour, and hardly be delivered: and whosoever lyeth sicke there, shall die a miserable death.
Of Euonymus or the Spindle tree of Adrachne, Congygria, and Thapsia.
In the Iland Lesbos, there groweth a tree named Euonymos, no better nor more luckie than Ostrya beforesaid. Much unlike it is not to the Pomegranate tree. As for the leafe that it beareth, it is of a middle size betweene that of the Pomegranat and the Bay; otherwise for shape and softnesse, it resembleth that of the Pomegranat: the flower is whiter; the smell & tast whereof is pestiferous and menaceth present death: it beareth cods like to Sesama, within which be graines or seeds foure square and thicke, but deadly unto all creatures that eat them. The leafe also is venimous as the graine, yet otherwhiles there ensueth thereof a fluxe and gurrie of the belly, which saveth their life, or else there were no way but one.
Alexander Cornelius called that tree § Eone, whereof the famous ship Argos was made; and like it was (by his saying) to the Oke that carrieth Misselto, the timber whereof neither water will putrifie, nor fire consume, no more than the Misselto it selfe. But so farre as ever I could learne, no man knew that tree but himselfe.
As for the tree Adrachne,61 all the Greekes in manner take Porcellaine for it; whereas indeed Porcellaine is an hearb, called in Greeke Andrachne; so as they differ in one letter; but Adrachne is a tree of the wild forrests growing upon mountaines, and never in the plaines beneath; resembling the Arbut or Strawberrie tree, save that the leaves be lesse and never fade nor fall. And for the barke, rough and rugged indeed it is not, but a man would say it were frozen and all an yce round about, so unpleasant it is to the eye.
Like in leafe to Adrachne, is the tree Congygria,62 but otherwise it is lesse and lower. This propertie it hath, To loose the fruit wholly, togither with the soft downe that it beareth, which they call Pappus, a qualitie that no other tree hath, beside it. Like to Adrachne also is Apharce,63 and beareth fruit twice in one yeere, as well as it. The former is ripe, when the grape beginneth to bud and bloom; the latter, in the beginning of winter: but what manner of fruit this should be, I have not found written.
As touching the Ferula, it will not be amisse to speake thereof among forrein plants, yea and to raunge it among trees; for (as hereafter we will distinguish in the division of trees) some plants are of this nature, To shew all the wood they have, where the barke should be; that is to say, without-forth: and where the heart of the wood ought to be, they have nought but a light and spongeous pith, as the Elder; or els nothing at all, as Canes and Reeds. But to come to our Ferula before-named, it groweth in hot countries beyond-sea, with a stalke or stemfull of knottie joints. Two kinds be knowne of them, for that which the Greeks call Narthex, groweth tall; but Nathecia is alwaies low. The leaves that put forth at the joynts, be ever biggest toward the ground: this plant otherwise is of the nature of Dill, and the fruit is not unlike. There is not a plant in the world lighter than it for the bignesse: being easie therefore to weld and carrie, the stem whereof serveth old men in stead of staves to rest upon. The seed of this Ferula or Fenell gyant, some have called Thapsia, but herein they be deceived, for that Thapsia doubtlesse is a kind of Ferula, by it selfe, leafed like Fenell, with an hollow stalke, and never exceedeth in height the length of a walking staffe: the seed is like to that of the Ferula, and the root white: cut it, there issueth forth milke; stampe it, you shall see it yeeld plentie of juice. Neither is the barke of the root rejected and cast aside, although both it, the milke, and the juice, be very poisons: for surely the root is hurtfull to them that digge it up; and if never so little of the aire thereof breath upon them (so venomous it is) their bodies will bolne and swell, their faces will be all overrun with a wild-fire: to prevent which mischiefes, they are forced to annoint their bodies with a cerot.64 Howbeit as dangerous as they be, Physicians make use thereof in the cure of many inward diseases, so they be well corrected and tempered with other safe medicines. In like manner they say, that the juice of Thapsia is singular good for the shedding and falling of the haire; also against the blacke and blew marks remaining after stripes: as if Nature furnished not Physicians sufficiently with other holesome remedies, but that needs they must have recourse to such poisonfull and mischievous medicines. But this is the cast of them all, to pretend such colourable excuses, for their handling of poisons: and so impudent and shamelesse are some besides, that they bash not to avow the use of them, bearing us in hand, that Physicke cannot stand without poison. The Thapsia in Affricke is the strongest of all others. Some use to slit or cut the stem about harvest, and in the very root make an hollow trough to receive the juice that runneth downe, and when it is dried, they take it away. Others againe doe bruise and stampe in a mortar, both leafe, stalke, and root; and when the juice that is pressed there-from, is throughly dried in the Sunne, they reduce the same into certaine Trochisques.65 Nero Cæsar the emperour in the beginning of his Empire, gave great credit unto Thapsia: for using (as he did) to be a night-walker,66 and so make many ryots and much misrule in the darke, he met otherwhiles with those that would so beat him, as that hee carried away the markes blacke and blew in his face: but (as he was subtill & desirous to avoid the speech of the people) an ointment he had made of Thapsia, Frankincense, and Waxe, wherewith he would annoint his face, and by the next morning come abroad with a cleare skin, and no such markes to be seene; to the great astonishment of all men that saw him. To conclude, the Ferula maketh the best matches to keepe fire, by all mens confession: and those in Ægypt excell the rest, for that purpose.
Of Capparis, or Cynosbatos, or Opheostaphyle: and of Sari.
Likewise in Ægypt groweth Capparis, a shrub of a harder and more woodie substance: well knowne for the see and fruit that it carrieth, commonly eaten with meats, and for the most part the Capres and the stalke are plucked and gathered togither. The outlandish Capres (not growing in Ægypt) wee must take good heed of and beware: for those of Arabia be pestilentiall and venomous: they of Affricke be hurtfull to the gumbs, and principally the Mamarike are enemies to the matrice, and breed ventosities. The Apulian Capres cause vomit, and make lubricitie both of stomack and bellie. Some call the shrub Cynosbatos: others, Opheostaphyle. Moreover, there is a plant of shrubs kind, called Sari: it groweth along Nilus, almost two cubits high, it beareth an inch in thicknesse, and hath leaves like to Papyr-reed, and men do chew and eat it after the same manner. As touching the root, it is singular good for Smithes cole to burne in their forges, so hard it is and durable.
Of the Royall thorne of Babylon: and of Cytisus.
I may not over-passe that plant, which about Babylon is sowed upon Thornes onely: for otherwise it knoweth not how to live no more than Misselto, but upon trees: howbeit this plant that I speake of, is sowed upon that Thorne alone called the Royall Thorne. And a straunge thing it is of this plant, That it springeth and groweth the very same day that it is set or sowed. Now the seasonable time of sowing it, is at the very rising of the Dog-starre: and notwithstanding the Sunne's heat, right quickly overspreadeth it the tree or shrub, on which it is cast. The Babylonians use to aromatize their wine therewith; and for that purpose are they so carefull to sow it. But the foresaid Thorn tree groweth also about the long walls of Athens [reaching from the tower to the haven Pyræeum.]
Moreover, a shrub there is, called Cytisus, highly commended and wondrous much, called by Aristomachus the Athenian, for feeding of sheep; as also for fatting of swine, when it is drie: and he promiseth and assureth, that an acre of land sowed therewith, although it be none of the best soile, but of a meane and ordinarie rent, will yeeld yeerely [communibus annis] 2000 Sesterces to the master. As great profit commeth thereby, as of the pulse like Vetches, called Ervum: but sooner will a beast be satisfied therewith, and a very little thereof will serve to fat the same: insomuch as if horses or any such laboring cattell may meet with that provender, they will not care for barley: neither is there any other grasse or fodders, that yeeldeth more or better milke than it: but that which passeth all, the pasturage of Cytisus, preserveth Sheepe, goats and such like cattell, sound and safe from all diseases whatsoever. over and besides, if a nource want milke, Aristomachus prescribeth her to take Cytisus drie, and seeth it in water, and so to drinke it with wine: whereby not onely her milke will come againe in great plentie, but the babe that sucketh thereof, will bee the stronger and taller. Hee giveth it also to hens and pullein whiles it is greene, or steeped and wet, if it chance to bee drie. Democritus and Aristomachus both doe promise and assure us, that Bees will neer miscarie nor faile, if they may meet with Cytisus to feed upon. And yet there is not a thing of lesse charge to maintaine than it. Sowne it is commonly in the Spring with Barley, I meane the seed thereof, as they use to sow leekes or porret seed: or else they set plants and slips thereof from the stalke, in Autumne before midwinter. If the seed be sowne, it ought to be steeped and moistened before: yea, and if there fall no store of raine after it is in the ground it had need to be watered. As for the plants when they be a cubite long, are replanted in a trench a foot deepe. Otherwhiles the tender quicksets are planted about the Æquinoxes, to wit, in mid-March and mid-September. In three years they come to their full growth. They use to cut it downe in the Spring-Æquinox: when it hath done flouring: a worke that a very lad or old woman may doe, even such as can skill of nothing els besides. This Cytisus is in outward hew white: and in one word, if a man would pourtray the likenesse thereof, it resembleth for all the world a shrub of Trifolie or Clavergrasse, with narrower leaves. Being thus gathered, it is ever given to beasts once in three daies. And in winter, that which is dried ought to be wet before they have it. Ten pound of it is a sufficient foddering for an horse: and for other small cattell according to the proportion. But by the way, this is not to be omitted, that it is good to set Garlicke and sow Onions seed betweene the rewes and rankes of Cytisus where it groweth, and they will thrive more plenteously. This shrub was first discovered and knowne in the Island Cythnus, and from thence translated into all the other Islands Cyclades: and soone after brought to all the cities of Greece; whereupon followed great increase of milke, and plentie of cheese. I marvell therefore very much, that it is so geason and rare in Italie: and a plant it is that feareth neither heat nor cold; no injurie of haile, nor offence by snow; and as Hyginus saith, it is not afraid so much as of the enemie; the reason is, because the wood thereof is nothing beautifull to the eie.
Of shrubs and trees growing in our Mediterranean sea, in the red sea, and the Indian sea.
Even the very sea affourdeth shrubs and trees: but those of the Mediterranean sea bee farre lesse than of other seas: for the red sea and all the Levant Ocean is full of woods. That which the Greekes call φῦκος, hath no other name in any language. As for Alga, is a word appropriate rather to weeds or sea-hearbes, called Reik: but this Phycos is a very shrub, bearing broad leaves of a green colour, which som call Prason, others Zoster. A second kind there is of Phycos, with an hairie leafe like to Fennell, and groweth upon rockes. As for the former called Zoster, it is found among the shelves and shallow waters not farre from the shore: both the one and the other appeare in the Spring, and be gone in the autumne. That of this kind which groweth in Candie about the rockes, is much used of diers for the purple colour: and namely, on the North part of that Island, and among sponges, for that is most commendable for this purpose. A third sort there is like unto the grasse called Coich or Dent-de-chien, having a root full of joints and a stalke likewise, in manner of a reed.
Another shrub there is in that sea called Bryon, with leaves of Lettice, save onely that they be more wrinckled and crumpled together: but this groweth more inward and farther into the sea. Marie in the deepe, groweth both Firre and Oke to the height of a cubite. Among these braunches, the Cockles and Muskles, and such like shell fishes doe settle and sticke unto them. As for that kind of sea Oke, some say it is of good use to die wooll withall: as also that it beareth mast or acornes in the deepe: the knowledge of all which we come unto by those that dive into the bottome of the sea, and such as have suffered shipwracke and escaped. Moreover (by report) there be other exceeding great trees, and namely about Sycione. As for the sea vine, it groweth every where: but the fig-tree there is without leaves, & hath a red barke. There be also Date trees found in the sea: but as little as shrubs. Without Hercules pillars, or the streight of Gibraltar, there are shrubs to bee seene, bearing leaves resembling Leeke blades: and others leaved like to the Bay tree, or to the hearbe Thyme: and both kinds being cast up a land, turne into the pumish stone. But in the East parts it is a wonderous matter to thinke, that so soone as a man is past Coptus, he shall find nothing to grow in all the wildernesse, but onely a kind of thorne or thistle, called the thirstie or drie thorne, and the same but here and there, in very few places: whereas in the red sea, whole woods doe live, and namely, of Baies and Olives bearing their berries: also when it raineth, certaine Mushromes, which no sooner bee caught with the Sunnes heat, but they turne into the pumish stone. As touching the shrubs there growing, they be commonly thre cubites high, and those so full of sea dogs and curres, that a man shall hardly looke out of the ship in safetie, for that many times they will take hold of the very oares, and assaile them.67 The soldiors of Alexander the Great who sailed into India, made report, That the branches and leaves of these trees, so long as they were under the water looked greene, but when they be taken forth, presently dried with the heat of the Sunne, and became salt. Also that about the shore they fond stonie rushes and reeds, like unto naturall rushes indeed. Moreover, in the deepe sea they light upon certaine little trees braunched and full of boughes, in colour of an Oxe home, but the head or top of them was red: handle them in your hand, they were as brittle as glasse: put them into the fire, they would bee red hote like yron: quench them againe, they returned to their former colour. In the same tract, there bee some tides so high, that the sea overfloweth and covereth the woods growing within the Islands, although there be trees in them taller than the highest Planes or Poplars. And those trees bear leaves like Lawrell, and flowers for smell and colour resembling the violet. Their berries bee like to Olives, and those of a pleasant and sweet savor, which they bring forth in the Autumne: and their leaves never shed but continue all the yeare long. the lower sort of these trees the floud covereth all and whole: but the greatest beare up their heads above the sea, whereunto the mariners doe fasten and tie their vessels, at a high water: but when it is ebbe, at the very root. Moreover, by their saying they say other trees in the same sea, with leaves ever greene upon them, carrying a fruit like to Lupines. King Iuba reporteth, That about the Islands of the Troglodites there groweth a shrub within the sea, called Isidos Plocamos, [i. Isis haire68] resembling corrall, and void of leaves: cut a branch of it from the stocke, it becometh hard, changeth colour and is blacke if it fall, it is so tender, that it will breake like glasse. Hee speaketh moreover of another called Charito-blepharon, which is of great force in amatorious matters to procure love: And thereof women (quoth hee) make them carkanets and pendant ornaments to hang about their neckes. To conclude, he affirmeth, that this shrub hath a certaine intelligence when a man would take hold of it, and therefore waxeth as hard as an horne, insomuch as it is able to turne the edge of a knife or bill, that unneath or hardly it may be cut: but in case it be entrapped and drawne up with cords without any edge toole, it presently turneth to be a stone.
The running title is "The thirteenth Booke of // Plinies Naturall Historie. "
1. Dalechamps notes (not very helpfully): "Unguenti meminit Homerus Iliad. Ξ [171-174], his versibus: λείψατο δὲ λίπ᾽ ἐλαίῳ Ἀμβροσίῳ ἑδανῷ, τό ῥά οἱ τεϑυωμένον ἦεν ... ἔμπης ἐς γαῖάν τε καὶ οὐρανὸν ἱκετ᾽ ἀϋτμή".
2. "Ointment of saffron": crocinus; says Hardouin,"ex croco" (naturally enough), and proceeds to quote Apollonius, from whom Pliny has translated this sentence practically word for word.
3. Floures of the wild vine: oenanthe, which Pliny says in Book XII is the dried grapes of the labrusca vine.
4. Holland seems to gone astray; Pliny does not mention Egypt here. The text reads, baldly translated, "Oenanthem in Cyprus, then in Adramyttius".
5. Ointment made of marjoram: Pliny's amaracinum, from amaracus, (sweet) marjoram. Holland's translation of this passage is one possibility, but Hardouin notes in this place: "In Coo præclarum est unguentum melinum quod a malis cotoneis, ex quibus fiebat, nomen invenit, ut dicetur lib. XXIII, c. 54. An vero Apollonii mens ea fuerit, an Μηλινον intellexerit, amaracinum quod in Melo insula pararetur, alii æstiment." The latter reading fits better in the general spirit of the passage.
6. Oil of Cyprinum: on this, and the tree, see Book XII, Chap. xxiv.
7. Orcanet: Anchusa tinctoria; see Book XXII xxiii.48. On Cinnabar, see Book XXXIII xxxix.117
8. Terpintine: specifically, the resin of the terebinth.
9. Cypros, [Squinanth] Lentiske: Pliny's text has "cypro, lentisco", but Pliny has mistranslated or misread Dioscorides here, reading κύπρῳ, σχίνῳ for Dioscorides' κυπείρῳ, σκοίνῳ; Holland has corrected following the source.
* Samsuchus. [Sc. sampsuchus, Origanum majoranoides (or majorana.
10. We will speak hereafter: in Book XXIII, 103.
** Susinum. [Pliny's word. Hardouin: "Σούσινον, hoc est, lirinum, sive liliaceum; de quo eam fere Dioscorides I, 62." Dioscorides is not yet on line, at this writing. In any case, he does not seem to use the word σούσινον, which is found in Galen and in Athenaeus.]
11. Aspalathus: Holland here is trying to have his cake and eat it too. The text reads: "As touching the oil of lilies...myrrhe"; then the words et idem or deinde ; then the bit about Cyprinum. Holland seems to read et idem, but then switches over and begins anew with Cyprinum as totally separate. In either case, the Aspalathus is in the Cyprinum, not (directly) in the Susinum (unless, reading et idem, cyprinum is part of susinum, as well it might be).
*** Telinum. [Pliny's word.]
Xylobalsamum. Carpobalsamum. [The first is Pliny's word, out of Dioscorides; the second is Holland's: Pliny has balsami semina, Dioscorides βαλσάμου καρποῦ. "Or" should be "and".]
12. No fewer than nine: see Book XII, chap. xii.
13. Arbut or Comarus: Holland reads, with many of the editions of his day, "cinnamo, comaro" rather than the "cinnamo comaco" of all the MSS. Or possibly he misreads a c as an r. See Book XII, sect. (135) (where another substitution is made for the textual "comaco") Cf. Theophrast., IX.7.2:
Ἐν μὲν οὖν Συρίᾳ τὰ περιττὰ τῇ ὀσμῇ σχεδὸν ταῦτ᾽ ἐστίν· ἡ γὰρ χαλβάνη βαρύτερον καὶ μᾶλλον φαρμακῶδες· ἐπεὶ καὶ αὕτη γίνεται περὶ Συρίαν ἐκ τοῦ πανάκους καλουμένου. Τὰ δὲ ἄλλα πάντα τὰ εὔοσμα οἶς πρὸσ τὰ ἀρώματα χρῶνται, τὰ μὲν ἐξ Ἰνδῶν κομίζεται κακεῖϑεν ἐπὶ θάλατταν καταπέμπεται, τὰ δ᾽ ἐξ Ἀραβίας, οἷον πρὸς τῷ κιναμώμῳ καὶ τῇ κασίᾳ καὶ κώμακον· ἕτερον δ᾽ εἶναι τὸ κώμακον καπρόν· τὸ δ᾽ ἕτερον παραμίσγουσιν εἰς τὰ σπουδαιότατα τῶν μύρων. τὸ δὲ καρδάμωμον καὶ ἄμωμον οἱ μὲν ἐκ Μηδείας, οἱ δ᾽ ἐξ Ἰνδῶν καὶ ταῦτα καὶ τὴν νάρδον καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἢ τὰ πλεῖστα.
14. Magma: Hardouin identifies this with marc. Μάγμα, unde κροκόμαγμα, Diosc. lib. I. , cap. 26. Gallis, le marc, sive, ut vulgo pronuntiant, le mar.
15. Cicero: a similar statement is in Orat. III.xxv.99 "Licet hoc videre in reliquis sensibus unguentis minus diu nos delectari summa et acerrima suavitate conditis quam his moderatis, et magis laudari quod terram quam quod crocum olere videatur; in ipso tactu esse modum et mollitudinis et levitatis." If the words in XVII(38) are a direct quote, the work is no longer extant: "Cicero, lux doctrinarum altera, Meliora, inquit, unguenta sunt quae terram, quem quae crocum sapiunt. hoc enim maluit dixisse quam redolent. ita est profecto, illa erit optima quae unguenta sapiet."
16. Dalechamps quotes Ennius to demonstrate that perfumes were used in the days of the Tarquins: "Tarquinii corpus bona femina lavit, et unxit" (but he cautions "nisi subsit poetica πρόληψις").
17. For so they tearmed these mixtures: Pliny refers to the word "exotic" (of Greek origin and rare in classical Latin) that he has just used, and which Holland translates "foreign or strange".
Antonie, Lepidus & Octavius. [L. Plotium, L. Planci: The names are as Pliny gives them, but they should be L. Plancus Plotius and L. Munatii Planci (see, for instance, Velleius Paterculus. The story of the perfumes is given in Val. Max. VI.8.5, where the name is given as "C. Plotius Plancus".]
18. Namely in Cyprus: According to Theophrastus, II.8, this palm is peculiar to Cyprus; it is the tree, not particularly the climate per se, that accounts for the unusual behavior.
19. Dabula: the MSS, and most editions, dablan.
20. Phoenix: on this bird, see Pseudodoxia Epidemica III.12 and notes.
21. Five of them: sc. trees, not dates.
22. Greeks gave it that name: as though καρψοῶτις from κάρος (an unlikely derivation).
23. Nicolaï: after the Peripatetic philosopher Nicolaus Damascenus. Cf. Plutarch Symp. VIII. qu. 4; in Holland's (1603) translation: "... verily the great monarch and emperour Augustus by report, for that he loved singularly well, one Nicolaus a philosopher Peripatetick, in regard that he was of gentle nature and sweet behaviour, tall and slender withall of stature, and besides of a ruddy and purple colour in his visage, called the fairest and greatest dates, after his name, Nicolai, and to this day they beare that denomination".
24. Chydaei: vulgar, common (not necessarily "vile").
25. Iuba: Holland follows the editions of his day, Syri et Iuba...; most modern editions, Syriae et quas....
26. Other for them: thus all editions.
27. Pisticks: pistachios.
called Lenten figs.
28. Sebesten: the fruit of trees of the genus Cordia (formerly Sebesten). Pliny's myxa.
29. It is called a shrub: rather, a shrub is called by the name of cedar.
30. Sycomore: While it is clear that Pliny is writing about the sycomore, the word itself does not occur in this book.
31. Skiced: sliced. The word, which the OED notes is "obsolete and rare", seems to occur only in Holland, so it is perhaps an idiolect.
32. Persica: thus Pliny, as we have him. Theophrastus "περσοία" or "περσαία", which should be persea in Latin. See also Book XV.
33. Lote-wood: not, of course, the wood of a lotus, but the wood of a tree, probably the nettle-tree, also called lotus. See Chapter XVII.
34. Cucus: it is not clear why Holland chooses to place this at the end of this paragraph rather than the beginning of the next.
35. Leaves shed: Pliny has possibly misunderstood his source in Theophrastus, translating συμπίπειν (= collabor) as cadere: Mimosa polyacantha. Τhe more familiar Mimosa sensitiva is native to South America.
36. Sarcocolla: the note in brackets is Pliny's ita vocatur arbor Μost such notes are Holland's expansions, not Pliny's. Penaea sarcocolla (or mucronata).
37. And thus much: the transition is Holland's.
38. Alexander etc. Melchior Guilandinus, in his (1572) Papyrus : hoc est commentarius in tria C Plinij maioris de papyro capita..., goes to some length to demonstrate, out of ancient authors, that paper made of papyrus was known well before the age of Alexander. Cf. Isidore, Vi.13. 1-3.
39. Linen books: mentioned often; possibly the most noted were those deposited in the aedes Montetae: Qui si ea in re sit error quod tam veteres annales quodque magistratuum libri, quos linteos in aede repositos Monetae Macer Licinius citat identidem auctores etc. Livy IV.20.
40. Tables of wax: this kind of tablet has been used throughout the world. On their use by the Romans, see, e.g., Isidore VI.9.
41. Homer: Iliad 6.168-169, although perhaps not of wax.
42. He: presumably Varro, although this pronoun is an artifact of translation. Pliny's argument is not sensible, especially in view of his later description of papyrus in other lands; on the other hand, Pliny presents another version of the paper story, below, Chap. XIII.
43. Homer: Odyssey IV.354 ff.
44. Pergamus: whence the English parchment, via the French parchemin, with a hypercorrected ending. (In case you're wondering, the fabrication of parchment is by no means an obvious process.)
45. In manner of a cabbage: I cannot see how Holland pulls this out of Pliny; it is not there.
46. Chaplets: these garlands of papyrus flowers so pleased Agesilaus that he took some of them with him when he left Egypt, although when offered gifts of perfumes and gold and rich fabrics, he took only practical items like geese and meal. Thus Plutarch citing Theophrastus, Agesilaus 36.6.
47. Saitia and Taniotica: see also Isidore VI.10. The latter occurs in the MSS of Pliny as Laeneotica, taeneotica, teneo itice, Laneotica, etc.
48. Web of the Paper: it will be seen from this description that papyrus is not true paper, which is formed quite otherwise.
49. Faithful and ancient: Pliny's vetutissimus has provoked commentators, who point out that Cassius Hemina antedated Pliny by only about 70 years. Some emend to verissimus: Holland has it both ways.
¶ L. Pertilius. Livie. [as well as Lactantius and Valerius Maximus. But Varro, quoted by Augustine, and Festus call him Cn. Terentius. "Him" in this means "the guy about whom this story is told", who may or may not be two (or more) people, of course.]
50. Works of Pythagoras burnt: cf. Livy XL.29. For more on Petilius (and the chest(s)), see also Lactantius Div. Inst. I, cap. 22; and Plutarch in Numa. Each tells the a slightly different tale.
51. Sibyls: the Cumæan sibyl, Tarquinius Priscus, and at least six books (six are destroyed) according to Lactantius, who tells the story in Div. Inst. I cap. 6; Aul. Gellius I.xix tells it of Tarquinius Superbus, an unidentified sibyl, and nine books. Dion. Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. IV (not on line) has Tarquinius Superbus as well.
52. Troubles of Sulla: see also lib. xxxiii cap. v.
53. Homer: Iliad VI.168-169.
54. Description of the Indians, and of Arabia: in Book XII.
55. Those Islands: Book VI.
56. Already written: Book V.
57. Citron trees: Pliny's citri. Most likely a cedar, probably Callitris quadrivalvis (syn. Thuja articulata), also the source of sandarac.
58. Ptolomæ of Mauritania: the son of Juba.
59. Speckled and filed with their dung: Holland has here inserted into the text a somewhat bizarre note by Dalechamps: "Apiatas, veluti muscarum et apum stercore inquinatas. Alii, apiculatas: crebris velut apiculis notatas". Rather, resembling the crisp and curly edges of the leaves of parsley; or perhaps, if bees are indeed meant (unlikely), the speckles resemble flies and bees. Or you can combine the two, as parsley is said to get its name "Apia" from its being liked by bees.
¶¶ [All editions have an asterisk in the text, but no note in the margin. The word is latinized in the text of Pliny: "thyon graece ab aliis thya". Homer, Odyssey 5.60; not Circe, but the nymph Calypso.]
60. Lotos: probably the service tree, Sorbus torminalis, or one of its relatives.
¶¶¶ i. Heath, or Lings.
§ Or eionia [? The marginal note is difficult to read.] Eone: eonem; the reading preferred since Mayhoff is leonem.
61. Andrachne: Pliny has andrachlen here, andrachne later for the herb.
62. Congygria: Most MSS have coccygia here and in the Index. Probably Rhus cotinus.
63. Apharce: Phillyrea angustifolia.
64. Cerot: a linament one of whose chief ingredients is wax, Pliny's ceratum. (1601 has "receit", corrected in the errata.)
65. Trochisque: or anglice trochisk: a lozenge or pastille. Obsolete in standard English, but used in French into the nineteenth century and still occasionally to be found.
66. Nero a night-walker: cf. Tacitus Ann. XIII.25, Suetonius Nero, 26.
67. Sea dogs and curres: see Book IX, chap.xlvi on these "fell, unhappie, and shrewd monsters".
68. Isidos Plocamos etc. : Pliny, Isidis crinem.
This page is by James Eason.