Philemon Holland, translator (1601): C. Plinius Secundus The Historie of the World. Book XV. (Pages 429-454). Excurses from C. Plin. Sec. Historiae Naturalis Lib. XXXVII, ed. L. Desfontaines (Paris: 1829).
THE XV. BOOKE OF
THE HISTORIE OF NATVRE,
WRITTEN BY C. PLINIVS
Of the natures of Trees that beare Fruit.
HERE were no Olive trees grew in Italie, but upon the coast side, and that within fortie miles of the sea, about the 440 yeare after the foundation of the citie of Rome; if it bee true that Theophrastus saith, who was one of the most famous and renowmed Authors among the Greekes. Fenestella writeth moreover, and affirmeth, That during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus (which was much about the 183 yeere from the foundation of the citie of Rome) there were no Olive trees at all to be found, either in Italie, Spaine, or Africk: whereas now at this day they are seene all Italie over, yea and bee come as farre as the regions beyond the Alpes, even into the mids and very heart of Fraunce and Spaine. Indeed, in the yeare after the foundation of Rome 505 (which was when Appius Claudius, the nephew of that great Appius Claudius surnamed The blind,2 and L. Iunius were Consuls togither) a pound of the oyle was sold for twelve asses: and not long after (namely, in the 680 yeere) M. Seius the sonne of Lucius (one of the Ædiles-Curule) for the time beeing) broght downe the market so well, that a man might have bought ten pound for one As; and at that price he served the people throughout all that yeere. Lesse cause therefore a man hath to marveile hereat, who knoweth how not past 22 yeeres after that, (namely when Cn. Pompeius was the fourth time Consull) Italy was able to furnish other nations and provinces with oile of Olives. Hesiodus also (who was especially addicted to the studie of husbandrie, and of all things much concerning the Olive, That never a man was knowne to that day for to have gathered the fruit of that Olive tree, which himselfe had planted: so late of growth were those trees in his time, and so slowly came they forward. But now adaies they come up of kernels and stones set in plots of ground for the purpose: and being transplanted againe, they beare Olives the second yeare after.3 Fabianus saith, That Olives love not to grow either in the coldest or the hotest grounds.
Virgill hath set downe three kinds of Olives, to wit, Orchitæ [i. the great round Olives:] Radij [i. the long Olives:] and those which are called Pausiæ.4 He saith moreover, That the Olive trees require no tending or dressing at all, and need neither the hooke to be pruned, nor the rake and harrow to be moulded, ne yet the spade to bee digged about. Doubtlesse, the goodnesse of the soile, and the temperature of the climat especially, are very requisite and much materiall alone, without farther helpe: howbeit they use to be cut and pruned, yea they love also to be scraped, polished, and cleansed betweene where the branches grow over-thick, even as well as vines, and at the same season.
The time of gathering Olives ensueth presently upon the vintage of grapes: but greater industrie and skill is required to the making and tempering of good oile, than about new wine: for ye shall have one & the selfesame kind of Olive to yeeld a different juice, and divers oiles. First and foremost, of the greene Olive and altogither unripe, there is drawne the Oile-olive; which hath of all other the best verdure, and in tast excelleth the rest: and of this oile, the first running that commeth from the presse, is most commended: and so by degrees better or worse, as the oile is drawne before or after, out of the presse: or, according to a late invention by treading them with mens feet in little paniers,5 and upon hardles made of small and fine osiers. This is a rule, The riper that the Olive is, the fatter will the oile bee, and more plentifull; but nothing so pleasant in tast. And therefore the best season to gather Olives, both for goodnesse and abundance of oile, is when they begin to shew blacke. And such halfe-ripe Olives wee in Latine call Drupæ, & the Greekes Drypetæ. To conclude, it skilleth very much whether the berries ripe upon the tree, or mellow within their presse: also whether the tree be watered, that is to say, the Olives hanging thereupon be drenched and refreshed with sprinckling water, or have no other moisture than their owne, and that which they receive by dewes and raine from heaven.
Oile-Olive commeth to have a ranke and unpleasant tast if it be old kept and stale, contrarie to the nature of wine, which is the better for age. And the longest time that oile will continue good, is but one yeare. Wherein surely if a man would well consider, hee may observe the great providence of Nature. For seeing that wines are made to serve for intemperance and drunkennesse, there is not that necessitie to drinke much thereof, and to spend them out of hand: and more than so, the daintie tast that they have when they be stale, induceth men to lay them up and keepe them long. But contrariwise, she would not have us make such spare of oile: and therefore by reason of the generall use and need thereof, she hath made it vulgar and common to all.
As touching this benefite and gift of Nature bestowed upon mankind, Italie of all other nations in the world carieth the name for the goodnesse thereof: but principally the territorie or countrie of Venafrum, and namely, that quarter lying toward Licinia, which yeeldeth the oile called Licinianum:6 whereupon there be no Olives comparable to them of Licinia, but for to serv the perfumers, in regard of the pleasant smell which that oile doth give, so appropriat unto their ointments; as also to furnish the kitchin and the table (as they say that be fine-toothed, and have a delicat tast:) which is the cause (I say) that this oile carieth the onely name. And yet these Olives of Licinia have this priviledge besides, that birds love not to come near unto them. Next to these Licinian Olives, the question is betweene them of Istria and Bætica, whether of them should go away with the price for their goodnesse? and hard it is to say, which is the better of the twaine. A third degree there is under those two abovenamed, namely, of the Olives that come from all other provinces, setting aside the fertile soile of that tract in Affricke, which yeeldeth so great increase of corne. For it should seeme that Nature hath set it apart for graine onely, seeing it so fruitfull that way: and hath not so much envied it the benefite of wine and oile, which shee hath denied those parts, as thought it sufficient that they might glory, & have the name for their harvests. As for other points belonging to Olives, men have erred and ben deceived very much: neither is there in any part concerning our life, to be found more confusion, than is therein: as we will shew and declare hereafter.
The nature of the Olive berries: also, of young Olive plants.
This fruit called the Olive, consisteth of a stone or kernill, of oile, a fleshie substance, and the lees or dregs: now by these lees (called in Latine Amurca) I meane the bitter liquor of the grounds that the oile yeeldeth. It commeth of abundance of water: and therefore as in time of drought there is least thereof, so in a raine and waterie constitution, you shall have store and plentie.7 As for the proper juice of the Olive, it is their oile; and the cheefe is that which commeth of those that are unripe, like as wee have shewed before, when wee treated of Ompharium, or the Olive verjuice.8 This oilie substance doth increase & augment within the Olive untill the rising of the star Arcturus, to wit, sixteene daies before the Calends of October;9 after which time, their stones and carnous matter about them doe rather thrive. But marke, when there followeth a glut of raine and wet weather presently upon drie season, the oile in them doth corrupt & turne all (well neare) into the lees abovesaid, which may easily be perceived by the colour: for it causeth the Olive berries to look blacke. And therefore when this blacknesse beginneth to appeare, it is a sign that they have somewhat (although very little) of the lees: but before that, they had none at all. And herein are men foulely deceived, taking this marke for the beginning of their ripenesse: which blacke hew indeed is a signe of their corruption, and betokeneth that then they are in the way to be starke naught. They erre also in this, that they suppose an Olive the more growne it is in carnositie, to be the fuller of oile: whereas in very truth, all the good juice in them is converted then into the grosse and corpulent substance thereof, and thereby also the stone and kernill come to bee big and massie: which is the cause, that they had need of watering at that time, most of all. Which being done by great paine and labour of man, or happening through raine and plentie of shewers; unlesse there ensue a drie season & faire weathr to extenuate that grosse substance into which the Olive had turned the foresaid juice and humor, all the oile is consumed and lost. For it is heat and nothing els (as Theophrastus saith) which engendreth oile: and therefore both about the presse at first, and also in the very garners where the Olives be laid after, they use to keepe good fires, by that meanes to draw the more oile forth. A third default there is in oile, and that commeth of too much sparing and niggardise: for some men there are, who being loth to be at cost to plucke and gather Olives from the tree, wait still and looke that they should fall of themselves. And such folke as would seeme yet to keepe a meane herein, namely, to take some paines and be at a little cost; beat and them downe with perches and poles: whereby they doe offer wrong to the poor trees, yea, and hinder themselves not a little in the yeare following, when they shall find how much it is out of their way, thus to breake their boughes and branches. Whereupon the law in old time provided well for this inconvenience, by an expresse inhibition, to all gatheres of Olives, in these words, NO MAN SO HARDIE AS TO BREAKE, STRIKE, AND BEAT THE OLIVE TREE. But they that goe most warily and gently to worke, stand under the tree, and with some canes shake the boughs and branches therewith, or lightly smite them: but in no case let drive and lay at them either with full down-right or crosse-blowes. And yet, as heedfull as they be in so doing, this good they got by striking and knapping off the young shoots and sprigs which should beare the next year, that they have the trees carie fruit but once in two years for it. The like happeneth also, if a man stay till they fall of themselves: for by sticking on the tree beyond their due time, they rob the Olives to come after, of all their nutriment wherewith they should be fed, and deteine the place likewise where they should come forth and grow. An evident proofe hereof is this, That Olives unlesse they be gathered before the ordinarie and yearely Westerne winds doe blow, they gather heart again upon the tree, and will not so easily fall as before. Men use therefore to gather the Pausian Olives first after Autumne, which are fullest of carnositie, not so much by nature as by misgovernment and disorder; soone after, the round Orchitæ, which ahve plentie of oile, and then the Olives Radij: and these, for as much as they be most tender, & soonest overcome with abundance of the lees (which we called before Amurca) are therby forced to fall. Howbeit, such Olives as be thick skinned and hard; tough also & admitting no wet and raine (by which means they are the least of all others) will abide on the tree untill March: and namely, the Licinian Olives, the Cominian, Contian, & Sergian, which the Sabins call Roiall: all which change not colour & look black before the foresaid Westerne wind bloweth, that is, about the sixt day before the Ides of Februarie; for by that time folke think they begin to ripen. Now for as much as the best & most approved oile is made of them, it seemeth that reason also being conformable to this defect of theirs, justifieth & approveth the same in the end. And this is commonly received and held among them, that cold winters breed scarsitie and dearth: but full maturitie brings plentie, namely when they have leisure to ripen upon the tree: howbeit this goodnes is not occasioned by the time, but by the nature rather of those kinds of Olives, which bee long ere they turn intto the foresaid dregs Amurca. Men are likewise deceived in this, that when Olives be gathered, they keep them upon bourded floores in sollars and garners, & will not presse them before they have sweat: whereas, in truth, the longer they lie, the lesse oile they yeeld, & the more dregs of lees. For by this meanes the ordinarie proportion they say is, to presse out of every Modius of Olives, not above six pound of oile. But no man maketh any reckoning of the lees, howmuch it increaseth in measure day by day, in one and the very same kind of Olives, the longer that they be kept ere they be pressed. In one word, it is a common error setled every where, that men do think the abundance of oile is to be esteemed according to the bignes of the Olives: considering that the plentie of oile consisteth not in the greatnesse of the fruit: as may appear by those which of some are called Roiall, of others Majorinae, and Phauliae,10 which every man knoweth, are the biggest and fairest Olives to see to, and yet otherwise have least oile in them of any others. Likewise in Ægypt the Olives are most fleshie & full of pulpe, howbeit, least oileous. As for the countrie Decapolis of Syria, the Olives indeed be very small there, & no bigger than Capers yet commended they are for their camositie. And for that cause, the Olives from the parts beyond sea are preferred before the Italian, for goodnesse of meat, and as better to be eaten; yet those of Italie yeeld more oile. And even within Italie, the Picene and Sidicine Olives surpasse the rest. For in truth, these are first confected and seasoned with salt; or els (as all others) prepared and condite either with lees of oile, or wine-cuit. Some Olives there bee, which they suffer to swim alone as they be, in their own oile, without any helpe and addition of other things, and such be called Colymbades.11 And the same they use otherwhiles to bruise and cleanse from their stones, and then confect them with greene hearbs, which have some pleasant & commendable tast. Others there are, which being otherwise very greene and unripe, are presently brought to maturitie, and made mellow, by lying infused and soking in hote scalding water. And a wonder it is to see, how Olives will drinke in a sweet liquor, and how by that meanes they may be made toothsome, yea, and to carie the tast of any thing that a man would have them. Among Olives there be also that are of colour purple, like to those grapes which change colour when they begin to ripen. Moreover, besides the abovenamed sorts of Olives, there be some named Superbæ [i. prowd.]12 Also there are Olives to be found, which being dried by themselves onely, are passing sweet, yea, and more delicate than raisins: marie these are very geason, and yet such are in Affricke and about the citie Emerita in Portugall.
As touching the very oile it selfe, the way to preserve it from being overfat and thicke, is with salt. If the barke of an Olive tree be slit and cut, it will receive the rellice and smell of any medicinable spice, and the oile thereof will seeme aromatized: otherwise pleasant in tast it is not, like as wine is: neither is there such difference in so many kinds of Olives as there is in wine: for surely we cannot at the most observe above three degrees in the goodnesse of oiles, namely, according to the first, second, and third running out of the presse. Finally, the thinner that oile is, and the more subtile, the finer and daintier is the smell thereof: and yet the same sent, in the very best of them all, continueth but a small time.
The nature of oile Olive.
The propertie of Oile, is to warme the bodie, and to defend it against the injries of cold: and yet a soveraigne thing it is to coole and mitigate the hote distemperature of the head. The Greekes, whom we may count the very fathers and fosters of all vices, have perverted the true and right use thereof, to serve for all excesse and superfluitie, even as farre as to the common annointing of their wrastlers with it, in their publicke place of exercise. Knowne it is for certaine, that the governours and wardens of those places, have sold the oile that hath been scraped from the bodies of the said wrastlers for 80 Sesterces at a time.13
But the stately majestie of Rome contrariwise hath done so great honour to the Olive tree, that every yeare in Iulie, when the Ides come, they were wont to crowne their men of armes and gentlemen marching by their troups and squadrons in solemne wise, with chaplets of Olive, yea and the manner was of captaines likewise to enter ovant in petie triumphs into Rome, adorned with Olive coronets.14 The Athenians also honoured their conquerors with Olive guirlands. But generally the Greekes did set out their victors at the games of Olympia, with braunches of the wild-Olive.
The manner how to order Olives.
Now will I report the precepts and rules set downe by Cato, as touching Olives.15 His opinion is, that the greater long Olive Radius of Salentum, the big Orchites, the Pausia, the Sergiana, Cominiana, and the Albicera, should be planted in hote and fat grounds. Hee addeth moreover (as he was a man of singular dexteritie and prudent spirit) which of them in the neighbour territories and places adjoyning, were taken for the best. As for the Licinian Olives, he saith, They would be planted in a weelie and cold hungrie ground: for if it be a fat soile and a hote, the oile will be corrupt and naught, and the very tree it selfe will in short time be killed with overmuch fertilitie and bearing too great a burden. Moreover, they will put forth a red kind of mosse, which eateth and consumeth the tree. To conclude, his mind is, that Olive hort-yards should be exposed to the sunne, yet so, as they regard the West wind also in any case, for otherwise he commendeth them not.
How to keepe Olives, and the way to make oile of them.
Cato alloweth of no other means to keep and preserve Olives (and specially the great ones made like cullions, named thereupon Orchita, and the Pausiæ) but either in brine and pickle when they are greene, or elsse among Lentiske braunches when they are bruised and broken. The best oile is made (saith he) of the greenest and sowrest Olives. Moreover, so soon as ever they be falne, they must be gathered from off the ground; and if they be fouled and berayed with the earth, they ought to be washed clean, and then laid to dry three daies at the most. Now if it fall out to be weather disposed unto frost, they should be pressed at foure daies end. He giveth order also, to bestrew and sprinkle them with salt: saying moreover, That if they be kept in boarded sollars or garners, the oile will be both lesse in quantitie, & worse withall. So it will be also, if it be let lie long in the lees, or togither with the cake and grounds, when they be brused & beaten: for this is the verie fleshie and grosse substance of the Olives, which cannot chuse but breed filthy dregs. And therefore he ordaineth, that oftentimes in a day it should be poured out of one vessell into another, and so by setling clarified from the grounds; and then to put it up afterwards into pans and panchions of earth, or els into vessels or kimnels of lead, for brasse mettall will marre oile. All this should be done within close presses and roomes, and those kept shut, where no aire or wind may come in, that they might be as warme and hot as stouves. He forbiddeth also to cut any wood or fuell there, to maintain fire; for that the fire made of their stones & kernels, is most kindly of any other. To the end also that the grounds and lees should be liquified and turne into oile,16 even to the very last drop, the oile should be let run out of those vessels or kimnels aforesaid into a vat or cistern: for which purpose the vessels are often to be cleansed, and the oisier paniers to be scoured with a spunge, that the oile might stand most pure and cleare. But afterward came up the devise to wash Olives first in hot water, and then immediatly to put them whole as they are, into the presse; for by that means they squize forth lees and all: and then anon to bruse and crush them in a mill, & so presse them in the end. Moreover, it is not thought good to presse the second time above 100 Modij, which is the full proportion of one pressure, & it is called Factus. That which after the mill commeth first, is named The floure of the oile, or the Mere-gout. Last of all, to presse 300 Modij, is thought to be foure mens worke ordinarily in one night and a day.
Of Oile artificiall.
In Cato his time there was no artificiall Oiles, I meane, no other but that of the Olive; and therefore I suppose it was, that he made no mention thereof: but now adaies there bee many kinds. First will w treat of those that are made of trees, and principally before all the rest, of the oile of the wild Olive: Thin it is, and much more bitter than that of the other gentle & true Olive, but good for medicines only.
Very like to it, is that which is made of Chamelæa, an herb or shrub growing in stonie places, to the heighth of a span and no more, with leaves and berries resembling those of the wild Olive.
The next is that which commeth of Cici, or Ricinus, [i. Palma Christi] a plant which groweth plentifully in Ægypt, which some call Croto, others Trixis or wild Sesame; but long it hath not been there. In Spaine likewise this Ricinus is found of late to rise sodainely to the heighth of an Olive tree, bearing the stalke of Ferula or Fenell-geant, clad with leaves of the vine, and replenished with seed resembling the graines or kernels of small and slender grapes, and of a pale colour withall: wee in Latine call it Ricinus, of the resemblance that the seed hath to a ticke, which is a vermine that annoieth sheep.17 For to gather an oile thereof, the manner is to seeth the seeds in water; the oile will swim aloft, and so it is scummed off. But in Ægypt (where there is abundance thereof) they never use any fire or water about it; only they corne it well with salt, and then presse out the oile, which is very fulsome and naught to be eaten, good only for lamps.18
The oile of Almonds, which some call Metopium,19 is made of the bitter Almonds dried, stamped, and reduced into a masse or lumpe, which being sprinkled and soked with water, and then beaten again in a mortar, is put into a presse or mill, and the oile drawne thereout.
There is an oile made also of the Bay, togither with the oile of ripe olives readie to drop from the tree. Some take the Bay berries onely, & thereout presse oile de-Bayes: others use the leaves and nothing els: and there be againe, who with the leaves take also the rind of the Bay berries; yea and put thereto Storax Calamita, and other sweet odors. Now for this purpose, the Lawrell with broad leaves, growing wild, and bearing blacke berries, is the best.
Like unto this oile, is that which they make of the blacke Myrtle; and the broad leafed kind thereof is the better: the berries of it ought to lie infused first in hot water, and afterwards to be boiled. Some seeth the tenderest leaves that it hath in Oile-olive, and then presse them forth. Others put the leaves first in the oile, and then let them stand confected in the sunne, and there take their ripening.
After the same manner is the oile made of the garden Myrtle; but that of the wild which hath the smaller seed is the better: and this Myrtle some call Oxymyrsine, others Chamæmyrsine; and some againe name it for the smalnesse, * Acaron, for short it is and full of little braunches.
Moreover, there be oiles made of the Citron and Cypresse trees: likewise of wallnuts which they call Caryinon: also of the fruit of the Cedar, named Cedrelæon.20
Semblably of the graine called Gnidium, to wit, the seed of Chamelæa and Thymelæa, well cleansed and stamped. In like manner of the Lentiske. As for the oile Cyprinum, how it should be made of the Ægyptian nut and of Ben for to serve perfumers, hath been shewed before.21 The Indians (by report) doe make of Chesnuts, of Sesame seed, & rice. The people Ichthyophagi as they live by eating fish only, so they make oile of fishes. And in case of necessitie, otherwhiles men use to draw an oile out of the berries of a Plane tree also, beeing steeped in water and salt, which serveth for lamp oile. Yea and there is an oile made of the wild vine Oenanthe, as we have said alreadie in the treatise of Ointments.22
As touching the oile which the Greekes call Gleucinum, it is made with new wine and oile-olive, boiled at a soft fire. Others there be that let the wine consume all into oile, and without any fire at all, doe compasse the vessell wherein this composition is made, with the cake and the refuse of grapes when they be pressed, and cover it all over for the space of 22 dayes, so as twice a day they be all mixed together throughly togither. Some there be who put thereto not only Majoram, but also the most precious and exquisit odours that they can meet withall: and our common fencing-halls and places of publicke exercises be perfumed with these sweet oiles, and doe smell of them; but such they be as are the cheapest of all other.
Over and besides, there is made an oile of Aspalathus, sweet Calamus, Baulme, Iris or flour-de-lis, Cardumome or graines of Paradise, Melilot, French Nard, Panace, Marjoram, elecampane, and the root of Cinamon, taking all these and letting them lie infused in oile, and so pressing out the juice thereof. So is oile Rosat made of Roses: the oile of Quinanth of the sweet rush, which is most like to the oile Rosat. Likewise of Henbane, Lupines, and the Daffadill. The Ægyptians get great store of oile out of Radish seed, or the grasse called Gramen (which is Dent-de-chien or Quich-grasse) and this oile they call Chortinon. After the same manner the Sesame-seed doth yeeld an oile; as also the Nettle, which in Greeke they call Cnecinon, or rather Cnidinum.23 As for the oile of Lilies, it is made in some places, where they feare not to let it stand abroad in the aire infused to take both sunne and moon-shine, yea and frostie weather.
They that inhabit between Cappadocia and Galatia, do compound a certaine oile of hearbs growing among them, which is a soveraigne remedie for sinewes either wounded or otherwise grieved, and they call it Selgiticum: it is much in effect like to that oile which is made in Italie of Gums, by the people Eguini.24
Now for the oile of Pitch, which they call Picinum, it is made of the vapours and smoke that arise from Pitch whiles it boileth, and received in fleeces of wooll spread over the pots mouth wherein the said Pitch is sodden: which fleeces are afterwards well wrung, and the oile is pressed out thereof. The best oile is that which commeth from the Brutian or Calabrian Pitch: the same is most fat of all others, and fullest of Rosin. The colour of the oile is reddish.
Upon the coasts and maritime parts of Syria, there is an oile engendreth of it selfe, which the Greekes call Elæomeli: a fattie and greasie substance it is, thicker than honey, and thinner than Rosin, of a sweet tast, issuing out of trees; and is onely medicinable and good in Physicke.
As touching old oile, it serveth in right good stead for sundrie sorts of maladies. It is thought also very singular for to preserve Ivorie from putrefaction: for this is certein, that the image of Saturne at Rome is full of olive oile all within.25
Of the lees or dregs of Oile-olive, called Amurca.
Cato hath highly commended above all, the lees of Oile-olive: for he would have the barels, hogsheads, and other vessels which hold oile, to bee therewith besmeared, that they should not drink up the oile. He devised also, that the threshing floors should be wrought and tempered with oile lees, that they might not chawn and gape, nor no Ants breed within the chinkes and cranies thereof. Moreover, he thinketh it very good that the mortar, plastre, and parget used about the walls of corne-barnes, as also their floores, should be well sprinckled and tempered with the said lees: yea and the presses and wardrobes where apparell is kept, ought to be rubbed therewith to keepe out mothes, wormes, spiders, and such vermine that doe hurt to clothes. He affirmeth besides, that it is good against certaine diseases of foure-footed beasts, as also to preserve trees, yea and excellent for inward ulcerrs of a mans bodie, but especially those of the mouth. Being sodden, it is singular good (as he saith) for to annoint and make gentle and supple all bridle reines, leather thongs, shoes, and axeltrees of carts and wagons: likewise to keepe all vessels of brasse from rust, and also to give them a bright and pleasant colour: moreoer, all the wooden implements of an house generally throughout, and vessels made of earth and clay, wherein one would keepe drie figges in their verdure, would bee annointed therewith: or if one were desirous to preserve the Myrtle, leaves, fruit, and all, upon the braunches, or any such thing, there is nothing better than the said Amurca. Last of all, he saith, that what wood soever is dipped in these lees, it will burne cleare without any smoke.
M. Varro affirmeth, that if a Goat chaunce to licke with his tongue, or to brouse an Olive when it buddeth the first spring, the same tree will surely be barrain and lie in great daunger to miscarrie and die. Thus much of the Olive tree, and of the oile of Olives.
All kinds of Fruit good to eat, and their nature.
As for all other fruits of trees, they are hardly to be numbred and reckoned by their forme and figure; much lesse by their sundrie tasts and divers juices that they yeeld, so intermingled they are togither by varietie of graffing one into another.
Of Pine-nuts or Pine-apples, foure sorts.
The Pine-nuts (which are the biggest of that kind and hanging highest upon the tree) doe contain and nourish slender kernels enclosed within certain hollow beds full of holes, and besides clothed and clad with another coat or huske of a dark murrey colour: wherein may be seene the wonderfull care and providence of Nature, to bestow the seeds so soft. A second kind there be of these nuts called Terrentines, having a shell or huske very brittle and easie to be crushed betweene ones fingers; and as soone are they pecked through with birds bills, who after that manner filch and steale them from off the tree. A third sort yet there is of them, which come of the gentle Pitch trees, having their kernels couched within a thin huske or skin more like than a shell, and the same so soft, that it may bee chewed and eaten togither with the kernell. Now there is a fourth fruit growing of the wild Pine, and called those Nuts are of the Grecians, Pitydia; and these be singular good against the cough. The Taurines in Calabria, have a device to confect Pine-nut kernels, by seething them in honey; and being thus condite, they call them Aquiceli.26 To conclude, at the solemne and festivall games holden at Isthmus, they who win the best prize, are woont to be crowned with a chaplet of the Pine.27
Of the Quince.
Next to Pine apples, for big and large, are the Quinces, which we call Cotonea, the Greeks Cydonea, because they were first brought out of Candie.28 So heavie and massie they be, that they bend the boughs to the ground as they hang upon the tree, and will not suffer their mother to grow.
Many kinds there be of Quinces, to wit, Chrysomela, of a colour inclining to gold, & divided by certain cut lines. Secondly, there be the Quinces of our owne country, and so called:29 these be whiter, & of an excellent smell. They also that come out of the realm of Naples, be highly esteemed. Now there be a smaller sort of the same kind called Struthea [i. the Peare-quince] & those doe cast a more odoriferous smell: late they be ere they come to ripenesse or perfection; whereas contrariwise the greene Quinces called Mustea, be as hastie and soone melow. Now if a man doe graffe the great Quinces upon the Struthea, the tree will bring foorth a kind of Quinces by themselves called Mulviana; and these are the Quinces alone of all other that may be eaten raw. In summe, all the sort of these are come now adaies to be entertained within the waiting or presence chamber of our great personages, where men give attendance to salute them as they come forth every morning; and in bed-chambers also they are to garnish the images standing about the beds heads and sides.
There are besides small wild Quinces, next to the Peare-quince Struthea, for pleasant and odoriferous smell; and they grow commonly in hedge-rowes.
Moreover, as well Peaches as Pomegranats, notwithstanding they be of a divers kind, yet we call Mala [i. Apples.] As for the Pomegranats, we have spoken of nine sorts of them in our treatise of their trees, and others in Affricke:30 and these are full of certaine graines or kernels lying enclosed under their rind; whereas Peaches have in stead thereof, a grosse stone or woodie substance within the carnous pulpe of the fruit. To conclude, there be certaine Peares weighing a pound, in regard of which poise and bignesse that they beare, called they are Libralia.
Of the Peach, and foure kinds thereof.
Of all Peaches, the principall be those which are named Duracina, for the solide substance of the meat within them. As for the French and Asiaticke Peaches, they beare the name of the regions and nations from which they come. This fruit ordinarily waxeth ripe after the fall of the leafe, or Autumne: but the Abricots are readie to be eaten in Summer.31 These have not been knowne full thirtie yeares, and at their first comming up, were sold for Romane deniers apeece: whereof there be two sorts; Supernatia, which we have from the high countries, and namely the Sabines; and Popularia, which grow common every where.32 These fruits bee harmlesse, and much desired of sicke folke: and for that they are in such request, there would be given otherwhiles thirtie Sesterces for one of them; which is a price as high as of any other fruit whatsoever: whereat we may marvell the rather, for that there is not any sooner gone, and lasteth lesse while than they: for being once gathered from the tree, they will not be kept above two daies at the most, and therefore must of necessitie be sold and spent out of hand.
Of the Plum-tree, eleven kinds of them.
To come now to Plums,33 there is a world of them: some of sundrie colours, others blacke, and some againe white. There be that are called Hordearia, because they be ripe in barley-harvest: and some there be of the same colour, yet later ere they ripen, and bigger besides; and for that they be of small reckoning, named they are Asinina [i. ** Asse-plums.] Ye shall have of them that be black, howbeit the yellow wheat-plum like virgin wax, and the purple, are better esteemed. Moreover, there are a kind of Abricots come from a forraine nation, and they be called thereupon Armeniaca,34 which alone for their smell also, are commendable. But there is a peculiar braverie and a shamelesse, which those Plums have by themselves that are graffed in Nut-tree stocks; they retaine the face and forme still of the mother graffe, but they get the tast of the stocke wherein they are set, as it were by way of adoption: of them both they carrie the name, and are called Nut-plums. Now, as well these, as Peaches, yellow wheat-plums, and the wild Bullaise, may be kept and preserved as grapes in Autumne, within certaine barrels or earthen vessels, and so they will continue good till new come. As for all other Plums, as they be soon ripe, so they are as soone gone.
It is not long since, that in the realme of Granado and Andalusia, they began to graffe plums upon apple-tree stocks, and those brought forth Plums named Apple-plums: as also others called Almond-plums, graffed upon Almond stocks; these have within their stone a kernell like an Almond: and verily there is not a fruit againe wherein is seene a wittier devise to conjoyne and represent in one and the same subject, two divers sorts.
As for Damascene-plums (taking name of Damasco in Syria) wee have sufficiently spoken thereof in our treatise of straunge trees,35 and yet long since they have been knowne to grow in Italy: which although they have a large stone and little carnositie about them, yet they never wither into wrinkles and rivels when they be drie, for that they want the full strength of the kind of sunne which they had in Syria.
We should do well to write togither with them, of the fruit Sebesten,36 which also come from the same Syria, albeit now of late they begin to grow at Rome, beeing graffed upon Sorvices. As touching Peaches in generall, the very name in Latine, whereby they are called Persica, doth evidently shew that they were brought out of Persis first; and that it is a fruit not ordinarie either in Greece or Natolia, but a meere straunger there. Contrariwise wild plums (as it is well known) grow every where. I marvell therefore so much the more, that Cato made no mention thereof, considering that of purpose he shewed the manner, how to preserve and keepe divers wild fruits, untill new came: for long it was first ere Peach trees came into these parts, and much adoe there was before they could be brought for to prosper with us, seeing that in the Iland Rhodes (which was their place of habitation next to Ægypt) they beare not at all, but are altogither barraine. And whereas it is said, That Peaches be venimous in Pesia, and do cause great torments in them who doe eat thereof; as also that the KK. of Persia in old time caused them to be transported over into Ægypt by way of revenge to plague that country; and notwithstanding their poisonous nature, yet through the goodnes of that soile they became good and holesome: all this is nothing but a meere fable and a lowd lie.37 True it is indeed, that the best writers who have been painfull above others to search out the truth, have reported so much concerning the tree persea; which is far different from the Peach tree Persica, & beareth fruit like unto Sebesten, of colour red, and willingly would not grow in any countrey with out the East parts.38 And yet the wiser and more learned Clarkes do hold, That it was not the tree Persea which was brought out of Persis into Ægypt, for to annoy and plague the countrey, but that it was planted first by king Perseus at Memphis. Whereupon it came, that Alexander the Great ordained, That all victors who had woon the prize at any game there, should be crowned with a chaplet of that tree, to honour the memoriall of his great grandsires father. But how ever it be, certain it is that this tree continueth green all the yeare long, and beareth evermore fruit one under another, new and old togither. And to returne againe to our Plum-trees, evident it is that in Catoes time they were not knowne in Italie, but all the Plum-trees which we now have, are come since he died.
Of nine and twentie kinds of Fruits, contained under the names of Apples.
Of Apples (that is to say, of fruits that have tender skins to be pared off)39 there be many sorts. For as touching Pome-citrons, together with their tree, we have alreadie written.40
The Greekes call them Medica, according to the name of the countrey from whence they first came in old time. As for Iujubes, as also the fruit Tuberes,41 they be likewise straungers as well as the rest: and long it is not since they arrived first in Italie; the one sort out of Affricke; the other (namely Iujubes) out of Syria. And Sextus Papinius (whome my selfe in my time saw Consull of Rome) was the first man that brought them both into these parts; namely, in the latter end of Augustus Cæsar the Emperour, and planted them about the rampiers of his camp for to beautifie the same: howbeit (to say a truth) their fruit resembled rather berries than apples; yet they make a goodly shew upon the rampiers: and no marveile, since that now adaies whole groves of trees begin to over-top and surmount the houses of privat persons.
Concerning the fruit Tuberes, there be two sorts thereof, to wit, the white, and the reddish, called also Sericum, of the colour of silke.42
The apples named Lanata, are held in manner for strangers in Italie, and are known to grow but in one place thereof, and namely within the territorie of Verona.43 Covered they be all over with a kind of down or fine cotton, which albeit both Quince44 and Peach be clad and overgrown within in great plentie, yet these alone carie the name thereof: for otherwise no speciall propertie are they knowne by, to commend them.
A number of apples there are besides that have immortalized their first founders and inventors, who brought them into name, & caused them to be known abroad in the world; as if therin they had performed some worthy deed beneficiall unto all mankind. In which regard, why should I thinke much to rehearse and reckon them up particularly by name? for if I be not much deceived, thereby will appeare the singular wit that some men emploied in graffing trees; and how there is not so small a matter, so it be well & cunningly done, but it is able to get honor to the first author, yea and to eternize his name for ever. From hence it commeth, that our best apples take their denominations, of Matius, Cestius, Manlius, and Claudius.45 As for the Quince-apples (which come of a Quince graffed upon an apple stocke) they are called Appiana, of one Appius who was of the Claudian house, and first devised and practised that feat. These apples carrie the smell with them of Quinces: they beare in quantitie the bignesse of the Claudian46 apples, and are of colour red. Now least any man should thinke, that this fruit came into credit by reason onely of partiall favour, for that the first inventor was a man descended from so auncient and noble a familie, let him but thinke of the apples Sceptiana, which are in as great request as they, for their passing roundnesse; and they bear the name of one Sceptius their first inventor, who was no better than the son of a slave lately enfranchised. Cato maketh mention of apples called Quiriana,47 as also of Scantiana, which he saith the manner is to put up in vessels, and so to keepe them. But of all others, the last that were adopted and tooke name of their patrons and inventors, be Pertisia: little though they be, yet are they passing sweet and pleasant to be eaten.
Other apple there are that have ennobled the countries from whence they came, and caried their names, to wit, Camerina48 and Græcula. All the rest tooke name, either upon some occasion or propertie that they have: to wit of brotherhood, as the twin-apples Gemella, which hang one to another by couples, and never are found single, but alwaies grow double: of their colour, as the Serica,49 which for their fresh hew be so called: of kinred and affinitie, as the Melapia, for their resemblance and participation of apples and Peares togither; as a man would say, Peare-apples, or Pom-poires: of their hastie ripenesse, as the Mustea, [i. hastie-apples;] which now of their sweet tast of hony, are called Melimela, [i. hony-apples:] also of their exquisite roundnesse, like a ball, as the Orbiculata, [i. the round-apples.] That these apples came first from their native countrey Epirus, appeareth by the Greeks who call them Epirotica. Againe, some there be that take their denomination of their forme, resembling womens paps or breasts, as namely, Orthomastica, [i. the Brest-apples.] Others, for that their condition is to have no pepins or seed within them, be called of the Belgians, Spadoma,50 as one would say, Guelded-apples. As for the Melofolia, [i. the Leafe-apples] they be so called because they have one leaf and otherwhile twaine breaking foorth of their side in the very mids. The ragged apples Pannucea take this name, for that of all others they soonest be riveld. The Puffes named Pulmonea, are hoven foolishly, and swell I cannot tell how, with little or nothing in them. Some in colour resemble bloud, they are so red, because at first they were graffed upon a mulberry. But all apples ordinarily are red on that side that regardeth the sunne.
As for Wildings and Crabs, little they be all the sort of them, in comparison: their tast is well enough liked, and they carie with them a quicke and sharp smell: howbeit this gift they have for their harsh sournesse, that they have many a foule word and shrewd curse given them, and that they are able to dull the edge of any knife that shall cut them. To conclude, the Dacian Apples51 are of all others in manner least accepted, notwithstanding they be first mellow, and would bee gathered betimes.
Of Peares. And of the varietie of graffing.
Upon the same cause there be Peares also reproched with the name of Pride, and called the Proud-peares: little they are, but quickly ripe, and as soone gone. Of all others the Crustumine pears be most delicate and pleasant in tast. Next to them in request are the Falerne peares, so called for their great abundance of liquor, as it were wine, whereof they are full. And these are named likewise the milke-peares: but such of them as are of colour blacke, be called the Syrian-peares. As for other peares, they have sundrie names according to the countries wherein they grow. Howbeit these peares following, retaine their name still in all places, and represent alwaies the memoriall of those that first planted or graffed them, to wit, Decimiana of one Decimus, a knowne citizen of Rome: of which is also a bastard kind which they call Pseudodecimiana. Likewise, the Dolobellian peare, of one Dolabelle: and those are of all other the longest tailed. As touching the Pompeiian peares, which be also called the Pap or Teat-peares, the Licerian, the Severian, and of their race the Tyrannian, they differ one from another in the length of their steale. The red Favonian peares be somewhat greater than the abovenamed Proud-pears. As for the Laterian and Anitian, which be not gathered nor ripe untill Autumne be past, they have a pretie tart and sourish tast, but nathelesse pleasant ynough. The Tyberian peares beare the name of Tiberius the Emperour, for that of all others he loved that fruit best: they might goe for Licerians well ynough, so like they be unto them, save onely that they grow big, and are more deepely coloured with the Sunne.
Moreover, there be peares which are known by no other name than of the countries where they grow, namely, those of Ameria which are more lateward than any other: the Picentine, Numantine, Alexandrine Numidian, Grecian, and among them the Tarentine. Also the Signine pears, which many call Testacea, of the colour of earthen pots which they resemble; like as others be named Onychinum, for that they represent the Onyx stone, or a mans naile; as also those which be called Purple peares.52
Furthermore, peares take their name of the odour which they yeeld: thus there be Myrapia, to wit, Aromaticall-peares, Laurell, and Nard-peares. Of the time also when they be ripe, as the Barley-peares: of the forme of their neck, as the Bottle peares called Ampullacea: of their thick skin, as the Coriolana. As for the Gourd-peares, they are by nature of a brutish and savage kind; so harsh, so soure and eager a liquor they doe yeeld.
Many sorts of peares there are, whereof we can give no certaine reason for their denomiations, namely, the Barbarian and Venerian peares, which also be called Coloures: likewise, the roiall peares, which hang or rather sticke flat to the tree, so short a steele they have. The Patritian also and Voconian peares, which are both greene and long. Moreover, Virgil hath spoken of the Volemian peares or wardens, which he had from Cato, who also nameth the Sementine53 or the hastie and soone ripe peares. So as in this point verily the world is growne alreadie to the highest pitch, insomuch, as there is not a fruit, but men have made triall and many experiments, for even in Virgils daies the devise of graffing strange fruits, was very rife: considering that he speaketh of the Arbute tree graffed upon Nut-trees, the Plane upon Apple trees, and the Elme upon Cherrie stockes. In such sort, as I see not how men can devise to proceed farther. And certes for this long time, there hath not been a new kind of Apple or other fruit heard of.54
And yet as industrious as men have been that way, they are not permitted to graffe all manner of trees indifferently one in another, no more than it is lawfull to graffe upon bushes and thornes: seeing that it is not so easie a matter to appease lightnings: for looke how many sorts of trees are thus engraffed contrarie to nature, so many kinds of lightnings and thunderbolts by report, are flashed and shot at once.55
Peares naturally are more sharpe-pointed at one end than Apples. And among them, the Greeke peares, the Gourd56 and Lawrell peares are last of all others ripe: for they hang upon the tree untill Winter, and they mellow with very frost: like as the Amerine and Scantiane apples.57
Furthermore, peares are kept and preserved as grapes, and after so many waies: but none of them are put in barrels as plums be. Finally, Peares and Apples both, have the properties of wine:58 and in like sort Physicians be warie how they give them to their patients. Howbeit, when they be sodden in wine and water, they serve in stead of a broth or grewell: and so doe no fruit else but Pome and Peare-Quinces.
The manner how to preserve Apples.
The generall rules to keepe and preserve Apples, are these. Imprimis, That the solars59 be well planked and boorded in a cold and drie place; provided alwaies, that the windowes to the North doe standopen, especially every faire day. Item, to keepe the windows into the South shut, against the winds out of that corner: and yet the North winds also where they blow, do cause Apples to shrinke and rivell ilfavouredly. Item, That Apples bee gathered after the Æquinox in the Autumne: and neither before the full of the Moone, nor the first houre of the day. Moreover, that all the Apples which fell, be severed from the other by themselves, and laid apart: also that they be bedded upon straw, mats, or chaffe under them: that they be so couched, as that they touch not one another, but have spaces betweene to receive equall aire for to be vented. To conclude, this is well knowne, that the Amerine Apples do last and keepe good long, wheras the honie Apples will abide no time.
How to keepe Quinces, Pome-granates, Peares, Sorvises, and Grapes.
For the good keeping and preserving of Quinces, there must be no aire let into them when they are enclosed: or els they ought to be confected in sodden honey, or boiled therein.
Pomgranates should be plunged into sea-water boiling, and so hardened therein: and after that they be dried in the Sunne three daies, (so as they be not left abroad in the night to take dew) they would be hanged up in a solar, and when a man list to use them, then they must be well washed in fresh water.60 M. Varro setteth downe the manner to keepe them within great earthen vessels, in sand.61 And if they be not ripe, he would have the earthen pots bottomes broken off, and so the Pomgranates to be put in, and covered all over with mould: but the mouth thereof must be well stopped for letting any aire in; provided alwaies, that the steele and the braunch whereto the fruit groweth, be pitched. For so (quoth he) they will not give over to grow stilll, yea, & prove bigger than if they had remained upon the tree. As for other Pomgranates [i. that are ripe] they may be wrapped and lapped one by one in fig-leaves, such as are not fallen, but plucked from off the tree greene, and then to bee put into twigge paniers of oisiers, or els daubed over with potters clay.
He that would keepe Peares long, must put them in earthen vessels turned with the bottomes upward, well varnished or annealed within, covered also with saw dust or fine shavings, and so enterred.62 As for the Tarentine Pears, they abide longest on the tree ere they be gathered. The Anitian Peares be well preserved in cuit-wine.
As for Sorvisses, they are kept also in trenches in the ground, but the cover of the vessell whereinto they are put, ought to be well plastered over, and so to stand two foot covered with earth: also they may be set in a place exposed open to the Sunne, with the bottome of the vessels upward: yea, and withing great barrels they may be hung up with their braunches and all, after the manner of grape-clusters.
Some of our moderne writers63 handle this argument more deepely than others, and fetch the matter farre off, giving out rules in this manner, saying, That for to have Apples or Grapes de garde, that is to say, fit to be preserved, and to last long, the trees that beare the one and the other, ought to be pruned and cut betimes, in the waine of the Moone, in faire weather, and when the winds blow drie. Likewise they affirme, That fruits to be preserved, would be chosen from drie grounds: gathered before they be full ripe: and this would be looked unto in any hand, that the Moone at the gathering time, be under the earth, and not appearing in our hemisphære. And more particularly, for Grape bunches they would be gathered with a foot or heele from the old hard wood, and the Grapes that are corrupt and rotten among the rest, be clipped off with a paire of sheeres, or plucked out with pincers: then to be hung up within a great new earthen vessell well pitched; with the head or lid thereof throughly stopped and plastered up close, to exclude all aire. After which manner, they say Sorvisses and Peares may be kept, but so, as in any case the twigs and steeles whereby they hang, be well besmeared with pitch. Moreover, order would be given, that the barrels or vessels wherein they are kept, be far ynough from water. Some againe there be who keepe Grapes together with their braunch, after the same manner in plaster: but so, as both ends of the said braunch sticke in the head of the sea-Onion Squilla: and others let Grape-clusters hang within hogsheads and pipes having wine in them: but so, as the Grapes touch not the wine in any case. There be also that put Apples and such fruits in shallow pans or pancheons of earth,64 and let them swim and flote aloft upon the wine within their vessels: for besides that this is a way to preserve them, the wine also (as they thinke) will thereby get a pleasant and odoriferous tast. Others yee have besides, that chuse rather to preserve all these fruits, as well Apples, Peares, &c. as Grapes, covered in Millet seed.65 Howbeit, the most part dig a trench or ditch two foot deep in the ground, they floore it with sand in the bottome, & lay their fruits therupon; then they stop the top with an earthen lid, and afterwards cover all with earth. Some there are which smeare their bunches of Grapes all over with potters clay, and when they are dried in the Sunne, hang them up in solars for their use: and against the time that they should occupie them, steepe them in the water, and so wash off the foresaid clay. But for to keepe Apples that are of any worth, they temper the same clay with wine, and make a morter thereof, wherein the lap the said Apples. Now if those Apples be of the best kind and right soveraigne, after the same sort they cover them with a crust of the like past or morter, or else clad them within a coat of waxe: and if they were not fully ripe before, they grow by that meanes, and breake their crust or cover whatever it be. But this would not be forgotten, that they use alwaies to set the Apple or fruit upright upon the taile, howsoever they be kept. Some there are who gather Apples and such like fruit with their slips & sprigs, hide them within the pith of an Elder tree, and then cover them in earth, as is before written. And others there are, who for every Peare or Apple, have a severall earthen pot, and after that their lids be well closed and stopped with pitch, then they enclose them againe with great vessels or tuns. Nay, ye shall have some to lap them with stockes and wooll, and so put them in cases, and them they see well luted with morter made of clay and chaffe tempered together. Some order them in the same sort, but they put them in earthen pans: and others make no more adoe, but dig an hole in the ground, floore the bottome with a course of sand, put the Apples or fruit within, and then anone when they are thus buried, cover all with mould. There be that use Quinces in this wise; they take them, annoint them with waxe comming out of Pontus, and suffer them afterwards to lie covered in honie.
Columella mine author reporteth, That fruits will keepe well in earthen pots throughly pitched, and afterwards set in pits, and drenched in cesternes of water. In the maritime coasts of Liguria next to the Alpes, they use to take Grapes after they are dried in the Sun, and wrap them within bands of rushes and reeds, put them up in little barrels, and stop them close with plaster. The Greekes have the same fashion: but they take for that purpose, the leaves of the Plane-tree, of the vine it selfe, or else the fg-tree, after they be dried one day in the shade: and when they be in th barrell, betweene every bed of grape clusters, they couch a course of grape kernels, and such refuse remaining after the presse. And in this manner are the grapes of Coos and Berytus preserved: and for sweetnesse and pleasant tast, there are no better to be found. And some there be, that for to counterfeit these excellent Grapes, besmeare them with lie ashes so soone as ever they be pulled from the Vine, and presently drie them in the Sunne: which done, they enwrap them within leaves, as hath been said before, and so couch them close within the cake of pressed grapes. Neverthelesse, there be divers that chuse rather to keepe Grapes in the saw dust or shavings of Firre wood, Poplar, or Ash. Some are afraid to let Grapes hang neare to Apples, Pomegranates, and such like fruit, and therefore give in charge to let them presently after they bee gathered, for to bee hung up in garners or bourded lofts: supposing that the dust which they gather from above, is the best cover to defend and preserve them. The remedie to keepe Wespes from them, is to spurt or squirt oile out of a mans mouth upon them.66 And thus much concerning the way to preserve Grapes and other fruits aforesaid. As for Dates, we have spoken sufficiently before, of them.67
Of Figs, 29 sorts of them.
Of all other fruits which have tender pils or skins, and are called in Latine, Poma, Figs are the biggest:68 for some of them are found to be as great as Peares. As touching the Sycomor of Ægypt and Cypres, and of their admirable fruit, we have written ynough in the treatise of forraine Trees.69 The Idæan Figs that come from the mountaine Ida, are of colour red, of the bignesse of Olives, onely rounder they be, & in tast resemble Medlars. In the region about Troas neare unto the said hill Ida, they call that fig-tree Alexandrina. It is as thicke as a mans arme about at the cubite or elbow, and full of braunches: the wood thereof is tough and strong, howbeit, pliable to wind and bend which way a man would have it. Void of milkie substance it is, clad with a greene barke, bearing leaves like the Tillet or Linden tree, but that they be soft. Onesicritus writeth, that the Fig-trees in Hycania beare more pleasant fruit than ours in Italie, without all comparison: also that they carie a greater burden, and be farre more plentifull, insomuch, as one of them doth ordinarily yeeld 270 Modij of Figs. We have here also in Italie many Fig-trees brought out of other forraine countries, to wit, from Chalcis and Chios: whereof there be many sorts. For both our Lydian Figs which are of a reddish purple colour, and also the Mamillane or teat-Figs, have a resemblance of the said Chalcidian and Chian figs, yea, and the Callistruthion Figs beyond others not a little, in goodnesse of tast: and these of all the rest are the coldest. For as touching the Affricane Figs, which many men prefer before all others, they hold the name of Affricke, as if it were their native countrey: and yet there is a great question thereabout, and I wot not well what to say thereof, considering that it is not long agoe that Affricke begun first to have Fig-trees. For the Alexandrine Figs are of the blacke kind, having a white rift or chamfre, and are surnamed Delicate. The Rhodian Fig is likewise blacke of hue: and so is the Tiburtine, which also is of the hastie kind, and ripe before others.
Moreover, there be certaine Figges which beare the names of those that brought them first into Italie: namely, the Livian and Pompeian, and such are fittest to bee dried in the Sunne, and so to be kept all the yeare long for a mans use: like as the illfavoured, foolish, and gaping Figges Mariscae:70 as also those that are speckled with spots like the leaves of the Laconian reeds.
There are besides the Herculanean, Albicerate, and Aratian white Figs, which of all other are most flat and broadest, and withall have the least taile or steee whereby they hang. The Porphyrite Figs first shew upon the tree, and ordinarily are longest tailed. The smallest Figs called the popular Figs, which also are of all others the basest and of least account, come next after and beare the Porphyrites companie. Contrariwise, the Chelidonian Figges be the last: and ripen against Winter.
Moreover, certaine Figs there be which are both early, and also lateward: namely, such as bear twice a yeare: and be both blacke and white: for they are ripe first in harvest, and afterwards, in time of vintage. Late also it is before the Duracinæ be ripe, so called of the hard skin which they have.71 Also some there be of the Chalcidian kind which beare thrice a yeare. At Tarentum there grow none but such as are exceeding sweet, and those they call Omas72 [or rather Oenadas, tasting of wine.]
Cato in his treatise of Figs writeth thus,73 The unsavorie Fig dotes, Mariscae, would be sowne in an open, light, and chalkie ground. But the Affricane, Herculane, and the Winter Saguntine Figges, as also the Telliane74 (which are blacke and long tailed) love a fatter soile, or else well dunged.
After this, Figges have chaunged into so many kinds, and altered their names very often: in such sort, that by this point it is evident, how the world is altered, and to what varietie this life is subject. In some provinces, as namely in Moesia, there be winter Figs that hang all Winter long: but they come to be such, more by art and cunning, than naturally of themselves. For so soone as Autumne is passed, and Winter approacheth, they use to cover with dung certaine little fig-trees which they have, and together with them the greene yong Figs which they find upon them in Winter: and when they have continued so the sharpe time of dead Winter, so soone as the weather beginneth to be more warme and temperate, they discharge both fruit and tree of their dung: which being thus let out againe (as it were) where they seemed buried, and now comming to light; they no sooner find the fresh aire, and another kind of nourishment differing from that, whereby they lived, but doe embrace and receive the comfort of the new Sunne most greedily, as if they were new born and revived: in such sort, as that in Moesia, notwithtanding it be a most cold region, ye shall have the figs of these trees to ripen when others begin to blossome: and by this meanes become early and hastie figs in another yeare.
Now for as much as we are fallen to mention the figs in Affricke, which were in so great request in the time of Cato, I am put in mind to speake soemwhat of that notable opportunitie and occasion, which by the meanes of that fruit he tooke for to root out the Carthaginians, and rase their very citie. For as he was a man who hated deadly that citie, & was otherwise carefull to provide for the quiet and securitie of his posteritie, he gave not over at every sitting of the Senate, to importune the Senators of Rome, and to crie out in their eares, That they would resolve and take order to destroy Carthage. And in very truth, one day above the rest, he brought with him into the Senate house an early or hastie fig which came out of that countrey: and shewing it before all the lords of the Senate, I would demaund of you (quoth he) how long agoe it is (as you think) since this figge was gathered from the tree? And when none of them could denie but that it was fresh and new gotten. Lo (quoth he) my maisters all, this I doe you to weet, It is not yet full three daies past, since this figge was gathered at Carthage: see how neare to the wals of our cittie, wee have a mortall enemie.75 Upon which remonstrance of his, presently they concluded to begin the third and last Punicke warre, wherein Carthage was utterly subverted and overthrowne. Howbeit, Cato survived not the rasing and saccage of Carthage, for he died the yeare immediatly following this resolution. But what shall we say of this man? whether was more admirable in this act, his provident care and promptnesse of spirit; or the occasion presented by the suddaine object of the fig? was the present resolution and forward expedition of the Senate, or the vehement earnestnesse of Cato, more effectuall to this enterprise? Certes, somewhat there is above all, and nothing in mine opinion more wonderfull, that so great a signorie and state as Carthage, which had contended for the Empire of the world for the space of a hundred and twentie years, & that, with the great conquerors of the Romanes, should thus be ruined and brought to nought, by occasion of one fig. A desseigne, that neither the fields lost at Trebia and Thrasymenus, nor the disgrace received at the battell of Canna, wherein so many brave Romanes lost their lives and left their dead bodies on the ground to be enterred,76 could never effect: nay not the disdain that they tooke to see the Carthaginians encamped and fortified within three miles of Rome, ne yet the bravadoes of Anniball in peson riding before the gate Collina, even to dare them, could ever bring to passe.77 See how Cato by the meanes of one poore fig, prevailed to bring and present the forces of Rome to the very wals of Carthage.
There is a fig-tree called Navia, honoured with great reverence, in the common Forum and publicke place of justice at Rome,78 even where the solemne assemblies are held for elections of magistrates neare to the Curia, under the old shops called Veteres: as if the gods had consecrated it for that purpose: neare (I say) it is to the Tribunall named Puteal Libonis, & planted there by Actius Navius the Augur, where the sacred reliques of his miracle, to wit, the Rasour and the Whetstone, were solemnely enterred: as if it came of the owne accord from the said Curia into the Comitium, and had not been set by Navius. This tree if it begin at any time to wither, there is another replanted by the Priests, who that way are very carefull & ceremonious. But a greater respect there is had of another in remembrance of the first fig-tree named Ruminalis (as it were ) the nource of Romulus & Remus, the two young prince fondlings, and founders also of the citie of Rome: for that under it was found a shee Wolfe giving to those little babes the teat (which in Latine they called Rumen:) and for a memoriall hereof there is a monument of Brasse erected neare unto it, representing that straunge and wonderfull storie. There grew also a third fig-tree before the temple of Saturne, which in the yeare 26079 after the foundation of the citie of Rome, was taken away: at what time as a chappell was built there by the Vestal nuns, and an expiatorie sacrifice offered, for that it overthrew the image of Sylvanus. There is a tree of the same kind yet living, which came to grow of it selfe, no man knoweth how, in the middest of the Forum Romanum, and that in the very place where was the deepe chinke and gaping of the ground, that menaced the ruine of the Romane Empire, which fatall and portentious gulfe, the renowned knight Curtius filled up with the best things that were to be found in the citie, to wit, his Vertue & Pietie incomparable, testified by a most brave and glorious death.80 In the very same place likewise there is an Olive and a Vine, which came thither by as meere a chaunce, but afterwards well looked and trimmed by the whole people for to enjoy of the shade thereof. And there also stood an altar, which afterwards was taken away by occasion of the solemne shew of sword-fencers, which Iulius Cæsar late Emperour, exhibited to doe the people pleasure, which were the last that plaied their prices and fought at the sharpe in the said Forum.81 To conclude, wonderfull it is to see, how the fruit of this tree maketh hast to ripe: a man would say that Nature therein sheweth all her skill and force to ripen figs all together at once.
Of the wild Fig-trees: and of caprification.
There is a kind of wild fig trees, which the Latines call Caprificus, that never bringeth any fruit to maturitie: but that which it selfe hath not, it procureth to others, and causeth them to ripen. For such is the interchangeable course & passage of causes in Nature, that as this thing putrifieth, that engendreth; and the corruption of one is the generation of another. By this it comes to passe, that the wild fig-tree breedeth certaine flies or gnats within the fruit thereof: which wanting nourishment, and not having to feed upon in those figs, because they become rotten and putrified as they hang upon the tree, they flie unto the other kind of gentle and tame fig-trees, where they settle upon the figs, and greedily nibble thereupon, untill they have made way, and pierced unto them; and by that means let in at first the breath of the warme Sunne, and that comfortable and vegetative aire besides, that helpeth to ripen them. Soone after they sucke up and spend the milkie humor which they find there, and which keepeth the figs still as it were in their infancie, and hindereth their speedie and timely maturitie. True it is, that the figs in time would ripen of themselves by the power and benefite of Nature onely: howbeit, skilfull and industrious husbandmen take order alwaies to set these wild fig-trees near to the place where other fig-trees grow, but with due regard of the wind wide, that when the foresaid gnats breake forth and are readie to flie out, a blast of wind might carie them to the other. And hereupon came the devise and invention to bring whole swarmes and casts of them as they hang one to another, from other places, that they might settle upon the figs to consume the raw moisture within. Now, if the soile be leane and hungrie, and the fig-trees growing thereupon exposed to the North wind, there is no such need of this help: for the figs will drie sufficiently of themselves, by reason as well of the situation of the place, aas the clifts & rifts in them, which will effect that which the gnats or flies abovenamed might performe. The like effect is to be seene also where much dust is, namely, if a fig-tree grow neare unto an hihgh way, much frequented and travelled by passengers. For the nature of dust is to drie and soke up the superfluous moisture of the milke within figges. And therefore when they are thus dried, whether it be by the meanes of dust, or of the said flies feeding, which is called Caprification, they fall not from the tree so easily: by reason they are discharged of that liquid substance, which maketh them both tender and also ponderous, weightie, and brittle withall.
All figges ordinarily are tender and soft in handling. Those which be ripe, have small graines within them: their succulent substance besides, when they begin to ripen, is white like milke: but when they are perfectly ripe, it is of the colour of honie. They will hang upon the tree untill they be old: and when they are aged, they yeeld a certain liquor which distilleth from them in manner of a gum, and then in the end become drie.
The better sort of figges have this honour and priviledge, to be kept in boxes and cases for the purpose: and principally those that come for the Isle Ebusus, which of all others are the very best and largest: yea, and next to them those that grow in the Marrucines countrey.82 But where they are in more plentie, they put them up in great vessels called Orcæ,83 as namely in Asia: also in barrels and pipes, as at Ruspina a citie in Barbarie. And in very truth, the people of those countries make that use of them when they be drie, that they serve both for bread and meat.84 For Cato setting downe an order for diet and victual fit and sufficient for labourers, ordained, that they should be cut short of their other pittance, when figs are ripe, and make up their full meales with it.85 And it is not long since the manner came up, to eat fresh new figges with salt and poudered meats, in stead of cheese. And for to be eaten in this sort, the figges called Coctana, (wherof we have written before86) and the dried figs Caricæ are commended: as also the Cauneæ, which when M. Crassus should embarke, in that expedition against the Parthians (wherein hee was slaine) presaged ill fortune, and warned him not to go forward: namely, when at the very instant that he was readie to set foot a shipbourd, there was a fellow heard to crie those figs for to be sold, pronouncing alowd, Cauneas, Cauneas; which word in short speaking was all one with Cave ne eas, [i. Beware of this voiage, and goe it not.]87 All these sorts of figs, L. Vitellius brought out of Syria, unto his ferme or manour that he had neare Alba, having been L. governour or Lieutenant generall in those parts, namely, in the latter end of Tyberius Cæsar the Emperour: and the same Vitellius was afterward Censor at Rome.
Of Medlars: three kinds of them.
Medlars and Services, may well and truly be raunged in the ranke of Apples and Peares. Medlars be of three sorts; namely, Anthedon, and Serania, and the third which they call Gallicum, [i. the French medlar] which is of a bastard nature, yet it resembleth the Anthedon, rather than the other. As for the Seranian medlar, the fruit is greater and whiter than the rest; also the kernels or stones within are of a more soft substance, and not altogither so woodie and hard. The rest are smaller than these Setania or common Medlars, but they have a better smell and more odoriferous, and withall will last longer. The tree it selfe that beareth Medlars, is reckoned among the greatest sort: the leaves before they fall wax red: the roots be man in number, and run downe right deepe into the ground; by which means, unneth or very hardly, they be quite rooted up. This tree was not known in Italie by Catoes daies.88
Of Services, foure kinds.
Of Services there be foure sundry sorts, differing one from the other: for some of them are round like apples; others pointed at one end as Peares; a third kind are fashioned like egs, as some long or tankard apples: and these are apt to be soone soure. For sweet sent and pleasant tast, the round excell all others: the rest have a rellish of wine. The best kind of them are they that have soft and tender leaves about their steles whereby they hang. The fourth sort they call Torminale, allowed onely for the remedie that they affourd to mitigate the torments and wringing of the cholique. This tree is never without fruit, howbeit the smallest of all the rest, and differeth from the other, for it beareth leaves very like to the Plane. There are none of them that beare fruit before they be three yeares old. Lastly, Cato would have Servises to be preserved and condite in Cuit.89
Of the Walnut.
The next place to these for bignesse, the Walnuts do challenge, which they cannot claime for their credit and authoritie; & yet they are in some request among other licentious and wanton Fescennine ceremonies, at weddings:90 for lesse they be than Pine-nuts, if a man consider the grossenesse of the bodie outwardly; but in proportion therto they have a much bigger kernell within. Moreover, Nature hath much graced and honoured these nuts with a peculiar gift that she hath endued them with, namely, a double robe wherewith they are clad: the first, is a tender and soft huske; the next, a hard and woodie shell: which is the cause, that at marriages they serve for religious ceremonies, resembling the manifold tunicles and membranes wherein the infant is lapped and enfolded within the wombe: and this reason soundeth more probable, than that they should be scattered because in their fall they rebound and make a ratling [to drowne (forsooth) all other noises from the bride-bed or chamber.] That these Nuts also were brought out of Persis first by commaundement of the Kings, is evident by their Greeke names; for the best kind of them, they call Persicon, and Basilicon; as one would say, the Persian and Roiall nut: and these in deed were the first names. Afterwards, the nut came to be named Caryon, (by all mens confession) for the hevinesse of head which it causeth,91 by reason of the strong smell. Their outward huske serveth to die wooll, and the little nuts when they come new forth, are good to give the haire of the head a reddish or yellow colour: the experiment thereof was first found, by staining folkes hands as they handled them. The elder that nuts be and longer kept, the more oleous and fatter they are. The onely difference of the sundrie kinds, consisteth in the shell, for that of some it is tender and brittle, in others hard; in one sort it is thin, in another thicke: lastly, some have smooth and plaine shels, others againe be as full of holes and cranies.
Walnuts be the fruit alone that Nature hath enclosed with a cover parted in twaine, and so is joined and set togither; for the shell is divided and cleft just in the mids, and ech halfe resembleth a little boat. The kernell within is distinguished into foure parts, and betweene every one there runneth a membrane or skin of a woodie substance. As for other nuts, their meat is solide and compact, as we may see in Filberds and Hazels, which also are a kind of nut, and were called heretofore Abellinæ, of their native place, from whence came good ones first.92 They came out of Pontus into Natolia and Greece, and therefore they bee called Ponticke nuts. These Filberds likewise are covered with a soft bearded huske, and as well the shale as the kernell is round and solide, all of one entire peece. These nuts also are parched for to be eaten: and within their belly they have in the mids a little chit or spurt, as if it were a navill.
As for Almonds, they are of the nature of nuts, and are reckoned in a third ranke. An upper huske they have like as Walnuts, but it is thin: like as also a second coverture of a shell. The kernell differeth somewhat; for broader it is and flatter, and their skin more hard, more sharpe, and hoter in tast than that of other nuts. Now whether the Almond tree were in Itlaie during the life of Cato, there is some doubt and question made; because he nameth the Greeke nuts, which some doe hold for a kind of Walnut.93 Mention maketh he besides of the Hazle nuts or Filberds, as well the Galbæ, as the Prenestine, commended by him above all others, which he saith, are put up in pots and kept fresh and greene within the earth. Now adaies the Thasian and Albeusian94 nuts be in great account: and two sorts besides of the Tarentine; whereof the one hath a tender and brittle shell, the other as hard: and those are the biggest of all other, and nothing round. He speaeth also of the soft-shaled Filberds Molluscæ,95 the kernels whereof doe swell and cause their shells to cleave in sunder.
But to returne againe to our Walnuts: some to honour them, interpret their name Iuglandes, as a man would say, the nuts of Iupiter.96 It is not long, since I heard a knight of Rome (a gentleman of high calling and who had been Consull) professe and say, That he had certaine Walnut trees that bare twice a yeare. As for Fisticks, we have spoken alreadie of them.97 To conclude, these kind of nuts the above-named Vitellius brought first into Italy at the same time, namely, a little before the death of Tyberius the Emperour: and withall, Flaccus Pompeius a knight of Rome, who served in the warres togither with him, carried them over into Spaine.
Of Chestnuts, eight kinds.
Wee entitule Chestens also by the name of Nuts, although indeed they are more aptly to be called a kind of Mast.98 This fruit what ever it be, is enclosed within an huske, and the same defended and armed all over with a rampier and palaisade (as it were) of sharpe pricks like the skin of an Urchin; whereas the Acorne and other mast is but halfe covered, and that defence in them, is begun only. And certes, a wonderfull matter it is, that we set so little store by this fruit, which Nature is so carefull to hide and defend. Under one of these husks ye shall find sometime three Chestnuts, and those having certain tough pills or shells very pliable. But the skin or filme within, and which is next to the bodie or substance of the fruit, unlesse it bee pilled off and taken away, marreth the tast of it, like as it doth also in other nut-kernels. Chestnuts, if they be rosted, are better and more pleasant meat than otherwise.99 They use also to grind them to meale, and therof is made a kind of bread that poore women100 for hunger will eat. The first Chestnuts were knowne to grow about Sardis, and from thence were brought, & therefore the Greekes call them Sardian nuts: but afterwards they came to be named Διὸς Βάλανον,101 [i. Iupiters nuts] when as men began to graffe them; for thereby they became more excellent: and at this day there be many sorts of them. The Tarentine be gentle, and not hard of digestion, and in forme flat and plaine. That which they call Balanitis, is rounder, it will soone be pilled and cleansed, and of it selfe will leape out of the skin. And of this kind, the Salarian is more neat, flat, and smooth: the Tarentine not so easie to bee handled and dealt withall: the Corellian is more commended than the rest; as also the Meterane102, which commeth of it by graffing: the manner whereof wee will shew when wee come to treat of graffes. These have a red pilling, in which rgard they are preferre before either the there cornerred, or the blacke common ones, which be also called Coctivæ [i. Chestnuts to be boiled.] The best Chestnuts are they which grow about Tarentum, and Naples in Campaine. All the rest are good in manner for nothing but to feed swine: so close sticketh the pill or inner skin also, as if it were soudered to the kernell within, and so hard is it to separate the one from the other.
Of Carrobes: of fleshie and pulpous fruits: of Mulberies: of liquid kernels or graines, and of berries.
The fruit called Carobes or Caracts, may seeme to come neare unto the foresaid Chestnuts, (so passing sweet they be) but that their cods also are good to be eaten. They bee as long as a mans finger, and otherwhiles hooked like a faulcheon, and an inch in bredth. As for mast, it cannot be reckoned among fruit properly called Poma, and therefore we will speake of them apart, according to their nature.103
Now are we to treat of the rest which are of a carnous substance: and those are divided into fruits that be soft and pulpous, and into berries.104 The carnositie in Grapes and Raisons, in Mulberries, and the fruit of the Arbut tree, differeth one from the other. Again, the fleshie substance in Grapes between the skin and the liquid juice, is one, and that in Sebesten is another. Berries have a carnositie by themselves, as namely Olives. Mulberries yeeld a juice or liquor within the pulple thereof, resembling wine. They be ordinarily of three colours: at the beginning, white; soone after, red; and when they be ripe, blacke.105 The Mulberrie tree bloometh with the last, but the fruit ripeneth with the first. Mulberries when they be full ripe, staine a mans hands with the juice thereof, and make them blacke: but contrariwise being unripe, they scoure them cleane. There is not a tree againe, wherein the wit of man hath been so little inventive, either to devise names for them, or to graffe them, or otherwise, save only to make the fruit fair and great. There is a difference which we at Rome doe make, between the Mulberries of Ostia and Tusculum.
There is a kind of Mulberries growing upon the bramble, but their skin is much harder than the other.106 Like as the ground-strawberries differ in carnositie from the fruit of the Arbut tree, and yet it is held for a kind of Strawberrie, even as the tree it selfe is tearmed the Strawberry tree. And there is not a fruit of any other tree, that resembleth the fruit of an hearb growing by the ground, but it.
The Arbut tree it selfe spreadeth full of braunches: the fruit is a whole yeare in ripening: by which means a man shall find alwaies upon the tree, yong and old fruit togither one under another; & the new evermore thrusteth out the old. Whether it be the male or female that is barren, writers are not agreed. Surely the fruit is of base or no reckoning at all: no marveile therfore if the Latines gave it the name Unedo, for that one of them is enough to be eaten at once. And yet the Greeks have two names for it, to wit, Comarum and Memecylon: whereby it appeareth, that there be as many kinds among the Latines also, although it be tearmed by another name, Arbutus.107 K. Iuba saith, that these trees in Arabia grow to the heigth of fiftie cubits.
As touching Graines and liquid Kernels, there is great difference between them: for first and foremost, among very grapes, there is no small diversitie in the skin, either for tendernes or thicknesse: in the inner stones or pepins, which in some grapes are but single, or one alone, in others double, and those commonly yeeld not so mch wine as the others doe. Secondly, those of Ivie and Elder differ very much: yea and the graines within a Pomegranat are not like to others in their forme, for they alone be made cornered and angle-wise; and severall as they be, they have not a particular skin of their owne, but they are altogither clad within one, which is white: and yet they stand all wholly of a liquor and pulpous carnositie, especially those which have within them but a small stone or woodie kernell.
Semblably, there is as much varietie in berries: for Olives differ much from Bay berries: likewise those of the Lote tree are divers from those which the Cornel tree beareth. The Myrtle also differeth from the Lentiske in the very berrie. As for the hulver or holly berries, and the hawes of the white-thorne, they are without any juice or liquor: whereas Cherries bee of a middle kind, betweene berries and graines. This fruit is white at the first, as lightly all berries be whatsoever: but afterwards, some wax green, as Olives and Baies; others turn red, as Mulberries, Cherries, and Cornoiles; but in the end they all become blacke, as Mulberries, Cherries, and Olives.108
Of Cherries, eight kinds.
Before the time that L. Lucullus defeated K. Mithridates, there were no Cherrie-trees in Italie:109 but after that victorie (which was about110 the 680 yeare from the foundatin of the city of Rome) he was the man that first brought them out of Pontus, and furnished Italie so well with them, that within six and twentie yeares,111 other lands had part thereof, even as far as Britaine beyond the ocean. Howbeit (as we have before said112) they could never be brought to grow in Ægypt, for all the care and industrie emploied about them. Of Cherries, the reddest sort be called Apronia; the blackest, Actia:113 the Cæcilian be round withall. The Iulian Cherries have a pleasant tast, but they must bee taken new from the tree and presently eaten; for so tender they be otherwise, that they will not abide the carriage. Of all other, the Duracine Cherries be the soveraign, whch in Campaine are called Pliniana. But in Picardie, and those low countries of Belgica, they make most account of the Portugall Cherries: as they do likewise who inhabit upon the river Rhene. They have a hew with them composed of three colours, between red, black, and green, & alwaies looke as if they were in ripening still. It is not yet full five years since the Cherries which they call Laurea, were known: so called they be, because they were graffed upon a Bay-tree stocke, and thereof they take a kind of bitternesse, but yet not unpleasant to the tast. There be moreover Macedonian Cherries, growing upon a small tree seldom above three cubits high: and yet there be certain dwarfe Cherries not full so tall, called Chamæcerasti, [i. ground cherry-shrubs.] The Cherrie-tree is one of the first that yeeldeth fruit unto his master, in token of thankfulnesse & recognisance of his paines all the yeare long. It delighteth to grow in cold places and exposed to the North. The Cherrie will drie in the sunne, and may be kept in barrels like Olives.
Of the Corneile and Lentiske tree.
The same care is had in conditing the berries of the Corneil and the Lentiske, as in preserving Olives: so curious are men to content their tooth, as if all things were made to serve the belly. Thus we see, how things of divers rellishes are mingled togither, and one giveth a tast unto another, and causeth it to be pleasant at the tongues end. Nay we entermingle all climats and coasts of heaven and earth to satisfie our appetite: for to one kind of meat wee must have drugs & spices fetcht as far as from India: to another, out of Ægypt, Candie, and Cyrene: and in one word, for every dish wee have a severall land to find us sawce. To conclude, wee are growne to this passe, that wee cease not to sophisticate our viands, even with hurtfull things, so they tast well: yea and to make dishes of very ¶ poisons, because we would devoure and send all downe the throat. But more plainely hereof, in our professed discourse of the nature and vertue of Hearbs.
The diversitie of tasts and savors.
In the mean time, as touching those things which are common as well to all fruits, as juices and liquors: first and foremost we find of tasts thirteen severall kinds; to wit, sweet, pleasant, fattie, bitter, harsh and unpleasant, hot and burning at the tongues end, sharpe and biting, tart or astringent, sowre, and salt.114 Over and besides all these, there be three others of a most strange and wonderfull nature: The first is that, wherein a man may have a smacke of many tasts togither, as in wines: for in them a man shall find an harsh, sharpe, sweet, and pleasant rellish all at once; and yet these all differ from the native verdure of wine. A second sort there is besides, which carieth a straunge and different tast verily from the thing it selfe, and yet it hath besides the proper peculiar tast of the owne substance, as the Myrtle: for it carrieth a severall tast by it selfe, proceeding from a certain kind, mild, and gentle nature, which cannot truly be called either sweet, fattie, or pleasant, if we would speake precisely. Last of all, water hath no tast at all of any juice or liquor whatsoever, and yet therein is a flat tast by it selfe, which is called waterish, that nothing els besides hath: for if a man doe tast in water a rellish of any sap or liquor, it is reputed for a bad and naughtie water.
Furthermore, a great and principall matter of all these tasts, lyeth in the savour and smell; which is connaturall unto the tast, and hath a great affinitie with it: and yet in water, is neither one or other to be perceived: or if any be felt either by tongue or nose, it is faultie, that is certain. Finally, a wonderfull thing it is to consider, that the three principall Elements whereof the world is made, namely, Water, Aire, and fire, should have no tast, no savour, nor participation of any sap and liquor at all.115
The iuyce and sap of Fruits and Trees: their colours and odours: the nature of Apples, and such soft Fruits: and the singular commendation of all Fruits.
To begin withall, The Peare, the Mulberrie, and the Myrtle-berrie, have a juice or sap within them, resembling wine; ¶¶ no marveile then, of Grapes, if they have the like. Olives, Bayberries, Walnuts, and Almonds, have a fattie liquor in them. The Grape, the Fig, and the Date, carie a sweet juice with them. Plums have a waterish tast.
There is no small difference in the colour also that the juice of fruits doe beare: Mulberries, Cherries, and Corneils, have a sanguine and bloudie liquor: so have the blacke grapes; but that of the white grapes, is likewise white. The juice of Figs toward the head or necke of the fruit, is white like milke; but of another colour in all the bodie besides. In Apples, it is in manner of a froth or fome: in Peaches, of no colour; nd yet the Duracina of that kind, be full of liquor; but who was ever able to say, what colour it was of?
The odour and savour likewise of fruits, is as straunge and admirable: for the smell of Apples is sharpe and piercing; of Peaches, weake and waterish. As for sweet fruits, they have none at all: for verily we see, that sweet wines likewise have little or no smell, whereas the small and thin are more odoriferous: and all things in like manner of subtill substance, doe affect the nosthrils more, thann the thicke and grosser doe: for whatsoever is sweet in sent, not by and by pleasant and delicat in tast; for sent & smack are not alwaies of like sort: which is the reason that Pome-citrons have a most piercing and quicke savor, whereas in rellish they are rough and harsh: and so it fareth in some sort with Quinces. As for Figs, they have not any odor. And thus much may suffice in generall, for the sundry kinds and sorts of fruits which are to be eaten: it remaineth now to search more narrowly into their nature.
To begin then with those that are enclosed within cods or husks: ye shall have some of these cods to be sweet, and the fruit or seed contained within, bitter: and contrariwise, many of those graines or seeds are pleasant and toothsome enough; but eaten with the huskes, they bee starke naught and loathsome.
As touching berries, there be that have their stone or woodie substance within, and the fleshy pulpe without, as Olives, and Cherries: and there bee againe, that within the said woodie stone have the carnositie of the berry, as some fruits in Ægypt, whereof wee have alreadie written.116 As for berries carnous withoutforth, and pulpous fruits called Apples,117 they be of one nature. Some have their meat within, & their woodie substance without, as nuts: others, their carnositie without, and their stone within, as Peaches and Plums. So that in them we may say, That the faultie superfluitie is environed with environed with the good fruit, whereas fruit otherwise is ordinarily defended by the said imperfection of the shell. Walnuts and Filbers are enclosed with a shell: Chestnuts be contained under a tough rind, which must be pulled off before they be eaten; whereas in Medlars, the carnositie and it be eaten togither. Acornes, and all sorts of mast, be clad with a crust; Grapes with a skin, Pomegranats with a rind and a thin pannicle or skin besides. Mulberries doe consist of a fleshie substance and a liquor. Cherries, of a skin & a liquid juice. Some fruits there be, the substance whereof will soon part from their woodie shell without, or stone within, as nuts and Dates: others sticke close and fast thereto, as Olives and Bay berries. And there be againe that participate the nature of both, as Peaches: for in those that be called Duracina, the carnous substance cleaveth hard to the stone, so as it cannot be plucked from it; whereas in the rest, it commeth easily away. Now ye shall meet with some fruits, that neither without in shell, nor within-forth in kernell, have any of this woodinesse, as a kind of Dates [named Spadones.118] And there be againe whose verie kernell and wood is taken for the fruit it selfe, and so used; as a kind of Almonds, which (as we said119) doe grow in Ægypt. Moreover, yee shall have a kind of fruits furnished with a double superfluitie of excrement120 to cover them without-forth, as Chestnuts, Almonds, and Walnuts. Some fruits have a substance of a threefold nature, to wit, a bodie without; then, a stone or wood under it; and within the same, a kernell or seed, as Peaches. And there be againe that lye close, contained (as it were) within a wombe or matrice, as the kernels of Pomegranats. Some hang by small steles or tailes, as Peares: others in bunches, as Grapes and Dates. Ye shall have some fruit grow by clustres, and yet hang by a long taile, as the berries of Ivie and Elder: and others againe cleave fast to the braunch of the tree, as Bay berries: some both waies, as Olives; for there be of them that have long steles, and others again short tailed. Some fruits there be also, that are formed like cups or mazers,121 as Pomegranats, Medlars, the Ægyptian Beane or Lote, and that which groweth about the river Euphrates.
As for the singularities and commendable parts in fruits, they be of divers sorts. Dates are most set by for their fleshie substance; and yet they of Thebes above in high Ægypt, are esteemed onely for their outward coat or crust that they have. Grapes, and the Dates called Caryotæ, are in great account and estimation for their juice and liquor: Peares and Apples be most accepted for their callous substance next unto their skin or paring; but the honey-apples Melimela, are liked for their carnositie and fleshie pulpe within: Mulberries content the tast with their gristle or cartilage substance: and the best part of the nut, is the verie graine of the kernell. In Ægypt, some fruits are regarded onely for their utmost skin, as drie Figs: when Figges bee greene, the same is pilled off and cast aside like a shell; but be they once drie, the said skin is passing good. In all kind of Papyr-reeds, Ferula plants, and the white thistle Bedegnar,122 the verie maine stemme is the fruit for to be eaten. The shoots also and tender sprigs of the Fig-tree, are reputed for good meat, and also medicinable. As for the Carobe, what is it else but a meere woodie substance that folke doe eat? (and yet the seed and graines within them, are not altogither to be despised for the propertie that they have) although to speake precisely it cannot properly bee called either flesh, wood, or gristle; neither hath it found any other convenient name to bee tearmed by.
Of the Myrtle, eleven kinds thereof.
Nature hath shewed her wonderfull power and bountie, especially in the juice of the Myrtle, considering that of all fruits, it alone doth yeeld two sorts both of oile and wine: likewise the mixture or cmoposition called Myrtidanum, as we have said before.123 Also there was another use in old time of Myrtle berries: for, before that Pepper was found and used as it is, they served in stead thereof:124 from whence tooke name that exquisite and daintie dish of meat, which even at this daie is called Myrtatum. And hereof came that excellent sauce so highly commended for the brawne of the wild bore, when for the most part, Myrtle berries are put thereto to dip the meat therein, for to give a better tast to that kind of venison.
As for the very tree it selfe, the first that ever was seene within the compasse and precincts of Europe (which beginneth at the mountaines Ceraunia) was about Circeij, where stood the tombe sometimes of Elpenor;125 and stil it retaineth the Greeke name: whereby we may well judge, that it is a straunger. Howbeit there grew a Myrtle tree in old time, when Rome was first founded, even in that plot of ground where the cittie now standeth. For thus goeth the historie: That upon a time the Romanes and Sabines being raunged in battaile array, and at the point to fight a field, and to trie the quarell (for the wrong which the Sabines pretended, was done unto them, in regard that the Romanes had ravished their daughters being young maidens) were reconciled and made friends: and thereupon laid downe their armes and weapons, and were there purified with the sacred branches of Myrtle, in that very place where now the temple & image of Venus Cluacina standeth: which thereupon tooke the name (for the Cluere in old Latine, signified to purge or cleanse.126) Besides, that tree otherwise doth affourd a kind of sweet perfume to bee burned. Now was this tree chosen for that purpose then to make attonement and to ratifie the mariage betweene the Romanes and the Sabine virgines, because Venus is the president and mother of carnall copulation, and the patronesse withall of the Myrtle tree.127 I will not confidently avouch, but me thinks I may presume to say, That the Myrtle was of all other trees first planted in the publicke place of Rome for some memorable presage and fore-tokening of future events and things to come. For whreas the temple of Quirinius (that is to say, of king Romulus) is reputed for one of the most antique buildings now extant, there grew even before it for a long time two old and sacred Myrtle trees: the one named Patritia [i. the Myrtle of the Nobilitie:] and the other Plebeia; that is to say, the Myrtle of the Comminaltie. The Patritian prospered and flourished many yeares together, whiles the Plebeian began to fade and wither. And to say a truth, so long as the Senate was able to maintaine and uphold their authoritie, the Myrtle of the Nobbles continued fresh and greene, and spread her boughes at large; whereas that other of the Commons seemed as it had been blasted, dried, and halfe dead: but after that the state of the Senate began to quaile and droupe, (which was about the time of the warre with the Marsyans) as their tree decaied and wasted, so the Plebeian Myrtle held up the head againe: and so by little and little, as the majestie of the Senatours was taken downe and abated to nothing, so their Myrtle waxed poore and barren untill it became drie and starke dead. Moreover, there stood an old chappell and an altar consecrated unto Venus Myrtea, whom now at this day they call Murtia.128
Cato in his time wrote of three kinds of Myrtle: to wit, the white, the blacke, and the Conjugula (so called haply of wedlock or mariage:)129 and peradventure it may come of the rce of those Myrtles belonging to Venus Cloacina abovenamed. Howbeit, in these daies we distinguish our Myrtles otherwise; for some we repute wild and savage, others tame and gentle: and these both are likewise of two sorts, to wit, either broader or narrower leaved. To the wild kind properly belongeth the prickie Myrtle Oximyrsine. As for the tame and gentle Myrtles, they bee those that are planted in hort-yards and gardens, wherewith gardeners make arbors, knots, and divers devises.130 Whereof be sundrie kinds. The Tarentine with small leaves; ours of Italie with broader; and the myrtle ¶¶¶ Hexastica, which is very ful of leaves, and ordinarily each branch hath six ranks therof. But these are altogether out of request: both the other are full of boughes and branches. As touching the abovenamed Conjugula, I suppose it bee the same that our common Myrtle here in Italie. But the most odoriferous Myrtle of all others, is that which groweth in Ægypt.
Now concerning the wine of Myrtles, Cato hath shewed us the manner how to make it:131 namely, to take the blacke Myrtle berries, to drie them in the shade untill they have lost all their waterish humiditie, and so to put them in Must or new wine, and let them lie there infused, or in steep. For certainely, if the berries be not dried before, they would yeeld an oile from them. Howbeit, afterwards there was a devise found out to make a white wine of the white Myrtle in this manner. Take of Myrtles well beaten or stamped, the quantitie of two 11 Sextares, steepe the same in three hemires or pints of wine, and then straine and presse forth the liquor.
Moreover, the very leaves of the Myrtle tree, being dried and reduced into a kind of meale, are singular good for to cure the ulcers in mens bodies: for certaine it is, that this powder doth gently eat away and consume the superfluous humours that cause putrifaction. And besides, it serveth well to coole and represse immoderate sweats. Over and besides, the oile also of Myrtles (a straunge and wonderfull thing to tell) hath a certaine rellice and tast of wine: and withall, the fat liquor thereof is endued with a speciall and principall vertue to correct and clarifie wines; if the bagges and strainers where-through the wine runneth, bee first soaked and drenched therewith: for the said oleus substance retaineth and keepeth with it all the lees and dregs, and suffereth nothing but the pure and cleare liquor to passe through, and more than that, it carrieth with it the commendable odor and principall vertue of the said oile. Furthermore it is said, That if a wayfaring man that hath a great journey for to goe on foot, carrie in his hand a sticke or rod of the Myrtle tree, he shall never bee wearie, nor thinke his way long and tedious. Also §§ rings made of Myrtle twigs, without any edged yron toole, keepe downe and cure the swelling bunch that riseth in the groine. What should I say more? The Myrtle intermedleth in warre affaires: for Posthumius Tubertus, being Consull of Rome (who was the first that entred in a pettie triumph, ovant into the citttie, because he had easily conquered the Sabines, and drawne in manner no bloud of them)132 rode triumphant in this manner, to wit, crowned with a chaplet of Myrtle, dedicated to Venus Victresse: and from that time forward the Sabines (even his very enemies) set much store by that tree, and held it in great reverence. And ever after, they that went but ovant into the cittie after a victorie, ware this kind of guirland onely, except M. Crassus, who after hee had vanquished the fugitive slaves, and defeated Spartacus, marched in a coronet of Lawrell.133 Massurius writeth, how Generals when they entred triumphant into rome, riding in their stately chariots (which was the greatest honor of all others) ware upon their heads, chaplets of Myrtle. L. Piso reporteth, That Papyrius Masso (who first triumphed in mount Albanus over the Corsians) used ever after to come unto the Games Circenses, and to behold them, crowned with a guirland of Myrtle.134 This Papyrius was grandfather by the mothers side, to the second Scipio Africanus. Finally, M. Valerius, according to a vow that hee made in his triumphs, used to weare coronets as well of Lawrell as Myrtle.
Of the Lawrell or Bay tree, thirteene kinds thereof.
Lawrell is appropriate unto triumphs, and besides groweth most pleasantly before the gates of the Emperors court, and Bishops pallace; giving attendance there as a dutifull portrese or huisser, most decently. This tree alone both adorneth their stately houses, & also keepeth watch and ward dully at the dores. Cato setteth downe two kinds of Lawrell,135 to wit, the Delphicke, and the Cyprian. Hereunto Pompeius Lenæus136hath joined a third, which he called Mustacea; because in old time they used to lay the leaves thereof under certaine cakes or March-panes (which in those daies they called Mustacea)137 as they were in baking: This third kind hath leaves of all others largest, flaggie, hanging, and whitish withall. As for the Delphick, it carieth leaves of one entire colour, greener than the rest: the baies or berries thereof likewise are biggest, and of a reddish greene colour. With this Lawrell were they wont to be crowned at Delphos, who won the prise at any tournoy or solemne games; as also the victorious captains who triumphed in Rome. The Cyprian Lawrell hath a short leafe, blacke, crisped, or curled, and about the sides or edges thereof it turneth up hollow like a gutter or crest-tile. Howbeit, afterwards there were raunged in the ranke of Lawrels other trees, to wit, the Tinus,138 which some take to the be the wild Lawrell, others say it is a kind of tree by it selfe: indeed it differeth from other Lawrels in the colour of the fruit; for it beareth blew berries. Then came the roiall lawrell in place, which began to be called Augusta or Imperiall.139 This is a very tall and big tree, with leaves also as large in proportion, and the Baies or Berries that it beareth are nothing sharpe biting and unpleasant in tast. But some there be that thinke this roiall Bay, is not a Lawrell, but a severall tree apart, as having longer and braoder leaves than the rest of the ordinarie sort. And these writers speaking of other kinds, call our common Bay tree, Baccalia, and namely that which is so fruitfull and beareth such a sort of Berries: as for the fruitlesse and barren of that sort they name Triumphall, which, as they say, is used in triumphs. Whereat I marvell very much, unlesse this ordinance and custome began of Augustus Cæsar, by occasion of that Lawrell which came to him as sent from heaven (as I will shew anon more at large;)140 and of all others it is for height lowest, in leafe short and frizled, very geason and hard to be found. Now there is another kind of Lawrell named Taxa, very fit for greene arbors, and to be wrought into knots. Out of the middest of the leafe there groweth foorth another little one, in manner of a skirt, tongue, or lappet of the leafe. also without any such excressence, there is that, which they name Spadonia, as one would say, the guelded Bay, which careth not how shadowie the place be where it groweth: for be it never so remote out of the Sunne, or overshadowed howsoever, yet it ceaseth not to grow and overspread the ground where it standeth. Moreover in this rank is to be reckoned the wild shrub called Lowrier or Chamædaphne. There is besides the Lawrell Alexandrina, which some call Idæa [i. Mountaine Lawrell] others Hyppoglottion [i. Horse-tongue] some Daphnitis, others Carpophyllon or Hypelate. This plant putteth forth braunches immediately from the root, of a span or nine inches long: very proper and handsome to draw works, or to clad arbours withall in a garden, also to make guirlands and chaplets. The leaves are more sharpe and pointed, softer also and whiter than those of the Myrtle, yea, & have within them a bigger grain or seed, of colour red. Great plentie therof groweth upon the mountaine Ida, likewise about Heraclea in Pontus: and in one word, never but in hillie and mountaine countries.
As for the hearbe Daphnoeides or Laureola,141 it hath many names. For some tearme it Pelasgum, others Eupetalon, and there are againe who would have it to be Stephanos Alexandri [i.Alexanders chaplet.] This plant also is full of branches, carying a thicker and softer leafe than the common Lawrell: and if a man taste throf, it will set both the mouth and also the throat on a fire: the berries that it beareth be blackish, inclining to a kind of red. It hath been noted and observed in auncient writers, that no kind of Lawrell in old time was to be found in the Island Corsica: and yet in these daies it is there planted, and thriveth well ynough. The Lawrell betokeneth peace: insomuch, as if a braunch thereof be held out among armed enemies, it is a signe of quietnes and cessation from arms. Moreover, the Romans were wont to send their missive letters142 adorned with Lawrell, when they would give advertisement of some speciall good newes or joifull victorie: they used besides to garnish therewith their launces, pikes, and speares. The knitches also & bunches of rods, borne before grand captaines and generals of the armie,143 were beautified and set out with Bay branches. Herewith they sticke and bedecke the bosome of that most great and gracious Iupiter, so often as there commeth glad tidings of some late and fresh victorie. And all this honor is done to the Lawrell, not because it is alwaies greene, nor for that it pretendeth and sheweth peace (for in both these respects the olive is to be preferred before it) but in this regard, That the fairest and goodliest of them grow upon the mountaine Pernassus: and therefore also is it so acceptable to Apollo, for which cause (as may appeare by L. Brutus) the Roman kings in old time were accustomed to send great presents and oblations thither to the temple of Apollo:144 or peradventure it was in memoriall of that ground that bare Lawrell trees, and which according to the Oracle of Apollo, the said L. Brutus kissed,145 when he intended the publicke freedome of the cittie, and minded to deliver it from the yoke and servitude of the kings: or haply, because it alone either set with the hand before the dores, or brought into the house, is not blasted and smitten with lightning.146 And these reasons verily induce me to beleeve, that in times past they chose the Bay tree for their triumphs, before any other: rather than as Massurius would have it, because the Lawrell served for a solemne perfume, to expiate and assoile the carnage and execution done upon the enemies. And so farre were men in old time from common using either Lawrell or Olive, & polluting the same in any prophane use, that they could not be permitted to burn thereof upon their altars when they sacrificed or offered Incense, although it were to doe honor to the gods, and to appease their wrath and indignation. Evident it is, that the Bay tree leaves, by their crackling that they make in the fire, doe put it from them, and seeme to detest and abhorre it. It cureth moreover the diseases of the guts [the Matrice and the Bladder] also the lassitude and wearinesse of the sinewes. It is reported, that Tiberius Cæsar the Emperor used ever to weare a chaplet thereof when it thundered, for feare of being strucken with lightening.147
Moreover, certaine strange and memorable events as touching the Bay tree have happened about Augustus Cæsar. For Livia Drusilla, (who afterwards by mariage with the said Augusts, became Empresse, and was honoured with the title of Augusta) at what time as she was affianced and espoused to Cæsar, chaunced as she sat still, to have an exceeding white Hen to light into her lap (which an Ægle flying aloft, let fall from on high) without any harme at all to the said pullet.148 Now when this ladie or princesse advised and considered well the Hen, without being astonied & amazed at so strange and miraculous a sight, she perceived that the Hen held in her bill a Lawrell-branch full of Bay berries. The Wisards and Soothsaiers were consulted withall about this wonderfull occurrent, and gave advise in the end to preserve the bird and the brood therof: likewise to set in the ground the foresaid braunch, and duly to tend and looke unto it. Both the one and the other was done and executed accordingly, about a certaine house in the countrie belonging to the Cæsars, seated upon the river Tyberis, neare the causey or port-way Flaminia, about nine miles from Rome:149 which house therupon was called, Ad Gallinas, as a man would say, The signe of the Hens. Well, the foresaid braunch mightily prospered, and proved afterwards to be a grove of Lawrels, which all came from that first stocke. In processe of time, Augustus Cæsar when he entred in Triumph in rome, caried in his hand a braunch of that Bay tree, yea, and wore a chaplet upon his head of the same: and so did all the Emperours and Cæsars his successors after him. Hereof also came the custome to set againe and replant those braunches of Lawrell that Emperors held in their hands when they triumphed: & thereof continue whole woods & groves distinguished each one by their severall names, and perhaps therefore were they named Triumphall. This is the onely tree knowne in the Latine tongue, whereof a man beareth the name. Againe, there is not another tree besides that hath the leafe to carie in the Latine tongue a denomination and name by it selfe apart, as well as the tree: for where as the plant is named Laurus, the leafe we call Laurea. Moreover, there is a place likewise within the citie of Rome upon mount Aventine, retaining still the name of Loretum,150 which first was imposed upon it by reason of a Lawrell grove which grew there. The bay tree also is used in solemne purifications before the gods: and to conclude, this would be resolved and agreed upon by the way, That if a branch thereof be set, it will prosper and become a tree; although Democritus and Theophrastus make some doubt thereof. Thus much of Lawrels and other domesticall and native trees: it remaineth now to write of those that be wild and savage, and of their natures.
The running title is "The Fifteenth Booke of // Plinies Naturall Historie. " Notes from the orginal text are marked with glyphs (*, §, etc.), my notes are numbered.
1. Note that Book XIV bears the subtitle Containing the Treatise of Trees bearing fruit, although it's all about wine, while this book and the next, which do treat of fruit, have no such subtitle.
2. Appius nephew of Caecus: Cicero, de Offic. II.57, says "son", if it be the same person.
3. They come up the second year after: Olives are not normally grown from seed. See the Excursus (part I) (in French and Latin).
4. Virgill: in the Georgics, II.85-86.
5. Treading them with mens feet: Holland has misunderstood Pliny's exilibus regulis pede incluso, where pes is to be understood as the fruit and stems (le marc d'olive, say the French), or mash, of olives.
6. Venafrum: now the commune of Venafro, and still producing olive oil. On Lincinian olive oil, see Cato Agri Cult. 6; Varro, R.R. I.24; Columella V.8 (all scant mentions, but it's traditional to doubt Pliny and to provide scads of backup for things he says, and these pages play along, from time to time as I feel like doing it).
7. Amurca: see the Excursus (part II) (in French and Latin) and on the difference between amurca and sanies, which Holland, along with most translators, would make the same thing.
8. Ompharium: thus all editions; sc. omphacium. In Book XII.
9. Sixteen days before the kalends of October: that is, before the sixteenth day of the kalends of October.
10. Phauliae: emending the textual babbiae or bambiae, following Theophrastus lib. VI. Macrobius III.20.6 has "pauliae", "male", says Hardouin, "pro Phauliae". The correction was suggested by Hermolaus Barbarus in his Castigationes Plinianae.
11. Colymbades: Greek κολυμβάδες, "swimming" (literally "diving"). (It will be noted that this does not match the text very well; Hardouin mutzes about in the text to make it say "Colymbades swim in brine (alone)", after Columella 12.8, but his reading is not followed by other editors.)
12. Superbae: Hard.: "Hispanicam nunc olivam vocant, olive d'Espagne, drassam et carnosam, nucis magnitudine." Take that for what it's worth.
13. 80 sesterces at a time: Pliny's "octogenis sestertiis" is rather 80,000 sesterces. "Sestertia hic generis, ut vocant, neutri intellige: quorum singula sestertios valeant mille: octogena, millia octoginta", says Hardouin. The oil was used in medicines, says Pliny, book XXVIII.
14. The parade was instituted by Cn. Flavius, says Livy (IX.46).
15. Cato: Agri. Cult. 6 , "In agro crasso et caldo oleam conditivam, radium maiorem" etc.
16. Liquefy and turn into oil: pretty much what Pliny writes. He means "in order to get as much as can be rendered, even from the lees and kernels".
17. Vermin that annoys sheep: this is Holland's gloss.
18. Good only for lamps: following the Cologne (1524) edition (and many subsequent editions as well) emendation of the textual exile to utile, an emendation suggested by the readings of Herodotus and of Dioscorides, from whom much of this is taken. (Holland straddles the line a bit by adding "only".) Dioscorides adds that it's useful for emplastres as well. Pliny takes up the medicinal uses in Book XXIII.
19. Metopium: see also Book XIII.
* i. Indivisible, or so smal that it cannot be cut. [As though from Greek ἀκαρές, "too short to be cut", properly said of hair. All Pliny manuscripts (and most editions) have acoron , a coron, etc.; acoron is conjectured to be the sweet flag in other places where Pliny uses it. That may be right there, but probably not here. Cf. XXV.158.]
20. Cedrelæon: thus editions up until Hardouin's. Sc. Pisselæon. "Malis cedri, quod cedrelæon. Fallitur. Cedrelæon fit ex accensis cedri Syriacæ ramis, halitu, inquam, cedriæ, dum coquitur, lana excepto, ut et Pisselæon; Cedrelæon Chitram Arabes vocant. Negligenter hæc Plinius" (Dalechamps).
21. Showed before: in Book XII.100 and 109.
22. As we have said: in Book XII.
23. Cnidinum: correcting the various versions of different editions and manuscripts from the Greek κνίδη.
24. Eguini: Or Iguvini, mentioned in Book III. Holland has here portmanteaued two readings, "sicut in Italia e gummi" and "sicut in Italia Eguuini"; the two are (presumably) exclusive one of the other. Most editions follow the latter, modified to Iguvini: "Ita", says Hardouin, "porro scripsisse Plinium, uti emendavimus, ipse fidem facit, lib. XXIII, cap. 49, ubi hæc eadem enumerans olei genera, 'Selgiticum, inquit, nervis utile esse diximus: ut herbaceum quoque: quod Iguvini circa Flaminiam viam vendunt.' Ex certo herbarum igitur ac peculiari genere quodam, oleum id, non e gummi, exprimitur."
25. Image of Saturn full of olive oil: cf. Pausanias V.11.10 on Phidias' statue of Zeus; olive oil was used to prevent its being damaged by the damp.
26. Aquiceli: Dalechamps says these are des tourons.
27. Chaplet of pine: "Pinea corona"; see Plutarch Symposiacs [Qu. Conv.] lib. 5, qu. 3..
28. Candie: That is, they're named after the city of Cydonia in Crete, from which they came. See Perseus: Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites on the city.
29. And so called: i.e., nostratia.
30. Spoken before: in Book XIII. The translation here is a bit strange: rather, something like "Pomegranates, we have spoken before of the nine sorts of them from Carthage."
31. Abricots: Pliny's praecocia; apricots is possible, but more literally "early peaches" or "early-ripening peaches". Cf. Diosc. lib. 1 cap. 115, "Τὰ δὲ μικρότερα (Περσικὰ), καλούμενα δὲ Ἀρμενιακά, Ρωμαιστὶ δὲ βρεκόκκια, εὐστομώτερα τῶν προειρημένων ἐοστίν and Martial XIII. 46. "Eadem Armeniaca, et praecocia latine dicuntur", says Hardouin.
32. Dalechamps: "Praecocium duo genera hic Plinius indicat: alterum supernas, amplum, et magnum, quod e Sabinorum locis avehebatur, vulgo gros abricots : alterum vulgare, parvum, et strigosum, etiam Armenium dictum, vulgo des Armègnes." Armègnes are apparently apricots; but what gros abricots, aside from fat apricots, is beyond me.
33. Plums: the text around here is fairly corrupt, so a general note of warning is perhaps in order. For details, see a full edition of Pliny.
** As our hors-plums. [The horse-plum of the Old World, of course, not the American or Canadian plums of the same name. "A small red variety of plum", says the OED.]
34. Therefore called Armeniaca: the translation is misleading; better would be "Moreover, there come from foreign parts Armeniaca [that is, apricots]...". There are not two words "apricots" and "Armeniaca": armeniaca means apricots. See also note 31 above.
35. Spoken thereof: in Book XIII. Strange trees: sc. "trees of lands other than Italy".
36. Sebesten: Cordia myxa.
37. Poisonous peaches: cf. Columella, Lib. X: "Armeniisque et cereolis prunisque Damasci / stipantur calathi et pomis, quae barbara Persis / miserat, ut fama est, patriis armata venenis". Hardouin: "Idem tradit et Plato Anthol. lib. I, cap. 20, epigrammate scripto εἰς τινὰ θανοντὰ ὑπο πλησμονῆς Περσικῶν μήλων, in eum qui mortuus erat nimio esu Persicorum malorum: ᾽Εκ φονίων Περσῶν φόνιον φυτὸν ἤγαγε Περσεύς, παιδὶ Θεογνώστου τοῦ θανάτου πρόφασιν [Book IX, epig. 43] Quod ita reddidit feliciter Grotius: 'Nate Theognosti, mortis tibi causa fuere A Persis perseus, quæ mala mala tulit.' " Parts of the story have their origins in Nicander. Alexander Ross, in his mid-17th-century Arcana Microcosmi II.4, is still retailing the story as true.
38. Persea: see Book XIII. Theophrast. Hist. lib. IV, cap. 2 (Ἐν Αἰγύτῳ δ᾽ ἐστὶν ἕτερον ἡ περσέα καλούμενον, τῇ μὲν προσόψει μέγα καὶ καλόν, παραπλήσιον δὲ μάλιστα τῇ άπίῳ καὶ φύλλοις καὶ ἄνθεσι καὶ ἀκρεμόσι καὶ τῷ ὅλῳ σχήματι· πλὴν τὸ μὲν άείφυλλον τὸ δὲ φυλλοβόλον etc.) Dioscorides, I.129.1, Περσαία δένδρον ἐστὶν ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ, καρπὸν δέρον ἐδώδιμον, εὐστόμαχον, ἐφ᾽ οὗ καὶ τὰ λεγόμενα κρανοκόλαπτα φαλάγγια εὑρίσκεται, μάλιστα δὲ ἐν τῇ Θηβαίδι. δύναμιν δὲ ἔχει τὰ φύλλα λεῖα ἐπι παττόμενα ξηρὰ αἱμορραγίας ἱστᾶν. τοῦτο δὲ ἱστόρησαν τινες ἐν Περσίδι ἀναιρετικὸν εἶναι, μετατεθὲν δὲ εἰς Αἶγυπτον ἀλλοιωθῆναι καὶ ἐδώδιμον γενέσθαι.
39. Skins to be pared off: Holland's gloss on malum; Pliny has simply malorum plura sunt genera.
40. Already written of pome-citrons: in Book XII; see also Book XIII.
41. Tuberes: Hardouin says this nucipersica, "pêches-noix", Broterius "persica odoro fructu", "le brugnon musqué"; both amount to saying it's a nectarine. Lewis and Short -- "a kind of apple-tree" -- are not helpful.
42. Sericum: The text is corrupt at this point; probably syricum. Dalechamps: "Syricum, vel ut Hermolaus legit, sericum, ruber color factus ex scandice et sinapide mixtis, lib. XXXV, cap. 6. [= cap. xxiv]. Hinc color sericus, ruber vulgo, pomme suzine". Hardouin: "Hoc est, rutilum. De colore syrico dicemus lib. XXXV, cap. 24. Non, ut in libris hactenus editis, sericum: neque enim id coloris nomen. Et in vetere Lexico Iatrico, Σίζυφα τὰ συρικὰ legimus". Holland has it both ways: the text says "and of the color of syricum or sericum", Holland says "reddish, of the color of silk". See also this article on a related question.
43. Downy apples: cf. Virgil, Ec. II.51.
44. Quince: Pliny's strutheus, the sparrow apple, or "pear-quince"; see above.
45. Claudius: thus old editions. The text has scaudio or scandio. Cf. Varro R.R. I.lix; Columella R.R. V.x.19; Celsus De MedicinaIV.26.5.
46. Claudian apples: see the note above.
47. Cato: quiriana, in Ag.Cult., 7, "quiriniana"; scantiana in 143 (no local links. Why? who knows).
48. Camerina: thus old editions. Sc. Amerina; cf. Book III, Amerines vs. Cameria, etc.
49. Serica: see note 42 above.
50. Spadoma: sc. spadonia; apparently a misreading by Holland of his source, uncorrected in all editions.
51. Dacian Apples: Holland follows the text before him, Dacis ferme villisimis nomen; Hardouin corrects to Dat et farina ("Libri hactenus editi inepte, Dacis ferme.") Mayhoff the more appealing dat aliis farina. The text has dat is farina. In any case, not "Dacian apples".
52. As also those called Purple pears: The purple and the onyx pears may be the same; purpurea seems to be a description of onychina (cf. Dioscorides) (or perhaps purpurea for color, onyx for shape). The constructions are parallel: signina-testacea, onychina-purpurea. Cf. Columella XII, where there are (or is) mentioned pruna onychina and purpurea.
53. Virgil: in the Georgics, II.69 ff.
54. Sementine: 1601 has "Sementium" corrected in the errata to Sementine. The text has "sementiva". Turnebus wrongly corrects to "sementina" following his reading of Varro; it is presumably this reading that Holland has in mind (cf. R.R. I.ii).
55. Lightnings: perhaps the theory is that each kind of tree calls down its own kind of lightning, so that by grafting one to another you double, or more than double, the risk of being struck. Cf. Varro R.R. I.xl.5 (towards the end of XL, beginning "Quartum genus seminis..."; there are no local links in the text on line).
56. Gourd: not the "Gourd-peares" above, which are "brutish and savage," but rather the "Bottle peares called Ampullacea". One of the problems with paraphrases in translating is that the translator must keep them straight.
57. Scantiane: or Scaudian; see above and notes.
58. Wine: i.e., cider from apples and from pears perry, piracium; cf. Jerome adv. Jovin. II.5
59. Solars: Pliny's pomaria, a place for storing apples. A sollar is a loft or garret, especially a well-lit, well-ventilated one (but it is occasionally confused by writers with cellar).
60. Boiled in salt water: This repulsive procedure is recommended by Columella, R.R. XII.xlvi.5 (no local links).
61. Varro: Varro R.R. I.lix: "Mala punica demissis suis surculis in dolio arenæ" etc.
62. In sawdust and enterred: Holland here follows the reading of the 1524 Cologne edition (on which his translation is largely based) "obrui inter scorbes", rather than the textual "obrui [inter] scrobe" "buried in a trench". There is no justification for the emendation, and indeed no reason, unless the slight infelicity of "obrui scrobe" affected the editor so much that he could not stand it. Obrui is however necessary, since otherwise we could just as well place them in the trench and leave them to rot. Note the sentence, coming up, "sorva quoque et scrobibus..." "sorvisses are also kept in trenches within the ground...".
63. Modern writers: for instance, Columella, R.R. XII.xliv, etc.
64. Of earth: that is, clay or earthenware.
65. Apples in wine, millet seed: Compare Apuleius Geoponica, on the first, X.21.9, καὶ εἰς χύτραν καινὴν ἐντεθέντα, καὶ εἰς πίθον οἰνηρὸν τῆς χύατρας ἐμβληθείσης, ὥστε πλεῖν ταύτην, τοῦ πίθου ἐπιχρισθέντος, ἔσται νέα, ὁ δὲ οἶνος εὐώδης; on the second, Apuleius says "barley", X.21.5 φυλάξεις τὰ μῆλα, ἐὰν εἰς χύτρας ἐγκηρώσας ἔνδοθεν ἀπόθοιο τὰ μῆλα, πωμάζων ταύτας ἐπιμελῶς. ἄσηπτα διαμένει τὰ μῆλα εἰς κριθὰς έντιθέμενα; Palladius, III.xxv.26, millet.
66. Wespes ... spurt or squirt oil: or spit, as we might say. Hardouin points out that the source of Democritus; as quoted in the Geoponics (IV.10), rather of hornets than of wasps: Ὥστε σφῆκας μὴ ἅπτεσται ἀμπέλων, ἣ σταφυλῆς, ἣ ἄλλης ὀπώρας δημοκρίτου. Ἔλαιον ῥοφήσας, πρόσρανον ὥσπερ ἐμφυσῶν ταῖς ἀμπέλοις καὶ ταῖς σταφυλαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἄλλαις ὀπώραις.
67. Spoken before: In Book XIII.
68. On poma/ficus, see e.g. Macrobius Liber Tertius; Palladius Op. agri.Liber 4:X:23. The gloss explaining "poma" is Holland's.
69. Foreign trees: in Book XIII, chap. VII.
70. Foolish and gaping: the adjectives are Holland's, supplied (and somewhat tendentiously translated) from other sources, such as Martial, VII24.7-8.
71. Duracinae ... of the hard skin which they have: Holland appears to have conflated Pliny's serotinae and Macrobius's duricoriae (Sat. XX.1).
72. Omas: all manuscripts and most editions have onas (as possibly from ὠνιας?); Holland's suggestion (meaning "of the vine") is perhaps pushing textual emendation to its limit.
73. Cato: Cato: de Agri Cultura VIII (no local links, drat it).
74. Telliane: sc. Telane.
75. Cato and the fig: the story is told, with some variation, by Plutarch Cato the Elder (xxvii); cf. Tertullianus Ad Nationes Liber II cap. xvi.
76. Trebia, Thrasymenus, Canna: in the Second Punic War. See Florus Epitomae de Tito Livio: Liber I xxii.
77. Hannibal at the Collina gate, etc.: see Livy: XXVI.10.
78. Fig tree in the Forum: for more on the Ficus Navia, see the picture and note in the Latin on-line Pliny, Book 15. Holland's translation here is greatly expanded from the original, and amounts to a discourse on the text in Piny.
79. Year 260: this number is missing from the text of Pliny.
80. Curtius: see Livy VII.6,5 (englished).
81. Games in the forum: possibly those mentioned by Suetonius, Julius 10.
82. Ebusa and Marrucines: on which see Book III, especially chap. V on Ebusus and its serpent-chasing earth, XII on the Marrucines.
83. Orcae: so called from their resemblance to the great fish (says Festus); used for drying the figs. Cf. Columella: de Re Rustica XII.xv.
84. Bread and meat: cf. Seneca, Ep. LXXXVII: "nusquam sine caricis ... illae si panem habeo, pro pulmentario sunt, si non habeo, pro pane."
85. Cato: de Agri cultura lvi; their bread ration to be cut by 20% during fig season.
86. Coctana ... written before: in Book XIII (where Holland (and Pliny) give the more likely form cottana).
87. Crassus: cf. Cicero de Div. II.xl.84 (italice). Hardouin objects to the omen on phonetic grounds, but then adduces evidence for alternate forms Caunæas etc., but it seems to me that native speakers of Latin bought the story, or at least its possibility, as is and are probably better testament to what spoken Latin was like.
88. Medlars the anthedon is (probably) Crataegus azarolus; the Setanian, Mespilus germanica. The "French" may be a pyracantha, but who knows.
89. Cato: de Ag. C. , VII and CXLIII.
90. Fescennine ceremonies: ("lascivious and wanton" are Holland's interpolation). Dalechamps: "Fescennina carmina a Fescennio urbe Campaniæ, vel Sabinorum dicta, ubi primum reperta sunt, lasciva et procacia inter nuptiales jocos et lusus canebantur cum sacro hymno, sive epithalamio, quo præsidess conuugiorum deos quinque, Jovem adulterum, Junonem adulteram, Venerem, Dianam, Suadelam invocabant, rogantes, ut addessent propitii, ac prolem fecundarent. Alex. ab. Alex. lib. III, cap. 5.", to which Hardouin adds, "Carminum id genus fuit, inter nuptiales jocos cantari solitum. Festus: ' Fescennini versus, qui canebantur in nuptiis, ex urbe Fescennina (Etruriæ) dicuntur allati: sive ideo dicti, quia fascinum putabantur arcere. ' " But for some cold water cf. Fescennina (Smith's Dictionary, 1875).
91. Heaviness of head: As from Greek κάρος (and Latin caros) and Greek κάρη.
92. Abellinæ: as from "Abellinum" in the Campania, mentioned in Book III; Servius ad Georgic. II: "Avellanæ ab Avellano Campaniæ oppido, ubi abundant, nominate sunt". The name remains: Corylus avellana. Cf. on this (and on the name "Pontic nuts") Macrobius SaturnaliaIII.18.5.
93. The Greek nuts: that is, Cato mentions something called "Greek nuts", whose identity is uncertain: "nuces calvas, Abellanas, Praenestinas, Graecas, haec facito uti serantur" De Agri Cultura.8.
Or Calve, i. Bald. [Holland's note. As an interesting note on how things can go wrong, both the 1634 and 1635 editions read "Calve, i. Bsld.", apparently because the "a" in 1601 is somewhat smeared.]
94. Albeusian: thus all editions. Pliny's text has Albeses, usually emended to Albenses, i.e., from Alba near Abellinum and Avellana (Book III).
95. Filberds Molluscae: possibly the peach; see Macrobius Saturnalia III.18.9 and cf. III.19.1 on the definition of "nuces".
96. Jupiter: cf. Varro: Lingua Latina V.xxi.
97. Fisticks, thus in all editions; probably a typo for Pisticks, i.e., pistachioes: in Book XIII.
98. Mast: i.e., more like an acorn or beechnut, the sort of woodland nut that falls and makes pig-food. There are dialectal uses of mast to mean acorn properly. The distinction in Latin is between nux and glans.
99. There are problems in the text of Pliny at this point; Holland has chosen a reasonable reading and translated it. See a full edition of Pliny for other possibilities.
100. Poore women for hunger: possibly; possibly, "it serves as a substitute for bread for women during fasts": "praestant jejunio feminarum quamdam imaginem panis", as fish substitutes for meat, for instance.
101. Διὸς βάλανον: 1601 has Διός Βαχανά, corrected in the errata to βαλανός; Mayhoff emends to Διὸς βάλανου . Theophrastus διοσβάλανον (διοσβάλανος) (e.g., Hist. Plant. 3.3.2, 3.8.3, 4.5.4).
102. Meterane: thus the editions of Holland's day. Hardouin corrects to Eteraiana, citing the passage on grafting, XVII.xxvi.122. Mayhoff Tereiana.
Scrupulosa corticis interioris circa nucleos quoque ferruminatione] On this unwarranted and unneeded emendation (found in the Cologne edition), Hardouin: "Ita MSS. omnes, ut plane nugas agere videantur, quo pro ruminatione, hoc loco ferruminatione scribunt. Ruminatio Plinio replicatio esse videtur, et quasi iteratio. Sic lib. XVII, cap. 35: ' Ruminatio quædam hiemis. ' "]
103. Speak of them apart: in the next book (XVI).
104. Pulpous fruits and berries: the distinction in Latin is between baccae and carnes, the small fruits of trees (as olives, for instance) and the soft berries (as mulberries).
105. Three colors: Hardouin adds a fourth, green, when they're really young. My own suspicion is that Pliny has misread his source, or given a mistaken gloss; there are in fact mulberries that are red, white, and black when ripe.
106. Bramble: Rubus fruticosus (considered a noxious weed in at least 35 states of the U.S.). Cf. Ovid Met. I.105 "in duris haerentia mora rubetis" (in Golding's translation (which is charming), "lothsome bramble berries".)
107. Two names for it: The text here has "duobus tamen hoc [or hic, or (Mayhoff) his] nominibus appellant Græci, comaron et memæcylon". Mayhoff notes "sc. arborem, non pomum". Hardouin, however, points out that Pliny's (likely) sources, Theophrastus and Dioscorides, both say that the tree is called comarum, the fruit memæcylo; Theophrastus, III.16.4: "Ἡ δὲ κόμαρος, ἡ τὸ μεμαίκυλον φέρουσα τὸ ἐδώδιμον, ἐστὶ μὲν οὐκ ἄγαν μέγα, τὸν δὲ φλοιὸν ἔχει λεπτὸν μὲν παρόμοιον μυρίκῃ, τὸ δὲ φύλλον μεταξὺ πρίνου καὶ δάφνης". In any case, something is probably wrong either with the text or with Pliny's reading of his sources, or both. Holland's translation itself has some problems, of a subtle sort that we need not worry ourselves about given the textual difficulty.
108. They all become blacke: a mistranslation; Pliny writes "it [the fruit] becomes black at last in mulberries, cherries, and olives."
109. Cherry-trees in Italy: cf. Tertullian: Apologeticum XI.8.
110. About: Holland's interpolation, because it was in 680 that Lucullus undertook the war; the victory was three years later. (The text in fact says that it was in the year 680 that he brought the cherry into Italy, but the previous sentence says it was unknown before the victory; the kind of thing that seldom bothers ordinary readers but drives translators nuts.)
111. 26 years: the text has 120 years.
112. Before said: Pliny has not said anything specifically about cherry trees in Egypt; but cf. Book XI, Chap. 3 on establishing foreign trees in general.
113. Actia: following one the reading ut actia of most editions prior to Hardouin (1685), who corrected to Lutatia: "Lutatia, cæteraque, ab auctoribus nomen habent. Prius, ut actia, male".
114. Thirteen: Pliny, after Theophrastus: dulcis, suavis, pinguis, amaris, austerus, acer, acutus, acerbus, acidus, salsus. Dalechamps says that the difference between acer and acutus is that the first is burning, as pepper, the other pungent, as cinnamon.
115. No taste...: I think that here Holland has mistranslated because he has missed one of Pliny's (rare) excursions into higher style: the Latin is Mirum, tria naturæ præcipua elementa sine sapore esse, sine odore, sine succo: aquas aëra, ignes: "It is wonderful that the three elements are without taste, without odor, without sap: water, air, and fire": that is, water has no taste, air no odor, fire no "sap". Holland's reading is certainly possible, but it is hard to say what it means that water should have no "sap" (the translation of succus is a question we won't go into here).
¶¶ Minimè quod miremur uvis. Others distinguish thus. Minimè (quod miremur) uvis, to this sense: whereas in grapes (& that may be a wonder) there is none such. [This second reason, which is more common, is explained by Hardouin as "Quum ex iis vinum ipsum exprimatur": that is, the juice immediately resembles wine, whereas grape juice does not; but he then adduces Theophrastus to contradict this.]
116. Written previously. In XIII.60.
117. Apples: i.e., pomes, not necessarily apples per se.
118. Named Spadones: Holland's interpolation, from the discussion in Book XIII.
119. As we said: again in XIII.60
120. Double superfluity of excrement: translating Pliny's gemina geminantur vitia (in editions prior to Detlefsen); excrement here has its etymological meaning of "outgrowth".
121. Shaped like cups or mazers: Pliny vasculis constant: they have depressions like shallow dishes (not necessarily the whole fruit).
122. Bedegnar: sic all editions. Sc. Bedeguar (the translator's interpolation of a name).
123. Myrtidanum: Book XIV.
124. Pepper: on its novelty, cf. Plutarch Symp. VIII qu. IX; in Holland's translation: "Omit we must not, what great alterations and changes be in our bodies, occasioned by our meats and viands, and other diet and usage of our selves; for many things which before time were not wont to bee tasted or eaten, are become now most pleasant dainties ... for the cucumber, the melon or pompion, the pomecitron and pepper, I know many old folke at this day, that cannot away with their taste."
125. Circeii: see Book III. Elpenor: who died after falling off a roof in his drunkenness (Odyssey X.552); Odysseus left him "unwept and unburied" in Circe's hall; later, Odysseus speaks to Elpenor's spirit and promises to bury him.
126. Cluere: Dalechamps: "Luere, purgare: Lua mater, dea quæ purgabat: ei nonnumquam ad lustrandum hostium eædam arma et spolia incendebantur. Cluacina Venus, quasi luacina, a purgatione est dicta, quamvis Tertullian. a cloaca, Cloacinam dictam contendat." Cluere quasi colluere.
127. Venus: cf. Book XII, chap. I on Venus and myrtle (and gods and trees in general). Carnall copulation is a bit strong, and also misses part of the meaning here: coniunctio, marriage, friendship, and also accord: Venus and the myrtle appropriate therefore to both the sexual and the political union between the Sabines and the Romans.
128. Murtia: or Murcia. Cf. Plutarch Qu. romanes 268D-E. (In Holland's translation: Romane Questions I.20.)
129. Cato: in de Agri Cultura chap. 8, and again in chap. 133.
130. Devises: the Latin has topiarii. Hardouin: "topiarii: qui topiaria faciunt: sicut coronarii, qui coronas. Vetus inscriptio apud Gruter. pag. 602: LUCRIO. AUG. TOPIARIO. EX. HORTIS., "Lucrio Augusti Topiario, ex hortis", so that the meaning would be "the sort that the topiarists work with".
¶¶¶ not Exotics. Turneb. [Editions prior to Hardouin had exotica for the MSS exasticam; Turnebus followed the earlier emendation of Pintianus (1544), possibly without knowing it.]
131. Cato: de Agri Cultura, 125.
§ i., wine-quarts.
§§ Virgei annuli. But Turnebus readeth Virgæ jaculi, i. staves or Javelines made of their streit boughes. And Expertes ferri, i.not headed with yron. [As do at least two of the manuscripts, and editions prior to Gelenius (1535); but probably mistakenly. But cf. VirgilAeneid III:23, and Georgics II:447 and 358.]
132. Ovant etc.: Holland's gloss intermixed with Pliny's text. The ovatio was the minor triumph celebrated after a victory that was either easy, or bloodless, or over slaves; a crown of myrtle marked a bloodless victory. The victory was sufficiently famous that Pliny does not have to specify which it was; that is Holland's addition. (Dionysius of Halicarnassus says Postumius wore laurel.) See Aulus Gelius Noctes Atticae: Liber V:XX. ff.; cf. Claud. Saturninus in Tertullian, De Corona MilitisXII.1-2.
133. M. Crassus: in Aul. Gel., loc. cit.; "Ac murteam coronam M. Crassus, cum bello fugitivorum confecto ovans rediret, insolenter aspernatus est senatusque consultum faciundum per gratiam curavit, ut lauro, non murto, coronaretur."
134. Papirium Masonem cf. Val. Max. III.6.5.
135. Cato: de Agri Cultura, cap. 133 and cap. 7, where he adds a third kind, sylvatica.
136. Pompeius Lenæus: on whom see lib.XXV.iii.5
137. Mustacea: a kind of cake made of farina and spices. See Juvenal VI.202-203; Cato gives a recipe, de Agri Cultura.121, "Mustaceos sic facito. Farinae siligneae modium unum musto conspargito. Anesum, cuminum, adipis P. II, casei libram, et de virga lauri deradito, eodem addito, et ubi definxeris, lauri folia subtus addito, cum coques." It sounds revolting, and seems to have been reserved for the convalescent.
138. Tinus: Viburnum tinus, sometimes known as Laurus tinus: laurustinus.
139. Imperial laurel: sometimes identified as Prunus laurucerasus, cherry laurel, but that, while large for a shrub, could scarcely be called "amplissima arbore".
140. More at large: in Sect. 137 of this book.
141. Daphneoides: Daphne laureola.
142. Missive letters: litteris. Hermolaus' emendation to lituis is a triumph of common sense over text and history. See Livy: Liber V.28 (englished); OvidAmores I.xi.25, "non ego victrices lauro redimire tabellas"; Martial Epigram. IX.xxxv.6, "victricem laurum quam venit ante vides". Hardouin: "Ammianus quoque, lib. XVI[.12.69] de Juliano imperatore: 'Etsi verbi gratia, eo agente tunc in Italia, dux quidam egisset fortiter contra Persas ..... laureatas litteras ad provinciarum damna mittebat, etc.' Atque idcirco sane laurus a Plinio, 'laetitiae victorarumque nuntia,' appellatur, quod adderetur litteris, quibus felices de victoria nuntii continerentur".
143. Knitches and bunches of rods: i.e., the fasces, on which see Fasces (Smith's Dictionary, 1875) (A knitch is a bundle or sheaf.)
144. L. Brutus, kings: cf. Livy, I:56.
145. The ground L. Brutus kissed: it is not clear from the story as presented in Livy (and in Ovid) whether Brutus waited to kiss the ground in Rome or whether he kissed the ground in Delphi. Pliny is inclined to the latter. Dio. Halic. says that it was the former, as do most modern translators of Livy (to whom the problem does not, indeed, seem to occur): "Brutus intelligens quid vellet declarare deus, ubi quam celerrime Italicam terram ascendit, procidens, osculatus est terram, hanc esse putans omnium hominum matrem" (lib. IV). Roberts: "On their return to Rome, Brutus, thinking that the oracular utterance had another meaning, pretended to stumble, and as he fell kissed the ground, for the earth is of course the common mother of us all"; but note that he translates the next sentence "Then they returned to Rome...". Holland's translation of Livy is closer to the Latin: "They themselves agreed upon this together, to draw lots whether of them twaine, when they were returned to Rome, should first kisse his mother. But Brutus supposing the speech of Apollo his priest, tended to another sence, made as though he stumbled forward and took a fall; and so touched the ground with his mouth and kissed the earth, thinking this with himselfe, that she was the common mother of all mortall men. Then returned they to Rome."
146. Lightning: cf. II, chap. 55.
147. Tiberius: Sueton. Vita Tiberii: lxix (englished.
148. White hen: see also Dio. Cass., 48.52.3 and Sueton. Life of Galba I.
149. Causey or Port-way Flaminia...: that is, "near (iuxta) the ninth milestone of the Flaminian highway"; both causey and port-way refer to raised (and hence usually Roman) roads.
150. Loretum: cf. Varro, Lingua Latina V.52.
This page is by James Eason.