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Cornelius Tacitus, The History (ed. Alfred John Church, William Jackson Brodribb), BOOK V, chapter 6 (search)
besides, the balsam-tree and the palm.
The palm-groves are tall and graceful. The balsam is a shrub; each branch,
as it fills with sap, may be pierced with a fragment of stone or pottery. If
steel is employed, the veins shrink up. The sap is used by physicians.
Libanus is the principal mountain, and has, strange to say,
CHARACTER OF JUDÆA
these burning heats, a summit shaded with trees and never deserted by its
snows. The same range supplies and sends forth the stream of the Jordan. This river does not discharge itself into the
sea, but flows entire through two lakes, and is lost in the third. This is a
lake of vast circumference; it resembles the sea, but is more nauseous in
taste; it breeds pestilence among those who live near by its noisome odour;
it cannot be moved by the wind, and it affords no home either to fish or
water-birds. These strange waters support what is thrown upon them, as on a
solid surface, and all persons, whether they can swim or no, are eq