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[60a] is called “sap”; but inasmuch as the several sorts have become dissimilar owing to intermixture, most of the kinds thus produced are unnamed. Four of these kinds, however, being fiery and specially conspicuous, have received names. Of these, that which is heating to the soul as well as the body is called “wine”; that which is smooth and divisive of the vision, and therefore bright to look upon and gleaming and glistening in appearance, is the species “oil,” including pitch and castor oil and olive oil itself and all the others that are of the same character; [60b] and all that kind which tends to expand the contracted parts of the mouth, so far as their nature allows, and by this property produces sweetness, has received as a general designation the name of “honey”; and the foamy kind, which tends to dissolve the flesh by burning, and is secreted from all the saps, is named “verjuice.”1

Of the species of earth, that which is strained through water becomes a stony substance in the following way. When the water commingled therewith is divided in the process of mingling, it changes into the form of air; and when it has become air it rushes up to its own region; [60c] but because there was no void space above them, therefore it pressed against the adjacent air; and it, being heavy, when pressed and poured round the mass of earth, crushed it forcibly and compressed it into the spaces from which the new air was ascending. But when earth is thus compressed by the air so as to be indissoluble by water it forms “stone”; of which the fairer sort is that composed of equal and uniform parts and transparent, and the coarser sort the opposite. That kind from which all the moisture has been carried off by the rapidity of fire, and which is more brittle [60d] in its composition than the first kind, is the kind to which we have given the name of “earthenware.” But sometimes, when moisture is still left in the earth and it has been fused by fire and has cooled again, it forms the species which is black in hue. On the other hand there are two kinds, which, in exactly the same manner, are isolated after the mixture from much of their water, but are composed of finer parts of earth, and are saline: when these have become semi-solid and soluble again by water, one of them is purgative of oil and earth and forms the species called “lye“2; and the other, which blends well with the combinations which affect the sensation of the mouth, [60e] is that substance which is customarily termed “beloved of the gods,”3 namely “salt.”

As regards the kinds which are a blend of these two, and are dissoluble by fire and not by water, their composition is due to the following cause. Fire and air do not melt masses of earth; for, inasmuch as their particles are smaller then the interstices of its structure, they have room to pass through without forcible effort and leave the earth undissolved, with the result that it remains unmelted; whereas the particles of water, being larger, must use force to make their way out, and consequently dissolve and melt the earth.

1 Perhaps a kind of fig-juice.

2 i.e., potash or saltpeter.

3 Cf. Hom.Il. ix. 214 πάσσε δ᾽ ἁλὸς θείοιο.

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