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[60e] is that substance which is customarily termed “beloved of the gods,”1 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 Cf. Hom.Il. ix. 214 πάσσε δ᾽ ἁλὸς θείοιο.

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