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Arabia, too, produces sugar;1 but that of India is the most esteemed. This substance is a kind of honey, which collects in reeds, white, like gum, and brittle to the teeth. The larger pieces are about the size of a filbert; it is only employed, however, in medicine.

1 "Saccharon." Fée suggests that Pliny alludes to a peculiar kind of crystallized sugar, that is found in the bamboo cane, though, at the same time, he thinks it not improbable that he may have heard of the genuine sugar-cane; as Strabo, B. xv., speaks of a honey found in India, prepared without the aid of bees, and Lucan has the line— "Quique bibunt tenerâ dulces ab arundine succos,"
evidently referring to a sugar in the form of a syrup, and not of crystal, like that of the Bambos arundinacea. It is by no means improbable, that Pliny, or rather Dioscorides, from whom he copies, confuses the two kinds of sugar; as it is well known that the Saccharum officinarum, or sugarcane, has been cultivated from a very early period in Arabia Felix.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PHALANGAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CHIOS
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