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Next in affinity to cardamomum would have been cinnamomum,1 and this we should have now proceeded to speak of, were it not more convenient first to make mention of the treasures of Arabia, and the reasons for which that country has received the names of "Happy" and "Blest." The chief productions of Arabia are frankincense and myrrh, which last it bears in common with the country of the Troglodytæ. (14.) There is no country in the world that produces frankincense except Arabia,2 and, indeed, not the whole of that. Almost in the very centre of that region, are the Atramitæ,3 a community of the Sabæi, the capital of whose kingdom is Sabota, a place situate on a lofty mountain. At a distance of eight stations from this is the incense-bearing region, known by the name of Saba. The Greeks say that the word signifies a "secret mystery." This district looks towards the north-east, and is rendered inaccessible by rocks on every side, while it is bounded on the right by the sea, from which it is shut out by cliffs of tremendous height. The soil of this territory is said to be of a milky white, a little inclining to red. The forests extend twenty schœni in length, and half that distance in breadth. The length of the schœnus, according to the estimate of Eratosthenes, is forty stadia, or, in other words, five miles; some persons, however, have estimated the schœnus at no more than thirty-two stadia. In this district some lofty hills take their rise, and the trees, which spring up spontaneously, run downwards along the declivities to the plains. It is generally agreed that the soil is argillaceous, and that the springs which there take their rise are but few in number, and of a nitrous quality. Adjoining are the Minæi, the people of another community, through whose country is the sole transit for the frankincense, along a single narrow road. The Minæi were the first people who carried on any traffic in frankincense, which they still do to a greater extent than any other persons, and hence it is that it has received the appellation of "Minæan." It is the Sabæi alone, and no other people among the Arabians, that behold the incense-tree; and, indeed, not all of them, for it is said that there are not more than three thousand families which have a right to claim that privilege, by virtue of hereditary succession; and that for this reason those persons are called sacred, and are not allowed, while pruning the trees or gathering the harvest, to receive any pollution, either by intercourse with women, or coming in contact with the dead; by these religious observances it is that the price of the commodity is so considerably enhanced. Some persons, however, say, that the right of gathering incense in the forests belongs to all these people in common, while others again state, that they take their turns year by year.

1 See c. 42 of the present Book.

2 Virgil, Georg. B. ii. 1. 139, mentions Panchaia, in Arabia, as being more especially the country of frankincense. That region corresponds with the modern Yemen. It is, however, a well-ascertained fact, that it grows in India as well, and it is supposed that the greater part of it used by the ancients was in reality imported from that country. The Indian incense is the product of a tree belonging to the terebinth class, named by Roxburgh, who first discovered it, Boswellia thurifera. It is more especially found in the mountainous parts of India. On the other hand, it has been asserted that the Arabian incense was the product of a coniferous tree, either the Juniperus Lycia, the Juniperus Phœnicea, or the Juniperus thurifera of Linnæus. But, as Fée justly remarks, it would appear more reasonable to look among the terebinths of Arabia for the incense tree, if one of that class produces it in India, and more especially because the coniferous trees produce only resins, while the terebinths produce gum resins, to which class of vegetable products frankincense evidently belonged. In commerce, the gum resin, Olibanum, the produce of the Boswellia serrata, and imported from the Levant, bears the name of frankincense.

3 See B. vi. c. 32. Their name is still preserved in the modern Hadra- maut, to the east of Aden.

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