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Incisions are made in the myrrh-tree also twice a year, and at the same season as in the incense-tree; but in the case of the myrrh-tree they are all made the way up from the root as far as the branches which are able to bear it. The tree spontaneously exudes, before the incision is made, a liquid which bears the name of stacte,1 and to which there is no myrrh that is superior. Second only in quality to this is the cultivated myrrh: of the wild or forest kind, the best is that which is gathered in summer. They give no tithes of myrrh to the god, because it is the produce of other countries as well; but the growers pay the fourth part of it to the king of the Gebanitæ. Myrrh is bought up indiscriminately by the common people, and then packed into bags; but our perfumers separate it without any difficulty, the principal tests of its goodness being its unctuousness and its aromatic smell. (16.) There are several2 kinds of myrrh; the first among the wild myrrhs is the Troglodytic; and the next are the Minæan, which includes the Atramitic, and that of Ausaritis, in the kingdom of the Gebanitæ. A third kind is the Dianitic,3 and a fourth is the mixed myrrh, or "all-sorts;"4 a fifth, again, is the Sambracenian, which is brought from a city in the kingdom of the Sabæi, near the sea; and a sixth is known by the name of Dusaritic. There is a white myrrh also, which is produced in only one spot, and is carried for sale to the city of Messalum. The Troglodytic myrrh is tested by its unctuousness, and its peculiarly dry appearance: it has also a dirty, rough look with it, but is more acrid than the other kinds. The Sambracenian myrrh has none of these faults, and is more sightly in appearance than any of them, though it is far from being so powerful. In general, however, the proof of its goodness consists in its being separated in little pieces of uneven shape, formed by the concretion of a whitish juice, which dries up little by little. When broken it ought to exhibit white marks like the finger-nails, and to be slightly bitter to the taste. That of second quality is of a mottled appearance within; while of worse quality is that which is of a black colour within; the very worst of all is that which is black on the outside as well.

The price of myrrh varies according to the number of purchasers. Stacte is sold at prices which vary from three denarii to forty per pound, while the very highest price of the cultivated myrrh is eleven denarii. Erythræan myrrh, the same, it is pretended, as Arabian myrrh, is sixteen denarii per pound, Troglodytic also, is sixteen denarii; and that known as odoraria, or odoriferous myrrh, sells at fourteen. Myrrh is adulterated with pieces of mastich, and other gums; it is also drugged with the juice of wild cucumber, in order to produce a certain bitterness, and with litharge for the purpose of increasing its weight. Other sophistications may be discovered on tasting it, and the gum will adhere to the teeth. But the cleverest mode of adulterating it is with Indian myrrh,5 a substance which is gathered from a certain prickly shrub which grows there. This is the only thing that India produces of worse quality than the corresponding produce of other countries: they may, however, be very easily distinguished, that of India being so very much inferior.

1 From the Greek στάζω, "to drop." Fée observes, that the moderns know nothing positive as to the mode of extracting myrrh from the tree. See the account given by Ovid, Met. B. x. 1. 500 et seq. of the transformation of Myrrha into this tree,—" The warm drops fall from the tree. The tears, even, have their own honour; and the myrrh that distils from the bark bears the name of its mistress, and in no age will remain unknown."

2 Fée remarks, that at the present day we are acquainted only with one kind of myrrh; the fragments which bear an impression like those of nails being not a distinct kind, but a simple variety in appearance only. He thinks, also, that Pliny may very possibly be describing several distinct resinous products, under the one name of myrrh. An account of these various districts will be found in B. vi. c. 32.

3 Hardouin suggests that it may be so called from the island of Dia, mentioned by Strabo, B. xvi.

4 "Collatitia." The reading, however, is very doubtful.

5 What this was is now unknown. Fée suggests that it may have been bdellium, which is found in considerable quantities in the myrrh that is imported at the present day.

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