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The Arabians import from Carmania also the wood of a tree called stobrum,1 which they employ in fumigations, by steeping it in palm wine, and then setting fire to it. The odour first ascends to the ceiling, and then descends in volumes to the floor; it is very agreeable, but is apt to cause an oppression of the head, though unattended with pain; it is used for promoting sleep in persons when ill. For these branches of commerce, they have opened the city of Carræ,2 which serves as an entrepot, and from which place they were formerly in the habit of proceeding to Gabba, at a distance of twenty days' journey, and thence to Palæstina, in Syria. But at a later period, as Juba informs us, they began to take the road, for the purposes of this traffic, to Charax3 and the kingdom of the Parthians. For my own part, it would appear to me that they were in the habit of importing these commodities among the Persians, even before they began to convey them to Syria or Egypt; at least Herodotus bears testimony to that effect, when he states that the Arabians paid a yearly tribute of one thousand talents, in frankincense, to the kings of Persia.

From Syria they bring back storax,4 which, burnt upon the hearth, by its powerful smell dispels that loathing of their own perfumes with which these people are affected. For in general there are no kinds of wood in use among them, except those which are odoriferous; indeed, the Sabæi are in the habit of cooking their food with incense wood, while others, again, employ that of the myrrh tree; and hence, the smoke and smells that pervade their cities and villages are no other than the very same which, with us, proceed from the altars. For the purpose of qualifying this powerful smell, they burn storax in goat-skins, and so fumigate their dwellings. So true it is, that there is no pleasure to be found, but what the continual enjoyment of it begets loathing. They also burn this substance to drive away the serpents, which are extremely numerous in the forests which bear the odoriferous trees.

1 It is not known what wood is meant under this name. Aloe, and some other woods, when ignited are slightly narcotic.

2 See B. v. c. 21.

3 See B. vi. c. 30.

4 See c. 55 of the present Book.

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