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In Europe, tar is extracted from the torch-tree1 by the agency of fire; it is employed for coating ships and for many other useful purposes.2 The wood of the tree is chopped3 into small billets, and then put into a furnace, which is heated by fires lighted on every side. The first steam that exudes flows in the form of water into a reservoir made for its reception: in Syria this substance is known as "cedrium;"4 and it possesses such remarkable strength, that in Egypt the bodies of the dead, after being steeped in it, are preserved from all corruption.5

1 Numerous varieties of the coniferæ supply us with tar, and Pliny is in error in deriving it solely from the torch-tree, the Pinus mugho of Linnæus.

2 See B. xxiv. c. 23.

3 It is still obtained in a similar way.

4 Fée remarks, that Pliny is in error here; this red, watery fluid formed in the extraction of tars, being quite a different thing from "cedrium," the alkitran or kitran of the Arabs; which is not improbably made from a cedar, or perhaps the Juniperus Phœnicea, called "Cedrus" by the two Bauhins and Tournefort. He says that it is not likely that the Egyptians would use this red substance for the purpose of preserving the dead, charged as it is with empyreumatic oil, and destitute of all properties peculiar to resins.

5 See B. xxi. c. 3, and B. xxiv. c. 23.

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